Some agents who implement timed-tested sales techniques can “turn an objection into a commission,” according to Aleksandra Scepanovic, managing director of Ideal Properties Group.
Others miss out on deals because they haven’t mastered such tactics. Scepanovic thinks her brokerage has found a way to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Ideal Properties Group, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based brokerage with about 110 agents, is exploiting the functionality of Google Glass, Google’s smart glasses, to boost agents’ productivity, even going so far as to guide green or underperforming agents in real time as they work with a client — much like a commander steering an operative towards a target.
“In-person training normally consists of shadowing an agent,” Scepanovic said. “We were trying to find the digital version of the first-person, direct and immediate training.”
Google Glass, currently in open beta, allows people to use hand motions or dictation to snap photos, browse the Internet, send text messages, shoot video and even share video live. The device costs $1,500.
Ideal Properties Group has four of the devices, and is asking agents who could benefit from some coaching to use them to record interactions with clients. The goal is to capture footage of critical engagements with clients so the agent can review them with a manager and identify areas for improvement. Ideal Properties Group records clients only if they sign a consent form, according to Scepanovic.
The firm wants agents to record video of exchanges such as the conversation that follows a showing. That’s a moment, Scepanovic said, where Ideal Property agents are expected to break out certain sales tactics.
Beyond merely recording exchanges, agents are also sharing footage of them in real time with managers, who watch on desktop computers back at the office, Scepanovic said.
Seeing what the agent sees, trainers can tell agents in real time to implement certain techniques, including those that might salvage a deal, according to Scepanovic.
“If an agent is not performing well in the field, the manager or the teammate will have an opportunity to correct as they go,” she said.
Scepanovic also envisions Glass helping agents answer challenging questions on the fly.
Imagine a client asks for the average cost of a home in a Brooklyn neighborhood or the location of the closest laundromat. A manager could hear the question, look up the answer and then communicate it to the agent. The agent would see the information in her field of vision and relay it to a client.
The brokerage’s program might seem to raise some privacy concerns, but that hasn’t been much of an issue, Scepanovic said. Only one out of the 16 clients Ideal Properties Group has asked for permission to record has not consented.
“We thought that we were going to have a higher ratio of ‘no’s’ but I guess maybe we’re all just used to being recorded all the time,” she said.
OK, but what about the agents?
Part of the challenge, Scepanovic said, “is to make sure that they get comfortable around people and get comfortable knowing that their managers are monitoring their work to make sure that they can do this well.”