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RISMEDIA, September 30, 2009—Brokers have suffered over the past few years due to eroding profit margins, lower sales volume and real estate prices. Historically, brokers have been slow to adapt to change, often reactive instead of proactive. 

Internet Practices. The industry’s slow adoption to Internet practices has allowed others to chip away at marketshare and/or position themselves between the consumer and the brokerage. Many brokerages are still operating Web 1.0 sites without a serious online strategy that includes an integrated approach to their websites, Internet marketing, social media and search engine optimization. 

Lack of Accountability. A second factor contributing to the current industry malaise is that its salespeople are primarily commission-only, independent contractors. Real estate agents are not generally held accountable by managers and, similarly, managers are not usually held sufficiently accountable by ownership. 

To move forward, brokers will have to take some significant steps to reinvent themselves and their companies in three very important areas: 

-Reinventing themselves. Brokers need to accept the fact that this recession is causing a seismic shift in the way they will have to act, the way they will have to interact with agents of the future and the way they will have to interact with the Internet-savvy consumer of today. 

-Online strategy. Brokers need to move toward a comprehensive strategy that includes upgrading their websites, adopting a social media strategy and moving toward an Internet marketing strategy that includes listing syndication, search engine optimization and Internet lead management. 

-Recruiting the agent of the future. Brokerages are realizing they have no choice but to reinvent themselves in order to attract these new types of agents.

We need to start making structural changes to the way we operate as an industry in these and several other areas. Step back and ask yourself, are you committed to changing for the future? 

Jose Perez is the president of PCMS Consulting. 

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