Elite AgentOpinion

Tech choices that buy you time: Michael Choi

Technology is fast eroding the geographical boundaries of the traditional agent farm area. Area Specialist founder Michael Choi examines why it’s important to keep up in the tech race and which apps can buy you the time to do it.

It seems every week there’s a new piece of PropTech that helps agents better perform their job.

When is it enough?

You’ve just learnt a new app and now there are three more to research and implement.

Why can’t you just stick to what you are already doing?

You can, and it will work short-term.

However, a long-term lack of willingness to learn and adopt new technology will create a larger gap between you and your competition, inevitably leaving you behind.

The rise of PropTech has allowed agents to become more independent and mobile.

It hasn’t given anyone the advantage, as technology isn’t exclusive – it’s available to every agent.

Real estate tech companies, franchisors, and industry influencers aren’t making products solely for themselves; they are making products, primarily, to sell industry-wide.

Agents who are early adopters have the advantage initially, but they unintentionally promote a product simply by using it, and then their competition eventually follows, so everyone is again on a level playing field.

The cycle repeats.

There’s not much you can do about this. You just need to be aware of the cycle.

As the number of available subscriptions and apps increase, they eat into the profit of real estate businesses, changing the corporate structures we are used to.

There will be a rise of different ways to operate, and agents will have more choice in the structures and models they earn income from. 

Tech allows agents to work across a larger geographical area than 15 years ago, when they may have been limited to listing in the suburbs immediately surrounding their office.

Now, our only limitation is a willingness to drive and conduct inspections – at least until there’s an app that coordinates other agents/contractors to do your inspections for you.

For this reason, farms and territories are becoming obsolete.

The new farm is not outlined on a map, it’s a digital footprint with no boundaries.

Of course, the agent that amalgamates old-school along with new tech and strategies will hold the trump card.

It’s always going to be important to niche and narrow scope, to broaden your appeal – think specialising in an area or a type of property or building.

Combining this with great digital leverage marketing is where dominating results live.

FACEBOOK HACKS

What’s a segment on tech without discussing the blue CRM 2.0 we all know as Facebook?

Well, here are two quick tips: 

Add your prospective vendors to your contacts on your phone, then allow Facebook to sync and access your contacts.

It will then suggest friends, so you can add these prospective vendors, and like or comment on their posts (in a non-creepy/stalker way, of course).

This will build rapport on a human level while also increasing your organic reach – when you post they will see it.

Facebook owns Instagram, so it will also suggest you follow them on that platform, where you can repeat the strategy. 

Most major companies use influencer marketing to make sales – it’s the modern way of sponsoring.

How can the real estate industry follow this winning strategy when influencers have too wide an audience that isn’t all local?

By looking at it differently.

I call this micro-influencers.

Your vendors know people that live in your core area, and locals follow each other on social media, so you can use this to your advantage.

Why not pay your vendors to post X number of times during their property campaign, for example, photoshoot, board, brochure, internet listing, open for inspections, sold sticker on board and finally a testimonial.

Each time they post, they need to tag you/your company, and the eventual commission is discounted based on a formula of how many times they’ve posted and how many friends or followers they have.

You could even use this marketing strategy as a listing tool to come back and explain it during a second face-to-face meeting with the prospective vendors.

3secs.online

I created this technology. It enables you to easily text or email your database asking if they would like a computer-generated appraisal of their property within three seconds.

They put in their address and automatically receive an appraisal.

It doesn’t ask for their name and phone number because you already have this, meaning the barrier of entry to use the system is a lot lower and more people will use it.

You will simultaneously get an email alert that someone on your database has requested an appraisal, which you can follow up.

It’s a quick and affordable way of finding hot leads within your database, without having to manually sieve through them one by one.

It’s a great tool to use every three months.

FOUR HANDY APPS 

This is a shortlist of apps that, while not specifically designed for the real estate industry, can help agents become more professional and efficient. 

Boomerang

An Outlook add-in that lets you schedule emails, set follow-up reminders, share your calendar to users on any platform, and add tracking to your messages. This is great to remind yourself to follow up on proposals to prospective vendors.

Teleprompter for Video (app)

This app enables you to read from a script while filming yourself in high definition. The teleprompter (or autocue) script scrolls next to the camera lens to ensure you are looking directly into the camera at all times. This can be useful when recording market updates for your social media channels.

Microsoft To Do

Create to-do lists, reminders, and notes, as well as sync lists across devices and Microsoft 365 accounts. You can access the daily planner and task manager features anywhere. Agents have so many things to remember, which is a great way to keep on top of it all. You can also share lists with assistants or vendors, which helps keep everyone in the loop.

Loom

A video messaging tool that helps you create instantly shareable videos. It allows you to record your camera, microphone, and desktop simultaneously. I use Loom for anything that is done more than once. For example, if I have to train someone, I create a video so that the next time I need to teach someone the same thing, I just have to send them a video.

In the past, most people had horses as a form of transportation, and the well-off had cars. Now many have cars and the well-off have horses.

In the past, the majority had time, and the well-off had the latest screens and devices.

Now everyone has the latest screens and devices, and the well-off have and prioritise time.

True wealth is the ability to function without needing to look at a screen, and the ability to have real face-to-face interactions.

So, use all the above to help your real estate business grow, with the goal of creating true wealth, being ‘time’.  

  • Michael Choi is the founder of Area Specialist, a real estate platform for top-performing agents, providing the systems, tools and technology they need to create, grow and power their business. For more information visit beyourboss.com.au

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