The Other Side of Real Estate: The Key to Making Successful Tech Decisions
It’s amazing how simple some concepts appear but how complicated they are in practice. Here are some observations on how decision making at the brokerage level can improve.
Who’s the decision maker? Ultimately, the broker-owner is the final decision maker at 99 percent of brokerages. But, the size of a brokerage has an impact on how much involvement the broker-owner has in the due diligence and analysis of whether they should say “yes” or “no.”
A smaller brokerage, generally up to 15 or 20 agents, may only have a single administrator and their agents. This would leave the broker-owner involved in nearly every step of the decision-making process. On the other hand, a medium-sized brokerage, between 20 to 50 agents, will start hiring management and administrative positions.
The management team could be dedicated to a specific function, like accounting, or they could have more open-ended positions that touch many different aspects of the business, such as business development. Finally, a large brokerage, generally over 50 agents, will start hiring dedicated positions for each management function. In most brokerages, decisions usually pass through the appropriate channels before reaching the broker-owners desk for a final decision.
USER ADOPTION IS THE KEY
More importantly, user adoption is the key to a successful decision. Management should be asking the key questions: Will my agents and staff use this? If so, how many of them? The only way to get the answer to these questions is to make sure stakeholders, such as agents and staff, are brought in to give their feedback. Not only will this information be useful in making the final decision, but if the brokerage decides to move forward with the solution, the agents and staff are much more receptive to using it because they were part of the decision-making process.
As an example, in my role as vice president of business development, I’ve been tasked with moving all agent-focused services to the cloud from a dedicated remote desktop server environment. Within a few weeks, I knew which vendors I wanted to work with.
I hadn’t had time to have one-on-one meetings with all the firm’s agents and staff. I had a decision to make. Do I present my proposal to my broker-owner without stakeholder feedback? Or, do I delay my goal and the job I’d been tasked with to ensure a successful migration? I ended up calling a good friend and former business partner, Alex Camelio, for his take, and he said, “Your agents being a part of the decision is just as important as the decision itself.” I took his advice, and it’s made all the difference.
You can have the best system in the world, but if no one is using it, it doesn’t make a bit of difference.
My advice to vendors: Help your decision-makers present your product and services to their teams; give them the assets to bring everyone into the process. To other brokerages, make your agents a part of the process; otherwise, the success of your decisions are just a roll of the dice.
NOTE: 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.