Real Estate Agents, Seth Godin and Tribes

Everyone who is going to buy or sell a house in 2009, should answer this question before choosing an agent:

Are you looking for a Leader-Agent, or are you looking for a Follower-Agent?

For those who have never heard of Seth Godin and/or Tribes, the hyperlinked words in this sentence are links to valuable resources, in that regard.  Now…forget Seth.  This is not a post about Seth Godin and Seth Godin is not in my tribe. 

This is a post about how people CHOOSE a real estate agent, and how agents decide whether or not they should work with a given potential client.

If you are looking to hire an agent, but you want to give the agent a list of things to do,.   Or you want the agent to have a list of things that the agent will do, in sequence, regardless of whether or not that step is appropriate at that time. Then you are looking for a Follower-Agent.  That’s OK! 

What’s not OK is for you to pay a LeaderAgent-Price for a Follower-Agent, or expect a Leader-Agent at a Follower-Price.

What’s not OK is for you to hire a Follower-Agent, lead him, and then blame him when the results are less than satisfactory.

The “picture” below is my integration of Godin’s Tribe Concept, with the age old Probe, Evaluate, Close Concept.  The more quickly you can Probe, Evaluate and Close in each moment, the less time you will waste dealing with people who are just Not In Your Tribe. 

“CLOSE” = Determining if someone is right for any of your Tribes, quickly putting them in the “right” Tribe, or putting them on the outside of the Cycle Chart altogether.  The more quickly and accurately you can “close”, the happier you will be in 2009.  That’s true of all business and personal “choices”.

“Outsiders” are not bad people.  Well, a few are.  In the photo below, you will see dots outside of the circle.  Those are people you choose not to deal with, for whatever reason.  The one’s with the X over them are the bad ones 🙂 

Truth is, we all have many Tribes.

Tribe 3 is the Real Estate Transaction for a couple without children who want to hire a few followers to “assist” them. 

Tribe 1 is more reflective of my typical real estate transactions:  4 equally important forces all doing their part well.

Tribe 4 is indicative of the networks used by each of those 4 people in Tribe 1, to accomplish their part of the transaction.  Each Leader-Participant has a Tribe of followers.

For Agents:  If you are a single practitioner, then you likely will have 24 to 36 people in your Tribe in a year’s time.  Stop trying to be all things to all people.  Recognize that 24 – 36 fabulous “Tribal Relationships” is all you need, and learn how to quickly “Probe, Evaluate and Close”, to select the best mutual relationships.

For Buyers: The most important thing for you to understand is that most often, a buyer will not know that they need a Leader vs. a Follower, until it is too late to go get one.  That’s just a weakness of the system.  Knowing that up front may help you…maybe not.  It is what it is.

For Sellers: Be honest with yourself about your ability to be objective.  Don’t hire an agent; and then act like a For Sale By Owner.  You just complicate things to the point where no one is successful.  If you want to run the show…GREAT!  Just make sure you hire a Follower-Agent and pay a Follower-Price.  Don’t hire a Leader-Agent and spend all of your time butting heads with the agent.  That tension will lead to failure somewhere along the line.  Knowing that up front may help you…maybe not.  It is what it is.

Tribes and Choosing

Tribes and Choosing

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

5 thoughts on “Real Estate Agents, Seth Godin and Tribes

  1. Ardell,

    What a great post getting ready to start a new year and for many a new business cycle.

    Too many agents have lost track of where they are in this process. Some Leader-agents reduced to followers and frustrated. Some Follower-agents simply lost.

    It is time for Leader-agents to be leader agents and live with the fact, it is what it is.

  2. I am all for the leader agents, leaders are often trend setters, they get things done regardless of how difficult it may be or how many odds are stacked against them. When it comes to real estate, a leader agent can sell a house in half the time, mainly because follower agents have to sit and wait for someone else to show them how to do it.

    What amazes me the most, is that follower agents can actually find work, though it is probably because just don’t know the difference. Here is how you can tell, find the agent that is actually making sales and listings props. chances are pretty good that they are a leader.

  3. Pingback: 10 Things Home Sellers need to know in 2009 — Joe Spake's Weblog

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