I think Realtors and Loan Originators will become highly specialized individuals in the next 5-10 years. The business will split off into 2 distinct personalities: Rainmakers and Dealmakers. I'm going to share some thoughts about identifying what you are and then some proactive ideas you can take to exploit your strengths in 2007.
Rainmakers are "Connectors". They know how to find people interested in your service offering, build trust, establish relationships and find business. I love rainmakers because I am one. I have made the most money in my career when I focused on rainmaking. This is not to say that I don't know the technical aspects of my business; I do but I've been able to hire people to manage that part of the process. I am a salesperson and I'm extremely proud to say that. Rainmakers are hunters. Rainmakers are trailblazers. They are the oddballs that know which rock to look under and which alley to turn down to find a ready and willing prospect.
Dealmakers are the doers. They specialize in the technical aspects of our professions. For Realtors, the dealmakers show property to buyers, price property for listings, promote the listings, negotiate contracts, manage escrows, and keep the transaction compliant with the appropriate state real estate law. For originators, the dealmakers, take a loan application, find the lender, gather the documentation from the borrower, interface with the borrower, processor and underwriter during the loan process, and deliver a happy client to settlement.
Our businesses are changing. Partnerships and teams are cropping up all over the country. It is said that real estate is a local business driven by local markets and practiced by local people. I think that paradigm will morph in the next few years.
Rainmakers can practice real estate all over the country by using networks where they build credibility and trust. Rainmakers will be able to start their own "real estate brokerage network" by "marketing" their expertise and trustworthiness to people throughout the world. Web 2.0, e-mail marketing, the telephone, and the mail allow anybody to become a "trusted advisor". It is conceivable that I could gain the trust of 1000 people by carefully positioning myself as an expert on real estate through the tools I've mentioned. If 100 of those people move each year and I get 50 of those transactions to refer, I can generate a six figure income as a rainmaker.
Dealmakers can work extremely hard at knowing the local markets (or loan programs). Rainmakers can find many of the dealmakers right here. Dealmakers should constantly be marketing themselves to avowed rainmakers both locally and nationally. Dealmakers should have 20-30 active rainmaking relationships and should be talking to them every two weeks. They should position themselves as an expert in...selling Poinciana, FL homes, helping buyers find the right vacation home in Marco Island, FL, steering investors clear of "traps" in the Vegas market, finding vacation properties in the Carribean, getting a vacation home on Bainbridge Island or selling Coastal San Diego. Rainmakers should embrace these dealmakers and treat them like they are members of their "Team".
Our businesses are changing. Their will be hunters and farmers in this marketplace. Identify your natural talents, and run like hell to be the best at your natural talent. The days of the "do everything" practitioner are ending . Don't become a buggy whip salesperson or vinyl record manufacturer.