What is the basis of the S.M.A.R.T. Office Network?
The Real Estate Professionals of the Future
Since the turn of the century, the real estate sales agent has been at core of the business and most REALTORS® are utilizing the same old-fashioned marketing and sales techniques. Now consumers know they can obtain information from the Internet, and they want to work exclusively with agents who can conduct business online and will respond quickly.
Will this eliminate the real estate professional? Even though most consumers are looking for detailed property listings - not agents or companies - research shows that 19 percent of all online searches result in a face-to-face meeting with a REALTOR®. Statistics from the National Association of Realtors show that 87 percent of Internet shoppers are more likely to use a real estate professional compared to 76 percent of offline buyers.
Despite all the changes expected in the residential real estate industry over the next few years, it will unquestionably remain a people business with largely the same players as today: consumers, agents and organizations. What will change, and dramatically so, is the interaction of those players, the goods and services exchanged, and how everyone is compensated. For those individuals and organizations that can adjust to this new "realty-reality," opportunities will abound.
In a climate teaming with change and opportunity, brokers and agents are increasingly turning toward technology and the Internet for business solutions. Properly applied, technology will allow real estate professionals to excel at managing every aspect of their customer relationships - from finding new customers to adding value to their current relationships.
Broker owners must attract, support and retain quality agents in order to remain viable. The centerpiece of any real estate company's successful Internet transformation is the establishment of an "Elite Core Group" of agents who are excited, willing and able to learn and use the Web for their business. With proper management support and leadership, they become the fertile soil from which a company will grow its transition to full Internet integration from the inside out. Technology-driven companies will be more attractive to the young lions and new career professionals entering the business.
Real estate agents are adopting technology at a significant rate. Technology in the form of individual productivity tools such as smart phones,voice mail, social media, e-mail, laptop and notebook computers, personal web sites, blogs and technology marketing programs have been embraced by the real estate industry. However, these tools and services are fragmented, creating islands of information with no real continuity. The industry is ready for technology applied to the business process versus individual components of the process.
Top producers realize a client is a "cost" until a property is sold. Every hour spent with a client who doesn't close means less income to the agent. The Internet provides a significant advantage for finding the true prospects among the suspects and then delivering the services necessary to move the buying/selling process to closure.
Building an agent's on-line business doesn't begin and end with a simple web page. For the professional agent, e-mail has become the primary communications tool between industry professionals, consumers and real estate trading partners. Combining an agent's communication tools (email, phone,test, fax, pager, etc.) through a virtual workplace that maps specific communication tasks and provides an electronic communication assistant to coordinate the communication flow is the future. More importantly, linking all of these services to the agent's customer database provides a single system to mange customer relationships and create customers for life. A true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system builds permanent asset value into the agent's practice. The end result is a professional practice that can be sold, very similar to other professions such as attorneys, dentists, doctors, etc.
Excerpted from an InteliTouch white paper by Steve Deckrow, President of InteliTouch.com