Things are looking pretty bleak for agents who are out of touch with the digital age, particularly part-timers, according to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. Technology and changing consumers expectations are driving a “separation between the haves and have-nots,” of real estate, he said on stage at Inman Connect.

  • Communicate with the right tools and style, build an online presence or strong brand and consider joining a team to survive the coming culling of agents, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff says.

Things are looking pretty bleak for agents who are out of touch with the digital age, particularly part-timers, according to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.

Technology and changing consumers expectations are driving a “separation between the haves and have-nots,” of real estate, he said on stage at Inman Connect.

01/27/16 Inman Connect. Photography by Jenna Bascom

01/27/16 Inman Connect. Photography by Jenna Bascom

Here are six ways Rascoff seems to think agents can thrive amid what he believes will be a future culling of real estate stragglers.

1. Buy online exposure

Didn’t see that coming, did you? Yes, Rascoff believes successful real estate agents will increasingly buy media exposure to reach consumers online at various levels of the sales funnel.

2. Adopt technology

Technology — like text messages and social media, along with platforms that streamline communication through such channels (think CRMs) —  help agents stay in constant communication with clients. This is key because consumers have grown accustomed to getting what they want instantly. (Think Google searches or Apple’s voice-recognition software Siri, Rascoff said.) Part-timers or tech laggards will lose business for leaving clients or prospects on the hook.

Transaction platforms will also be important to giving agents a competitive edge, Rascoff seemed to suggest. They can help agents streamline transactions. One agent recently explained to Rascoff that his smart phone and the transaction management platform dotloop, which Zillow recently purchased, have helped him double his business.

3. Join or launch a team

Teams can easily be much more responsive to clients, Rascoff said. Their assembly-line approach to generating leads and shepherding clients through various steps in the home-selling and buying process may also give them an edge over lone wolfs.

4. Cultivate a strong local brand

Rascoff seemed to suggest that a strong brand can go a long way in helping agents weather the changing business landscape.

5. Build a strong presence on the Internet

There are two components to this strategy, Rascoff seemed to suggest: buying media and accumulating online reviews.

“Now everyone kind of understands that agent reviews are kind of important,” Rascoff said.

6. Use the right communication style

Not only should agents use technology to communicate efficiently with prospects and clients, they also should communicate in a way that resonates with consumers.

Millennials, in particular, want “rapid communication,” Rascoff said. Agents should talk briefly and quickly when they speak to members of that demographic.

Agents should also be wary of committing faux pas on social media. He recalled one person who wasn’t hot on seeing photos of his former agent on Instagram reveling in expensive activities.

“I’m thinking, well, I’m paying for that,” the person told Rascoff.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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