August 17, 2019

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The Cure For Real Estate Technoparalysis

According to the National Association of Realtors the average age of a real estate agent is 52. The median age of the first time home buyer is 30. The natural conclusion is that a significant number of Realtors are above 52 (including myself). This generation gap between the home buyer and the seasoned (older) agent is more than just age. The difference is their approach to technology and its applications as it relates to real estate buying and selling. In addition, in my experience this technology gap also exists within a large number of agents below the age of 52.

I have been asked on numerous occasions: “Joe, what is the best contact management system for me”; “Joe, what is the best cell phone for me;” “Joe, my business needs a boost what is the best………”. You fill in the blank.

During my years of teaching technology systems for our agents I have discovered a cornucopia of real estate technology tools available; some, proclaiming to be the illusive “silver bullet” providing instant income with little or no effort.

At my age “so many systems, too little time.” Instead of taking positive action we are in information overload. We spend time researching the latest tech tools hoping (do I dare say “praying”) to find a tool that will increase our business and make our lives more manageable. However, in our quest we are not implementing even the most basic of tools. We are victims of a condition labeled technoparalysis: a condition caused by the fear of technology and resulting in an inability to engage in technical endeavors: paralysis by technology (Alan Hammond, article dtd 11/18/2008, “Beginners Suffer From Technoparalysis”). I have observed that this condition is present in even the most simple of tasks: reading and answering email. In order to free ourselves from the suffocating grip of technology we have to take baby steps: “One small step at a time”.

We must begin by first recalling what contributed to our early successes. The following are recommendations for partial paralysis recovery: (a) analyze your business; where did it come from and how was it generated; (b) ask yourself “what basic systems do I need to organize my clients that will allow me to keep in touch with my past, present, and future clients”; and, (c) slowly implement one system at a time. The most logical and possibly the best place to start is by organizing your clients into a computer data base that is user friendly.

Technology is an important aspect of our real estate career. The over used phrase that we must embrace technology is too broad and for most of us is not definitive enough. Web sites, lead tracking and follow up systems, social networking, etc. Where do we start? Answer: “Start small.” Work in small increments on one project. Have a strategy to progress slowly through one module at a time. The good news is that you will feel accomplished when completing these small steps. You will eventually release yourself from that feeling of technoparalysis.

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Earning Our Share of the Commission

If you’ve had any tenure in the real estate business, you have had the opportunity to see our industry grow…change…evolve… and lately, literally morph in front of our eyes! The same process has occurred in the role of the Broker or Owner of a real estate company. In the earlier years, providing a well equipped office (complete with your own phone, desk, and chair!) was the basis of a successful business relationship. As that business became more complex and purchase agreements grew from a one page document to pages in multiples of 10, specialized training was added to the menu of important benefits the broker brought to the bargaining table. Over the past decade or so, huge growths in technology have kicked that up a notch, and the Brokers and Owners that provided systems and tools that helped their agents keep up, not only with the agents at a competitor’s company…but with the consumer who had a world of information and technology products at their fingertips…were able to justify their value.
Today, there is a new challenge…TOO much information! So many agents are simply overwhelmed with an almost daily surge of new and exciting tech products, gadgets, processes and online marketing concepts, to the point that if feels like their brains are hitting the “overload button”… aching from the focus required to even attempt to keep up, let alone get ahead of it all.
And that’s where every great Broker in today’s real estate world has an opportunity to step up to the plate one more time. We have the chance to be a valuable FILTER for our sales team. Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds! To do this, we must time block daily to read and research what’s going on, often reaching past our local marketplace and venturing into a much bigger world of information and discussions. Getting to know the country’s most popular airports is often in the mix as we seek out the best minds in the industry to help US define the difference between the “must know” ideas and the “half baked” ones. In turn, we can put the best stuff in front of our own, allowing them to benefit from latest and greatest, vs. being distracted by what isn’t.
It’s an exciting world out there, and it’s going to continue to change faster than ever! Technology offers every Broker, regardless of their size, generational background or marketplace, the opportunity to make sure their sales force is as excited about it as they are. As Brokers, we must prospect daily, searching out that one gold nugget of information or technology that can make a difference today…always remembering that tomorrow is only 24 hours away!

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Developing Your Skills For Maximum Career Growth

Today is a more exciting time then ever before in the real estate industry.  It has more opportunities to focus our energy on that will maximize our career for growth.

However, with a fire hose of new ideas coming at you almost daily it may feel a bit overwhelming at times.  The last thing you want to find yourself doing is integrating so many new ideas and not excelling at any of them.

1.  First and foremost, take an inventory of the areas you enjoy most in your real estate practice.  People always excel when they are passionate about something.

2.  Next, review your prior year in real estate and see how much income was derived from those sources of business.

3.  Rate your performance in those areas on a scale of 1 to 10…

  • 1 = Room for growth
  • 10 = I am a master

4.  We must evaluate our effectiveness and work towards mastery in the areas we enjoy first before we start  developing new skills.  I recommend the Malcolm Gladwell book “Outliers”, which is all about mastery.

Here are some of the benefits of this exercise.  First of all, you may find as you analyze your practice that you may need to strengthen your skills in the areas you enjoy most.

Or, You may find that you have uncovered the need for new business growth.

The goal is not to be at 100% over night this can be overwhelming, discouraging and can result in failure. Focus on slow and steady improvement instead of large monumental progress. Introducing one new skill into your practice at a time is much more beneficial and you can make a greater impact by making smaller steps. Keep working towards mastery of the new skill before introducing any other new business systems into your practice.

Since we are in the 2nd half of 2010, ask yourself this question?  “What are the top 2 things I need to integrate into my practice in the next 30 days that will make me more productive, and help to finish strong for the rest of 2010?”

Ideas:

Focus on providing rich content in your social media outlets.

Establish a consistent work routine, and implement it daily.

1._ Activity____ Date I will begin________, 2010

2.__Activity____ Date I will begin________, 2010

The momentum we build now in the second half of 2010 will fuel the growth and strength of your practice for 2011.  You must immerse yourself in professional and personal growth as well as development.

Growth is the result of listening, learning and daily execution.  This market is excellent for GROWTH.

So play BIG!

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Doing It All Over Again

As I write this blog I am contemplating my 24 years in the real estate business.  Sometimes we find the real estate business and sometimes it finds us.  In my case it was the later.

In those days our plans were simple and our only technology tools consisted of a copier and the telephone on our desk.  Wow…how things have changed!

Today’s agent is surrounded by incredible technology and opportunity.  There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the real estate industry.

While there is great opportunity, you don’t have to look far to see the line of agents exiting the business.  Challenging markets expose the weakness in all businesses, great and small.

The real state business is demanding more from the successful agent.  As I survey the best agents I know, they all share most or all of the following traits:

  • Good business planner
  • Ability to implement
  • Strong technology skills
  • Creative thinkers
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Self motivated
  • Tough minded
  • Organized
  • Strong negotiating skills
  • Superior market knowledge and analysis skills
  • Always learning

The great ones are very relational and build huge referral bases as their career matures.  What looks easy from the outside is actually no accident.  Follow a real pro around for the day and you’ll see what hard work looks like.

Real estate careers are not built overnight.  This year’s efforts build on the next and over time a business is built.

And yes, I would do it all over again.  I love the real estate business and the people it attracts.  Self confident risk takers…entrepreneurs of the first order.  Hard workers, willing to lay it all on the line for their clients!

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