As we move into a market with fewer transactions and potentially falling prices, it’s more important than ever to zero in on what works and eliminate every unnecessary cost in your business. A great place to begin is by doing a tech audit that identifies where you’re wasting both time and money.
Before discussing the steps in conducting a tech audit, there’s one key point to always keep in mind: Your number-one goal is to get a face-to-face appointment. The 2021 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers showed that 82 percent of the sellers and 73 percent of the buyers only interviewed ONE agent that they hired.
Taking full advantage of the tech tools that work best for your business keeps you top of mind when that buyer or seller decides to transact. Whether you provide a property report, use an email newsletter, or post photos and videos on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok, be sure to provide the user with a reason to give you their contact information.
Large Brokers, Small Agents, Same Probelms
This tech problem is bedeviling individual agents and tech-focused mega-brokerages like Compass, alike.
“The disruptors have been kind of disrupted. But at the end of the day, we’re human. At the end of the day, it’s a very emotional and important part of us, of our family, and our portfolio,” said Marilyn Wilson Lund, founding partner at real estate consulting firm WAV Group. “You want trusted humans. I think what technology can do is it can simplify things. It can make it more transparent.”
What makes the cut compared to what is more easily dispensable in the realm of real estate tech? RE/MAX’s layoffs at its Booj unit this summer might indicate customer relationship management services aren’t valued, but the company still plans to offer them via outsourcing them on kvCORE, a platform offered by tech provider Inside Real Estate – meaning RE/MAX doesn’t have to make the hefty capital investment in developing its own technology arm.
There is still very much a place for technology in the real estate industry. But maybe the brokerages themselves don’t go to all the trouble of research and development.
Customer relationship management software, which can provide everything from market statistics to other datasets needed to help manage client relations, is still very important to brokers, Lund said. Other offerings in what she calls “customer-for-life technologies” help maintain client relationships.
Even an individual agent can apply a simple razor to help them sort out what to keep and what to toss: How much do they use a piece of technology?
How to Audit Your Tech
First, audit the apps on your mobile devices, and delete what you haven’t used in the last year.
For example, I signed up for Club House and stopped using it after 90 days. I also eliminated approximately 40 other apps I’m not using.
I then arranged my essential and frequently used apps on the first page of my mobile devices so I can quickly locate what I use the most often. This approach increases your efficiency and saves valuable time.
The same logic can apply to subscription software.
Have you ever signed up for a company’s 30-day trial at no charge, provided them with a credit card, and then forgot to cancel the subscription? When you locate these, determine whether you’re using this service and if so, if it is contributing to your bottom line. If not, cancel the service immediately.
Have you ever asked your clients which tech tools were the most and least useful, or looked at the data many of these tools generate about how often they’re used? Do they care about 360-degree virtual tour technology? Do they ever use the QR codes you put on your brochure boxes? Does that open house lead-conversion software you’ve had for years actually generate new business?
For those clients who aren’t tech savvy, face-to-face and telephone contact is an absolute must. In contrast, your technologically sophisticated clients will be excited to use the most advanced tech tools available.
If your clients are not using or not responding to the tech tools you provide, you have two options. The first is to dump the tech tool entirely. The second is to search for a different provider that may be easier for your clients to use.
Look for What’s Free
You’d also be surprised by the ways you can substitute free services for things you can get for free.
The National Association of Realtors’ Real Property Reports is an excellent source that provides detailed property reports at no charge. These reports are especially helpful when you meet someone when you’re out prospecting, at a meeting, or at an open house. The beauty of using this RPR reports is that you can provide them with the information they want instantaneously.
What’s exceptional about this service is the RPR app. When you meet someone and they would like to know about their home, all you need is their email or their cell number. The app immediately sends them the reports. Best of all, it only takes about a minute and that lead cost zero to obtain.
When you eliminate the tech and the apps you’re not using, you have room to try new technologies. It’s important, however, to avoid “Shiny Object Syndrome” or getting sucked in by the claim, “It’s only $29.95 per month.”
Instead, determine if any agents you know are already using this tool, the ease of use, as well as whether their clients like using this technology. Give any new technology 90 days to see if it works for you and your clients. If not, drop it and go on to the next tech or app that may be a better fit for you.
There’s no better time than right now to do a tech audit. Double down on what your clients like using and dump what isn’t working for your business.
Cameron Sperance contributed to this report.
Bernice Ross is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, trainer and speaker on real estate topics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.