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Two recent business trips have inspired me to make this analogy, which I think is very appropriate given today’s industry and economic environment. One was a visit to the state-of-the-art BMW factory in Greenville, S.C., and the other was my attendance at an industry conference where I moderated two panels and hosted two idea-sharing events, during which I heard dozens of brokers expressing confidence in reinvesting in their businesses after years of not being able to do so.

So why the factory analogy?

As I toured the BMW plant, it became obvious as to why they are an industry leader:

  • They have invested heavily in automation and efficiency. One interesting example is that cars are twisted and turned along the assembly line to not only make it easier for workers, but to also make them more productive and cut down on injuries.
  • While I don’t own a BMW, the culture and pride was as palpable inside that building as it is from my friends that do own BMWs. The tour guides, the people in the gift shop and the line workers really love their jobs and made me feel really special.
  • The way they are employing technology under the hood and inside the car is truly amazing, making it easy for their customers to truly connect with their cars.
  • Like any leading company, BMW is constantly reinvesting in innovation and retooling their factories to maintain their position in the auto industry. There are plenty of stories regarding companies that have not and are suffering today as a result…if they are even still in business.

As the real estate industry comes out of the most gut-wrenching period of time since any of us have been in this business, the gap between the innovation we have been able to deliver the past few years and the expectations consumers and agents have of us has grown to a point where our businesses will be obsolete if we don’t retool, reinvest and position for the future.