Throughout my careers in both travel and real estate, I’ve seen how technological disruption and a loss of position can cause widespread concern and a fear of disintermediation. The reality is that the consumer demand for local market knowledge coupled with modern technology is making agents in both industries more essential, not less.
I was able to take the learnings from my role at Hawaiian Airlines and transition to real estate entrepreneur with CENTURY 21 iProperties. Success in both relies heavily delivering extraordinary experiences.
As a flight attendant, for example, there is an engrained understanding that besides owning a home, the family vacation is often the second most expensive investment people make in their lifetimes. The airline, and its people, not only transport, but help shape their overall island experience. We begin and end their travels to Hawaii by conveniently transporting them safely with what we call “Hawaiian Hospitality.”
Today, and for the last 31 years, my focus continues to be on creating experiences customers and clients will always remember. Changing careers at 50, as I did last year, to enter the competitive field of real estate, was life-changing and challenging. Let’s face it; at 50, I’m not young, and it’s tough because most of the people I know in my sphere of influence already have their forever homes. They bought their investment. Everybody’s retiring or preparing to do so. Naturally, I thought, “What am I going to do?” “Who am I going to learn from?”
Simple, but powerful advice
Thankfully, our broker, Abe Lee, suggested that I find a mentor to show me the ropes. Christina Berry, one of our brokers, agreed to let me shadow to live the life of a real estate agent. I learned so much as I did everything from staging to showing homes. The greatest piece of advice she gave me was to leverage my age and capitalize on the sphere I’d built as a team mom for every baseball team my kids played on. The kids are now grownups looking to buy their first homes. Simple, but powerful advice.
To meet these potential buyers and connect with them, I spend a great deal of time working leads and sharing content on social media. Plus, per Christina’s and Abe’s advice, I take the time to stay in touch with my SOI by sharing relevant market knowledge, and personal notes like holiday cards, and birthday and anniversary announcements.
Leveraging social media
Lastly, in an effort to share my ‘why,’ and to help people outside my sphere get know me on a more personal level, I hold a weekly ‘Tipsy Tuesday’ on Instagram. In Hawaii, we call it “Pau Hana Time”, it’s the end of your workday when you chill, have a cocktail and “talk story” with friends and family. This is where I share a few things about real estate with my SOI. Although it’s happening on social media, I compare it to sitting in the garage with your friends and teaching them the ins-and-outs of real estate in Hawaii, helping to make buying and selling a home possible in the islands.
In fact, one of my recent posts showcased a closing I did on a two-bedroom apartment for a 26-year-old first-time homebuyer – a young man who I’d known since the age of 7. We visited over 25 properties. He ran me ragged, but we had so much fun! And, as we speak, I’m working with one of my former baseball boys and his soon-to-be fiancé. I hope to get them into their first home before year’s end.
In the end, whether it’s as a flight attendant or real estate entrepreneur, what I’ve learned is that fine tuning communications and sales skills around building relationships and delivering extraordinary experiences to clients will overcome challenges and obstacles to success even in the face of technological disruption, loss of position and a fear of disintermediation.
Consumers who spend their time and money with a service provider will always want, and they should demand, nothing less than the very best. And for me, my local market knowledge coupled with leveraging technology, is helping to make me more essential, not less.