Whether or not you’ve accepted it, technology is revolutionizing the real estate industry. And if you are evolving with the times and adopting new technologies, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to become the Netflix in the Netflix/Blockbuster equation. But here’s where it gets tricky: how do you know which tech offer your agents?
Depending on the size of your brokerage, adopting new tech for your agents can get expensive. If your agents don’t adopt the tech themselves, then that’s a huge chunk of wasted money. And if you continually try out things for them not to work, or your agents not to like them, that’s also a huge chunk of wasted money. Therefore, it’s important to offer the right tech to your agents so that your brokerage doesn’t waste its time or money and new processes and solutions can take effect immediately.
1. Survey your agents
Step one: talk to your agents. Imagine purchasing several licenses for your agents to use a new software when they don’t even need it… that’s a risk you are taking without conferring with your agents. With a positive agent-centric culture, your brokerage can easily meet with individuals or even groups of your agents to feel out their needs. Pull small groups of your real estate agents into your office, or together in a Zoom meeting, to evaluate their technology needs. On the flip side, if you operate in a more alternative environment, or have your team still working remotely, you can send out a survey to examine their needs. This may also be a great way for your team to bring new tech to your attention, which underscores the importance of having an open atmosphere.
2. Review available resources
Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to determine which tech to offer your agents. For example, NAR recently conducted its REALTOR Technology Survey, which can help you identify what agents need and want, but it also helps to inform you on what tech is impacting the industry. According to the survey, respondents identified the top five most valuable technology tools used in their business of the past year: eSignature, local MLS apps/technology, social media, lockboxes, and video conferencing. In addition, several other survey statistics can help you to identify the best tech for your agents:
- 90 percent of respondents use a social media strategy utilizing Facebook with 54 percent acknowledging they’re expected to have a social media presence.
- The five tech tools they expect to use most in their business within the next year will be eSignature, social media, local MLS apps/technology, customer relationship management, and lockboxes.
- In the next two years, respondents believe the most impactful emerging technologies to their businesses will be drones, cyber security, 5G, and virtual reality.
- Respondents reported that they were least satisfied with (provided by the broker) personal websites and customer relationship management (CRM).
With just this one resource, it’s easy to paint a clear picture as to which tech brokers should consider offering to agents.
Starting with social media, agents clearly recognize its importance even if they aren’t totally sure what to post on the platform. Providing agents with tools to strategize, plan, schedule and promote their posts will help to streamline their social media usage.
Improve agents’ personal websites
The survey found that agents are least satisfied with personal websites when it comes to tech offered by the brokerage. If you currently offer your agents a personal website, this should be a primary area of focus for your brokerage. In addition to improving their personal websites, be sure to provide them training for the ability to update, add content and manage it from the back end themselves.
The results indicate that agents are leaning towards digitalization. By acknowledging important and emerging technologies like 5G, virtual reality, drones and cybersecurity, agents clearly prioritize tech that will help manage transactions and listings digitally.
3. Identify your agent archetypes
Travis Sexton from T3 Sixty believes that the answer to choosing the tech that agents will use boils down to understanding your agent archetypes. T3 Sxity claims there are four agent archetypes when it comes to tech, and matching the right archetype to the tech will increase adoption.
According to T3 Sixty, this type of agent is a “hunter”. They have a work ethic that is through the roof helping to canvas neighborhoods, expired listings, etc. To be effective, they need tools for lead generation, target marketing and connecting with other agents such as CRM and a conversion-focused personal website.
This agent does their business by using their contacts and network. They like to stay connected with their clients, conduct face-to-face business, which means they will need basic tools such as email marketing, a social media presence and a CRM.
T3 Sixty claims that the converter generates leads easily — they specialize in content marketing, targeted marketing efforts and are experts that specialize in a niche. Tools like a niche website, content like blogs and reports as well as lead capture tools help them to generate the content they need to be effective.
Lastly, this agent archetype is an analytical, marketing-minded system-driven real estate expert. They cold call and have a plethora of Internet-driven leads. Therefore, they need tools that will help them with the advertising like a follow up and lead system CRM, a website that is designed to generate leads and advertising capabilities.
4. Evaluate your needs as a brokerage
From a broad, brokerage perspective, it’s also important to evaluate your needs as a business as opposed to just the agent. After all, what we don’t want is to overwhelm you and your agents with tons of tools that no one knows how to utilize! So, where to start? Start by prioritiizing the tools that are essential as well as the ones you know your brokerage needs to function properly.
Start by selecting a great CRM software that you use consistently, has high usability and powerful work management capabilities for easy collaboration. Without one, it’s incredibly difficult for your agents to build and strengthen the relationships they have with their leads. In addition, we know where the industry is heading and that’s digitalization. Ensure that your agents are on top of the curve by providing them with the tools they need to adapt to the ever changing industry. Tools like video marketing, paperless tech and digital transaction management tools will help them better serve their clients and remain up to date with the industry’s changes.
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