As we settle into a post-Zillow/Trulia merger world, the relationship between real estate and technology has never been under so much scrutiny.
For most of the past decade, real estate agents and brokers have been living in the fast-changing game of who can produce the best or highest quality internet leads.
As real estate technology rapidly advanced into a mobile-first world, the vast majority of agents found themselves behind the curve and lost much of their personal and company lead traffic to the large portals, including Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
These portals invested heavily in mobile-first platforms that gave consumers amazing experiences on mobile devices when agents were not paying attention.
This allowed these heavily funded portals to monetize the real estate agent with an intoxicating promise of getting rich off web leads.
In today’s real estate world, there is a new disruption in technology. REALTORS® are harnessing technology as a platform to automate and manage marketing activities, build their personal brands and take back the consumer’s attention at the local level.
These forward-thinking REALTORS® are dominating in today’s market and are not threatened by the next internet lead generation model.
They realize they can access mobile-first technology inexpensively and directly engage with their target customers in a mobile, local and social world.
They understand no matter how much Zillow or the other portals may or may not want people to buy homes on the internet, real estate transactions can be highly emotional and personal.
They require an expert to deliver the proper knowledge of local lifestyles and nuances of the individual communities that cannot be delivered through online algorithms or data modeling.
Today the most successful and profitable REALTORS® approach technology with a shift in mindset and implement a smarter strategy.
Some people spend more time on their smartphones than on a desktop computer or even watching television.
That in mind, it's vital for real estate professionals to have responsive, mobile-friendly websites, because that's where the consumer is going to find you first.
Simply put, responsive design allows your personal website to deliver a superior user experience, regardless of what type of device someone is on.
This does not mean stripping out content and just adding some basic menus like many of the agent-focused web companies did a few years back.
It means delivering a content-rich experience that allows consumers to engage with you and your brand in a contemporary way.
This mobile-first strategy needs to be executed at both the agent level and the broker level.
Successful REALTORS® know the most precious asset they have is their time. Technology allows for many time-consuming tasks, such as following up on leads or posting to social media, to be automated.
Automation gives agents a way to maximize their return on investment (ROI) by doing it more efficiently, which in turn increases conversions of all types of leads dramatically.
A successful REALTOR® is the CEO of their business. They have to keep track of metrics. They measure those metrics to see where adjustments need to be made.
Technology allows today’s best software applications to track leads from all sources and measure success. By automating leads from every source into one central dashboard, you can easily identify where to increase your marketing spending and where to decrease it.
Consolidating Fragmented Systems
It’s daunting to think that some REALTORS® log in to 10 or more applications with separate usernames and passwords to manage their business.
Streamlining these systems and eliminating duplicate technologies by consolidating a CRM, websites, marketing and lead management under one umbrella is typically game changing in terms of productivity.
Realize what features and functions are most important to your business, and then strip away the rest of the clutter. It makes for a more focused workflow, with fewer things to juggle.
In summary, the REALTOR® is the expert and the authority of knowledge for their individual communities and local markets.
By shifting their mindset and implementing a smarter technology strategy, they open up their businesses to more targeted consumers, create more efficiency in daily tasks, and grow their productivity levels and revenue streams significantly.
This article was originally featured in the March Issue of Real Estate Agent Magazine.