Nick Brown: Is that new technology really worth it?

We live in a world where technology is overtaking the need for human interaction in the workplace but Nick Brown questions, "When does it become too much?" Nick says introducing the latest tech is all about assessing which platforms will be the right 'fit' for your business. But rather than the boss dictating which tech gets the green light, he says every team member needs to understand the business case for, or against, change.

In my career, I have seen our industry evolve from using two-way radios, typewriters with carbon paper, cameras with films we took to the photo store to be developed, and a microfiche machine for sales data.

Yes, I am that old as far as time in the industry is concerned.

Today, we can access maps, property data, ownership, and an array of other information we need as real estate agents at the click of a mouse.

We can even have chatbots answer enquiries and have automated responses take care of the initial interaction with clients and customers.

When you think about it, the world we live in is pretty insane (in a good way) and never in a million years did I think that some of the technology we use daily would exist in my lifetime.

I’ve worked with many agencies and businesses over the years, managed a few, and have had my business, Edge, for the past eight years.

I have often seen discussions between team members and business owners about what is good for the business, what the business needs and most of all, what could make the business more efficient, effective, and present when it comes to their client and customer needs.

I say this next part respectfully.

Most of the time, I hear property managers and their teams hound business owners for the ‘latest and greatest’ system to have hit the market.

At times they get upset when business owners push back on the idea, not realising the overall reason why they may hear a “no” or a “not right now” response.

Quite often, a property manager will say, “We used this at the last place I worked”, or, “This will make my job so much quicker”.

They may not realise that just because it was done one way somewhere else doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for the current business to do it the same way.

Unless you have been in leadership, management, or ownership, it’s hard to truly understand the reasons behind some decisions.

I’ve put together some questions I would ask my team if they approached me to consider purchasing or implementing a new piece of technology, a program, or something to support the business.

I want my team to be a part of the growth and evolution of how we do things, not only for them to understand how we can grow effectively, but for them to understand why there are times we need to say no to something.

  • What is the ‘value add’ to the business if the program, process, or service was implemented?
  • Does that ‘value add’ really add value to THIS business?
  • Do any of our current systems, processes or procedures already offer what the proposed one does? If so – what is different or additional?
  • What is the cost, and is there a lock-in period/commitment?
  • Is there a trial period offered to test the product in the business?
  • Does implementing the new ‘thing’ require ongoing duplication of data and additional work for the team?
  • Does the proposed system or program allow us to interact and converse with our clients better than we are currently? 
  • Does the new system or program require consumer interaction, and if so, is it easy to navigate and use?
  • What level of support and training is offered by the organisation offering the service? Is there an onboarding package and ongoing support provided to the team?
  • By making the business more efficient, the theory could be that the team could take on more workload per person – how would that look, and what ideas do they have around this?

Including your team in the testing, qualifying, and implementing of a new system, service or program can be the most pivotal part of the entire process.

If the team truly understands the reasons why a system has (or hasn’t) been implemented, it allows them to embrace the direction of the business fully and gives them ‘buy-in’.

It also means they are more likely to embrace the evolution of the business and use what the company offers them as part of their day-to-day.

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Nick Brown

With over 20 years’ wide-ranging experience in real estate, Nick Brown is the founder of Edge Property and runs his own Training and Advisory Service to educate agencies and their teams.