The Agency founder Mauricio Umansky believes the art of genuine communication is dying, and it’s up to real estate agents to keep it alive or lose ground to disruptive real estate tech companies pushing things like iBuying.

Mauricio Umansky believes that art of genuine communication is dying, and it’s up to real estate agents to keep it alive or lose ground to disruptive real estate tech companies pushing things like iBuying.

Mauricio Umansky

Umansky, the founder of high-end boutique brokerage The Agency, said Wednesday afternoon at Inman Luxury Connect that too many agents try to communicate with their clients via text message or other impersonal means. Texting is obviously widespread and common for many people these days, but Umansky said that when those agents come into the office complaining about losing clients, he isn’t surprised.

“That is strictly a client that you had that you were just sending stuff to,” Umansky said he tells his agents, referring to digital communication methods.

A better way to communicate — and build lasting relationships — is via personal and intimate forms of communication. Umansky encouraged agents to take clients out to dinner or breakfast. Or ride with them in the car while you look at homes.

“I love showing buyers when they’re in my car,” Umansky explained. “But if they’re following me, after the third home I’m bored. I don’t even care if they buy a home.”

The difference, according to Umansky, is that being in the car with clients means a having a totally different kind of communication. And that kind of personal, face-t0-face conversation is what has helped Umansky build a successful brokerage that operates at the extremely high end of the market.

“I’m still very old school I think we need to go back to the basics,” Umansky added. “Empathy, creating a relationship.”

Most agents would be thrilled to win the kinds of listings Umansky does. But during Wednesday’s panel, Umansky also argued that the stakes are much higher for the broader industry.

If agents don’t communicate, he argued, disruptive new tech-oriented real estate models such as iBuying — which are arguably impersonal by nature — will make greater inroads.

“If the art [of communication] gets lost,” Umansky argued, “that iBuyer program, they’ll start becoming relevant.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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