I teach a lot of technology classes for real estate agents. I’ve long abandoned asking agents to grade themselves on their own technical prowess, each person who seemed to judge themselves “savvy” really weren’t, yet know just enough to be argumentative. It seems when an agent titles themselves tech savvy or has their ego inflated by others calling them that, they feel it necessary to debate anyone with more knowledge. I’ve actually had a situation recently where an agent argued with me that ListServ’s are better than Blogs, because “I’ve just finished e-PRO and they spent more time on one versus the other.”
Setting the Consumer Expectations Too Low
It seems to me that consumers do want “Tech Savvy” agents because many of them are using the internet and feel that they want to work with someone who is at least, if not more, knowledgeable than they are. Many agents are dubbing themselves as technically proficient because they can use the bare minimum technologies required to “be an agent”, but they may do so just a little bit better than another in their office, making them the “expert”. An agent who can use MLS and doesn’t have to pay another to load their photos, who can read e-mail on their phone (who someone else setup for them) or who can clear the jam out of the copiers are being deemed the “experts”.
Let me be clear (as someone who holds the designation) e-PRO is not the industry standard or technology education. It’s maybe even less than the minimum needed education. No single program or class can educate you to all the aspects of real estate technology. Typically technology training that is gained is archaic a year later. It is for this fact that most agents don’t even make an attempt, because they don’t want to be constantly learning. But I can honestly tell you that the skills that are archaic now, are the foundation for today’s necessary skills. Case in point: I recently had to go to a DOS prompt to fix Vista 64…
What Does It Really Take?
Knowledge. Simply put – more information and learning it constantly. Knowing how to build a FrontPage webpage in 1994 doesn’t make you a tech savvy, today. In my opinion an agent who knows how to work out problems connecting to a network, how to build their own videos, widgets, CD’s with information as opposed to Homebooks, how to search MLS on their phones, to get an e-mail attachment to their clients – regardless the size, how to use mapping software to find the most efficient way to show properties, etc… are valuable. In other words using today’s technology to serve their clients in the best possible way. Checking e-mail is the status quo, not being savvy.
How Do You Get there?
By far, finding and taking training on the basics is a good start, I actually like the “Dummies” series as well. I hate to sound like an old broken record, but I can’t think of a better way to keep up to date on industry technologies than services like Twitter, and blogs such as AgentGenius. Not only do these services give you information, and allow you to ask questions, but also have folks support you in the process. WAY too few agents understand that they are hired by their clients for their KNOWLEDGE. Lack thereof is to fail at the only task that you are hired to provide. Most agents spend time learning contracts and negotiation tactics, but fail at all the other areas of the job that they are also expected to provide proficient services to.
Knowledge is power and is only gained through effort…. constant effort.