A reader asked me to recommend a CRM. While I was flattered he saw me as a credible source of agent technology advice, it’s a very tough question. I know nothing about his business other than he’s a one-person shop. What surprised me was that he asked for a recommendation that would be easy to “switch from” if it didn’t work out.

  • The success of a technology investment is not solely the responsibility of the technology.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

A reader asked me to recommend a CRM.

While I was flattered he saw me as a credible source of agent technology advice, it’s a very tough question.

I know nothing about his business other than he’s a one-person shop.

What surprised me was that he asked for a recommendation that would be easy to “switch from” if it didn’t work out.

He was already thinking about choosing something else before the first option was even downloaded.

That’s a problem.

Defying a culture of restlessness

Since 1969, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had three coaches. In a league where play-callers are processed through human resources faster than people who think racist jokes are funny, the Black and Gold are a rarity.

Yet, it’s a characteristic that rarely enters the discussion about the franchise’s place in NFL history.

It’s not just good draft picks and a focus on defense. It’s the vocal support of their coaching staff. It’s the family dynamic surrounding the clubhouse.

The Rooney family accepts the bad losses and occasional December-only season in exchange for long-term stability. With that kind of atmosphere, coaches can get firm buy-in from players. Game decisions aren’t questioned, and losses are felt as a team.

Living in a technology world, we’ve become so quickly enamored with “what’s next” that we fail to fully accept the “what’s now.”

We tentatively use apps, anxiously awaiting their updates or another developer’s take on its purpose.

How many of you have already read about the next iPhone?

When it comes to technology, we’re like indifferent lovers. We hold one hand and swipe our device screens with the other.

Many top-notch real estate software systems out there will require significant money and time to get up and running. When brokers make the commitment to both, their investment will undoubtedly lead to a number of closing victories.

Chart talk 101

So let’s talk a game plan.

Start with how you choose what to buy. Don’t merely read some sarcastic blowhard with a tech review column or a pitchman behind a table at Startup Alley.

When it comes to technology, we’re like indifferent lovers. We hold one hand and swipe our device screens with the other.

Brokers need to know when the time is right to invest in and launch something as big as CRM software, a lead generation system or an Internet marketing platform.

What is the collective professional makeup of your agent pool? Do you have the right team in place, or will someone disrupt the adoption process with technological apathy?

There is real value in building an agent team that is receptive to these kinds of efforts. If someone’s independent contractor spirit is too strong to support office technology decisions, perhaps another agency would be a better fit.

Poll your agents to determine wants and needs. Create a list of hot-button items, top necessities, nice-to-haves and deal-killers.

Take your time in evaluating competitors. You’re in the business of negotiation — challenge vendors to compete for your business.

Brokers should also create onboarding plans as the solution of choice nears fruition.

Almost every software company will happily assist in this and many have structure already in place to ensure customers get ramped up efficiently depending on the scope of the install.

Broker accountability is key. Don’t set up a cubicle-wide solution and not take ownership of its success. Be a champion for your product.

Agencies should consider training sessions beyond what the provider offers. Schedule hour-long meetings during adoption to unravel complications and ensure everyone is grasping which feature does what and how everything is connected.

“It’s not you, technology — it’s me”

As beautiful and visually ergonomic as so many enterprise software products are today, there is complexity in that beauty.

Don’t set up a cubicle-wide solution and not take ownership of its success.

It’s not at all uncommon for some small, value-add features to remain undiscovered by casual users. Then again, casual users should have made it into your planning process.

We are in an age of incredibly productive and intricately designed workforce software. I often shake my head in disbelief at the high level of system-to-system connectivity and intellectualism on display in something as simple as an email marketing tool.

In short, the success of a technology investment is not solely the responsibility of the technology.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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