REALTORS greater than Tech slider

Adapted from BRR’s weekly “Broker Bulletin” email series.

Did you catch the Inman article, “3 things real estate agents will always do better than tech disruptors,” written by Anthony Hitt, CEO for Engel & Völkers Americas? If not, I wanted to bring it to your attention.

The key takeaway was this: “Agents who embrace technology as a way to enhance their existing skill sets, understand how to pivot and hone their ability to deliver a superior experience to their customers will be around for a very long time.”

I want to emphasize the idea of using technology to enhance your services.

It’s very easy to see technology as a threat to our industry, but I would argue that’s it’s a threat to (or change agent for) certain tasks of the transaction (search, transaction management, etc.) and to agents who are unable or unwilling to do what Mr. Hitt suggests: pivot and hone their services.

Here are the three areas he says where REALTORS® are greater than tech:

  1. Offering a personalized white glove experience — Great agents know how to create a personalized experience for each of their clients throughout the sales process, which a website or device simply cannot offer.
  1. Understanding the emotional impact — A good agent understands the emotional elements of this process for the buyers and sellers and doesn’t treat it as a simple, formulaic transaction.
  1. Guiding buyers and sellers — Technology can use certain algorithms, follow strict parameters and return search results, but it doesn’t understand why those parameters were given, offer feedback based on experience or market knowledge, or alter search criteria.

While I don’t think you would disagree with any of these things, we never talk about them. We don’t weave these ideas into our business philosophies and practices and review them on a regular basis. Instead, we talk about “how to get more agents using the new technology we implemented,” or “how to get more listings in your pipeline.” Those things are important, but we have to get back why we’re doing what we’re doing (shout out to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk), knowing the value we bring to the transaction, and then tell that story in our marketing, through our interactions with clients, etc. — while also delivering the results.

I don’t disagree that new products and services from tech companies can feel threatening when they’re first launched (and I’m not looking at any one company in particular, nor is this meant to start a debate about any of them). And I’m certainly not going to pretend that changing technology will not affect our business or impact customer preferences and expectations. Especially when there are literally hundreds (thousands?) of tech companies out there looking to change the way real estate is experienced by consumers.

These companies are spending millions and millions of dollars to figure out how to make buying or selling a home more efficient, more streamlined, more, whatever.

But you already do that.

So, use technology to help you do it better, and keep focused on serving clients before, during, and most importantly, after the transaction. You are closer to the consumer experience than any tech company, and you can see desires change and shift in real-time. Meaning, you can more quickly pivot and hone your services than any tech company ever could.