Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing editor with REALTOR® Magazine. In addition to writing print and online articles, Erica oversees the magazine's Broker to Broker content, co-manages the 30 Under 30 program, and manages the YPN Lounge. Connect with her via email: email@example.com.
Successfully Integrate New Technology
Here are three tips to help your sales force embrace new tools and systems at your brokerage.
January 30, 2015
It’s common for a real estate office to have a diverse group of salespeople with a variety of backgrounds, specialties, and experience levels. While sales practitioners are as different as the client bases they serve, those varying talents can pose a challenge to brokers trying to roll out new technology that all their agents will embrace.
Tyler Wagner is an associate broker and co-owner of Wagner Real Estate in Havertown, Pa. They have 30 licensed agents with their company—one-third have more than 20 years experience, one-third have been licensed within the last two years, and the rest are in between.
Wagner consults with his father and brother, who are co-owners in the family business, whenever a new product or system looks promising for their brokerage. They want to make sure everyone on their team will use it, so they do their homework.
“We want our agents to use what works best for them,” Wagner says. “Technology can sometimes be distracting to your daily sales activities, so we help people stay focused and don’t let them get too carried away [learning new systems].”
After talking to multiple brokerages about how they implement new technology, we’ve compiled a set of three tips to keep in mind to successfully introduce tools at companies of all sizes.
1. Be prudent and educate yourself on what your salespeople need.
When Wagner’s group decided to purchase a new CRM system two years ago, they looked at how it could streamline tasks that all their agents face.
They chose BackAgent, a cloud-based CRM product that offers transaction management, integrates the sharing of DocuSign and zipForm, includes a mobile app, and provides a marketing platform where agents can create brochures that reflect the brokerage’s overall branding.
But before they decided to go with BackAgent, Wagner’s group shopped around. They first looked to their local association, Suburban West REALTORS®. “They are dedicated to introducing new technology to their members,” Wagner says. His management team also shopped at trade expos, including the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, which is how they found a CRM application that matched their diverse needs.
2. Show solidarity, from the top down.
Before rolling out any major technology upgrades, Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS®, President Jamie Mancuso will e-mail the 400 agents in his 10 Philadelphia-area offices to explain any coming changes. Then Hearthside’s education director, Stefanie Hahn, will reach out to agents one-on-one.
Hahn says it helps to highlight early adopters—those who latch on to a new system quickly tend to use it efficiently. “Often other agents see those folks using the tools and then want to learn themselves,” she says.
Hahn will set up appointments and work directly with agents to get them started with new products, helping them to enter their contacts into a new CRM system or to send out that first e-mail marketing piece on a new platform.
3. Repetition helps education.
One training session might not be enough for your agents, Hahn says. It also helps to provide a variety of educational opportunities on a particular product or system for different learning styles and ability levels.
Hearthside offers live classroom trainings and webinars. Hahn will also tailor education sessions to meet the distinct needs of each Hearthside office.
“I just try to reach as many as I can,” says Hahn. “You have to show them how the new tool will help them work smarter and close more deals.”