Comfort zones are nice. They’re just so predictable and — comfortable. With the way our world works now, especially in tech, it is near impossible to avoid change. Yet, some people still manage.
I myself have never been one of these people. I’m always looking for the next big thing; I cannot wait to try the latest and greatest developments in technology (yes, I sometimes wait in lines when I can’t find a way around it). Although it is easy to understand the preservation of a device or technology that works for you, it is baffling how many agents out there still carry around their trusty ol’ flip phone. The reason I’m baffled, though, is likely not the one you’re expecting.
I will not tell you you’re carrying around a dinosaur. I will not ask you if your arm hurts from holding that thing to your ear. Promise. The one and only reason I take issue with real estate agents holding on to their old-school phones is simple: In today’s world, you need to be where your clients are.
I can almost guarantee that 95 percent or more of your clients and potential clients are using smartphones, which means you should be doing the same. This is not to “fit in,” as it goes much deeper than that. I could spend ages listing off the best features of current top mobile devices, but for now, here are the top three reasons you (agent/broker) need a smartphone for work, aside from the fact that it’s 2015.
One of the biggest complaints you hear about the real estate industry is lack of communication. If you want to convince your client they will never have that gripe with you, you need to make yourself reachable and in a way that works for your client, not just you. When I’m juggling five other tasks at once, as many people today are, a text is a quick, easy way to touch base with someone without dropping everything else I’m doing. Answer a question, send a reminder or provide an update to your client in a very nonintrusive manner. Your client will be very grateful you’re able to keep in touch and understand their needs and availability. Now, can you text on a flip phone? Sure. Can you text efficiently? Nope, you really can’t. A smartphone makes the texting process very simple and streamlined.
2. Instant email
The early smartphone craze exploded into full phenomenon when the major tech companies granted each and every user the ability to check and manage their emails on the go in an easy, organized way. Being out of the office is no longer an excuse as to why you haven’t responded to an email during normal business hours. Smartphones and tablets make this process effortless, and responding on the go lets your clients know you are accessible and that they truly matter. You just can’t get that guarantee with a flip phone.
Simply put, there’s an app for everything. It is amazing when you think about it — in the palm of your hand, you have access to maps, nearby restaurants and local shopping suggestions, photo tools, news updates, school district information and so much more. Not only can you make your own life easier (research, photo editing, GPS assistance, etc.), you can also encourage your clients to use your favorite trusted resources to make the most informed decisions about relocating to their potential new neighborhood. You’d be amazed at how much influence a few good localized apps can have when it comes to making the sale.
Knowing your audience is a major factor in the success of any business. Once you have identified who your ideal client is, you must ask yourself whether you think they appreciate the key features offered by today’s mobile world. If the answer is yes — you know all you need in order to make that leap.
Bill Fishkin is the CEO of Neighbrhds, which creates custom curated, Realtor-sponsored mobile apps aimed at neighborhoods, communities and municipalities across the U.S. and Canada. He is also the founder and CEO of SynMedia, a full-service social media, marketing and design agency based in California.