The real estate industry has evolved immensely over the years, in large part because technology has changed the way we do things. In fact, technology has a major influence on the shift in expectations by consumers. What has stayed the same, however, is the basis on which business functions.
Business starts with the consumer. If a consumer demands a good or service, and a business can supply it, both parties benefit. If a business supplies something that the consumer doesn’t demand, both lose.
Doesn’t it make sense, then, to focus your real estate business on existing and prospective clients? After all, they are the ones who will ultimately choose which agent and brokerage to work with. If you want prospective clients to choose you, make sure you know what it is that they demand.
For example, most potential clients today start their real estate searches online. In fact, 9 out of 10 home buyers rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources, according to the National Association of Realtors (2012). They use their smart phones to view listings, find directions, and read reviews. In other words, the consumer demands speed, ease of access, and flexibility.
Back to Economics 101. If your business can’t supply what the consumer demands, someone else will eventually do so in your place. Don’t let that happen, and most importantly, don’t fall behind. How? Well, find those agents that understand your potential clients’ demands, and once you do, don’t let them get away.
Agents, Agents, Agents!
A real estate brokerage is as good as its agents, because they are the core of the business. Your agents are the ones who lead your clients from the first touch point all the way to the closing of a deal. Your agents are also the ones who bridge the gap between internet research and viewing/buying a home. There’s no question that having the best local agents creates a competitive advantage for a brokerage. And today, those agents are comparing. They’re comparing the existing brokerages where they’ve worked for with the new ones that are arising. And they’re looking not only at a broker’s building and location, but also at how fast they move, which tools they provide and what team they’ve already created.
After all, without great agents, a brokerage is just a license. It’s the team that’s assembled that makes a brokerage stand out. Successful brokers know that their focus must be on the development of the right environment that generates great opportunities for success. Done right, brokers can create compelling reasons for agents to join their team.
The right environment means having the right infrastructure. But be careful, this isn’t just about the physical assets a broker brings to the table anymore. Instead we mean a technology infrastructure; one that is aligned with your clients’ demands. Today, this isn’t just a requirement, but also a competitive differentiator that helps with agent retention.
There are tons of technology solutions available in the world of real estate software, and many are amazingly easy to use. These technologies help provide a service level alongside everything else being done in today’s digital world, much like e-banking or e-commerce. Some of these tools include:
- Marketing tools like websites with video tours, listings, testimonials, and contact information that offer 24/7 access for the mobile consumer
- Lead management tools that connect agents with clients even faster
- Contact management tools to simplify communications between agents and clients
- Front office tools to easily manage client listings and appointments
- Document sharing tools for increased efficiency and ease of access in all communications
- Transaction management tools that, well, manage your transactions from start to close
- Accounting tools for easy financial reporting, on-time commission calculations, and all other back office tasks
Surprisingly, a lot of agents still do not receive any broker-supplied technology, despite the fact that the market demands more and more of it as it continues to evolve.
This is where you can use Economics 101 to your advantage. If consumers and agents alike demand a great technology infrastructure, and many real estate brokerages aren’t supplying it yet, be the one to take that next step and leave your competition in the dust. Because ultimately, brokers that do supply innovative tools provide an agent the greatest chance for success. And that’s hard for any agent to walk away from.
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