Last week was Social Media Week in New York (and Fashion Week began on Thursday as well). I had the opportunity to attend a few fascinating panels as my schedule allowed, the two that ultimately were the most interesting had overlapping aspects.I think there is a lot to learn from those outside of my immediate industry. Additionally, as a former technologist I remain intrigued by technology and its applications to improving efficiencies in business for the end user and for our consumers/clients.
But, at its core-I enjoy learning from others and hearing what they are seeing out there. I take what I learn from them, coupled with continued listening and questioning of my own current clients and customers-and integrate such into a cohesive business strategy-that ultimately benefits both buyers and sellers or prospective tenants who choose to work with me.
One of the panelists that stood out most from the entire week was Peter Ha, currently the tech editor for The Daily. And he said something that really struck a chord. In essence he said, there is ALOT of noise out there.
Now, let me take a step back. The panel Mr. Ha was on was specifically about mobile technology and the check in (using location based services, whether Foursquare ,Gowalla,Facebook Places or other similar ones) and how to get consumers from checking in to checking out.. They spoke more about this in a retail sense, but it was an interesting conversation nonetheless that can apply to any business. A key point articulated is that we must engage the consumers so that they become loyal fans and customers and ultimately lead to sales in the pipeline- a lot of this is at the heart of how businesses ultimately are choosing to use social media.
The week also included a great dinner, with some local real estate and related professionals at the Lucky Strikers Social Media Club February dinner meeting, and two other riveting panels.One that was primarily a data driven approach analyzing the tremendous amount of data we are generating in our use of technology generally and social media specifically ,it was about twitter-although it did take a broader view of the impact of technology overall. Some of the panelists posed interesting questions-about the soul, the heart, and the purpose of all of this technology? Are we in a better place? or a worse one -than say 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago? [What is this internet thing ? ]
Now, going back to the matter at hand. How does this apply to real estate ? I think a key aspect often overlooked, is approaching what we do from the perspective of a client. For many of us, we have at one point in time either been a prospective owner, purchaser or tenant. Let’s remember what that process entailed, the information we found important-the approach that worked. What would you have liked to know before you _____ (fill in the blank).
But, back to the concept that there is a lot of noise out there. How do you sift through it ?
In the real estate space, there is ALOT of noise out there. Quarterly reports, annual reports, national housing data. Everyone tells you it’s a great time to buy. What no one is telling you or asking you is whether or not it is a good time for YOU to buy ! Here, in New York City, we’re pretty fortunate when it comes to real estate. But even still, at the end of the day, the question is- what is right for you ? Hopefully real estate has generally shifted back to the idea of the long term hold-you’re going to buy this property, live in it for for an extended period of time.
How do you sift through the noise ? How do you understand all of the various reports, all the easily accessible data ? I think part of the process evolves from finding data and voices (interpretations) that you trust. If someone has answered or addressed a concern of yours, or you receive something in an email that is specifically for you-is that more or less valuable for you-in the sea of what seems like endless data.
Over the weekend immediately before social media week ,I had an interesting conversation, with someone who reached out on a listing. They were interested, and they had done a lot of research on Streeteasy,and made sure to specifically tell me they’d become Insiders so they could see past sales data and form what they believed to be a clear picture of the property. But, several factors can’t be seen from raw data-the knowledge and expertise to interpret the data-he wondered about a particular aspect of the data that to him seemed inexplicable. How did I address that concern-with data to bolster the interpretation of the underlying aspects-without interpretation-what exactly does the data mean to the lay person ?
What’s my point through all of this ? What do we do to ‘reduce noise’ for the consumer ? What should we do ? What are you doing ?