I recently had the pleasure of attending the Gathering of Eagles, an invitation-only conference for top executives who work within the real estate industry.
As I listened to influential speakers and leaders share their take on real estate technology, I thought about our clients, and how the current trends can make them more successful. In fact, with every trend is a lesson, and those lessons teach real estate agents how to thrive for decades to come.
1. Transactions Are Becoming More Complex
The era of simple real estate deals is over, as brokerages are starting to break out of their traditional molds and take on new verticals.
As top producers and increased competition have impacted profit margins, brokers are seeking new opportunities for profit. For example, large brokers are starting to expand into the mortgage and title insurance industries, offering full-service solutions that address all components of purchasing real estate. Others are focusing on niche areas like retirement homes, or commercial properties.
Yet, this broker side-step into complementary industries is a logical one. It anticipates the multi-faceted needs of consumers, and makes their lives easier. As it turns out, that's just the type of attitude that will make a broker more successful.
But while things get easier for the consumer, they're going to get harder for the broker. As real estate companies carve out new areas of expertise, their transactions become more complex. Simply put, real estate brokers are doing more than ever, and they need Enterprise-focused technology that can keep up with shifting demands.
Brokers will need to find partners who can truly handle complicated demands, and make real estate endeavours as straight-forward as possible.
2. Agents Are Learning To Focus Again
The entire real estate industry (and world beyond) is experiencing the phenomena of incredible technology, where almost every need seems to have a corresponding app, software, or website to make things "easier".
We're bombarded with ads and advice, information and recommended activities. Everywhere you turn, there's someone telling you what you should be doing. It's exhausting, and incredibly distracting!
Agents are unfocused and scattered. Their attention is divided between a dozen pieces of technology, each with their own features. The end result is realtors who are less productive and less profitable than they could be.
But the solution is simple: agents just need to focus. The most successful real estate leaders will identify the activities that truly matter to their business, and forget about everything else. The reality is that you don't have to be good at everything; you just have to be great at a few things.
And when we're talking real estate, there's only two things that actually matter:
- Generated Leads
- Closed Leads
This is actually the approach we've taken with REW CRM, where we reworked a feature-packed platform and boiled it down to the features and functions that matter most. We ditched the distractions and built the ultimate relationship building machine—because it focuses agents on the actions that matter most.
This is where the entire industry is heading, where smart brokers will limit all the noise and find tech solutions that help their teams focus on their goals.
3. Realtors Are Responding To Instant Demands
Our new era technology has created an incredibly impatient generation. It's not that they're rude, or inconsiderate—in fact, most people don't even realize they're this way. But people have become so accustomed to receiving instant answers that they move on quickly when they don't get them.
Kyle Hess, the Manager of Agency Development at Google, identified three ways that micro-moments have changed the customer journey:
- Immediacy of action: we're spoiled with instant results, regardless of whether we want to view puppy videos or find homes for sale. We want it now!
- High expectations: we expect to see results for what we searched for, and want exactly what we're looking for. No exceptions.
- Unscripted decisions: we're more loyal to the moment we're in than to specific brands. In other words, we'll choose the company that meets our need in that instant, over the company we trust.
The real estate agents, brokers and brands that will be most successful are the ones who understand the implications this has on our industry and can adapt to consumer needs. They'll be ready.
From a technology perspective, real estate agents need to:
- Be There
- Be Useful
- Be Quick
First, agents need to show up; when people are searching for relevant terms, your company needs to be in front of them. And now that mobile users have surpassed desktop users, this means having a site that shows up for both mobile and desktop users. By the way, 93% of people perform an online search before buying something.
Next, companies need to provide value. Consumers simply have so many options that it's not enough to just be there. Real estate agents have to show people how they will make their lives better. This is done through valuable, high quality content like how-to videos, and helpful copy that anticipates consumer questions.
And finally, real estate companies have to provide information quickly. This means having a site that loads in under 3 seconds, cuts down on the number of steps or clicks, and anticipates every need. Instead of just answering the question a person has, realtors need to anticipate what their next question will be and answer that too.
The right real estate technology will enable realtors to meet these needs. But, ultimately, it's going to be up to real estate agents and companies to be ready and create the experiences that their potential clients crave.
Applying The Trends To Real Life
Knowing where the future is headed is exciting, but it can seem overwhelming too. By watching the trends, we get a better understanding of what consumers are looking for, and how real estate agents and technology providers have to adapt.
We can also tie all three of the trends above into one fairly straight-forward lessons: real estate companies need to focus on people.
And as people's needs and expectations change, real estate companies and their technology needs to do the same. People now expect fast, helpful, all-encompassing experiences, and real estate companies need to adapt to those expectations. Technology can assist with this, but it's only a tool. A means to an end.
Real estate companies that can't adapt to changes consumer expectations are likely to fail, while those who do adapt have limitless potential for success.