I met the future of real estate agents today, and I have to say that I am impressed.
I’ll tell you about it shortly, but first, a little background on how I came to make this statement. For the last few months I have been under contract with a local real estate association to visit members’s real estate offices and train their agents on how to use a new transaction management platform. The association has been under fire by a very loud and vocal contingent of agents who have resisted the implementation of transaction management and I have been retained to show them how to actually use the system to their advantage.
Much of the problem that I have seen agents have with the system stems from two areas. One, the computers that most of them are using are too old. I have seen Windows 2000 systems being used. Windows 2000? Since that came out, Microsoft has released Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Seriously folks, Windows 2000??? (And lest you think that’s only one agent, let me tell you that I found an entire office using Windows 2000!)
The other area is that almost all the agents that I have met while doing this are simply not up to speed on how to use a computer. Concepts like opening a browser, tabbed browsers, un-blocking pop ups, updating Windows, drag and drop, right clicking and much more are simply foreign to almost all of them.
Much of the dissatisfaction with the product can be laid squarely at the feet of old or outdated equipment and agents who have not kept their computer skills up with the times. Once I help them understand how to use their computers as more than an email machine, I can then show them how to run the software.
So that’s the background. Now, let me tell you about the agent I met today, and why I believe that she represents the future. We have an old belief in real estate that teachers and those from the caring professions often make the best agents because of their ability to relate to home buyers and sellers. They seem to be able to connect with their clients on a deeper level and can demonstrate empathy better than agents from other backgrounds. But, as is often the case, “relationships people” can often have trouble with systems and the discipline that it takes to work the systems, software and hardware that we find ourselves using these days.
The woman I met today was (and still holds) an RN. With ER experience. Think about that for a moment. What greater stress is there than caring for people in a life or death situation? (And we wig out over short sales!) Yet she was warm, friendly, intelligent and engaging. And young.
She also had total command of how to use a computer. She breezed through the instruction on how to use the software platform. She has been in the business for only a few weeks and has yet to open her first escrow, but I sense in her the makings of a great real estate agent. (For much of my 25 years in the business I was responsible for finding and training agents, so I think that I know a good agent when I see one)
To the agents who have excellent people skills, but poor computer skills, I can only say that it’s time to up your game, because I am certain that there are more like this agent out there, and they will be a force to reckon with as they learn how to find clients using social media with their modern computers (She had the latest MacBook Air!) and their up to date computer skills…coupled with their excellent people skills.
If it is your plan to be in business five years from now, what are you doing to upgrade your infrastructure and your skills? Or are you just going to fade away…?