Using Technology for Real Estate Brokerage Growth and Agent Retention
Using Technology Development to Change The Way You Do Business
There is certainly a great deal of pressure on our industry. It's not just the changes brought on by the Internet. Consumers are becoming more demanding, and there is continual pressure to lower real estate commissions. Of course, the Internet is spurring many changes in how we deliver our core services as well. One argument for lower commissions is the efficiency added by new technology.
Rather than lamenting the technology changes, or avoiding investment in new technology solutions as long as possible, why not embrace it and let it help you to change the way that you do business? Technology investment can pay back in many ways, and that includes possible major changes in how you charge your clients for services, and how you compensate agents.
This is the first article in a series I'll write on using technology to change your brokerage business. In this one, let's talk specifically about our current compensation models. Let's look at a few things about human nature and the business needs of our agents first:
- Most of your agents are also struggling with technology.
- Your agents are reading about the need for them to have an effective web presence that probably includes blogging.
- They are also getting into social and online business networking.
- Some of them have more knowledge about the tech stuff than you do.
- Realizing that the Internet can be a major source of business outside of brokerage leads, they are examining their options.
- Most agents would respond well to a brokerage that provides them with business-building solutions.
- Your agents realize there is a cost for tech in money and time. Done right, they'll trade commission split percentage for a system that works for them.
The franchise or large brokerage that first makes maximum use of the technology available to them will be a major force in the future of real estate. Providing a turnkey and technologically advanced office and marketing environment to agents, retention will be much higher, and production the same. What are the major points to consider?
- A brokerage Web presence that fosters agent individuality and automates some of the lead distribution based on agent involvement (multi-author blogging). The individual agent should also be maintaining their own independent site, as you never know when you'll want to move.
- A back end lead management solution that allows remote access, agent management of their leads, and reports for agents and brokerage. Many site providers now offer a CRM solution as an addition to their websites. The prospects that come in on the site are automatically added into the CRM system.
- Leverage of cell phones, SMS text messaging and social networking to disseminate information and leads to agents, and to receive information from them.
- Document storage, transmission and receipt systems for remote access. This would include training documents, videos, transaction documents, etc. Take a look at Evernote for this.
- Online faxing (yes there is still a lot of faxing going on) that delivers PDF files to computers for out-of-office access.
- A package of solutions that negates the need for a desk in the office if that's what the agent wants.
It is very possible to provide world class support to your agents with them rarely entering the office. Even training can be done remotely now at little or no cost with video cameras and high speed internet access. The other side is the cost savings that will result from not tying up 100+ square feet of office space for each agent.
With the dramatic improvements in smartphones and their cameras, most agents are carrying around a portable office platform that's better than a notebook computer was ten years ago. Work with them on ways to do their job better and faster remotely with the technology they already have. You don't have to buy it, just adapt to it with software and applications.