Industry leader Shane Smollen believes agents face a far greater challenge than digital disruption and the rise of real estate portals.
Speaking to Real Estate Business, Mr Smollen said the biggest threats to agents are competitors that are better organised and more sophisticated in their approach.
While many believe that technology, disruption and disintermediation are creating headwinds for the profession, Mr Smollen sees the bigger challenges for agents are much closer to home.
“Technology at this point is certainly more of an enabler; it enables us to leverage our time and to efficiently market to a global audience, although there’s no doubt that the industry is on watch as to ensure that that continues to be a successful partnership,” he said.
“Rather than focusing on the threats of disintermediation and the like, by far and for the foreseeable future, the main threat to an agent is to not keep pace with the high level of sophistication that a minority of agents are demonstrating in operating much more successful businesses.”
According to Mr Smollen, the nation’s leading real estate professionals are becoming sharper in their offerings through better skills in terms of building teams, leveraging time, using database technology and more sophisticated forms of marketing.
“The fact is that the game has changed and the goals posts have been reset. I think that’s what agents at this stage need to be focusing on,” he said.
“I would suggest the balance of most people’s careers is about becoming better businesspeople and understanding that agents sell time and to use that time more effectively and build a momentum-based business where they all have the opportunity to dominate their local markets.”
Mr Smollen said agents who are entrenched in this position are “typically close to bulletproof” in terms of the resilience of their incomes.
“I think that’s where the focus needs to be, rather than sweating technology,” he said.
While he admits there are plenty of stakeholders in the industry who are thinking about technology and disruption on a daily basis, Mr Smollen believes agents need to focus on doing what they do best.
“I think agents really need to be focused on making sure that they’re the most competitive, efficient, well-organised, well-known operator within a reasonably defined area,” he said.