I took my daughters to London this weekend.  They made complex arrangements to meet various friends, at several different locations, throughout London and Surrey over the two days.  What is perhaps notable, is that all these arrangements were made without actually speaking to anyone – their entire agendas were accomplished via iMessage, text, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook Chat.  No phone calls; no emails.

If you have teenagers, you won’t think this is anything unusual. After all, Snapchat for one is making headlines. What you may not have considered, is the implication of the chosen communication style of our teens, on the future of our businesses.

After all, if they don’t like actually phoning and emailing one another, what do we think is going to change between their school days, and their work life in the years to come? Because in the next decade, these teenagers will be our employees, and even our clients. Do we really think that they will become converted to our preferred communication methods over the next few years?

I don’t think so.  In fact, I think the ramifications of this trend are more significant than we might think.

Communication style is something quite personal to each one of us.  I have friends I prefer to speak to over the phone, whereas others I tend to text. My active Twitter friends often respond faster to a direct message than an email; yet others share a Snapchat with me from time to time to keep in touch.

So what does this mean for estate agency in the 2020s? Simply put, we are going to have to adapt.  As with any advances in communication, it’s not if we embrace it, but when. If we don’t, we will inevitably be left behind, whilst young dynamic new agents rush in to take advantage of each new technological advance.

Of course, in ten years time, there will be new versions of Snapchat, Whatsapp and iMessage: ten years ago, none of these existed.  The challenge for the established agents is to keep up.  The twenty-somethings won’t be coerced into using the phone and email to get in touch with us; nor will you be able to persuade them into responding to your attempts to reach them in what will be (and is even now) considered to be old-fashioned methods.   We need to adapt to them, not the other way round.

Don’t beat them – join them. Embrace the new communication tools.  In the long run, it will ensure you longevity in an industry evolving faster than ever before.  As Peter Drucker said “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

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6 thoughts on “If you can’t beat them….

  1. Clint 10 years ago

    Well written piece and food for thought for those agents who I often hear tell me they have no interest in social media., if you don’t join them you’ll lose them to those that keep up to date and relevant.

    1. Sam Ashdown 10 years ago

      Thanks Clint! Glad you liked it. You’re a very forward-thinking agent, prolific on social media, and I’m sure it helps you to gain a following from younger buyers and vendors who will be attracted to you for that reason. Keep up the good work Clint!

  2. Colleen 10 years ago

    Sam, I couldn’t agree more! More and more people are turning to social media to contact companies. I do it all the time! It’s far less disruptive to my life to Tweet a company or contact them via Facebook. I don’t have to go through some long menu of telephone options or get disconnected. I just message them while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil! I see this sort of thing becoming more common and people will choose agents who are willing to communicate they way they want. That’s why we’re so passionate about social media at Northfields.

    1. Sam Ashdown 10 years ago

      Thanks so much Colleen! Of course, you’re a little younger than I am, but my teens keep me thinking young! I love the idea of connecting with companies via social media to save time and make it more convenient for YOU, the customer! Of course, there are times when we need to speak or meet, but lots of our communications are simply transactional or organisational, and we just need to get them done! You’re absolutely right that ‘People will choose agents who are willing to communicate the way they want” – well said and well done Northfields!
      Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Joanne 10 years ago

    Lots of really interesting points raised for agents to act on. Having dabbled in social media in the recent past, we started to take it seriously in December ’13. I was shocked, though on reflection don’t know why, to see the extent that we are now playing catch up. It’s a steep learning curve but a very valuable one. As a people business, we’ll always enjoy communications in person or over the phone whilst getting to grips with new styles of communication. Exciting opportunities for all who join them!

    1. Sam Ashdown 10 years ago

      Thank you Joanne. So great to hear of an agent embracing social media. No longer can we talk about ‘if’, but ‘how’ we can use it to attract new clients, and it’s only going to become more prevalent. Yes, exciting times indeed!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joanne :o)