OpinionAgent

Opinion: Will you become a 21st-century agent?

Clients are becoming more savvy and demanding more
  • Just helping your client navigate through a transaction will not serve the growing savvy consumer, who will eventually find your skills mediocre at best.
  • The 21st-century real estate agent must not only become astute in cutting-edge technology that serves the consumer, but the ability to demonstrate those benefits and more with a compassionate, personal and humanistic touch.

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Amidst out-of-the-box thinking, the pressure of amazing new technologies and the way the real estate business is and will be done, one thing is for sure: progress will not be stopped.

The very old adage, “We’ll do it this way because it’s the way it’s always been done, and we’ll keep on doing it” is not only limited thinking — it’s foolish. It will not serve the growing savvy consumer, and you will find your skills mediocre at best — if not unemployed.

Currently, the real estate industry coughs 7 of 10 agents out of the business or to inactive licenses within two years of obtaining their license. What my own experience and associating with the fascinating industry thinkers of our time has shown me is that the consumer demands more from our industry and will continue to do so.

This has nothing to do with whether you’re a Keller Williams, a Coldwell Banker or a Re/Max brand (just to mention a few) or one of the countless boutique indie brokerages that are out there and growing.

In every office, you’ll find agents that are absolutely amazing and agents that are far from it. And, of course, everything in between. The minimum benchmark becomes what the savvy consumer demands.

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No longer is the so-called expertise of the real estate agent deemed satisfactory by simply navigating through a transaction, deciphering paperwork and getting signatures, along with a few other ministerial tasks with a closing gift. Here comes the 21st century agent.

The new world of the 21st century

Holographic models (3-D? No, try 7-D) and images for the consumer to interact with to maximize their time are intersecting with the world of smart homes that do everything from adjusting your bed temperature while you sleep to tracking your eating, breathing and exercising patterns to better advise you of your health (no, I’m not wearing a wristband) — not to mention cutting-edge security, window e-glass dimmer adjustments, refrigerator and freezer temperatures to better keep the type and amount of food are becoming mainstream.

Imagine robotic, stand-alone Siri-like companions that help monitor all of this and can advise you on grocery lists and inventory, order food and merchandise for you and even suggest a better matching tie to wear to work.

Then there are emergency-response drones saving lives, automated hospitality-bots and electronic bees — yes, you read correctly, e-bees. And the list goes on.

Many car manufacturers already have driver-less electric vehicles along with Google’s self-driving car project. Stand ready to give your buyers a private tour of the area, show them homes and never touch a steering wheel.

The 21st century is here, and it’s not only affecting the real estate industry but also the rest of our lives. And it’s coming with a vengeance.

Profiling the 21st-century agent

Of course, there are those who resist. You are welcome to. But should you decide to be one of them, I fear you will find your voice to be but a whisper.

The thing the 21st-century agent must do is become astute in cutting-edge technology that serves the consumer because they demand it. And the 21st-century agent must demonstrate those benefits and more with a compassionate, personal and humanistic touch.

Email — what’s that? It’s rapidly becoming a thing of the past. At my last count, there are well over 200 different major social media sites and more being created every week.

This clearly demonstrates the need for people to be more connected in different ways and communicating with each other, all in a better-connected, mobile-centric world.

How are we connected? There has never been a smaller, more efficient and powerful device than our cell phones. And nearly every adult on the planet has one.

Prototype modular snap-in peripheral mobile phones are on the horizon, too, giving each of us the ability to enjoy many configurations.

Didn’t Facebook just halt their research and development projects and sink millions of dollars into making itself more mobile? Yes, it did.

Finally, one of the last speakers, best-selling author and CEO of Peoplistic USA, Gary de Rodriguez, reiterated the fact that communication is broken up into three methods: words, body language and tonalities — with words accounting for a mere 7 percent of communication.

Personally, I love the new technologies. I also believe real estate will always need the personal touch and face-to-face time with the professional.

Yet, in the wake of evolving tech and the threats outlined in the DANGER Report the question remains: if by leveraging technology in the direction we are, I wonder if we will ever learn to communicate better?

Jeff Lowen is the managing director of The Real Estate Expert Advisor, LLC. a real estate consulting, coaching and sales firm with Keller Williams Realty. Follow him on Twitter.

Email Jeff Lowen.