Developing the “consumer experience” is one of the latest trends many marketing departments have embraced. And, for the most part, it’s fantastic. But, is it always?
The “experience” approach, obviously works best when the consumer actually wants to remember their experience. You will hear things like: “it was so worth it” and, “I’d do it again”. But, what if your product was one the consumer didn’t particularly like? What if your product was a, “have-to-have-type” product? We’re looking at you Ticketmaster!
No one ever said; “ooh that $12.50 per ticket Ticketmaster fee is so worth it”. Or, “can’t wait to pay it again”. “Can we pay more for even ruder service?” Sure, Ticketmaster is an easy target. But, there are tons of products and services that don’t inspire the need for an embellished experience. Auto repair, tax preparation, dental x-rays, most insurance products and pretty much everything medical.
One of the Country’s leading Re/Max salespersons, Kris Lindahl, $210 million in sales last year, has quit Re/Max citing; “the traditional real estate process has failed”. “This is all about the consumer, we want the consumer to have an amazing experience”. Surely he is referring ONLY to the “buy side” of the equation. Considering the Seller is footing the bill for the buyer’s agent to offer their experience, look for sellers to consider options a little less, “amazing”.
The Seller pays for everybody. So, are they concerned about their future buyer’s experience? Probably not as much as you think. If the Buyer’s Broker is receiving a traditional 3% commission, their “consumer experience” product offering consists of X. But what if they only get a 2% or 1.5% commission? What happens in a flat fee situation? Are they really saying: “we provide an amazing consumer buying experiencing as long as the seller is paying for it”? How is it really possible to promise a consistent level of service when the revenue source is so variable?
The “home selling experience” is like no other. Ever watch your clients at the closing table? Everyone is so bored they actually look over their Closing Disclosure. This is NOT pleasant for the seller. The CD is an actual accounting of all the vendors who they feel, rightly or wrongly, cheesed in on their sale. The title-related fees are the most hated. Followed by our universal distaste of lawyers. But, it’s the “Commission” line on the CD that stands out. While the Buyer and their Agent bask in their amazing experience, the Seller is thinking, “I can’t believe I paid this much in commissions!” “What a rip”. This of course begs the question; is this really an experience you want to productize?
The “consumer experience” is a great sound bite. It touches all the bases and checks every box. But, it’s marketing, it’s supposed to make the mundane sound great. But in truth, it’s nothing more than the cliché of the day. So use accordingly. And, sparingly. Our market is incredibly diverse. Given that, there never will be a one-size fits all Brokerage solution. In a two-horse race, one’s amazing experience can only come at the expense of the other.
Still, this “consumer experience” approach is the driving force behind the justification for buyers and sellers to move away from the franchise format. And, that is a great thing! The franchise format has been dying for a while now, in large part, because the franchises aren’t involved in the sales cycle anymore. High volume agents like Kris Lindahl, simply don’t need their help anymore. As a matter of fact, many agents, like Kris, are seizing on the opportunity to go it alone with the goal of having for themselves the fees their old Broker got. And, why shouldn’t they get those fees? This is the changing of the guard after all. It’s like the evolutionary losing of an appendage; we don’t need those flippers/franchises anymore, we are standing on our own without them!