What lessons can the mortgage and real estate industries learn from Uber and Airbnb? Uber came on the scene and turned the taxi industry upside down within three years and Airbnb became the largest hospitality entity in the world - and they're not a hotel chain. Staying ahead of your competition - or even keeping up with it - requires the realization that your next biggest competitor will likely do business very differently and they may not exist yet.
Companies and producers have to think ahead and build their service around what the consumers they hope to do business with want and expect. "Uberizing" your business means removing friction from the transaction. We know that spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home is a totally different type of purchase than a $25 cab ride, and while some believe that technology advancements in mortgage and real estate will marginalize or even eliminate Realtors and loan officers, we feel that buying a home is such an emotional purchase that the human element will never be fully removed.
Joe Welu, founder and CEO of Total Expert, recently talked in-depth about how to "uberize" your business on his podcast. Listen to learn more: "Expert Strategies: The Uberization of Mortgage and Real Estate."
How to “uberize” your business:
- Audit your customer's experience and remove friction from the process.
At the core of Uber and Airbnb is simplicity and ease of doing business. Ask yourself what it’s like to do business with you and how you can improve the experience for your prospects and clients. Great companies focus on removing friction from every touch point, making it simple to engage and do business with them. Buying a home is a very emotional journey that will likely always require a very personal touch from a Realtor and loan officer. The key is knowing when and how the customer wants and needs personal interaction and professional guidance.
- Commit to technology and innovation.
New technology initiatives in the mortgage and real estate industries aren't mature enough to entirely remove friction from the complex mortgage and real estate processes, but there have been improvements and smart deployment is key. Choose technology and processes that make it easy for consumers to find you when they want and need you and make moving forward convenient for them. Filling out an application online and the ability to provide documentation like bank statements digitally make taking those important next steps toward a transaction feel like a natural progression. Companies that are unfocused and uncommitted to true innovation can expect to have their market share eaten by faster-moving, more innovative, and more aggressive competitors.
- Think Millennial, and customize how you engage with these buyers.
Millennials are forcing businesses to "innovate or die." In 2017, millennials will be the largest segment of home buyers in American history, and they have much different expectations for the home buying journey. For example, they wait until they're much further along in the sales cycle to engage with a Realtor because they have access to so much data and information from their credit score to available homes and list prices. When this group is ready to engage, they'll appreciate the value of your expertise - as long as you don't try to sell them.
Removing friction is not a one-time evaluation or project. Companies, MLOs and Realtors need to constantly audit their service and make continual, incremental improvements as technology improves and market conditions change.