- Mobile devices are the desktop computers of this generation. Agents need to adapt accordingly or plan to lose out.
Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.
InsideTech is a new agent interview series in our Select Tech Review space that highlights how agents are using specific technology products and gadgets to better their business.
In this interview, I caught up with Greg McClure, CEO and broker of Realty One Group Complete in Rocklin, California, just northeast of Sacramento.
McClure founded Smart Click Realty (SCR), an independent brokerage that focused on leveraging technology for clients. Considered an early adopter and a proponent for industry innovation, Greg now pushes software adoption and social media benefits for the fast growing Realty One brand.
Craig Rowe: Let’s get into it. Tell me about Smart Click, its impetus and how it was received.
Greg McClure: I started SCR about 10 years ago in my garage with one agent and one assistant. It was born out of a frustration of a lack of technology coming from existing brokerages.
The real estate industry as a whole has a historical record of being late to the technology game and you would certainly not accuse the industry of being early adopters.
SCR became an award winning boutique brokerage and was well received by those agents that understood the value of a company that leads from the front in regards to technology.
You seem to have recognized early on that agents weren’t properly leveraging technology. What’s your take on it today?
I still believe the adoption rate for technology is relatively low. I would say that less than 20 percent of the agents who are introduced or taught technology actually put it in their process and use it to their benefit.
That actually became an issue for the growth of SCR. If less than 20 percent of agents are embracing new technology or find value in it, we were catering to a small group of agents.
What products does your Realty One office use?
We use a variety of off-the-shelf products and some that are proprietary to Realty One Group. We use Facebook private groups as our way primary way of communicating with agents. They won’t read their email but they will see our posts.
We use proprietary software that allows us to run our business very efficiently and allows our agents to upload and manage their files remotely.
We give all of our agents, free of charge, a Smarter Agent mobile app to generate leads. Things like digital signatures, PDF editing tools and programs that allow us to create a more efficient process are all part of our toolbox.
Are you always on the look out for new solutions, or do you stick with something until it no longer fits?
I am constantly challenging my team to always be on the lookout for a “better” way. Technology is a tool that complements processes, [but] I think that it can also get in your way or make the process cumbersome.
I think technology should make you more mobile, more paperless and more efficient. If it does not meet those criteria, you should really question its value in your operation or your business.
Technology is a tool that complements processes, [but] I think that it can also get in your way. -Greg McClure
Do you see technology as an investment or expenditure?
I guess it is really both. If a piece of technology or software costs you $10K to deploy but ultimately reduces staff time or helps generate efficiency or generates leads that increase your business — it certainly would not be an expense.
There is an upfront cost that could be considered an expense but the long-term gain is an investment.
How much work do you do on your mobile device?
Funny that you should ask, I was having a conversation with a friend today about not using my laptop or iPad in such a long time. I mean a very long time.
I think that mobile devices are so powerful and so much more convenient that consumers are really growing away from those other devices.
I saw a young person at a conference recently that stated everything he would ever need in life or business he can access from his phone.
He went on to say that he does not know a world any different. Think that was a pretty interesting perspective from that generation.
How do you think mobile technology has made life better for real estate agents?
I think the biggest way it has helped has also hurt. Mobile technology has given us the ability to respond so quickly and efficiently to prospects.
The downside is that consumers are now so use to receiving and processing information instantly that they expect that from agent, and if they don’t get that will move on quickly.
When it comes to technology trends, should agents try to understand and adopt what consumers use or is it more important to let the industry lead?
You have to do both. You have to be acutely aware of consumer behavior in order to reach, connect and collaborate with them. However, you cannot just chase shiny apples. The challenge goes back to my vetting method: does it make you more mobile, more paperless and more efficient?
I think some agents tend to forget about how they act when they are a consumer. A great example of that is consumer reviews. I have seen agents that will literally say that everything they do, see, purchase or eat is based on consumer reviews.
I think some agents tend to forget about how they act when they are a consumer. -Greg McClure
What advice do you have for brokers to encourage agent adoption of technology infrastructure?
You have to have a good rollout plan to increase adaption. That plan should emphasize training that includes hands-on training as well as video and knowledge-based tutorials.
Another key aspect is to show them how it can help their business and have actual data showing how it has helped others like them. Last but not least is to have as much as possible set up for them.
As we’re talking, your website recently has some hosting issues. I’m sure that’s a problem other readers have had — what is the best recourse?
I know pretty ironic that we scheduled a talk about technology and our hosting provider has a major crash. The only thing we can be certain about technology is that it will let us down at the worst possible time.
I educate agents to always have a backup plan in place. If you use a digital listing presentation, have a printed one for back up. If you use a cloud-based CRM system, make sure you have it backed up elsewhere.
Even something as simple as making sure your phone is backed up in case it crashes. You can never be too careful.
Why is website up-time something agents should invest in?
Well, agents should ask that question to their provider. We have never had down time with our provider, but when it happened I received an email from the CEO who assured me they were working on the problem and would have it resolved quickly. That is exactly what happened.
Editorial Note: Greg’s site was designed and is hosted by Blueroof360, a prominent real estate website and software provider. When reached, company CEO Jarad Hull said that they have been battling an individual who has specifically targeted their servers.
Hull added, “It’s a cyber-attack that’s been going on a for a few days, so we had to take down some servers; it’s been a nightmare. But we’re staying ahead of it with customers and installing some pretty heavy duty upgrades. This goes on a lot to all hosts and providers, it’s an ongoing effort.”
Anything new on the tech horizon you’re looking forward to seeing in the industry?
I am a big fan of Inman Connect and the first place I go to when I arrive is the vendor area and Startup Alley. It is always great to talk to other entrepreneurs that have some great and not-so-great ideas on products and services.
I believe that more integrated social media technology will get consumers to cross over that line of anonymity and will help agents connect and really bring more value to prospective clients.
Thanks for your time Greg.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.