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Get ready for a news flash: Real estate is a really hard business. I’ve been in the game for 13 years and have seen the changes, including the incredible rise of Zillow and®, along with the impact the Keller Williams model has made—and somehow, as Todd Frankel wrote in the Washington Post, the internet has not killed the industry.

We are in very interesting times with a clear divide in beliefs and experiences.

The self-professed “old timers” have learned, accepted and thrived with massive shifts to the more agent-focused and consumer-aware industry. We have new arrivals entering real estate every day, armed with novel ideas fueled by big data and the desire to utilize predictive analytics. They are completely comfortable with emerging technology and mediums.

Those who put themselves in the old timer category: It’s time to stand up and take a bow. Thanks for paving the way. You’ve done a great job!

Now get back to work—because you are not done yet! Take your experience and tough skin and reclaim your rightful place as an admired business power and redefine your firm.

Start this reclamation by asking yourself, “Who are we?” Ask every employee in your company that same question. Now ask your office managers. You will likely be surprised at how often they mention products and tools and how “all over the map” the answers are.

This exercise will shine the light on the incredible opportunity you have to redefine your value proposition.

Because your team is so close to the firm’s inner workings, it’s natural to lose sight of what are the most important points we need to make to our agents, potential recruits and consumers. That messaging must go far beyond discussions about tools, systems and resources, and clearly explain why your firm matters.

The redefining does not end here—in fact, that is just the beginning. We have to determine how to deliver the message and how to reach a seemingly endless number of publics, including an agent body that may be disconnected. We also have to reach potential recruits, buyers, sellers, potential clients and community leaders.

It continues further when you roll out changes. No announcement is too small that it does not require all to be on the same page with a plan on how to articulate, share and take advantage of the message. New compensation models, M&As, unveiling of new products, office closings or openings all have enormous implications. The list goes on and on. You know your competition will pounce quickly on any misstep.

Please do not get scared. Now the fun begins. Today you control your own destiny like never before. Social media and the uber-targeting capabilities e-marketing provides allow you to become the center of your own universe again. You can create and disseminate your own information and essentially be your own TV and radio station, newspaper or town crier. You can re-engage your agents and create an energy and aura that will attract new and experienced agents while capturing the hearts and minds of consumers.

You’ve been there before when changes in the industry forced you to adapt. It is time to do it again.

David Siroty launched Imagine Productions, an integrated communication firm, after spending 13 years leading Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s global PR team. He was won numerous real estate and public relations awards, including those from PR News and the Public Relations Society of America. Siroty can be reached at

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