From new ways to lead generate to an evolving consumer experience, technology is transforming the real estate industry. To compete, agents need to plug into new tools and systems. And, they also need good old-fashioned business skills.
Despite the digital age, clients crave human interaction, and they’ll continue to do so. Meaning, agents – in the coming years – will need to balance digital with face-to-face. At Keller Williams, we’re plugged into the six technology-related trends currently shaping the real estate world – plus ways to stay connected offline. Some of the industry’s top minds weighed in on these trends at FutuRE – a tech conference powered by Keller Williams.
1) Artificial intelligence.
AI will transform the real estate experience, helping to harness massive amounts of data to customize the consumer experience. At the core of AI is learning more about a customer at each interaction. AI learns patterns and preferences. More and more, the technology will help real estate agents be at the right place at the right time with the right information, shares Nick Baldwin. With insight from AI, agents can better focus their efforts on areas where they can make even more profit.
2) Millennials and mobile.
Millennials are one of the largest, wealthiest groups entering the home-buying process, and one for agents to keep their eye on. Millennials are often considered alpha influencers, meaning they’re highly connected and convincing, influencing both each other and older generations. Currently, the average age of a first-time home buyer is 32. Mobile is also key, with the widest, most-popular search trend being voice search through a mobile device, and voice-enhanced tech like Alexa or Google Home, says Dan Siegler – head of industry, automotive, and real estate at Google. Speed is also of the essence. More than half of consumers will leave a mobile website if it takes longer than three seconds to load a page on their device.
3) The consumer experience.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, relationships will still be crucial, says Ty Voyles. Agents should work with industry partners like vendors and contractors so they’re the source of information for clients’ needs between transactions. That’s why hyperlocal knowledge is essential. Investing in technology is also key, but so is taking the time to learn how to use it. Jeff Cohn says consumers don’t want to visit multiple offices to meet with an agent, lender, inspector, or title company. They want a streamlined process, and there should be a virtual space where consumers can have all their needs taken care of.
4) Lead generation.
A timeless truth: Lead gen will still be the bread and butter of an agent’s business, no matter the year. That’s why it’s imperative that agents find 3 to 5 lead-gen tactics that work for them, says KW’s Jason Abrams. Nick Waldner has found massive success in client appreciation parties built around an experience clients can’t replicate. Another strategy for staying in touch with your sphere is to recommend a specific vendor to clients every quarter. Tech can help with this. In Command, agents can use the Quarterly Call SmartPlan to reach out to clients consistently.
5) Personalized learning.
The newest trend in education is personalization. It’s no longer one-size-fits-all, says KW Vice President of Learning Jay Papasan. In the future, AI will help drive agent learning, looking at goals, behaviors, interests, production, team makeup, activities, market data, and best practices, then suggesting corresponding next steps. Still, the experts say, the hotel ballroom isn’t going anywhere, and neither are classrooms. “It’s not going completely virtual because we still have a need for interaction,” Papasan says. Instead, education will evolve into a hybrid of digital content plus in-person experiences, with learning based off of scripts and role-playing.
6) Marketing and advertising.
Social media ads generate awareness, traffic to an agent’s website and leads, and they’ll become increasingly important as consumers come to rely even more on social. Every marketing piece needs a hook, a story, and an offer, say KW Regional Director Pres McKissack. Strategies must be comprehensive and consistent, and content needs to be relevant, “thumb-stopping,” brief, and have a call-to-action, say Abrams and Mustafa Hammond from Facebook.
For some agents, new technology might feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be … KW’s Lance and Karina Loken are benefiting from embracing KW’s Command platform. “The systems are so good now and the tech is so advanced that it’s truly allowing us to have the time to create meaningful one-on-one relationships,” Lance says.
Technology will also help agents spread their influence over larger markets, says Abrams. That’s why it’s so important to understand and use new tech to its full breadth. “Tech isn’t someone else’s job. It’s all of our jobs, and it’s on the minds of our consumers right now. Technology will end up magnifying every one of our super powers as agents.”
Visit KW Connect to hear more from the futurists above!