In our ever-changing, tech-driven business landscape, creativity is one of the most valuable commodities. But it seems like much of the pioneering of creative tech implementation in real estate comes from agents — and not brokerages.
Granted, there are some great technology-driven brokerages, but they are clearly the minority right now. Most managing brokers seem like they are always trying to keep up with the new tech tools and trends, and they’re only doing it out of necessity.
Some don’t even try. It’s sad because creative ideas for implementing technology tools can launch an agent’s career with considerable momentum.
Ideas such as messaging clients with videos though BombBomb or using aerial drones and video stabilization to make brilliant listing videos are taking off.
Facebook Ad retargeting has opened up a whole new world of pay-per-click advertising ideas. Live video streaming from Periscope is another outlet offering lots of new options for agents.
New technologies have the potential to create client experiences that are fresh and exciting. Creative agents will lay in bed at night thinking about how to implement these new technologies.
As agents become more creative with new technologies, they will inevitably pull buyers and sellers from the “referral pool” as they create better experiences. This is why creativity is such a commodity in today’s real estate environment.
Lately, I’ve been hearing more about agents who want to experiment with new tech ideas, but their managing brokers discourage them from doing so.
It seems to be a constant theme as technology takes over the real estate industry a bit more every year. Facebook real estate groups often have comments from agents who work under managing brokers who don’t help or support their drive to get more creative with technology.
If you work under a broker who encourages you to be creative and experiment, then be sure to thank them for it. It’s a rare thing.
A new beginning
When I started my real estate career in 2008, I choose my first brokerage because it was considered the best at educating new agents. I learned how to call expired listings, chase down FSBOs (for sale by owners), work open houses and contact my sphere regularly.
I did all of these things diligently for many months with limited success. I’m not saying that these things don’t work; I’m saying that they don’t work for everyone in every market all the time.
In 2008, I was working like crazy using the traditional methods with a slow growth rate. The whole time I was taking classes at my brokerage, I kept thinking of new ways to use the Internet to get business, but I was told that was a “long shot” at the time.
“Stick with what works” was the phrase that came up quite often. It just wasn’t working for me, and I was losing my passion for the business.
I finally decided that if I was going to keep pursuing real estate, I was going to take some risks and do things a little different. I quit my brokerage and started working with a 100 percent commission brokerage who didn’t offer anything and was completely hands-off.
It allowed me to stop listening to people and start discovering on my own. I learned how to generate leads from the Internet rather than from my database.
Zillow had a good ROI back then, so I signed up. I quickly started closing deals much faster and in significantly greater volume than I was with my old broker’s techniques. I was extremely happy to be doing well and growing.
I decided to learn how to build my own websites so that I could compete with Zillow and didn’t have to be tethered to it and pay ever-increasing fees.
This progression of learning more about Internet leads and websites led me down a path that taught me how to do content marketing, blogging, CRM management, PPC marketing and social media networking. These were all things that were mysteries to my managing broker.
If I hadn’t broken free from the narrow-minded teaching that I started with, I would have never made it as a Realtor. I now run a thriving brokerage in Colorado Springs called Great Colorado Homes.
Technology is at the heart of the brokerage, as well as strong customer service. Creativity has allowed me to find the business model that works for me. I have never worked under anyone in real estate who encouraged that.
More recently, I’ve seen other brokers encouraging their agents to get creative, and I understand that my experience is not that of every agent.
Some people need to create and discover new things regularly, or they will get bored with their business. Agents like this are usually good online lead generators.
Are you where you belong?
If you are an agent who feels in your gut that the training and info you are getting from your brokerage is holding you back, then you should re-evaluate whether or not you are a good fit for them.
Do you really need more training, and is the training yielding the results you expected?
If you’re a managing broker, I’d like to challenge you to reflect on the recent conversations you’ve had with your agents who want to create and discover new ways of using technology to grow their business.
How did you respond when they last approached you? Did you try to learn what they were talking about or check out of the conversation? Could you encourage them, even if what they were saying didn’t make sense to you?
As managing brokers, we are either getting in the way of, completely oblivious to or encouraging these agent’s technologic creativity. How would your creative agents rate your encouragement of them on a scale from 1 to 10?
If you don’t know, then go ask them. They might be sitting on the next big idea that could increase your sales or decrease your overhead.
I’ll end this article with the same line I started it with: In our ever changing, tech-driven business landscape, creativity is one of the most valuable commodities. Think about it.
Andrew is the owner and managing broker of Great Colorado Homes, Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is known for creating unique infographics, videos and graphic design on his website and his company’s Facebook page.