Elite AgentTECH + SOCIAL

Technology; But Not for Technology’s Sake

Most real estate businesses today are full of technology, but you need to make sure that what you are implementing is at the right time and for the right reasons. You can innovate from within, says Ian Campbell of Console.

Technology and innovation usually go together, but not all technology is great innovation, and innovation can happen without technology. Innovation, to me, really needs to demonstrate tangible value to a customer.

At Console, we recently completed an extensive research project into the future technology needs of the industry. One of the key findings was that the greatest fear that decision-makers had in relation to implementing new technologies was that the change actually adds no value.

There are many things everyone already has access to which are not used to their full extent. I think what needs to happen is that we need to remove the distractions of the ‘shiny objects’ and really focus on that short to medium term type technology that’s already here, and how it can be leveraged to improve service and quality. We don’t have to wait for the next technology or outside innovation to do this. Here are some ideas:


A value-add is anything that the customer, your end customer, would perceive as ‘that’s what I’m paying you to do’. In the case of property management, they’re paying you to do the inspection. They’re paying you to project-manage a maintenance issue to completion. What they’re not doing is paying for your internal administrative processes; so if you are handling data manually start thinking about ways you can automate that – for example, scanning invoices and other documentation.

Assess the technologies or add-ons that you thought were a good idea at the time but you’re not using as well as you could be. Ask yourself why you bought them in the first place and whether they have actually delivered on that expectation. If you can’t identify their purpose in terms of adding value to your clients, then question whether you really need them. If you think the potential is still there but you just didn’t implement it properly, it’s never too late to try again. All technology vendors want you to be 100 per cent satisfied with the value that their product provides.


Recently I purchased an Apple watch and, being always in a hurry, declined the offer of the salesperson to show me around my new toy. I know I’m not using it to its full potential and hence not capitalising on the potential return on investment.As a business, for every dollar you spend you need to be able to ensure a return on investment. Whether it’s a new piece of tech or a new employee, recognise that your ROI is nearly always dependent on you understanding how to get the most out of this new addition to your business.

Our research revealed that one of the most critical things that technology had to deliver was ‘usability’. But how usable something is varies greatly from person to person and often relies on our own perspective of the world. There is significant turnover in the real estate industry. There are people coming in and out all the time, and so are in and out of different systems, processes and ways of doing things.

Ensuring that your staff are adequately trained on your systems should be nonnegotiable. But just remember, there are two factors to ensuring competency in staff: training and knowledge on the business systems, and training and knowledge about how to do their job. The vast majority of our support calls are actually addressing lack of legislative or accounting knowledge.


De-clutter your systems. So many people we find are afraid to clean out their databases and they end up being cluttered, like an old house being filled to the roof with 20-year-old newspapers. Don’t be afraid to let go! Bloated databases affect return on investment, particularly with direct marketing. Recently I received a DL card from a real estate office via Australia
Post, and the next day I received the same DL card via the regular mail. This is just one example of the considerable waste within the industry, and is one of the key reasons why the industry’s value is under question.

The sort of client service you’re expected to provide is now significantly higher than it used to be. The industry needs to continue to innovate on consumer value proposition, as well as finding ways to gain efficiencies in service to allow for decreased margins in commissions.

Technology can go a long way to solving problems or improving that bottom line; there is absolutely no question about that. But it’s also up to you to meet these demands by innovating from within. Use what you have to its fullest extent and don’t just implement technology for the sake of it.

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Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell is the Director of Sales and Product at Console and is currently heading up Console’s key project to deliver the next generation of cloud based agency solutions. For more information visit console.com.au.