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It’s my way or the highway. What about the consumer’s way?

As technology has grown in real estate, a line has been drawn in the sand between many agents.  Some believe that technology, including social media, blogs and high-tech phones is the way to go.  Some think that the tried and true, belly to belly old school approach is, and always will be, the answer.  

Either way, they seem to see technology and “old school” as two polar opposites of each other.  I come across arguments all the time from real estate professionals believing that if you are “too techy” you are loosing contact with your sphere, loosing the one-on-one aspect of being high touch.  Those who do consider themselves high-tech, look at more traditional real estate practices as prehistoric.  Folks, this idea of a tech-to-touch spectrum is a myth.  There is no spectrum and these two approaches are not, and must never be, mutually exclusive.  Moreover, it would be beneficial to have several skill-sets, from high-tech to high-touch, that can be tailored to your particular client.

I’ve discussed before how you should use the form of communication which works best for your clients.  If they want phone conversations, give them that.   If they prefer text updates or even tweets, give them that.  Ultimately, the closer you tailor their real estate experience to what is comfortable to them, the more relaxed and happy they are going to be.

A good realtor is going to have a Swiss army knife of prospecting, marketing and communication tools in their tool belt, and will use them in a combination that is best for their target market.   It makes sense that in areas that are more tech-savvy, that a higher tech approach is going to resonate better with the consumers, and vice versa.  Yet the two are not mutually exclusive.  You can use technology to free your time up to be in front of clients via networking, showing properties, connecting.  You can use technology to connect with them in a softer, less “canned” manner, following, for example, the Keller Williams 33 Touch model.

On a macro level, assessing where your target clients are in terms of the best ways to reach them for marketing and prospecting is going to help you determine which methods are going to provide the highest ROI.  On a micro level, assessing each individual client regarding the best way to work with them is going to assure a more pleasant experience for them and a better connection for both of you. Being fluid and nimble with the client’s experience at heart is going to be the road map for your best approach.

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Let’s end this myth once and for all.  “New ways” and “old ways” are not mutually exclusive and can be used in various combinations that are best suited to each agent, market and client.

Think if it as the Yin Yang model.

Written By

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.



  1. Al Lorenz

    August 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I am in a small rural market at a resort lake in Washington. Our market is quaint in its use of technology compared to the larger urban markets, like Seattle. I finally upgraded to a smart phone because I have a client who wants to communicate via texting. Of course the customer’s way is the way to do business! Great reminder!

    • Janie Coffey

      August 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      HI Al, that is my exact point! You tailor your business to your target and yet are flexible enough to change to meet the needs of a client. This is the exact reason the argument that people (or communities) are one or the other. Thanks for providing a concrete example of my thinking!

  2. Liz Benitez

    August 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I am a fairly new agent. I joined a firm with a broker that has been practicing real estate for over 25 years. I find that the advice the more mature agents have hes helps a lot, however we recently had a very high tech agent join our family and his advice is defiantly pushing me grow my business in a new direction. I am happy to have both ends of the spectrum.

    • Janie Coffey

      August 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm

      that is the best way, learn as much as you can, then take the best of the best that works with you and with your clients. I wish you much success in real estate, it’s quite an adventure!

  3. Ruthmarie Hicks

    August 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    A great deal depends on where you live. I think that around here people are getting a great deal of “push back” on things like cold-calling and door-knocking. The public has pretty much made itself clear on these issues. They don’t like it – at all, and it can be a serious turn-off that might antagonize future business.

    Newer agents who don’t have a rich referral rolodex need to rely on social media, blogs, youtube and the relationships they build with clients once the acquire them. It makes starting out desperately difficult. I would never tell a new agent around here to quit their “day job.”

    • Janie Coffey

      August 6, 2010 at 6:16 pm

      starting out in this biz is definitely a challenge in these times. And without a large cash reserve to hold you over and possibly invest in traditional means of prospecting such as farming, you are right Ruthmarie, it can be tough. My suggestion to those agents would be start a great blog (even your own WP built one) really understand SEO and go to as many neighborhood networking events you can and then follow up, in a nice, non-pushy way, with those people. Really get out there then have the online presence to back you up. Be willing to sit at open houses, do floor time, and just work your butt off.

  4. Miami Condo Shop

    August 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Nice post. If you want to survive and make it big in this industry, you must be flexible because the bottom line is that your client’s way is the only way to do business. It would be ideal to understand the old-school approach while keeping abreast with advances in technology, so regardless of the market trends and client needs, you are well equipped to deal with anything that comes your way.

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