At Inman Connect Las Vegas, four proptech executives discussed how technology can be used to empower agents to save time, flatten work processes and better serve clients.

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The rise in available real estate data has made consumers exceptionally market savvy. In turn, it’s become harder for agents to fill the role of industry educator.

DropOffer co-founder and CEO Greg Burns used that realization to create his app, a tool to help agents offer something consumers can’t find: off-market properties.

Burns was joined onstage at Inman Connect by Kala Laos, CEO of Zoodealio, Michael Lucarelli, RentSpree CEO, and Bill Risser, executive vice president of Strategic Partnerships at RateMyAgent, to chat about their companies and how technology can empower the modern agent.

“Agents need to look for tech that helps them educate,” Burns told the crowd. “Technology should put back into the hands of the agent the role of trusted adviser; it’s the most valuable position to be in as an agent.”

Greg Burns; Photo: AJ Canaria, MoxiWorks

The group shared what inspired each of their companies to form, from addressing common pain points to competing with highly funded alternative transaction models like iBuyers.

“I owned a brokerage in Phoenix, home of the iBuyers,” Laos said. “We needed to find a way to compete, so sellers could get and compare these cash offers with open market deals. Consumers are best served with you, the agent, on their side.”

But good technology should do more than help agents help consumers — it needs to help agents help themselves.

Lucarelli encouraged agents to do time audits, to look at their calendar and uncover what’s taking up their time, and think about what technology can do to alleviate noncritical burdens.

RentSpree, for example, automates how rental agents get tenants screened and apply for apartments.

He also reminded the audience that technology is an investment. The ROI is not always immediate, but over time, changes in business will be realized.

Risser concurred. RateMyAgent helps agents get online reviews published more efficiently, and over time, more reviews can become powerful sources of business.

L to R: Lucarelli, Burns, Risser; Photo: AJ Canaria of MoxiWorks

“Most agents are time-poor, so try to find tools to cut time, to cut concerted efforts down to a couple of clicks,” he said.

Saving time was a big component of DropOffer’s value proposition, Burns said. Door-knocking and sending handwritten letters could be productive, but it’s very time-consuming. It’s a process ideal for being made better by technology.

“There had to be a better way than to door-knock,” he said. “How could I offer more value and a service that advocates for the consumer but still better uses the agent’s time?” he said.

The team of tech executives came to agreement that agents need to find empowerment from the technology they choose, and that they should know exactly what problems products can solve for them before investing.

“Also, take advantages of the support structure software providers give you,” Laos added. “Give those tools the time they need to offer the most value. We print money, but we don’t print time.”

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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