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What Are YOU Doing to be a Game Changer?

February 14 2010

What’s a "game changer" anyway? A game changer defines (and sometimes) redefines the industry in which it competes with a fresh, innovative deliverable or service channel to provide products or services via a revolutionary method. In many cases, a game changer can revolutionize an entire industry.

According to NAR’s latest RIGHT TOOLS RIGHT NOW initiative, the idea of a game changer was serious enough to fund a formal challenge to state and local associations and councils with a couple of million dollars and to propose how they would “change” how we do business in real estate.

The ideas had to have an impact on the association, a new product, program, process or service that would improve the REALTOR® organization as a whole, and ultimately benefit the consumer experience as well by supporting the REALTORS®' activities to provide better, faster and more efficient services.

So in August of last year, NAR instituted the Game Changers Challenge by engaging its 1,500 Local REALTOR® Boards, State Association of REALTORS® and Institutes, Societies and Councils in the initiative. They were all challenged to put on their creative caps and come up with some “game changer” ideas to create benefits and programs that would assist their members in addressing the challenges of our industry’s current economic conditions.

Over 220 submissions rolled in and a lucky 14 were accepted and awarded the funds to execute their initiative before the May meetings in Washington D.C. As one of the 12 national coaches, we reviewed all of the winners and several of the runners-up submissions.

What was interesting was the scope of these submissions and their varying focus: Some were directed on how the association could better support the agent in the field; others provided fresh ideas for providing higher levels of information and resources to the agent that would ultimately assist in better service and richer information for the consumers.

Now, all of this is exciting, but in reality, given the rapid transition of consumer empowerment evident in today’s market, each of us is tasked with having to create significant differentiation in how we go to market. Most of us agree that the status quo is no longer an option. Our challenge is not only to separate ourselves from our competition, but to communicate our specific value to each consumer to remain relevant to the transaction…if we want to get paid!

Having monitored multiple blogs, Google groups and personally conducted several focus groups, what is evident is that many of the same issues we dealt with over 25 years ago are still issues today! Everybody thinks they can sell real estate, and few are truly making a living; and even a smaller percentage are among the real top producers. The reason? No matter what you are providing, you’ve got to run your business like a business and at the end of the day…make a profit!

So why not get a little crazy, a little “out of the box” and start thinking a bit more creatively about how you can WOW your clients and customers better than or different from your competitors?

Here are a couple of ideas to help you RE-FIRE your service model to create truly significant improvements:

1) Everyone continues to struggle to remain organized. A large percentage of the “Game Changer” initiatives submitted offered solutions to help the agent organize and systematize their day-to-day business. Whether it is organizing yourself and your business, or systematizing how to get relevant information and services to your customers on a consistent basis, the problem of staying focused on dollar productive activities remains paramount to all of us.

There are several productivity programs out there with varying degrees of support, but at this writing, there isn’t that “one special system” that integrates fully with the hundreds of activities an agent or any entrepreneur needs to work ON their business as well as IN their business. Bottom line: Successful people are ORGANIZED. Customers want consistently good service and communication, so you need to find a program, learn it and execute it every day to connect with and maintain your clients and customers.

2) The new normal is NOW! Forget the old market – it’s not coming back! Today’s market requires EXPERTISE and real EXPERTS to facilitate a successful transaction. You shouldn’t expect to get paid unless you truly are worth it! During our focus groups, it was amazing to find out the vast resources of local and state information that the Associations provided to their members on a regular basis, but found few actually taking advantage of this service. Get with the program! Call your association and find out what programs they offer to help you stay on top of your game. Real estate is a LOCAL event…and if anyone should know about what’s happening, who is moving in or out, opening or closing, building or proposing, it should be you!

3) Real estate was and will always be a “Relationship” business. No matter how technical we get, people buy from people they know like and trust. Today both positive and negative commentary about you or your services can become globally available data in a heartbeat! Social media, blogging and customer resource laden websites are only a few of the mediums you need to create bridges to relationships and to monitor the conversations happening in the marketplace.

Be willing to invest in improving your communication skills. Get skillful at using social mediums for the purpose of leading and sharing expertise. Be among the agents who can communicate with any prospect via their preference of method. Take the time to invest in technological programs and resources that will address the core values and preferences of all four generational groups of consumers so your clients and customers will have an outstanding enough experience working with you that they want to tell everyone!

And last, and perhaps most importantly; be real, authentic and get real good at what you do…That in itself is a real game changer!

About the Author:

Terri Murphy is a speaker, communication consultant, and author of 5 books, including her latest with Donald Trump. She is the founder and Pres. of and serves as CIO of U.S. Learning in Memphis.

For more information, please email Terri at [email protected]. If you are interested in getting more information on NAR’s GAME CHANGER initiative, visit