Tech Powered Brokerage
Technology is playing a huge role in changing consumer habits as well as the broking business strategies.
Technology can enhance response time, follow-ups, communication and business transactions. Thus, adopting technology tools is becoming a necessity rather than a choice for brokerage firms to stay ahead of competition.
Internet: Internet is changing the way the services are being delivered. Dozens of listing sites connect the buyers and sellers and generate leads for the brokers. The features of adding project pictures, videos, information of the project and locality make the work of the broker easier and gets a faster connect to the relevant customer. In addition, an independent website offers individuality and automates some of the lead distribution of the brokerage.
Smartphones & Apps: The cellular technology, Wi-Fi and cheap data means people can send or receive listings on go. With customized apps, brokers can offer information to the customer sooner, connect with other brokers and close deals much faster. Not surprisingly, most agents are carrying around a notebook computer or smartphone with camera to instantly communicate project information and updates.Companies can develop unique invocation names to program a response for ‘Alexa’users. Similarly, the Google Assistant can be used to make similar queries through the Google Home or Google Allo apps.
CRM: Real-estate CRM software helps collect and manage client information and offers lead-generation functionality, often integrated with the agency’s website. It helps provide insight in the potential client’s profile, interest in property types and other analytics of which properties, or types of properties, the client is most interested in. Such marketing automation helps strengthen client relationships and fruitful business deals.
Social Media: Social media platforms use personal information to pointedly deliver advertisements directly to the target audience. Brokers can instantly connect with existing and potential clients and promote their firm. A broker can share properties, create buzz with contests and offer expert advice. Facebook Live streaming, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram live videos are some of the new age social media tools.
The motive of all the technologies, apps and platforms is to better the user experience and encourage a friendly & mutually beneficial interaction between the buyer or seller and the broker.
Geographic information system (or GIS): This system is designed to capture, store, manage and present spatial or geographic data. Globally, the real-estate brokers are benefitting from this technology as it allows them to visually search & manage data and create robust data-backed presentations to help clients make informed decisions.
Virtual Reality (VR): Moving on from digital photographs and videos, 3D software that incorporates VR is getting popular worldwide. Virtual reality (VR) enables a broker to show buyers a listing from afar. The buyer can experience the space virtually and make the decision. A new addition is the GiropticiO, a 360-degree camera that can be attached to the phone to take photos, record videos, and even live stream videos.
AI Chatbots: Artificial intelligence Chatbots provide an opportunity to meet customers where they are and provide instant service that converts to leads without the need of physical presence. The AI bot can respond and adapt, based on what the customer asks and interpret their real motivation.It is a useful technology, especially for a hesitant client to make the first conversation.
Whatever the technology touch points, they need to be visually pleasing and user friendly for the clients to navigate.
Transitioning of business to technology platform involves considerable cost which becomes a challenge for medium and small businesses. Creating individuality in the cacophony of online market is another issue that needs serious thought. Getting familiarized with technology tools is a hurdle both for the brokers and the end customers. Furthermore, keeping pace with the fast changing technology platform, software and deluge of new apps in itself becomes cumbersome.
Often, local brokers work through a network, without a direct contact with the project or the project promoter. Thus authenticity of the project and credibility of the builder becomes a major concern for the buyers. Also, the online inspections and views may not necessarily give the finer details like that of the condition of plumbing, wiring etc. A personal interaction with the broker and a physical viewership of the property cannot be replaced by technology.
Another issue is that the overload of information available online and through apps, social media etc. creates misunderstandingsand apprehensions in the buyers or sellers mind. The brokers have to re-educate them and familiarize them with the local market conditions, rules and regulations.
However, as Indian real-estate professionals and customers are getting more tech-savvy, these problems will find solutions in due course of time. After all, customers today want instant information and service and technology is the only way to provide that.