Today’s Business Focus: Education and Communication
December 21, 2016
President, Hondros College of Business
2016-2017 President, Real Estate Educators Association (REEA)
Real estate has always been a dynamic, ever-changing industry essentially due to the primary drivers that navigate its direction: U.S. and state-level economics combined with the trends of population groups. Over the past two decades, the speed of change in the industry has accelerated like never before – components of the field have changed rapidly including design, lending, buying, selling and investments. Technology has been the main contributor to this acceleration and will only become more prominent in the future.
A common discussion today is how the role of real estate professionals will evolve. What will be needed of the real estate professional moving forward? The answer is fundamental: effective communication and on-going education.
From the beginning, the real estate professional has been known as the expert for the consumer or commercial business. Even with the internet as a common “resource,” the consumer or business professional will continue to need someone to help disseminate and make sense of the data they collect. The role of the real estate professional is evolving into a more specialized, consultative position where education is paramount. Professionals in the real estate industry may have noticed that education has become a central focus to successfully conduct business. Coaching sessions, webinars, blogs, podcast subscriptions, conferences, workshops or online and classroom courses are now integrated into the business plan.
The consumer or business professional also has access to more information than ever before. As a result, real estate professionals have to be several steps ahead of their client or prospect to be viewed as competent and credible. Being armed with current, relevant information is no longer a choice, but an expectation.
Furthermore, the communication method used by real estate professionals and the response time has become a measure of reliability. Text or instant messaging (IM), social posts and email tied to mobile phones has created an atmosphere with a sense of urgency. Consumers and business contacts assume a real estate professional is always “plugged in.” Flexibility in communication methods plus additional strategies to respond quickly are required. The industry has been implementing tactics to meet these requirements such as forming communication teams, so there is always a person available.
The key to propelling the industry to success is to ensure all parties involved in the real estate mix have access to correct information, and know how to communicate it effectively. All education and data is not created equal. At the same time, it’s important to understand that the way we as a society learn and absorb information will continue to change with technological advancements. The key will be the ability to adapt to that change in order to cater to the evolution. After all, the new real estate consultant is no longer a salesperson, but has become an adult “educator.”
During my twenty three years in real estate education, I have seen firsthand how the industry continues to be reshaped. However, the one area that remains the same is the real estate professional’s desire to share their knowledge and experiences. As a community-driven business, support from each other serves as our foundation.
The primary reason I have chosen to take a lead role in the Real Estate Educators Association (REEA) is to execute the idea of community. Each year, real estate educators across the nation gather at an annual REEA conference to compare notes on how we can better work together to deliver relevant education. With today’s overflow of information available to everyone, the Association has never been more needed. My involvement with REEA has been extremely rewarding to me as an educator and to the many others who influence this industry.
The real estate market for 2017 looks bright. Real estate professionals be prepared for success and to provide the service of education to your clients.