Part of what I do for our coaching members is keep them up to date on news and changes in our industry to make sure they have the facts, skills and tools they need to successfully navigate what is happening in the market.
In my research for a recent webinar on leads, I found a surprising amount of information that makes it very clear—once again—that Zillow does not “come in peace,” as Zillow’s former CEO Spencer Rascoff tried to convince us a few years ago. They are financing their own brokerage, Zillow Homes®, with revenues from their Premier Agent® program. In other words, agents are essentially helping their own competition.
According to Zillow Group’s 2019 financials, revenue from Premier Agent accounts for almost 88.8% of Zillow’s gross profit. As a licensed competing brokerage with Zillow Homes, they are no longer simply a “marketing partner.” They are in the business of becoming a one-stop shop for homebuyers and sellers.
At the latest Keller Williams Family Reunion, when addressing tech platforms and Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime, Gary Keller, executive chairman of KWx—the parent holding company of KW—said, “If you write a check to Zillow, you’re voting for a Zillow world.” He also said, “Never before in history has who you’re in business with been a vote for the future of the industry.”
An interesting reminder: Before founding Zillow, CEO Rich Barton founded Expedia, which, as you may recall, disrupted the entire travel industry. Then, with Zillow, under the premise of being a media company and lead generation tool for agents, gave homeowners access to housing information and property values—and is now licensing all over the U.S. as a direct competitor to agents.
So, what can you do as a real estate agent or broker?
1. Stay informed. As a savvy sales professional, you should always know what you’re up against and what differentiates you so that you can present your brokerage’s value proposition when speaking with buyers and sellers.
2. Stop paying Zillow for leads. Would you pay to advertise on your neighboring brokerage’s website? Would you fund your competition’s marketing plan? In paying for Premier Agent, you’re doing just that.
3. Advocate for yourself and your business. Become an active part of your MLS and help create change that makes the listing agent’s photo and contact information the priority for property searches.
4. Be the better real estate professional. If you’re doing your job correctly, you should be staying top of mind with consumers in your market, your sphere and your farm. Know how to communicate your value and what you bring to the table.
If you’d like to learn more, read more about our research and watch our webinar at DarrylSpeaks.com/zillow-does-not-come-in-peace/.
Darryl Davis has trained and coached more than 100,000 agents globally. He is the best-selling author of “How to Become a Power Agent® in Real Estate,” which tops Amazon’s charts for most-sold book to agents. Davis hosts a weekly webinar to help agents succeed in changing times. Visit www.DarrylSpeaks.com/Online-Training.