Chick and EggWho’s incubating your eggs?

I recently read an article about today’s modern poultry business. I was struck at the parallels between the real estate business and the poultry business and how both industries have changed with new technologies and automation.

I was most fascinated to learn that the behavior of hens has changed with automated egg incubators: Hens have learned that they no longer need to lie on their eggs to incubate them, so they don’t.

This means that the modern day value of the industrial hen has been reduced only to its ability to produce eggs, not to incubate them.

Think about that for a minute and how it relates to real estate.

Egg incubation has a lot in common with lead generation: Today both are being contracted out to third parties.

Let me explain.

Third party listings websites have become our “egg incubators.” Nearly every agent and broker in America depends on them. Third party sites offer efficiencies with marketing and lead generation so the agents and brokers no longer need to focus on that.

But it wasn’t always that way: 25 years ago sales professionals kept their own contacts on a device called a Rolodex. For those too young to remember, a Rolodex was a circular business card holder separated by tabs and organized alphabetically.

The Roledex was the agent’s book of business. This created significant value for sales professionals as they were often recruited because of their “Rolodex” – their contacts, their leads.

Today the game has changed.

With Third Party listing webstes, the “Rolodex” now resides with the portals, or whoever pays for portal leads. Even if the broker or agent no longer advertises on the portals, the customer record stays with portal. So, like industrial hens that no longer control the incubation of their own eggs, the value of the broker and sales professional becomes narrowed when their contacts are stored and controlled by someone else.

What does this mean for today’s agent or broker?

Sales professionals, especially independent contractors or who generate their own leads – or pay for them out of their own pocket – need to ask themselves a few questions before placing their “eggs” in someone else’s incubator:

  1.  Why am I advertising on portals?
  2.  Were these my “eggs” to begin with?
  3.  What happens to my “eggs” when I leave?
  4.  Are the “eggs” I’m generating being monetized by others?
  5.  Do I care?

When sales professionals fully examine the answers to these questions, they can make the right decisions and perhaps decide to avoid the fate of the industrial hen.

The bottom line: Your “eggs” are an asset. You are an asset. Once separated, both you and your eggs become less valuable.

Think about it.