Erin Davis: Welcome to REAL TIME, the podcast for and about REALTORS® presented by CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association. I’m your host, Erin Davis, and I am so excited to be talking with a woman who is a keynote speaker, a tech exec, and a recent honoree by The Globe and Mail. She’s also very passionate and hugely knowledgeable. We’re going to talk about business innovation. What is that? Well, on its own, the phrase may feel as amorphous as any other buzzword. With today’s guest on REAL TIME, we’re going to delve into its meaning and the opportunities that business innovations hold for REALTORS®.
On episode 33 of REAL TIME, we are joined by researcher and author, Dr. Chitra Anand, to unpack that and to explore an important new movement in the workplace, intrapreneurship. You heard that word correctly, not entre, but intrapreneurship. Learn how you can foster an innovative spirit to challenge conventional thinking and spur new ideas. Dr. Anand breaks it all down, including how to focus your efforts if you’re a smaller business with limited resources, and why within chaos lies innovation. Let’s go. Here’s REAL TIME with Dr. Chitra Anand.
Dr. Anand, thank you so much for joining us for REAL TIME. You know this, but I don’t know if our listeners do, The Globe and Mail has named you one of 2022’s top changemakers. Congratulations.
Dr. Chitra Anand: Thank you very much.
Erin: It’s all about reinventing how Canada does business. We thought it would be a perfect, perfect time to talk with you about just this. Can you tell us first though, a bit about yourself and the concepts and practices that you explore that helped you to make this illustrious list?
Dr. Anand: Thank you, and wonderful to be here with you all. Certainly. I have a background in the technology industry. I’ve spent about 25 years in the tech space. Started my career right when the tech boom happened in the late ’90s out of sheer curiosity, I didn’t know anything about technology at all, but was particularly interested in what was happening at that time.
I started my career at Open Text and, interestingly enough, I was hired because I could speak French, not because I knew anything to do with technology. It was quite an interesting time. One of my encouragements for the listeners is to really leverage your multidisciplinary skills. Everything that you do outside of what you do on a day-to-day basis, don’t discount them because they are very valuable.
From there, I spent 10 years at TELUS, a great Canadian company. Had about three or four careers there, particularly in the marketing and sales capacity, and saw them transform. If you know TELUS, Erin, it was a Telco, and then it emerged into an integrated communications provider. Then from there, wanted to reinvent myself and went to Microsoft as their Chief Brand and Marketing Officer, and had a wonderful opportunity there to help drive their transformation. Quite fascinated by the tech space, but I also have a deep, deep love and passion for academia, and that’s how I’ve been raised. My parents are academics and it’s in my blood.
When I was there, Erin, I had really interesting observations in terms of how work is done. Why do we do the things that we do, and why don’t we try to change how– just because we used to do something and do something a certain way, and we’re talking about historical companies, we can’t accept that in terms of the way things should be done. My research and my doctoral research and my PhD is on intrapreneurship and it’s really around challenging the way business is constructed, be it from a process perspective, be it from a product innovation, but it’s really challenging the status quo.
I wrote a dissertation on intrapreneurship, how to scale innovation from within organizations. That really is challenging. If the world has changed, why do companies continue to operate the way that they do? I wrote a book about it called The Greenhouse Approach. Really the ethos of that book, Erin, is, how do we create environments that emulate a greenhouse with the right ingredients, the right leadership, the right thinking, and how do we do that and make it flourish? If we did that, we could flourish wonderful outcomes regardless of what discipline and industry that you’re in.
I think that coming out of the global pandemic, there’s been a political uncertainty with climate change and economic volatility. I think they were looking at ways that people are going to help organizations rise above some of the setbacks that we’ve had and perhaps reimagine how we do things moving forward.
Erin: I love the way that you talk with such passion and you do a lot of speaking and writing and teaching and consulting. I have to tell you, as I was making notes in preparation for today’s chat, my computer kept trying to correct me when I wrote intrapreneurship. It’s not a word that’s really part of the lexicon, so you’re going to have to take it down for me and my spell check. Just explain what you see as intrapreneurship and how it relates to the people that we’re talking to here today, mostly REALTORS®.
Dr. Anand: Intrapreneurship is not a net new term. I would proudly say that I’m one of the most current academic thinkers on it, and that’s why I chose the topic and I was quite fascinated because I’ve been an intrapreneur my entire career and I didn’t realize it and I’m positive that people listening to this could associate and make some connections that they might be intrapreneurial as well. Intrapreneurship by definition, is somebody who takes an entrepreneurial approach from within an organization, somebody who challenges conventional thinking to drive innovation and create new ways of approaching business. I have probably 20 top traits of what intrapreneurs are. Happy to dive into that with you if you’re interested in that as well, Erin.
Erin: Are those in the book as well?
Dr. Anand: They are.
Erin: The Greenhouse Approach. Who publishes that and where do we find it?
Dr. Anand: Yes. That book was published by Dundurn Press. It’s available on Amazon, online at Chapters, Indigo, so that’s very accessible online.
Erin: Excellent. What are you trying to help businesses to do differently then? That’s kind of what you’re talking about with intrapreneurship. Tell us about that.
Dr. Anand: Absolutely. Intrapreneurship is really about rethinking how we innovate and approach the work that we do from inside organizations. Intrapreneurship is much about the people. I talk a lot about how people are our most important asset. They are our competitive differentiator as we know it in the marketplace right now. Every organization in several different industries are dealing with this war on talent. How do we attract talent? How do we maintain talent? How do we support talent? These people, and I would say a lot of them are intrapreneurial.
These are the people that challenge the status quo. These are the people that are okay with taking risks. These are the ones that push boundaries and don’t stop from when you do get a hard stop within organizations, they’re deeply motivated by a deeper purpose and passion to produce good work and to solve problems. These people are trendsetters, these are bold decision makers. They’re researchers, they’re writers. They take a worldview perspective on what’s happening in the world and bring that back into the organization. It’s really about harnessing the power of these kinds of people to drive the right outcomes for your business.
Erin: When we return, are you ready for disruption? In all the best ways, of course. Around one quarter million, that’s how many listings you and potential clients find simply by clicking on REALTOR.ca. There’s so much more than properties. They’ll find design trends for the future, how to narrow down needs and wants for the place of their dreams, all at your clients and your fingertips. REALTOR.ca no wonder it’s the most popular and trusted real estate website in Canada. Now, back to Dr. Chitra Anand, researcher, author and guest on REAL TIME who says the time to shake things up is now.
Dr. Anand: The REALTOR® industry, I think, it’s ripe for disruption. I think there’s an opportunity for tremendous change. I believe that one of the mantras that I have is within chaos lies innovation. I think that we’ve got so many problems to solve from a REALTOR® perspective, from affordable housing, to a housing shortage. REALTORS® have an opportunity to reimagine how they do what they do and why they do what they do.
If you think about the business transaction, you want to go beyond the fact of this business transaction of you’re going to come here and facilitate the sale of my home or you’re going to help me find my new home. It’s one of the most important decisions a family or an individual can make. These people are at the heart of it. I truly believe that REALTORS® have an opportunity to diversify and to challenge how this is actually facilitated in our marketplace.
Erin: This is the business innovation then. The term that can feel lofty at times but that you are actually, in theory here, putting into practice. Can you explain that to us and why you’ve said that you have a love-hate relationship with innovation?
Dr. Anand: I do have a love-hate relationship with the word innovation because innovation is a term that’s overused quite a bit as we know. It’s misunderstood at times. It’s not about just new products to market. People often shy away from the term to say, “It doesn’t apply to me because it’s about creating new products or it’s about a new technology.”
I would beg to differ. It’s really about creating value. It shows up all sorts of ways be it through marketing or sales but it’s really the value that you produce in terms of a new process, a particular service, how you connect with your customers, how you perhaps create and maintain talent. All of that is innovation.
Erin: That can look like change for the sake of change for people who like things the old way, and there are a lot of people who find comfort and safety in that and no one can blame them in a time of uncertainty, as you say. Of course, opportunity out of chaos as well is something else I’m holding on that you’ve said. What if something’s not broken, doctor, should you look to improve it?
Dr. Anand: Absolutely. Look at what’s coming out of the pandemic. I would say that the pandemic just accelerated what was upon us and organizations and industries were forced to adapt their businesses in order to survive. In my research, I apply Darwinism theory and it’s really around not the strongest of the species nor the most intelligent that survive, it’s the one that’s most adaptable to change and that is a universal truth.
You saw new businesses born as a result of the pandemic. You saw businesses accelerate in their decline. I’m quite of the mindset that if you go to any big tech firm, Erin, or any industry, they don’t go from 0 to 100 overnight. It is a constant iteration of change. When Apple comes out with their new product or service, there’s no major change from the first phone to the second phone to the third. It is a series of small changes along the way. Then if you go from the first version to the sixth version, you’ll see that there’s several different changes.
I would encourage REALTORS® to really think about their business in terms of this constant change and disruption. Because one thing that we can certainly learn from the environment that we’re in is that no industry is immune to disruption. There will be a startup or there will be a macro change, be it an outside force, be it social, political, economic that will impact that industry. There is a preparedness that is incumbent upon the professional REALTOR® to be thinking ahead of the game.
Erin: It was Abraham Lincoln who said the best way to predict the future is to create it. We are looking ahead at how not to be scared off by this race to the future when we return with Dr. Chitra Anand. This is our 33rd episode, and thanks to you, REAL TIME has seen a lot of growth, but we’ve got so much more in store and obviously we are doing this together.
Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. Do please spread the word about REAL TIME just for you from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
We talk about looking down the road and I think a lot of people see that as a technological challenge. Companies looking at AI, for example. What fears can we allay in terms of what we embrace, what we don’t embrace? How can you not be, let’s say, intimidated by everything that’s out there and the leaps and bounds that so many industries are taking, doctor?
Dr. Anand: It’s a very good question. The fact of the matter is we are in the fourth industrial revolution. This is the time of AI, mixed reality, augmented reality. We’re in this information overload. It is very easy to become overwhelmed. What is important for REALTORS® or any business professional or entrepreneur to realize is that there is always going to be low hanging fruit. The opportunity that business people and REALTORS® have is to be able to take a moment and think about what is the most natural fit that they can either provide or look at from an overall marketing perspective, whether it’s engagement with their clients, and how will they actually institutionalize that within their business practice.
For example, let’s say, nobody should be afraid of AI. AI is simply going to replace a bunch of jobs currently that is a high degree of automation. What it’s going to do, it’s also going to create opportunity, opportunity for us as human beings to be more creative, to be more intuitive, and to be able to identify ways that we can better serve our customers. REALTORS® really have an opportunity to elevate, to reimagine what kind of service can they provide for their client base. You see all kinds of new platforms that are coming into play in terms of mixed reality, augmented reality in terms of how they market their homes. It’s going to be a platform.
Looking at all of the things that are happening from a buying and selling perspective in terms of the new websites that are popping up as well. Potentially a CRM tool that will help them manage their client base so that they don’t lose sight of who has come across their interactions and how do you nurture that client base? Because from what I understand and what I’ve observed is the biggest opportunity that REALTORS® have is their network effect. What I mean by that is the more they serve, the more value they provide, they can start to scale that and really take advantage of the relationships that they start to harness because this is really a business of personal interactions.
Erin: Oh, yes, and we’re going to be getting into that. It’s almost, in this way, talking about moving into the future. You have used the term hyper-personalization. Really anticipating what clients are going to want.
Dr. Anand: Absolutely. When you think about the role of the REALTOR®, there’s the whole rise of prop-tech and how does that fit into my world? What kind of services can I start to offer my clients that go beyond the role because they really are looking for value? At the end of the day, if you can’t provide value-added services to your client, they will simply go elsewhere. That’s just a reality. One of the things that we can think about is hyper-personalization. That is a massive trend, and it’s really about how do I best understand my clients?
How do I use the data that’s out there to understand their taste, their preferences, anticipate their needs, potentially even building a different model around a hub and spoke model potentially, in terms of, I’m going to connect you to other professionals, such as– think about the transaction. You need financing, you potentially need home renovations, you need movers, you need access to tradespeople, you need city approvals, et cetera. If you can provide gateways, imagine, people value when you share knowledge and you can share those knowledge through insights and you create these new pathways, and that will very naturally and organically start to fuel your business.
Erin: Not to mention that you’re saving me, as a client, a whole ton of legwork. I don’t have time to be reading all the reviews on everybody. If you’ve already done the research and you’ve got years of experience and a trusted relationship with these people that you can say, “Yes, I totally recommend her or him,” then really, you’ve done me a big favor. If she or he doesn’t work out, I know who I can go back to and say, “What happened there?” That hub and spoke, it’s like reaching out with a hand at the same time. It’s a wonderful, wonderful concept.
Dr. Anand: Wonderful. Thank you.
Erin: Coming up, how you as a leader can spot an innovator in your own backyard front office right there under your nose. Have you visited CREA Café lately? It’s a virtual spot that’s also your reliable source for all things real estate. From the latest news and statistics to legal matters and advocacy updates. Stay connected to the wonderful world of Canadian real estate at creacafe.ca.
Now, back to Dr. Chitra Anand, honored by The Globe and Mail as one of 2022’s top changemakers. She’s with us here on REAL TIME, presented to you by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Let’s take on the role of leader here, doctor. How can you identify your innovators internally and what attributes should we as leaders be looking for?
Dr. Anand: Absolutely. I think leaders will either make or break this. They have all of the opportunity to really identify who these people are and it’s incumbent upon them to be able to see some of these intrapreneurs inside their organization. I’ve got a list of many different attributes, but I’ll just give you a handful to start.
Dr. Anand: Intrapreneurs can attract and recognize similar kinds of people. What I mean by that is they are driven by a different motivation, and that is really to have their work have a great purpose, and they’re able to find people and other people who want to make a difference, who want to have impact, who want to take their skills and capabilities and really apply it in a meaningful way.
At the end of the day, the reason why we talked about the Great Resignation is that if you look at some of the studies on it, is that people just didn’t feel connected. They didn’t feel like their work had a true impact. I think about the role of a REALTOR®, they’re having huge impact. This is not just a transaction business, but they’re having huge impacts on people’s lives, on their livelihoods, on their work life, on how they build families, on the roots that they create, et cetera. Think about the actual implications of the work that they can do.
Intrapreneurs know how to break rules systematically, and this is interesting because when you think about innovation, these people know how to do it in a way that is not going to fundamentally hurt an organization or an industry per se, but it will definitely– they don’t stop at the know. They will certainly find a different pathway, even if they’re redirected because they’re driven by a deeper sense of purpose.
My last one I would just say is intrapreneurs certainly can spot trends and these people see the future. I talk a lot about my idea of foresight is creating foresight rather than hindsight. These people are readers, they’re researchers, they’re travelers, they’re thinkers. They’re like these walking ethnographers. I always encourage people to go sit in the coffee shop and look and see around you what’s actually happening.
People are building businesses. It’s a really interesting exercise and these people take these insights and they bring them back into their work or their organization. In my work, I often talk about this outside in perspective. What that is, essentially, is, everything that we do in life, Erin, be it work or personal, is dictated by culture, politics, economics, et cetera. Being able to take those insights and bring them back into an organization is absolutely critical.
Erin: All right then. How do you go about building a culture that keeps, attracts and maybe even creates these types of employees? Can you do that?
Dr. Anand: You sure can. You absolutely can. One of the things that I talk about is the role of leadership, but also unlearning some learned behaviors and we are all of us a product of our constructs in terms of the learnings that we’ve had. Then we take them into our personal and business lives. It translates into how we do business. How we make decisions, for example. A lot of the decisions that we make are based on assumptions. Assumptions, Erin, are preconceived ideas and notions. Now, those notions may or may not be correct. However, as human beings, we believe that we’re being much more efficient because we’re basing it on a set of data, but that data may not be correct.
For example, you’ll hear things like, “we’ve tried that before. It’s going to be too expensive. We’re going to need a ton of resources.” What I would encourage is for people to actually challenge what we currently know. If we’re in the REALTOR® industry, for example, we’ve always done things a certain way. This is just not going to work. It’s going to be stopped by because of our governing policies or because of regulations or because of the way the city is run or et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. If you actually start from ground zero and challenge every single assumption that you have and go back to the raw data and facts, you start from the bottom-up, so you start to build new knowledge. For example, and I know he’s not the most popular right now, but Elon Musk.
Erin: I knew you were going to say him.
Dr. Anand: He’s not the most popular. However, undoubtedly, he’s probably one of the most controversial thinkers of our time. For example, when he wanted to make electric cars, people thought he was crazy because the entirety of it would be too expensive. What he did is he broke it down by the different sections of the actual raw material that went into making the car and he found a less expensive battery. Look at them now, we’re making mass electric cars. My point is, if we make those assumptions, you need to break down every single component of it and challenge each one and when you start to do that, then you build new knowledge and then you can start to create new ways of thinking. That’s really truly a component of intrapreneurial behavior.
Erin: Can you make realistic changes as a small business without being the Elon Musk’s of the world for better or worse or at least adopt an intrapreneurial mindset, doctor?
Dr. Anand: A hundred percent, Erin. It’s interesting because when I started my research and because of where I grew up in these large complex organizations, the thesis really was around large complex organizations. However, if you’re a small business, you have a natural advantage because you’re not large and complex. You have control and elements of control and you’ve got ways that you can challenge.
You can do these micro experiments. You have the advantage of size and there is less complexity. You actually are able to do that at a smaller scale, however, at a much more impactful scale because you can start to have those conversations or those challenging notions with yourself, with your team, with your brokerage, et cetera and start to institutionalize that from within.
Erin: The ideas that you’ve floated, things like mixed augmented reality, CRM systems and even brokerages with their own custom namesake apps. Those aren’t huge expenditures of either finances or effort, it’s just maybe a bit of a learning curve.
Dr. Anand: You are seeing lots of REALTORS® developing their own apps and developing an app is not a huge capital investment. We are seeing things in the market where– in fact, I just saw this study that 61% of real estate companies adopted a technology solution and only 28% have actually embraced it. There’s a lot of work to be done, but what’s interesting about the app is there’s a new term about keeping the agent front and center in the process with technology systems.
Think of it like this, almost reverse engineering it. I know it can be overwhelming at time, because of this whole tech play. The technology is just a platform. The agent and the REALTOR® is really what’s powering the relationship between the consumer. That’s really important and you want to think of it as, how do I leverage whatever technology platform it is or how do I use something of that to help me better serve my clients?
Whether it’s a– We talked about personalization, a better understanding of my customer, a more personal relationship with them, how do I best anticipate their needs? How do I make the buy sell process less intimidating and maybe more efficient? Those are the types of things that the technology does and we’re starting to see the industry starting to take advantage of things of such nature.
Erin: When we return with Dr. Anand, moving from looking at futuristic ideas and AI to the most important and basic tool in your many layered arsenal. You’re also going to hear me mention REALTORS Care® and it’s the national guiding principle, celebrating the great charitable work done by the Canadian REALTOR® Community. You can help raise awareness for the charities and causes closest to you by sharing your story using #RealtorsCare on your social media platforms.
Now, back to our final segment and our actionable end note with Dr. Chitra Anand, tech exec, keynote speaker and author of The Greenhouse Approach and our very special guest on REAL TIME. Let’s break it down from the shiny steel of tech in our minds to the most basic heartfelt trust in the relationship. Let’s talk about trust here for REALTORS®, if you don’t mind, the importance of building trust with clients.
Dr. Anand: Trust is everything when it comes to business and specifically when it comes to REALTORS®. People are dealing with the most valuable asset that they may have, and trust is at the core of everything that we do in the business profession at large. It’s interesting, people base all business transactions on a high degree of trust, so it is paramount that trust is at the core of everything that a REALTOR® or anybody, quite frankly, in business does in order for that relationship to be successful.
Erin: Right. We’re not buying a pizza here, we are buying a home. This is exponentially more emotional, more financially involved. There’s just so much resting on this decision and this trust because we are coming to the REALTOR®. The marketplace is coming to you and trusting you.
Dr. Anand: Absolutely. When I think about it, and I’ve done some research on trust, quite obvious things that come into play when you think about trust, how do I practice trust, how do I start to garner trust, how do I start to harness trust with my client base? A big part of that is transparency. It’s having the best interest of your client at the core of what you do. Sometimes, because of these transactions we’re driven by different motivators and different things that motivate us to do the things that we do, but when you translate that into transparency and integrity, you start to really, really think about the role of trust and how do you start to cultivate that?
I talk a lot about reciprocity. We have to be vulnerable in order to trust and when you think about the transaction of your home and the size of the transaction, we are vulnerable. We’re disclosing a lot of very personal information and so vulnerabilities in a heightened state. I would encourage REALTORS® to think about reciprocity. What I mean by that is it’s a give-and-take.
I’m going to give you a little bit and that person’s going to give it back in how you start to build those relationships and those dynamics. That’s the foundation of how you build trust once you do that, you have to start to practice that at scale and then you’ll start to see that flourish from within your organization or from within the business transactions that you do.
Erin: Also, because you have researched into trust, you have undoubtedly noticed that in the past few years, trust seems to be eroding everywhere. The things we trusted, the people we trusted, all of a sudden everybody’s saying, “Well, that’s not true because I have an opinion.” Trust, it’s not as common at all as it used to be pre-pandemic.
Dr. Anand: I think that’s a really interesting point, Erin. I think the pandemic has revealed so much. I would say that we are in a bit of a trust crisis and we’re trying to rebuild from that. Be it from a political perspective, a leadership perspective, the trust is at a all-time low. When you look at it from citizens and consumers, we’re dealing with mass information. People don’t know which content to trust. Media, the headlines and people trust. Are they supposed to trust media, or do they not trust media? People are questioning the sources of information and the data points.
We are certainly in a trust crisis. We have opportunity. I’m an optimist. I believe that in this industry for REALTORS®, I just see opportunity to be this gateway of building and having deeper, more symbiotic relationships with your clients. I talked a little bit about it before, but really providing value-added and to not end the relationship just at the transaction of your home, but start to really cultivate and nurture and to see what other diversified services. What that does, essentially, is you start to develop referrals and you start to build this network effect where you have more people connected to you. Fact of the matter is if you are referred to a client, people will trust you because of your referral. People don’t do these cold transactions anymore because they want to trust their friends and family. They trust their friends and family, therefore, the transactions that you do with your clients are absolutely critical because that will be a core pillar of how you start to magnify and scale your business.
Erin: We’re to the point now in our society where we only trust the people that we know. To go back to the pizza analogy, I’ll only order a pizza from a place that A, I know, or B, has really good reviews on a site that I trust. This is where we’re building our community. I should also mention too that CREA members and their community outwork too. Working out in the community and showing that they care for the same causes that their potential clientele care for is also a really great way of building trust. It’s REALTORS Care and it’s pretty amazing that they do this.
Dr. Anand: Absolutely.
Erin: Let me ask you one more before we start to wrap up for today. That is, doctor, where do trust and business innovation overlap? It sounds like one of them is as old as time and the other one is more like futuristics. Where do the two overlap?
Dr. Anand: It’s an interesting question. You might not make the correlation, but I think there’s huge correlation there is, for example, if you buy a Apple product or a Microsoft product or a Samsung phone, you trust that the innovation that’s coming out of these new technologies are going to be good, a high quality, and it’s going to last you a while. Organizations and people, when you think about REALTORS®, they have a responsibility back to their client base because that’s how you build trust and credibility over time is that whatever product and service you are constantly creating or diversifying or bringing to market, people will trust that that is of high quality. That’s how you cultivate that relationship.
I think there is a correlation between the two and people are looking to businesses and intrapreneurs to help them guide the way. Whether you are a product or service, whatever you start to put out in the market needs to be highly credible, and that’s where the trust comes in. There is a correlation there. The more you do, the more you practice, the more you start to develop your businesses. However, you’re going to start to do hyper-personalization or whether it’s an app or whether it’s value added services or reaching out, whether you adopt this hub and spoke model, trust is at the core because that’s how you’re going to attract and retain and start to flourish your business models.
Erin: You’ve got an organization like CREA that provides governance, process and some level of a platform where people can go for information as well. We’ve been mentioning them throughout the podcast today.
Dr. Anand: Absolutely. I think that CREA is an invaluable resource to REALTORS® and to the market as a whole in terms of what are the market trends, what’s happening from an overall governance perspective, what are the changes in the market? It’s going beyond just housing, but in terms of how is inflation impacting us? People are actually going to organizations such as CREA to publish thought leadership articles because we talked about trusted content.
We don’t go to the media anymore so much because we’re not so sure about that content. Organizations like CREA have an opportunity to really start to harness their thought leadership, their insights, their trends, et cetera, so they can start to build that community and really leverage and flex that muscle as a trusted source of content for their audiences.
Erin: Wonderful. We’re going to wrap up here on an actionable end note, and I think the dog will be happy we’re wrapping up.
Dr. Anand: I know. I heard that too. I’m so sorry.
Erin: I know. You have nothing to apologize for. All right. We’re asking you, doctor, if you could, and I know this is asking a lot because you’ve got a lot of wisdom, a lot of passion, and we are so grateful to you for sharing it with us today. One piece of advice would you give our listeners to help them make more impactful, innovative business decisions.
Dr. Anand: I’m going to give you my top two because these are– I had three, but I’m going to give you my top two. Number one-
Erin: You’re going to leave us hanging with that?
Dr. Anand: Here you go. We are, regardless of what discipline or industry we’re in, we’re all business people and we’re solving for a problem. Understand the value that you bring to your clients from a problem solving lens, and take that to create foresight. Now, what I mean by that is so easy for us to say, looking back and if you’ve had failures or if things didn’t work out or there’s been disruption in the market, it’s easy to say, I saw that coming or that was going to come, the writing wasn’t on the wall. We didn’t see that. It’s harder to create foresight around that.
It’s so much easier to go back and do a postmortem of things that have happened, but our job as business people is to stay relevant, to stay ahead of the game. We saw it in COVID. What’s coming down the pipes? What is happening in my market, in my industry that I need to be ahead of the curve? Always be on the foresight scale of that.
Number two, find your niche. Real estate market is, let’s face it, it’s a saturated market. It is a saturated market. The job, an opportunity that you have is to differentiate yourself. Do not boil the ocean. You cannot be everything to everyone. There is a lot of things that are happening and take the time to figure out what is the low hanging fruit? What is the most natural fit in terms of how do you diversify your offerings? How do you customize what you do? How do you create hyper-personalization? How do you connect with your customers? How do you create a more engaging marketing campaign around your offerings?
Tap into some of the new technologies that are happening. What can I actually embed to take some of the burden off of my clients? Can I make it less intimidating? Can I make it more efficient? How can I do that to ease the burden of my client to make it a much more engaging experience where you have a human connection at the core.
Erin: Beautiful. I do happen to know that your third prong here, because we cannot leave our listeners wondering what that third thing was, was about elevating your role to be more than a transaction. Is that right?
Dr. Anand: In my research I was, wouldn’t it be so interesting to reimagine the REALTOR®? With the rise of prop tech, how do I embed that in my offering? How do I take my role and make it so much more? What if this REALTOR® became this point of knowledge or insights that goes beyond just the sale of my home, but really helps me navigate some of the things that I need to down the road? Then that will certainly help cultivate other opportunities as well, but really think out of the box in terms of what is this role and how do I evolve it to make it much more meaningful and a value-add offering back to my client?
Erin: Wonderful. Well, it comes as no surprise to anyone who has listened to this episode with you today, Dr. Anand, why The Globe and Mail named you one of 2022’s top change makers, and we wish you all the best moving ahead. Thank you. And looking ahead, which is what you do so well.
Dr. Anand: Thank you. It’s been an honor to be here and a wonderful dialogue. Thank you so much.
Erin: Thank you for tuning in to this latest episode of REAL TIME, the podcast brought to you by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Be sure to visit CREA.ca to access valuable resources and discover more fantastic real estate related content. Thank you again to Dr. Chitra Anand. As always, if you liked what you heard, hit that subscribe button, won’t you? REAL TIME is a production of Alphabet® Creative with Rob Whitehead and Real Family Productions on the tech side. I’m Erin Davis and we’ll talk to you next time on REAL TIME.