Thursday, June 12, 2014

Simple & Complex

Keeping things simple can be extremely complex.

This week I was chatting with my wife, Sylvia, and she was fired up about how damn complicated things seem to have become in real estate. Buying or renting a property should have become easier with new technology and devices, like iPads and smart phones. After all, we would never have dreamt of having tools such as these to help sell houses 30 years ago.

To back this up, Sylvia, the girls and I have spent the past two years reorganising and simplifying our business. We've stripped unnecessary processes and procedures that have accumulated and gone unchecked for 25 years, just stuff.... while from a customer's perspective, things have continued to become more complex. It seems the industry, with all the new technology and legislation changes, has made life increasingly complex for buyers, investors and sellers. 

Sylvia argues that surely we can use our skills to make property simple again! 

It reminded me of an experience I had many years ago. It related to my first NEW car when I was 21, a Black Datsun 280C with chrome spoke wheels... it was a fully optioned luxury car. Way back in 1978, Datsun were a seriously innovative company and I proudly drove my mobile 'gadget machine' until around 1981. At the time I worked for Kain & Zecevich where the owners, Michael and Panto, drove twin S class Mercedes Benz cars. One was gold, the other green. I was in awe of those guys, and the classy cars they drove.

My Datsun had every gadget you could imagine. It had a sun roof, cruise control, variable speed windscreen wipers and dials and shiny buttons all over the dash, I was too cool for school. Michael was about to trade his 5 year old Mercedes, I always loved that car and you guessed it, I bought it. I didn't test drive it, nor did I ask any questions about it. I had been driven around in it so often that I just wanted it... while not really knowing a thing about it.

Well, I have never forgotten my first few days in that gold limousine. What immediately struck me was the lack of gadgets! Even though I had been a passenger in the car often, it all looked so different actually owning and driving it. The dash had no dials, it was plain with no shiny buttons jumping out at me... the simplicity was disturbing. I actually thought I had purchased a car with no cruise control or variable wipers and I couldn't find the sun roof opener! I was even questioning where the fuel cap, boot release and all the buttons were... and did it even have locks on the boot and the fuel lid?

So I finally conceded and resorted to reading the car's instruction book... big call for me!

The ability Mercedes Benz has to deliver innovative features effortlessly to enhance the drivers experience and make all their features just happen around me would have involved enormous investment in technology and engineering... I have never forgotten that life lesson. 

Real estate has become too complex, Sylvia is spot on.  It's time we simplified it. Like my purchase of the Mercedes, until I drove it and owned it, I had no awareness of the differences between sophisticated innovation, and bling. It's not until you buy, sell or rent a property, that you really get any understanding of the difference between agents.

It's proving extremely challenging to simplify your buying and rental experience. Over the years, new laws, new complex marketing channels and new customer demands have left professional agents caught up in a complex industry. An original model T Ford is simple, but we are not talking about old fashioned real estate agents who offer nothing... we are talking about the challenges for the sophisticated new breed of agents.

Well the good news is that Toop&Toop have already begun rolling out 'Operation Simplification' for our customers and clients. We hadn't consciously set out to do this but in fact the process was well underway, and Sylvia's comments merely put the real issue into perspective. We are not far off another release of our incredibly simple web site and 'Operation Simplification' will ultimately benefit the customer.

We are already famous for our innovations, and our online marketing is recognised as the best in the nation. Now it's time to become famous for simplifying sophisticated real estate. Toop&Toop want to become the easiest agent in Australia to work with. It's our next step.

The world is complex enough, without your agent adding to it.

Anthony Toop

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