Broker and Technology
Last week I had the opportunity to teach a risk management class for Brokers, in regards to technologies used by agents. I would guess that the percentage of Brokers who have bought fully into technology were about 50%. Not surprisingly, most the Brokers who seem to actually get it, were also those with large companies and higher production levels per agents.
After the class several of these brokers stopped me to thank me for helping them find more policies and ideas to help their agents become more productive, as well as safer in their marketing. However, a few came up to say that they still think that consumers usage of the internet was over-rated and devised by younger agents who enjoyed the technology. Although the evaluations turned in by the Brokers were very positive, one helpful Broker commented that they would have found it easier to follow, had I not referenced resources that they were not aware of. My presentation only referenced, FaceBook, Blogs, ActiveRain and YouTube. How sad that there are office leaders who are still so disconnected….
Why Are We Still Trying to Convince Them
One of my friends, who is a new managing broker and was in the class, observed at the end: “It amazes me that we still have to go over this with Brokers.” I agree with her, but every time we review it, I get a room full of starry eyed office leaders who just haven’t caught up yet.
Swanepoel made this observation from a 2007 survey: 87% of Brokers [surveyed] feel that servicing smarter and more informed consumers as their largest concern”
I find it somewhat disconcerting that the largest majority of Brokers feel that a smart consumer is an obstacle. The Real Estate industry needs to really refocus on the consumer and how they need the practioner to serve them. No longer can the MLS book be kept under the desk. Listing information is ubiquitous and all the consumer is left with is raw data. Danilo Bogdanovic wrote a great post on this a few days ago.
Marc Davidson of 1000 Walt Consulting is quoted in Swanepoel’s Trend Report: ” How Long can a trillion dollar industry sustain disregard for the iPOD, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Starbucks, text messaging and brand consious consumers?”
I completely agree.
I think most of us in RE.net get the concept of technology’s role in working with obtaining and working with clients. It’s a tool to do a better job and not, at all, a tool for eliminating the agent’s need for good client centric service and face to face interactions. Let’s look at what client telling us by their behaviors and preferences:
How fast does a on-line consumer expect to hear back from their agent?
I heard a vendor, during an interview last year, state that on the national average it takes agents 52 hours to respond to a potential consumer’s e-mail inquiry. (disclosure: I can’t recall who said it and I can’t verify the information, but it’s close to my personal experience)
When the consumer was considering what they wanted from an agent during initial contact, this is what they were looking for:
I find it very interesting that a large determining factor in who the client hired was based on who quickly the agent got back in touch with them. The second (but very close) factor was the most qualified. Most interesting was the fact that only 10% of consumers confessed that lowest commission was a factor in hiring an agent.
What did the Consumer utilize:
84% of Consumer used information from a Realtor® to research their home purchase
84% of Consumers used the Internet to research their home (yes the consumers used the internet just as much as they used the Realtor®
Frequently Used Resources for the Consumer
Consumer found the following useful during a transaction
First step in the Real Estate Transaction
55% Researched On-line
20% Contacted a Real Estate Agent initially
When looking on-line, the consumer was looking for:
95% Properties for Sale
21% Information about the Area
4% the REALTOR®
4% Firm / Company
(So why are so many agents still using their webpages as a resume or ‘all-about-me’ webpage as if they were part of an on-line dating service?)
Demographics of an on-line consumer:
64% are Married
18% are Single Females
Median age is 37
Median Income is $76,900 a year
I think these numbers, extracted from the NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers are pretty self explanatory. For Brokers, who should be looking at new trends and reading the pulse of the consumer, it’s a fairly simple decision to pursue investments in technology. I am frequently disheartened when I hear Brokers disparaging their agents from spending time with social media and personal education in technology. Just because a Broker may not use or needed these tools, doesn’t mean a competitor in today’s market doesn’t need to master them. Previous education, age, experience and investment costs can no longer be an excuse.
Here is a great video that I use when teaching about exponential times: