Tech-challenged agents are an endangered species

You can't force agents to adapt, but natural selection will have its way

SAN FRANCISCO — Real estate is brimming with tools that can help agents drum up leads, streamline transactions and generally make their lives easier, but many agents just don’t use them.

Should brokers force them to?

Extinction image via Shutterstock.
Extinction image via Shutterstock.

No, says Valerie Garcia, senior technology coach at Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic. If some coaching doesn’t do the trick, let natural selection have its way, she said, speaking on a panel about how to drive tech adoption at Real Estate Connect.

“We have to stop having the conversation of how to get people to adopt, and we need to start having the conversation of how do we just let those people that don’t [adopt] fall behind,” Garcia said.

Brokers should expect people to get on the metaphorical tech bus or get off, she said.

“We have to get to the point where tech adoption needs to be part of our industry,” she said. “If you’re not using a cellphone, if you’re not walking around with a computer in your pants … you shouldn’t be in the business.”

Redfin feels the same way. The broker doesn’t bring agents on board unless they demonstrate that they’re “technologically savvy and capable,” said Scott Nagel, president of real estate operations at the firm.

And those tech-challenged hires who slip through the cracks? “They don’t last long.”

“Time is not on the side of agents who aren’t technologically savvy,” Nagel said.

Perhaps not.

But everyone knows an agent who doesn’t know a thing about technology, but still kills it.

“There are just people who are rainmakers, and they know how to sell,” said Gary Gold, an agent at the Beverly Hills-based brokerage Hilton & Hyland, addressing some panelists’ adapt-or-die stance on Luddites.

Garcia said those agents’ seeming independence from tech is illusory.

“Behind that person is somebody who’s doing that stuff.”


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