4 Hot Real Estate Tech Trends

There are so many hot topics buzzing around the real estate world that it’s easy to get confused. The REAL Trends technology consulting team picked four tech trends that have the potential to impact the real estate industry—agent adoption, integrations, instant gratification and video. We’ll breakdown the trends and help you figure out how to offer easy-to-use and cutting-edge tools and technology that will help your agents and their consumers.


Trend No. 1: Agent Adoption

This is a hot topic for both brokerages and technology companies. From a brokerage perspective, the tools provided are only useful if agents use all or most of the functions.

As you approach each technology, it is important to take a step back and see things from an end-goal perspective. What would you like each service to accomplish? Change your thinking from, “I want to use a CRM because everything is in one system,” to “I want to use a CRM to automate each step of the buying process, therefore, helping my clients in a more constant fashion.”

A technology company obviously wants its product to be adopted. There are many ways technology companies are striving to increase agent adoption and increase the industry average from 10 or 20 percent to upwards of 80 percent.

Here are eight strategies that help increase agent adoption:

  1. Gamification. This is the strategy of turning your system into a game. It may seem silly, but it’s productive. Some ideas for doing that are to offer rewards for productive activities and to display leader boards.
  2.  Incentivize. Consider rewarding agents who win competitions within the CRM for specific revenue-producing tasks, such as loading contacts, logging in and sending emails.
  3. Training. Constant progressive training and reminders in the systems are necessary. Consider a video library of key tactics along with tutorials both online and in the office.
  4. Acknowledgement. Don’t overlook the small victories. Celebrate them and tell the agents about them in training sessions and via email—preferably from the system.
  5. Management Use. One of the best ways to get agents to adopt the technologies is to lead by example. If management uses the system to post events, send emails and track and interface with the agents; then the agents will want to use the system. 
  6. Automation. Automation can simplify complex processes. Use automation to break down tasks to make them simple and have each task trigger other events. An example is to create a checkbox that triggers a fully developed email marketing campaign. 
  7. Marketing Materials. Don’t rely on the agents to produce marketing materials using the system. Some will, but the majority won’t no matter how simple it is to create an email. Instead, create high quality, ready to go, personally branded marketing pieces. If you do just one thing, consider a company newsletter.
  8. Email/Calendar/Contact Sync. This may be the most important thing to have—the ability for your CRM to automatically sync all contacts, email and calendar items. Imagine if your agents could just add a contact in their phones (not in a separate app or webpage) and it automatically posts to the CRM. Or, their CRM automatically syncs with calendar reminders. This is often overlooked but is critical to get agents to adopt this technology.

Trend No. 2: Instant Gratification

As a society, our patience is dwindling. Why wait when technology can get you there instantly? Potential customers are no different—they don’t want to wait. We had a total of 67 companies participate in a secret shopper study with more than 1,200 lead forms submitted for our 2013 Online Performance Study. We discovered that 45 percent of all leads received no response, and 23 percent followed up with a phone call from the original lead submission. The average phone response time was eight hours and 10 minutes. The average email response time was eight hours and 34 minutes from submission. This is completely unacceptable. Clients will go elsewhere if you don’t get back to them.

Thankfully, there are technologies in place to address this issue.

Live chat and live chat-to-text are both software programs that reach customers while you’re away from your phone or computer. Live chat services will staff the live chat for you and be available for initiating chats with the traffic on your website to answer questions or at least appear available as you are gone. Live chat to text is an alternative to this. It appears as a chat window but transfers to your phone via text so you can be reached. You answer this, not a system.

We’ve also seen a few automated emails appear as if they are not automated. We heard a story of one person who uses video email to touch buyer or seller leads as they arrive. He films the same script but with different weather in the background to appear accessible when he may not be at that moment. So, if a lead comes in on a snowy December day, the agent will send the snow shot.

In part two of this two-part series, we will cover the last two tech trends in detail... Stay tuned.

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