How agents can overcome ‘digital fatigue’: Justin Nickerson

The new wave of proptech disruption is seeing both residential and commercial agents introduced to a myriad of new technologies to streamline their sales process, showcase properties more favourably and reach new buyers (such as Gavl, Purplebricks, REALas, Next Address, StoreMatch, OpenAgent, Snaploader and Sellable). Auctioneer Justin Nickerson explains what agents should consider when choosing the latest quality tech to help them succeed.

Many agents want to be at the cutting edge of digital innovation in their industry, but are there too many digital options being offered?

As the real estate landscape is quickly shifting, what does this mean for an agent’s role in the digital world, and can there be a happy medium where technology and agents successfully co-exist?

It’s important for agents to sift through the clutter to find technologies that can help them succeed. Here are my top five tips for finding quality technologies that can really make an impact to an agency’s results:

1. Look for tools that will add value, rather than replace agents
Find digital tools that will bring value-adding benefits for the agency, its customers and the skillset of the agents. One such tool might be one that automates digital communication or that better records and carves up buyer and vendor details – both to further develop and strengthen their client relationships.

2. Look for high-touch technology
High touch technology – technology that enhances the customer experience when searching, buying and selling property – will engage buyers and vendors more than high tech technology. This is why virtual tours have been more successful than QR codes. Now there are technologies that enable buyers to watch and bid on real estate auctions from a remote location – even from overseas. Gavl data also reveals that livestreaming expands buyer audience by 47 per cent.

3. Is the technology improving your bottom line?
As with any new service that you bring into your agency, a new technology needs to make an impact on bottom-line results, either directly or indirectly. For example, agent-comparison platforms might bring in more work for the agency, but might not impact your bottom line so much if you need to compete on agent fees to get business. However, an auction live streaming and bidding technology may bring more buyers to an auction, increasing competition, and produce better sales results – positively impacting your bottom line.

4. Choose technology that is easy for all demographics to use
If you incorporate a technology into your service list that is too cumbersome or too sophisticated, you could risk alienating people who are less tech-savvy. The basic rule is that the tech tool should make it easier for customers, by streamlining or enhancing their experience – so much so, that they can’t remember how they were able to be without it. Examples are: being able to digitally ‘walk through’ a property or being able to watch auctions from home in real time.

5. Specialist or one-stop-shop tools?
Do you choose a one-stop shop that does everything or a technology that does one thing very well? If your agency is serious about streamlining and enhancing its services, and engaging customers, I’m of the belief that you choose the latter. As the competition in real estate is fierce, agents need the best digital technology in the market. Often technologies are good at delivering in a specific area.

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Justin Nickerson

Justin Nickerson is the Director of Apollo Auctions and Gavl spokesperson. He is the only Australian to win the Australasian auctioneer of the year twice in the history of the award. He is also a four time winner of the REIQ Auctioneer of the Year award.