For those of you who know me, I couldn't be more excited about my switch from the software side of the industry into the brokerage world. About three months ago, I joined Peabody & Smith Realty in New Hampshire as their Vice President of Business Development. I've worked for nearly a decade in this industry in technology consulting, building & selling my own software company, and most recently in marketing—Channel, PR, and Industry Relations – for one of the largest software companies in the industry. I sit on the board of advisors for several tech companies including VoiceterPro and LetsButterfly. (If you don't know about these companies, check them out!)
The most interesting aspect of my new role is breaking the mindset that the software side of the industry instilled. There are a lot of assumptions about the way brokerages operate and how decisions are made by both agents and brokers.
In this article, I'm going to break down one topic each month where I've found assumptions are wrong, or just misguided or misleading. Let's get started.
Assumption: There's a perfect software solution for every brokerage
There's no perfect software solution, especially for a group of agents who have very different skill sets, backgrounds, comfort with technology, etc. First, it doesn't matter what you're trying to sell, there's only so much time in a day. Saving money is great, but if you can't save time for agents, admins, and brokers, or make the customer's experience better, it's hard to justify the time spent to onboard a new technology.
In fact, it's become clear that there is no best software solution out there. The best solution is the one that agents will use. What's clear is that agents need to know WHY they should use that solution over another, and not HOW. What are the key advantages and how will our buyers and sellers benefit? It's easy to get caught up in the how, but when your team knows why, they'll be much more engaged in making sure the system is used to its fullest.
Additionally, vendors that offer training in 1 to 2-hour segments don't understand that agents and staff have a never-ending to-do list. Dedicating that much time in one sitting is next to impossible. And even if it is possible, it's difficult to retain that much information when agents are also thinking about their showings, transactions, and buyers & sellers, in addition to the 50 other things they're working on. The easiest onboarding will include feature-based training, either live or on-demand videos that are 5-15 minutes, so agents and staff can watch and begin implementing one tool at a time.
Work in Tandem
Looking at this from both sides of the fence, I believe brokerages and vendors need to work in tandem and search out opportunities to share ideas, best practices, and have a true understanding of each other's business. Sometimes the solution being offered by a vendor doesn't address the actual problem the brokerage is experiencing. And sometimes brokerages don't know they have a problem or don't know how to articulate what the problem is.
Vanilla Ice said it best, "All right stop. Collaborate and listen."
Working together we can identify the most pertinent challenges and the set of questions that need to be addressed to improve efficiencies and consumer experience. The days of operating in a black box have passed; Transparency and clear communication are the keys to our mutual success.
As a brokerage, we look forward to creating strategic alliances with our current and future vendor partners and those that want to learn more from us. If I can help, please feel free to give me a call!
Author Bio: Warren Dow
Warren Dow is the VP of Business Development at Peabody & Smith Realty based in New Hampshire. Warren has over a decade of leadership experience in real estate software and services. With a degree in behavioral neuroscience and a background in technology, consumer engagement, and marketing strategy, Warren offers a unique perspective in brokerage efficiencies with a client-first mentality.