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Interview with Earl Lee

Earl Lee | Pres. of Prudential Real Estate

Last month, the Prudential Real Estate Franchise network, owned by Brookfield
Real Estate and Relocation Affiliates Inc., released its quarterly Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey. The KCM Crew had the opportunity to chat with Earl Lee, President of Prudential Real Estate, about its findings.

A reoccurring theme throughout the interview was the changing role of real estate professionals in today’s new market reality. You can read a transcript of the entire interview here, or you can read our thoughts and recap below.

Educators vs. Salespeople

The agents that will be most successful moving forward are those that create a more-informed consumer. Lee discussed how the best sales people were more like teachers or educators, saying

“Education drives informed consumers. Informed consumers then make better real estate decisions.”

At KCM, we couldn’t agree more. Both here on the blog as well as in our KCM presentations, we have  talked a lot about the need for today’s real estate professional to be more of an educator than a salesperson. We’ve consistently discussed sharing great information and having the heart of a teacher.

Those agents who embrace this idea of being an educator in the sales process, rather than a salesperson, will be the ones who will achieve the highest levels of success.

No Longer the Guardians of Real Estate Information

With the role of the real estate agent changing in today’s new market reality, we have to move on from hoarding information and data. We must be willing to share these freely.

Lee remembers back to when consumers needed to come to real estate agents for information on what was for sale, or what recently sold. But he reminds us that that was the past and that

“Our skill set is no longer keeper of the information. Our skill set is now taking all that information and putting it into context.”

Real estate professionals today need to remember that their true value is not in being the provider of information; rather, it is being the trusted advisor that can explain its meaning. It has long been said that “there is a huge gap between information and actionable knowledge.”

Turning Information into Actionable Knowledge

Lee didn’t just say that we need to be open with our information. He went a step further and talked about providing a context so that the consumer can make a more-informed decision.

With listing and market information readily available to the consumer, and a vast array of outlets reporting on housing, Lee understands how confusing it can potentially be for an average buyer or seller.

“Some of [the information consumers look at] is out of context and doesn’t really make any sense for them, but they don’t realize this. […] The best real estate agents are those that can take that information and put it in a context that makes sense for that particular purchaser or seller.”

It is the responsibility of all real estate professionals to not only know the information, but to provide this context for the consumer. This is our true value in the process. And always has been.

Where can a busy real estate professional find such information and analysis?

Hoping to simplify the search for great information, Lee shared some of the spots he recommends for researching and analyzing market data:

  • @reallyearllee – Lee uses Twitter as a repository of information concerning the real estate market and the US economy.
  • NAR’s research data – Recommending the research studies that NAR puts out, Lee views these as a great source for actual data on the real estate market.
  • HousingWire – Lee says that they do a terrific job of looking at and assimilating lots of data.

And finally, Lee stays updated with Keeping Current Matters™, going as far to say,

“I think your newsletter and your blog help people understand this information. […] Actually I’ve used some of your charts because a picture tells a thousand words. When you can get people to focus in on what is happening – both visually as well as with the words – the concepts come across a lot clearer.”

Remember, not only do you need to understand this information, you need to be able to communicate it (simply and effectively) to your buyers and sellers. Wherever you choose to get your information, make sure that it provides you with a depth of knowledge.

Parting Advice for Real Estate Professionals

Lee shed light on some interesting challenges and solutions for real estate professionals in today’s new market reality. To conclude, he gave three key bits of parting advice for an agent looking to be successful moving forward:

  1. Listen – You need to listen to what your consumers are saying, both with their words and with their actions.
  2. Provide Context –You need to provide levels of information that have a context (converting information into actionable knowledge) to enable the consumer to make better decisions.
  3. Keep Current – Stay on top of the market, stay up-to-date with your education (formal and informal), and stay current with what you are providing your clients.

We would like to thank Mr. Lee for sharing his time and his thoughts with our KCM community. We are hoping to share additional insights into the future of real estate moving forward on this blog, and, from time to time, bring on other industry leaders to share their knowledge.

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