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A Real Estate Loyalty Gap exists, according to Chris Stuart, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. He coined the term, which defines the 78% difference between the 91% of buyers who said they would utilize the same real estate agent again and the 13% who actually have—a statistic released by the National Association of REALTORS® in their Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report.

According to Stuart, the Loyalty Gap can’t be blamed on a lack of representation by agents or a lack of awareness; instead, what’s missing is influence, he says. In order to tackle this gap, Stuart recently collaborated with colleagues, top-producing agents, teams and leaders from across the brand’s global network in order to create a new, proprietary platform: The Real Estate I.Q. System.

The new system combines the brand’s marketing and technology resources to provide education, training, coaching and consulting “that will help agents create stronger and more valuable long-term relationships with clients and prospects.”

“It is incredibly fulfilling to finally see this vision come to fruition. I’ve been envisioning and planning for the execution of this platform for nearly a year,” said Stuart, in a statement.

“The strategic content that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ network agents will have access to through the Real Estate I.Q. System, along with professional development, is unprecedented,” said Allan Dalton, SVP, Industry Research and Development for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, in a statement. “After all my years in the industry, I have never come across such a concept that will set real estate’s agents up for success and when utilized properly, will contribute to closing the Real Estate Loyalty Gap and help agents achieve forever success, as a Forever Agent.”

RISMedia spoke with Stuart about how this platform came to be and how he hopes it will change the face of real estate, ultimately bridging the Loyalty Gap that currently exists.

Chris, what inspired the decision to create this program?

Chris Stuart: As I hope all leaders do, our job is to constantly evaluate the challenges and opportunities within the marketplace. In my observation and opinion, the most critical obstacles facing the industry are threefold: first, the real estate loyalty gap. Second, what I refer to as “advice avoidance,” which is the prevailing consumer trend to first turn to friends, family, neighbors and co-workers when considering real estate options ahead of a real estate professional. And third, the fact that the industry essentially sells the same number of homes within the U.S. over the past two decades—a truth I call the” transactional flatline.” As I consider these three challenges, and therefore opportunities, I equally balance the need to consider: are these, in fact, the most important problems to solve, how to communicate the importance of the issues, how to inspire agents to embrace these as formidable opportunities and, finally, how to activate agents to embrace change to capitalize on solutions. These varied considerations led to the creation of the I.Q. System and Influencer Network.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to the real estate loyalty gap?

CS: I believe the biggest challenges in solving any problem for agents are first, their mindset, second, their perspective and plan and, finally, the will and motivation to “take action.” In other words, it is not like solving the real estate loyalty gap is either a new phenomenon or one that was largely “unknown” by agents. Agents have been told to focus on clients and databases for decades—why don’t they do it? Largely, they have weak mindsets, lack the discipline to work from a plan, are not action-oriented, and many other issues which plague many agents and prohibit their success. Beyond these foundational issues, agents must become more strategic and value-oriented to all of homeownership issues for clients in advance of a transaction, not continue to wait to seize upon a buyer or seller at what I call the “transactional trough.”

Can you provide more details about the program and how it hopes to close this gap?

CS: Yes, the I.Q. System and Influencer Network aims to put a variety of business-building tools, consumer content, tools and techniques—fueled by the collaboration and input of top-producers in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network—at the fingertips of other network agents. Network agents will be able to formalize the development and expansion of their Real Estate Ecosystems and understand how to merchandise their personal value and experiences, along with the strength of their Ecosystems, into a value proposition that is clear and distinguished for their clientele.

For more information, please visit www.bhhs.com.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com.

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