Artificial intelligence and the rise of the REAL estate agent!
We recently wrote about some of the many innovations in real estate and the changes on the horizon in the way you buy, rent and sell property. The conference I’d attended in New York had me immersed in technology and every gadget, app and invention that’s coming to our industry. And naturally I sat there wondering what part my team and I will play in the future of real estate. What role will be left for people once technology really takes hold (and the pace of change is undoubtedly growing).
Then one of the speakers summed it up beautifully: Moving home is, and will always be, one of the most emotional experiences a person ever goes through. Technology can make the process more efficient, more transparent. But artificial intelligence can’t empathise. Robots can’t show they genuinely care. The best service in real estate comes from agents who connect with their clients in a meaningful way, and take the time to get to know their needs.
For some, that’s not always as easy as it should be!
This agency was founded in 2006 with a deliberately unusual name and culture. We wanted to be the best at what we do. The bees’ nees. But we wanted to build a team of professionals who are real people. People who take their work seriously, but not themselves. Yet we still hear and see so much training for real estate agents that drills them in scripted dialogue and cheesy tactics. We won’t be a part of it. Seminars and podcasts pushing them to be someone they’re not, some kind of artificial agent, in the hope of a quicker result. A promise of bigger incomes if they’ll just stick to the process. Robotic humans!
When we’re recruiting for Bees Nees we look for team members with passion. Passion for their career and our profession. Because we worked out years ago that with passion comes authenticity. Property managers, salespeople and our leasing team spend much of their day dealing with people and we know you want them to be genuine. To take an interest in you. And not to try to deliver some version of a real estate agent they think they should be.
So while we train our team’s minds, we also encourage them to open their hearts.
Last week, for example, we took our entire team along to the Real Estate Institute’s Summit conference. Psychologists talked about better understanding client needs. Industry experts updated us on legislation. Facebook were there to teach us more about marketing properties. And then, we heard stories of resilience and authenticity. Mia Freedman shared her personal story and inspired us. Judy and Tim Sharp (aka Laser Beak Man!) told about his journey with autism, overcoming so much as he became one of the nation’s most successful young artists. We’re not ashamed to say there were tears at our table!
Meanwhile some of our competitors attended a conference where they’d flown in stars of a US reality show. Superstar realtors whose approach to their clients might be entertaining, but is often nothing short of rude. Even if their show is scripted (and no doubt large parts of it are) I can’t watch them. The arrogance and contempt for the people who pay their fees is a sad joke.
One of the fast-emerging trends in real estate agencies right now is off-shoring. Employing staff in places like the Phillipines, allocating admin and simple client contact tasks to them using online resources to share the work. We get it – this is a way to save a lot of money in businesses that have a number of repetitive admin tasks. But for us, this isn’t the way we want to serve our clients. We work in Brisbane’s inner city, we draw our income from this neighbourhood, so we think we should employ locals. Give back to the community that supports us. But, more importantly, while a call to follow up rent arrears can be made by someone in Manila for example, the conversation can’t be meaningful if they’ve never met. We want our property manager to connect with landlords and tenants. To get to know their story. Our website has live chat and the response you’ll get is from one of our humans in the office at South Brisbane! Live – go have a chat!
Technology is changing many industries and ours is ripe for innovation. We’re continually on the hunt for new tools to improve our service. But in some ways Bees Nees Realty will remain proudly old-fashioned. People working for people. A team of real, real estate professionals!