Bill Fowler is the senior director of Industry Relations at Compass, a real estate business that’s very well-known in the United States. Bill is a top-level relationship manager, strategic marketer, and technologist within the organization. In this segment, he discusses the viability of real estate as a career choice for millennials and what Compass is doing to improve the industry.
Every real estate agent represents their own brand
The real estate agent is seen as the sole proprietor of their business, they’re responsible for their own brand. They usually work for a broker, but brokers, traditionally, see them as independent contractors. So agents are really on their own.
And an agent does many things. To be successful, to have be able to satisfy and answer their customers’ questions, they have to be expert marketers, good communicators, deal makers, negotiators, and good financial and data analysts. Learning how to do those things on top of their jobs is a daily problem for agents.
What Compass has done and will do for agents is to not treat them just as business or as entrepreneurs, but also give them tools to become better. So if they’re not a marketing expert, they have platforms and tools that will help them achieve that skill.
Out with the old, in with the new
Real estate isn’t exactly the fastest moving industry, compared to the blazing fast paces at technology and marketing companies, but that is changing. Thanks to the advent of new technology and fresh perspectives, real estate is shedding the image of the old white man in a tie.
The average real estate agent is still close to retirement age, but new and incoming agents are getting younger. Perhaps to the fact that there’s tons of money to be made. It’s also becoming a real profession now, not just something you do on the side.
The Compass Direction
Compass elevated itself very quickly in the United States’ real estate industry. Fowler attributes their success to the drive of their CEO and founder, Robert Reffkin. Similar to how Steve Jobs was the voice and face of Apple, Fowler says that Robert is at the forefront of the things they do.
Since there aren’t a lot of spokespeople in their company—Bill himself usually does B2B marketing—to tell the Compass story, Robert is the voice of the company. “His personality really shines through. Because he’s young, dynamic, and comes from a background that makes him an expert in finance and the real estate community,” Fowler says.
Furthermore, he shares that innovation is a company-wide approach.