Long has been the refrain that “Real Estate is a relationship business”…and indeed it is…at least in part. But relationships alone are not enough. Nor is expertise. Not anymore. In today’s connected world, even your “best” friends have other great relationships, and while you may really know your market so do others. In a world where everything is being digitized, information is pervasive and clients expect the world to be delivered to them in the palm of their hand if you aren’t leveraging technology to the fullest extent possible you are risking relevance.
I remember vividly the stories at the dawn of the corporate services era. It was a relationship business then too! “I went to high school with him,” “College with her,” “We play golf together every week”…”We even vacation together!” And yet when the mandate was signed 1000 miles away at the corporate office with a technology-enabled force that could provide more and better services at a lower price — that relationship became purely social. The business was gone, and it wasn’t coming back.
To maintain relevance today look at where the puck is going. As much as some may not like it, this stodgy commercial real estate industry is becoming more transparent and more efficient. The market leaders are embracing new technology platforms and embedding leading-edge tools to capture market share, lower their cost of operations, accelerate cycle times and enhance the level of service. This doesn’t mean you don’t also have to have great relationships, incredible market knowledge, and superior skills. You do! But in the end, those with the best skills and who are best able to apply technology will win.
CRE Tech is still an emerging market. Some may be able to ride out their careers without adopting it, but for those looking to build their businesses, there is a unique opportunity today to differentiate and lead the market in what is the beginning of a radical transformation. If you are not leveraging technology to meet the new demands of the marketplace, to become a technology-enabled broker, you are not paying attention.
Think about it. Whether the client is managing a multi-billion dollar portfolio or a small local business, they are looking at their “smartphone” and getting alerts on their “smart watch” all day long. If you aren’t the one delivering the real-time interactions, your relationship will begin to break down. Someone else is going to start serving them the information they want, where they want to consume it, even before they know they need it.
We all have lots of relationships, but how do you remember everything about everyone you know?…how can you remember every interaction?…how do you track everything they do even when it’s not with you to get to know them even better?…how do you take all of that knowledge and combine it to make perfectly-timed recommendations to buy or sell, expand or contract?
To play the game well today, you must at least be using these core technologies to serve your clients well:
-CRM and comprehensive property databases
-On-Line Transaction Management
-eMarketing with Deal Rooms
-Demographic modeling and financial analytics
To lead the market into the future start to look at how you can employ:
Technology is radically changing industry after industry. Commercial real estate is not immune. It is ripe to consume technology to drive marketplace efficiencies and transparency.
Done right — your digital connectivity with your client will become a core part of the relationship. It will enhance it and expand it. You deliver better information, faster while providing a better service at a lower cost. You won’t be disrupted by technology you will be disrupting those that don’t adapt and adopt.
Relationships Are Good, But The Technology Enabled Super-Broker Is Even Better. Guest Post Jeff Finn.