Tyler Smith is the CEO of SkySlope, and he’s here to take on the industry’s questions, speaking from his experience as a tech leader and former top producer. And when he says, “Ask me anything!” he means it. Check out episode 1 here.
I was thrilled by the variety of questions we got for this episode. Thanks to everyone who stepped up to share their curiosity. Chances are if you have a question about something, so do other people. So don’t be afraid to ask! Here goes.
“What do you believe has been the impact of COVID-19 on technology — specifically in how it relates to real estate?”
When COVID first hit, there was a general sense that real estate would grind to a halt — and thus supporting tech companies would suffer. Luckily, that’s not what happened at all. With work remote, more people are moving which is providing plenty of opportunities for Realtors. The real estate market is actually exceeding expectations as far as business goes.
As for technology? It’s not only required but it’s a necessity for brokers and agents to survive. Tech companies are rising to the occasion. In the past nine months, I’ve seen more innovation than ever before to meet the demands of a workforce that has been forced to pivot from the traditional in-person processes and workflows. At SkySlope, we were able to quickly pivot and provide meaningful and contextual data so brokers could keep a close eye on their business.
“What is a way that you’ve stayed connected that’s been effective?”
There’s nothing like receiving a handwritten note. It’s a tried and true real estate tradition. And despite the fact that I love technology and tend to be an early adopter, I’ve never given up on the value of sending a handwritten note. That said, how can you continue to be effective and find unique ways to connect with your team, your customers, and your business partners?
At SkySlope, we’ve been using several different channels to connect early and often. My favorite is a video product called Loom (and no, I’m not an investor). Loom allows you to quickly create videos and send them off with very little hassle. Imagine sending videos to your Realtors when they close their first deal, on their first anniversary, or when they hit a big milestone. Your agents deserve these touchpoints! While I’m still sending handwritten notes every week, I’m also able to fire off videos every day to celebrate my team members, offer a helping hand, or just say, “What’s up!?”
The old ways are gone and a connection should be part of your value prop. How are you staying connected?
“What real estate technology do you think is overrated?”
As a Realtor, you’re constantly being sold a CRM. CRMs can do great things and their technology can give you insight and help make predictions. Data is a powerful tool, but you still have to do the work. Agents fool themselves into thinking the tech matters most, but building the relationship matters more than anything. The CRM helps you understand the relationship. At the end of the day, the CRM that works is the one YOU work.
“Who owns and controls the data?”
I can only speak for us, but I can assure you that with SkySlope, your data belongs to you. And we want you to have complete access and control which is why we’ve built tools that help you analyze your data and serve it to you in a way that is easy to understand and can help you better manage your business. That said, if you have any questions about how your data is being used (regardless of vendor), take a look at the terms and conditions. By law, companies have to provide you with information on what they do with your data.
“Who is making the decisions when it comes to industry-specific technology?”
For SkySlope, the decision-makers are first and foremost our customers. We obsess over the customer by constantly asking questions and providing outlets for feedback. We spend a great deal of time listening to our customers so we can invent on their behalf. We have a team of product managers, developers, and designers who pressure test our tech with our user base to make sure we are building products that actually deliver value. While many of our team members come from a real estate background, we never presume to know more than our customers — you’re the boots on the ground and it’s our job to provide technology that supports your success.
“Do you believe there is diversity at the top?”
In the real estate industry, and the tech world specifically, diversity is improving. When I started my career, there weren’t a lot of diverse leaders in real estate, let alone in tech. That’s changed quite a bit in the past 15 years. There are significantly more women and people of color who are sitting at the table which is fantastic to see. While I think both the real estate and tech industries are taking the right steps, we still have a long way to go.