If you're a veteran in the real estate industry, you know just how much it's changed, even in the last 10 years. Technology now plays an integral role in how people search for properties and even how real estate agents reach and communicate with leads and clients.
But even if you reject technology in your personal life, you really don’t have the luxury of ignoring it for your business. With every passing year, the real estate industry becomes more and more reliant on smartphones, the internet, computer algorithms, mobile apps, etc.
Don’t believe me? Check out these 2018 stats from the National Association of Realtors®:
- 44 percent of home buyers start the process by looking at listings online.
- 73 percent of home buyers used a mobile or tablet device for their search.
- 88 percent of home buyers saw online websites as their most useful source of information.
- 99 percent of Millennials use online resources for home searches.
It’s very feasible that in 10 years’ time, most (if not all) real estate business will be conducted virtually.
In other words: if you’re not tech-savvy now, you’d better get started. Otherwise, you’re going to be left behind.
I know what some of you are thinking: “But I’m so bad with computers! I hate them!”
It’s OK if you’re not tech-savvy, and it’s also OK to be frustrated with technology. What isn’t OK is to throw in the towel and give up — because that won’t get you anywhere!
To help you out, here's a list of six things you can do to gain more tech-savvy skills and how those skills will help you succeed. It’s never too late to get better with tech, so start today!
1. Go to the library.
Yes, that’s right: the library! Grab your library card (if you don’t have one, get one — they’re free!) and head to your local branch, where you'll find all sorts of books, videos, magazines, computer programs, etc., designed to help you learn new things.
Chances are excellent that your local library is chock full of information on how to learn about computers, smartphones, the internet, and more. Talk with a librarian and explain your situation: You’re a real estate agent who’s not-so-tech-savvy and you want to change that. The librarian will quickly get you started down the right path.
An awesome benefit to going to the library (besides the fact that all the information and help there is totally free!) is that it will give you a great chance to network with local residents. Where else can you go to learn new skills for your career and generate some leads?
2. Get on YouTube.
There are billions of videos on YouTube that can teach you everything from how to change a tire to how to build a turbojet engine (please be careful if you tackle that one!). You’d better believe there are also plenty of videos available to help you become adept in a variety of technologies.
All you need to do is go to YouTube and search for things you need the most help with. Try “What is Bluetooth?” if you don’t understand the popular wireless technology, or “How to be safe on the internet” if you’re concerned about hacking and viruses. If you can think of it, chances are there’s a YouTube video about it.
In the future, YouTube will be a hub for real estate agents in many ways. Everything from seminars to open houses to virtual reality home tours will happen on YouTube. This is the perfect chance to become a pro on the platform!
3. Hire a tutor for one-on-one help.
If trying to learn online on your own seems daunting to you, maybe a more one-on-one approach is better. You could hire a tutor to teach you about whatever aspects of tech are giving you the most trouble.
Luckily, some of the most technologically-adept people in your area are kids and young adults. With that in mind, it would be fairly easy and inexpensive to hire a youngster from the neighborhood to help you learn tech-related things. After all, who better to teach you about smartphones than the people who are on them 24/7?
There are always more professional — and more expensive — tutors you could hire for this task, as well. But one of the added benefits of asking a younger person for assistance is that they will help you get more in line with what young people are doing — and those young people are your future clients.
4. Use the power of social media.
Even the most un-tech-savvy among us use social media. Using Facebook is so ubiquitous now that even people in their 80s or 90s have gotten onboard.
Get on Facebook and join some tech-based groups. Do a search for groups related to things you don’t know much about and see what’s going on. What are the members talking about? Which other sites are they reading? What lingo are they using?
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the group, you can reach out to some members directly for assistance. Most people will be more than happy to help (assuming you don’t pester them).
Once again, this is also a perfect way to network with others. Just keep in mind that the group is for tech, not real estate networking, so be cautious with your lead-generation techniques.
5. Get hands-on.
One of the best ways to learn something is to just do it. If you own an older smartphone — or dare we say, a flip phone — and are nervous about upgrading to a fancy new model, just do it. Get the smartphone and dive into its features so you can get better at using it.
If you don’t know much about computers aside from how to turn one on and how to launch a web browser, start fiddling with things. Do a Google search for popular free computer programs and check them out or download the manual for your laptop and read it to see what makes it work. It may seem boring, but you could learn a lot!
You could also go to a computer store and play with newer models there. Ask the store clerk what differentiates each model from the other to learn more about the systems.
If nothing else, you’ll learn more about computer terminology and will be able to impress friends (and clients!) when you know what you’re talking about.
6. Join a club or class.
During your visit to the library, you might see flyers or postings about classes you can take related to technology. If you don’t see any, grab your local newspaper or — once again — ask your librarian to see if there are any classes or clubs in your area. Chances are good you’ll find a few!
By taking a class or joining a club, you’ll get to learn in a hands-on atmosphere and be joined by other people in your same predicament. Not only will this help you learn, but it will give you opportunities to easily seek help from your fellow patrons.
And don’t forget your business card book! That class or club is also a terrific way to get some leads.
If you don’t yet have a business card book, you're missing out on a major prospecting tool. Unlike a normal business card, a book has an inherent value that will make any recipients more inclined to keep it.
Books go on shelves for all to see, while business cards go into pockets to be lost forever.
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Joe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of owning property, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here!