Technology is one of the most expensive line items for any brokerage firm, team or individual agent. Unfortunately, the financial investment of new technology isn’t always equaled by the investment of time and resources required to ensure its adoption.
At our brokerage, @properties, we’ve been able to achieve over 90 percent adoption of our core pl@tform technologies by following a strategic approach to tech development, launch and training.
Planning is key because the brokerage landscape is littered with technologies that were once great in theory but ultimately, couldn’t stand up to at least one of the following questions:
- Will it help agents save time and/or money?
- Will it help agents gain a competitive edge?
- Will it give agents the opportunity to make more money?
The answers to these questions are critical because they become the cornerstone messaging for your rollout. For us, this involves three critical steps.
1. Create buzz
Even the most intuitive technology takes some level of commitment for an agent to learn and integrate. And many agents will naturally resist such change — unless that change is exciting.
We release new tech in much the same way Hollywood releases new blockbusters — with planned, multi-stage, excitement-building campaigns. Here are a few tips.
- Starting weeks before launch, we use a variety of media to tease the new technology — from videos, to office posters and email campaigns. Whatever channels are available to you, use them to build awareness and buzz.
- Closer to launch, choose a group of agents to beta-test the technology. Beta-testing not only helps you identify issues, it also harnesses a group of influencers to amplify your own internal PR efforts.
- Frame your messaging in terms of what’s in it for the agent. Talk about the problem the tech solves or the benefit it creates rather than focusing on features or some grand corporate strategy.
2. Nail the launch
Launching new technology can’t be a one-and-done deal. Here’s what you need to do:
- Create multiple access points to training, in terms of time, location and mode of delivery. Certainly, on-demand training is important, but we’ve found that live classes (including live virtual) are better at driving early adoption. There’s more accountability and camaraderie.
- Make your launch a team effort involving managing brokers, office staff and training specialists. Everyone involved in the rollout should be able to explain the tech’s value proposition and answer agents’ questions on the spot.
- Incentivize! It pays to pay for adoption. Hold contests, do giveaways, and give agents another reason — besides the tech itself — to come to the table.
3. Make it stick
Getting new technology into your agents’ hands is only the beginning. What happens after the launch is just as important. To drive adoption deep into your organization and make it stick, remember that there is no finish line.
- Go out of your way to meet one-on-one with top producers who say they’re too busy to attend trainings or with agents who are particularly resistant to the new technology. These sessions not only help to win over important advocates, they also demonstrate to those agents how much they’re valued.
- Create testimonials. Find your power users, pull out your smart phone, and film them talking about how they’re winning with that new app. Then distribute it to everyone!
- Finally, remember your agents are your clients. You need to market and sell to them. We’ve used direct mail, banner ads, and paid social to target our own agents and reinforce the benefits of both new and existing tech.
Technology that you’re paying for but not using is money down the drain. Follow these steps, and you’ll get great adoption, increased agent loyalty and engagement, and the best return on your tech investment.