3 principles for conquering the fear of AI

Set aside your fear and use these skills to create a strong business foundation for years to come

When it comes to using artificial intelligence for real estate, there are a few different types of people. The first group runs the other way, afraid of new things or worried that technology will one day render them obsolete. The next group is intrigued but hasn’t taken the time to learn or has only dabbled aimlessly, not really accomplishing much.

Then there are people like me, who have jumped headfirst into the AI rabbit hole and have seen the ways it can increase sales, boost efficiency, and create more opportunities than ever before. No matter which group you currently fall within, there is a universal truth that has held up for decades.

When it comes to new real estate technologies, those who fall behind, get left behind. You need a plan to move beyond the fear of AI so you can thrive in a new era.

1. AI will not replace agents

Thinking back on a seemingly short 22 years in this industry, I remember several inflection points where a large group of agents thought it was the end of real estate life as they knew it. Things like computerized MLS search, IDX feeds, and the proliferation of mega sites like REALTOR and Zillow were surely the harbingers of doom.

And yet, here we are, still effectively doing the same thing we did before. Has the way we sell real estate changed? Yes. However, the basic function of an agent has remained relatively unchanged.

A word of caution about my earlier statement. I maintain that artificial intelligence will not replace agents. However, agents that use AI to enhance their business model will replace agents who choose not to.

There will always be a small group that cling to the “old ways.” The rest of us will do more business in more efficient ways and be able to meet the expectations of the clients who assume we are using the latest technology to make the deal happen.

2. Take baby steps toward implementation

Tools like ChatGPT, or other platforms built on the AI infrastructure, like Scout, for example, can make life for real estate agents so much easier.

Nevertheless, there is a reason I called it a rabbit hole. It’s deceptively easy to get dazzled by all the bells and whistles of these programs and become lost in a digital forest with no signs of escape. I have personally invested and sacrificed countless hours of my personal life to learn innovative methods to leverage these tools to help the agents in my company get an edge on the competition.

Instead of spending all your time on it, take some classes or watch some YouTube videos that will give you a few ideas to start. Implement them one at a time to see if they make a difference.

By building your skillset slowly, you can keep up with your daily work and personal life schedule but add new, exciting features to your portfolio.

3. A guiding hand, not a substitute

One of the most beneficial uses I have seen for ChatGPT and other AI-based programs is time savings and creative assistance. When I hit a roadblock for new ideas, I can turn to AI to help me brainstorm and talk through the pros and cons of a thought pattern. Once I have the idea, I can use the technology to create outlines, charts, content calendars, you name it.

ChatGPT has allowed me to more than triple my creative output for both my publishing company and my social media content, simply by assisting with idea generation and execution. As with any tool in a set, the way you use it will determine its usefulness.

Agents and brokerages who learn to embrace these technologies will propel themselves into a much higher plain of productivity. If you don’t know where to start, just do some research on who is a good resource.

If you hear someone talking about it, ask questions. I have found that AI enthusiasts are more than happy to spread the good word and love to show others what they know. Take advantage of the offer and learn some new, valuable skills. Set aside your fear and use these skills to create a strong business foundation for years to come.

Stephen Meadows is chief operating officer and associate broker of Coldwell Banker Premier.

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