Technology has changed the entire real estate process, from listing to close. Trulia, Zillow and others brought listings online and made them easily accessible. Other collaboration tools have digitized the often-cumbersome transaction process, allowing customers and agents to collaborate seamlessly and virtually via the device of their choice.
New technology tools now also allow brokers to delight their agents, agents to delight their clients, and brokers to run a better business with a new level of insight and control over their operations. Successful brokers and agents are making technology a part of their larger business strategy to provide a better, more human experience to their customers and agents.
Let’s Start With Customers
Real estate firms are pouring money into lead generation, marketing, CRM and other services to fill the top of the funnel. What’s often neglected, however, is how important the customer’s full experience is to drive continual referrals, which is still the number one way to increase an agent’s business. Buying a home is one of the most emotional and complex transactions a person will make. Imagine how much of an impact your agents can have by making that experience more enjoyable from searching for and finding the perfect home all the way to the closing table.
It’s no unknown that customers today expect two things in their service experiences. They expect human touch, and the ‘easy button’ no matter what they’re doing: buying a coffee, booking a flight, or yes, buying a home. Technology helps make that experience seamless and consistent with how people now handle nearly every other transaction.
But technology only scratches the surface. It’s important that technology is used in tandem with a human connection. Communication – in-person, on the phone or over email – early and often is the way to go. As the saying goes, “When you see eye to eye…you see eye to eye.” Personal and human touch with home buyers and sellers will never go away, so in addition to giving them the easy button with technology to make the experience better, it needs to be coupled with full-service experience.
Your Agents Are Your Customers, Too
The housing market is bouncing back, and it’s harder than ever to attract and retain top talent. Agents are also skewing younger, with 74 million millennials coming into the workforce, and what they value out of an employer is different than the folks who have been doing business for 30+ years. Gaining and retaining talent is a key to brokerage success, after all they carry your brand name to the street.
Today, employees and contractors have to be treated as customers as well. Successful brokers understand that one of the best ways to please their agents is to enable them to please their customers with a consistent, online experience that is necessary in real estate today.
The way agents work today is very different than even a couple of years ago. They want progressive brokerage who is not only going to provide best in breed technology and resources, but one that works the way they like to work. Instant communications, ultra responsiveness, training on demand, team environments, and a la carte services. One size no longer fits all.
Back to the Broker
So your agents and customers are using technology they love, but what about the broker or manager running the business? How can he or she improve the business and run things more effectively and securely?
An additional outcome of all of this technology adoption is a new level of granular insight into how your brokerage is actually running. When technology is used and embraced by agents, brokers can much more easily review docs, communicate with agents, ensure compliance and store files – all mapping back to running a better business.
Compare that to the old way of doing things, where brokers wasted time and resources trying to manually manage transactions, track down agents and locate missing paperwork and signatures through stacks of paper. Brokers now have a better way to run their business and get in on the improved experiences that employees and customers enjoy all while empowering agents to do what they do best – sell real estate. With automated transaction systems, they can now spend more time doing the part of the job they love – marketing their business, recruiting, and closing deals.
I work with hundreds of brokers (and have worked with thousands over the years) and the one thing most brokers don’t have is an application that gives them the intelligence into their business they need to help make business decisions, all while helping them conduct the necessary operation elements in an efficient manner.
Finish With A Bang
Technology’s true power lies in how it’s used. CRM, lead generation, marketing and other ‘top-of-the-funnel’ services are pervasive and well-understood in the industry. Those activities are absolutely important, but they’re only part of the equation. Top brokers are finding that technology’s biggest impact can be on the “final mile of the transaction.” Envision a great dinner with great cocktails, tasty appetizers, a main course that leaves your mouth watering and then comes dessert. Are you going to serve dinner mints or a flaming soufflé? Serve the souffle by creating great experiences that people love from soup to nuts — and keep customers AND agents asking for more.
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