The days of longtime veteran agents fending off younger, tech-savvy agents for clients by sticking to the old way of doing things might be coming to an end, according to a recent survey conducted by Inman News.
The survey, released Oct. 17 in an Inman Select Special Report entitled “The New Agent’s Technology Playbook,” found that technology could level the playing field between new and experienced agents.
The survey was conducted in September and had 646 respondents comprised of agents, brokers, coaches/trainers and those who classified themselves as “other.”
Here are four key takeaways from the survey, plus a friendly reminder:
The first tool agents should leverage is social media.
The reason? Quite simply, it’s not that hard.
Within a few hours, new agents can have Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter accounts catered to their real estate business and start combing the platforms for leads.
“Within 24 hours, an agent could have a solid digital presence with all of the tools in place to actually transact,” a New Hampshire broker survey responder said.
Here are our previous social media posts:
Of course, new agents need more than social media and a professional-looking website.
The most important tech tool is CRM.
And the biggest factors when comparing CRMs, per survey respondents, are contact organization (81 percent), activity managing (60), marketing automation (56) and website lead capture functionality (45).
“I would have made my CRM my priority from day one and treated it like my baby and my best friend at the same time,” a Charleston broker told Inman.
This isn’t to say a social media presence and a stellar CRM means leads for tech-savvy rookies will come overnight, or even in a year or two. But new agents shouldn’t have to wait as long as their predecessors to build leads and create brand recognition through direct mail, flyers, etc.
All they have to do is embrace digital marketing – and do it well and often.
“Technology enables new agents to come out of the gate looking like they’re smooth, smart and polished. That gives the consumer the perception that the agent is ‘seasoned,’” a San Francisco Bay Area survey responder said.
Most survey responders suggest new agents spend no more than a quarter of their budget on technology, with a 25- to 50-percent allocation at the very most.
Although CRM is important, agents with a small client base shouldn’t spend more than $50 or so a month while starting out, advised one agent who noted agents could always upgrade CRM when their list grows.
Overall, survey respondents suggested new agents spend $501-2,000 on technology – CRM, transaction management, digital ads, etc. – in their first year. Those in a more niche market could justify spending $2,000-5,000.
How do brokerages fit in?
One way brokerages set themselves apart is by the type of tech packages they offer. That’s why 61 percent of survey responders said new agents wanting a lot of tech support should join a brokerage, rather than an independent firm.
So what should new agents look for in a brokerage?
The top priority, according to the survey, is transaction management tech support (65 percent), then CRM (60) and lead generation (56).
Photography, 3-D tours, marketing materials, online training, a webpage and CMA (comparative market analysis) tools should also be considered.
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