Technology changes everything, from the way we communicate to the way we shop and even the way we eat. Technology is moving faster than ever and bringing with it massive changes and disruptions. When it comes to real estate, many agents are terrified that they will be wiped out by technology and they’ll soon be out of business.
While it is true that technology can wipe out jobs, positions and even entire industries, the reality is that people will always need people. Real estate being not only a people business but a uniquely complex people business, there will always be a need for agents who provide value. That’s the caveat: provide value.
The difficulty lies in the fact that the way we provide value has to change. In the past, the value of the real estate agent was in access to home listings, good lenders and other service providers. Those days are over, thanks to the internet. Any prospective buyer or seller is a click away from all of that information. They don’t need an agent to send them homes or get preapproved with a lender; they can easily do that on their own. Pretty soon they may not even need you to tour a property or send an offer.
So what value do you bring today? Have you asked yourself that question in earnest? What do you bring to the table? Technology has transformed the traditional real estate agent’s value proposition, and it will continue to do so. How do you stay in business long term? The answer is by changing the way you provide value.
An acquaintance of mine was going through an immigration process a few years ago, and I remember they downloaded all of the necessary forms online, filled them out, paid the fees and submitted their application themselves. No need for a lawyer. At the same time, another acquaintance was going through a similar process, the difference being that they did hire a lawyer who cost thousands of dollars. The one who did it on their own eventually succeeded, but it took years. Multiple missing pieces set them back months time and time again. They had to do it all themselves from beginning to end, and there was a lot of guessing involved. The one who used a lawyer also succeeded, and did so much quicker and with less stress.
The interesting thing about this example is that both succeeded. A lawyer was not necessary for success, per se. The information is out there. The documents can be downloaded, and all of the instructions are readily available to everyone. So why use a lawyer? The answer is convenience and peace of mind. The answer is expertise and experience. The answer is, much like the reason you buy insurance, security.
We as real estate professionals must realize that we are not needed for the small tasks of sending homes and scheduling showings. We are needed for our expertise and experience. We are needed in case something goes wrong. We are the customers’ insurance policy against disaster. That is our value proposition in 2020.
Through modern marketing tactics like creative content, video and audio, we can deliver that value proposition to our communities. We can’t shy away from technology, nor can we slow down its advance. What we can do is embrace it and evolve with it. We can make real estate transactions easy for people, educate them and create bonds of trust that will outlast any shiny new piece of tech.
The agents who can spread that message of comfort and security are the ones who are going to win. Those who resent technology and the “darn kids” who use it will lose. Face it — you’re not needed for most of the small tasks you probably spend most of your time on, like showings and home listings. Let it go, and evolve. You’re much more valuable than a daily email with home listings.