Rather than lamenting the technology changes, or avoiding investment in new technology solutions as long as possible, why not embrace it and let it help you to change the way that you do business? Technology investment can pay back in many ways, and that includes possible major changes in how you charge your clients for services, and how you compensate agents.
This is the first article in a series I'll write on using technology to change your brokerage business. In this one, let's talk specifically about our current compensation models. Let's look at a few things about human nature and the business needs of our agents first:
- Most of your agents are also struggling with technology.
- Your agents are reading about the need for them to have an effective web presence that probably includes blogging.
- They are also getting into social and online business networking.
- Some of them have more knowledge about the tech stuff than you do.
- Realizing that the Internet can be a major source of business outside of brokerage leads, they are examining their options.
- Most agents would respond well to a brokerage that provides them with business-building solutions.
- Your agents realize there is a cost for tech in money and time. Done right, they'll trade commission split percentage for a system that works for them.
The franchise or large brokerage that first makes maximum use of the technology available to them will be a major force in the future of real estate. Providing a turnkey and technologically advanced office and marketing environment to agents, retention will be much higher, and production the same. What are the major points to consider?
- A brokerage Web presence that fosters agent individuality and automates some of the lead distribution based on agent involvement (multi-author blogging)
- A backbend lead management solution that allows remote access, agent management of their leads, and reports for agents and brokerage (Intranet)
- Leverage of cell phones, SMS text messaging and social networking to disseminate information and leads to agents, and to receive information from them.
- Document storage, transmission and receipt systems for remote access. This would include training documents, videos, transaction documents, etc. (Intranet)
- Online faxing (yes there is still a lot of faxing going on) that delivers PDF files to computers for out-of-office access.
- A package of solutions that negates the need for a desk in the office if that's what the agent wants.
It is very possible to provide world class support to your agents with them rarely entering the office. Even training can be done remotely now at little or no cost with videocams and high speed internet access. The other side is the cost savings that will result from not tying up 100+ square feet of office space for each agent.