Like many industries, technology has completely upended the day-to-day operations in real estate. For the agents, brokers and brokerage operators, tech has developed into an extension of their services, supplied supplemental marketing solutions and helped provide opportunities to reach a wider audience.
But while tech has helped to streamline the consumer’s experience in selling or buying real estate, and has given agents a chance to promote their brand on multiple digital platforms, the consumer is still gravitating toward a personal approach from REALTORS®.
When you search online for a property or for help selling a home, you can close your eyes, point and find at least a dozen algorithm-filled sites in your search results. The problem, however, is that you may end up with a specific price on one website and then a completely different price on another for the same property, causing confusion and frustration. Who can help clear this up? A trusted real estate agent.
In today’s tech- and data-driven world, about 93% of all potential homebuyers and sellers use the internet to find a new home or help with selling. But even with that amount of online research, people still ask their friends and family who they used to buy or sell their home. They aren’t going online to haphazardly find an agent. They want a trusted choice. Would you rather have someone randomly selected by an algorithm or someone who is vouched for?
Agents who operate with personalization as their foundation can grow a loyal customer base and expand their sphere of influence. Technology is great, but what supersedes tech is the relationships that REALTORS® can have and build on with other people.
Using technology should be for engaging your sphere of influence in real estate. You do this by providing information and value to the consumer. It’s all personal. That’s why agents are so integral to the process of buying or selling a home.
Yes, an agent should utilize social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to promote properties, provide insight and make connections. And, yes, they should be using a CRM tool to stay up to date on past customers’ purchase anniversaries or to check in on potential additional services they can provide.
The property tech community will continue to rise, but it will still require a human touch so that clients know that they are working with the best possible agent when spending large amounts of money on their homes. Buyers and sellers might like looking on websites because it’s fun and it’s gamified the home search/selling process in real estate. But when it comes to actually going through with the transaction process, they want the guidance of an expert. As agents, you likely have more time to work with each client and create a truly personal experience that will resonate with them and open the door to a long-term relationship.
At the end of the day, being an effective real estate agent is all about connecting with clients in a meaningful way. Doing so brings the kind of helpful recommendations that digital technology cannot match.
Todd Sumney is the chief industry officer for HomeSmart International. For more information about joining HomeSmart as an agent, please visit HomeSmart.com/join, or visit homesmart.com/franchising for franchise opportunities.