The race for better and faster technology has arguably replaced the rat race. We all know now who moved our cheese: Technology did.

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the rat race. At least I knew where I was going, what I had to do, and who would win.

I knew I was going nowhere fast, that I had to keep up with the Joneses, and I knew the rat always won.

Participation in the technology race means the last upgrade I purchased becomes instantly obsolete upon installation, and I’ve got to run faster to purchase the next one.

Technology is a race with no finish line. "Instant" will be way too slow in just a few years, no doubt.

Perhaps there will be broad adoption of technology that automatically reads, interprets and responds to text messages on your behalf.

That will be a great day for sales agents who sit in sales meetings trying to look like they are listening but are instead quietly replying to text messages by blinking or sniffing or coughing in a coded sequence.

A few years ago, when texting was coming into its own, I had the following humbling experience during a meeting with four of the top agents on our team.

While I was sharing my vast wisdom on a myriad of fascinating topics, three of the agents were texting ‘happy birthday’ to each other. I wouldn’t have known had I not asked them why everyone was sitting with their heads bowed and giggling.

So much for my leadership and uncanny ability to hold focused attention.

Looking back, I had probably asked them to do something hard and was really an old idea: role-play a script.

Fortunately, these were very successful members of our award-winning team. Since I believe that breaking a few rules is the privilege of the productive, I let it go.

All four were way ahead of me with their communications tech, and knew it, but they also knew that a big part of their success was my experience — not my technology.

I was constantly calling upon one of them for technology tips, and they were constantly calling me about "what to say" to a prospect, a parent, the investor. Once they learned what to say, they started making sales.

Their technology skills were impressive, but they were not making sales because of their technology: They were making sales because they knew how to sell.

Technology is a great thing. We need technology, but we need to be honest about our own compulsions, addictive behaviors, and the way we can justify the enormous amount of time that can be wasted.

Recently, an agent changed offices because the new broker "offered more advanced technology." Plus, she said, sales were slow and she thought a change would be good for her.

I could not help but wonder if it was because "technology" was keeping her so busy that she had become less productive.

Could it be possible that "technology" has become the new hip excuse for a lack of production? Not the technology itself, but how we use it, or let it use us.

If she is really chasing better technology, there will be no end to the offices she will join before her career is over. It’s a given that some office, somewhere, has or soon will have something better, faster, and/or easier to use than your present office.

To their credit, there are some incredible agents using technology to build their businesses far beyond what they could produce without it, but they are the rare breed who knows that sales skills trump technology and that they are selling "because they know how to sell."

Here’s the real issue. Ask your best sales agents — the productive ones — to what do they attribute their success? They probably can’t give you a simple answer because they are unconsciously competent, but "technology" may be given as one reason … not the reason for their success.

Technology is their friend, not their crutch. They know that technology will not help them in a sales situation when the buyer is asking for clarification or reassurance. Only they can do that. The words they speak, not their technology, will make or break the sale.

They know how to prospect and what to say when they get a prospect. Technology is simply a prospecting and communication tool to them. They may be good or bad with technology, but they are outstanding when it comes to collecting commissions.

Your thoughts?

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Network with CoStar, Redfin, Realogy, SERHANT., Divvy, and thousands more in-person at ICLV this October. Prices go up Sunday.Register Now×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription