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Adapt Or DIE. Lessons For Real Estate Agents

Adapt Or Die

Adapt Or Die

Adapt or DIE. If you have taken high school science you have heard this famous quote referring to Charles Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution.

Charles Darwin of course was a scientist who argued for the theory of evolution through natural selection. To make a long story, short, Darwin believed it was through natural selection that when members of a population die off, they are replaced by parents that were better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place. It was this natural selection that forced species to Adapt or Die.

Natural Selection In Marketing

I see examples of Natural Selection everywhere.  I am not talking about the evolution from primates to humans, no –  I am talking more about Yellow Pages, The US Mail, television, radio, newspapers, music, software, books.

When is the last time you looked for a business in the Yellow Pages, mailed a letter to someone, rushed home to catch your favorite TV show, read the newspaper [hard copy], bought a actual/physical record/CD, bought a software in hard copy or even bought a {real} book?

The industries above are just some of the industries have been drastically changed forever by the Internet, more specifically –  by the shift in consumer behavior towards the Internet.  These industries have been forced to adapt to consumer behavior or DIE.

Why look at the Yellow Pages when you have Google? Why mail a letter to someone when you have email. Why run home to watch your favorite show when you have Tivo/DVR, why listen to the radio when you have ipod and satellite radio or Pandora. Why buy a hard copy of software when you can download it instantly, why buy a book when we have iPad and Kindle?

Some Adapt Some Will DIE

I was reading an article [on the Internet] the other day about electronics retailer, Best Buy titled;  Best Buy closing 50 stores after missing revenue goals. I remember when I did most of my electronics shopping at Best Buy. Need a new PC – Best Buy, new TV – Best Buy, camera – Best Buy.  Have a question about an item or its compatibility with another product – Best Buy. Notice I said “I did most of my electronics shopping at Best Buy” as in past tense? Not anymore and not for some time.

Over the last year I have spent [easily] $10,000 on video equipment. DSLR cameras, lenses, editing software, wireless microphones and receivers, camera bags etc. I did not buy any of them at Best Buy. I bought them all at That is $10,000 that I didn’t spend at Best Buy. I simply Google a product, based upon the name of the product or the problem it solves: “Canon 60D” or “best DSLR camera for video”, then head over to Amazon.

At Amazon I can compare one product to another, read the consumer reviews [of people that actually own said product – social proof] to discover what they like and what they would change, I can see pictures and often, watch a video of the product in action. After all of my research is done, [that is what I am doing by the way] I can click a button to buy and have it shipped to me next day.


When it comes to products, price, comparison shopping, convenience, information, reviews and avoiding crowds, it’s hard to beat Judging from the growth chart below, obviously I am not the only one that feels this way.

Explore more AMZN Data at Wikinvest

Best Buy and other retailers are going to have to ADAPT or DIE to compete with online retailers like Amazon. Closer to home, there is another industry that will need to ADAPT or DIE.

Real Estate

Going back to Best Buy; losing market share to Amazon and other online retailers, it did not happen over night. When it comes to change, nothing really ever does. There is a slow progression that some notice and take advantage of and others ignore, neglect and fall behind.

Consumer behavior in regards to real estate has shifted and been shifting for some time towards the Internet. Today over 94% of consumers start their home search on the Internet. Not only is it convenient, the Internet provides the information about products [homes for sale] that consumers are looking for. That product [contrary to what some are told] is not you the real estate agent. Consumers are looking for a home or information about a home, HELP with avoiding foreclosure or completing a short sale. In fact, most consumers [80%] will choose the first real estate agent they find.


I received a postcard in the mail yesterday from a Top Producer, at least that is what he said he was. He showed up in the last place I would ever look for a real estate agent – my mailbox. His message? Typical. That he’s a top producer, and not just a top producer TODAY but in 2005 and 2006! He wanted to help me with all of my real estate needs, whether I was buying or selling. He also wanted me to refer him anyone I might know considering buying or selling AND he also wanted me to know that a referral of my friends or family is the highest compliment he could ever receive.


I don’t even know this dude, and he doesn’t know me and I don’t care about him either, or his designations or his production AND I have absolutely NO use for his services at this time. And YET. . . he is telling me all about him and how awesome he is and for the icing on the cake. . . .he is asking me to refer anyone I might know, including my cherished friends and family to – him.


While I appreciate his offer I [and most consumers] will respectfully decline.

Adapt or DIE

We deal with something called immediate gratification. We want what we want AND we want it NOW. Got kids below 6 years old? Tell them

“you have been good, and because you have been good, I am going to take you to a movie TOMORROW”.

Watch what happens. Kids are not very good at delaying gratification. Neither are adults.

When that need finally arises for a bigger house, smaller house, condo, short sale, REO, when any need finally arises, they are not going to root around the “drawer of death” for a postcard or flyer from a real estate agent they ‘kind of know’, they are going to go to the Internet. They will not be looking for YOU. They will not be looking for you because they don’t even know you exist, nor do they care.

They will ask Google a question. 4 bedroom 2 bath homes under 200,000 Chandler. And 80% of them will choose the FIRST real estate agent they find. This is the new reality of real estate marketing. To many consumers YOU are a COMMODITY. They don’t know where one real estate agent ends and another begins, and [their perception] you all say the same thing anyway – don’t you? So why not choose the FIRST real estate agent if they are all the same any way?


You can continue to market yourself by talking about yourself and get nowhere or you can adapt to the shift in consumer behavior and market to consumers in the way they want to be marketed to. You can do this with WordPress, Twitter, Video, Optimization, Distribution, Creating Content, Indexable IDX’s and I can help you with all of them. Because I do them. You found me. I didn’t send you a postcard or flyer and yet – you are here. What more evidence do you need? Come to my real estate marketing classes and you will learn the HOW TO of changing your real estate marketing.

Adapt or DIE. Which one will you do? If you are in Phoenix, fill out the form below.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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