As in most industries, the use of technology is growing and evolving within real estate. Processes like managing listings, correcting property photography, exploring virtual assisting, and more have become more enhanced. For example, instead of using a separate key to open a lockbox to retrieve a house key, agents can wave their cell phone in front of the box to open it, which also allows the listing agent to track who enters the home, and when.
Changes like these are introduced as a way to make agents more efficient, organized, and prepared.
As cutting-edge as new technology is, some agents resist change and don’t fully adopt new tech. If you’re struggling to increase adoption and get more agents on board with the technologies you’ve introduced, here are six ways to implement new technology in real estate. These tactics get agents out of their comfort zone despite frustrations, glitches, and more.
Let’s take a look.
1. Explain the value gained from the new tech.
From an app that tells you the names of paint colors on walls to tools that help you sharpen photos of your listings, new real estate tech is launched every year. As convenient and innovative as these tools are, no one on your team wants to adopt new tech just because that’s what every other brokerage on the block is doing. Any new tech you adopt has to solve a problem your team is experiencing; it has to add value.
Think about it. New tech like blockchain in real estate is becoming more popular because it can do anything from secure contracts to decentralize property titles. However, if your team doesn’t have an issue with how buyer and seller contracts are stored and secured, you don’t need to start using blockchain. You’ll end up investing time and money in something agents won’t use.
On the flip side, if your agents think they need more time to perform value-added tasks vs. sitting at a desk doing data entry, introduce an app like Spacio. It’s a lead-generation tool that helps agents save time managing their client lists. For example, new leads are automatically entered into a CRM when people sign in at open houses.
Another way to gauge a tool’s value is to evaluate its features. Agents don’t want to have to remember another password, so if new tech offers single sign-on (SSO), your team is likely to be more receptive. We offer SSO, and users tell us they appreciate the simplicity it offers.
Takeaway: For any new tech you introduce, highlight the value it offers and the pain point it solves. This improves the likelihood your agents will adopt it.
2. Use different training styles.
Depending on the number of agents that work in your brokerage, chances are, they all have different learning styles. There are four main learning styles, so what works for one group of agents, won’t work for another. Here are the styles:
- Visual learners prefer to receive information visually through graphics, videos, and images.
- Auditory learners prefer to listen to new information.
- Reading and writing learners prefer to learn using text-based information, like info sheets and manuals.
- Kinesthetic learners prefer hands-on learning.
[Source] Visual learning is the most common learning style.
Instead of running product demos and giving everyone access to test the new tool, cater to these different learning styles to teach agents how to use the new tech:
- Give visual learners access to SlideShare presentations that include images of the tool in action.
- Ask auditory learners questions during training, and engage them in conversation.
- Give access to the online product manual or website to people who prefer to learn through reading and writing so they can learn more about the new tech.
- Invite kinesthetic learners to lunch-and-learns or live demos, during which someone walks through how the product works and then agents complete tasks using the new tech.
This approach of catering to different learning styles can include running multiple sessions throughout a week of training. Give agents the option to join sessions that meet their training needs.
Not everyone fits into one learning category, so as you plan training sessions, consider combining learning styles. You’ll find that some auditory learners like to take notes so they can review them later on. If you record your training sessions, give the team access to view them so auditory learners can digest the information at their own pace.
Takeaway: To figure out what learning styles to cater to, ask your team to rank the training styles they prefer. Also, review what types of training sessions were successful in the past.
3. Create a knowledge center.
Even when new tech is rolled out, some agents will continue to use tried-and-true methods. For example, they might prefer to use pen and paper to sign in guests at open houses. Agents choose these low-tech options because they’re easy to use, even if they’re not the most efficient, and agents understand how they work. To encourage more agents to adopt new tech, you need to offer support.
One option is to give agents access to an internal knowledge center — like Google Drive or Dropbox — that stores training documents, videos, and more. These resources act as refreshers for agents as they learn about the new tool and how to use it. Here’s an example of Emmanuel Fonte, VP of Ultimate Client Relationships & Digital Strategies at the John L. Scott brokerage talking about how easy it is to use our Boost platform to create ads. A video like this is a great tool to remind agents of the benefits of the tool.
Whichever platform you choose for storing resources, it should allow agents to easily search the information to quickly find what they need.
A tool like the Katana Safety Arc — a device that attaches to the back of a cell phone to track your location and contact a safety response center if you’re in danger — has a lot of security features. There’s a silent alarm, an audible alarm, a GPS tracking system, a feature to connect agents to their teams, and more. It’ll take more than a few training sessions to learn how to set up and use these features properly. This is where a knowledge center comes in handy: It helps agents learn at their own pace. They can access the available resources as many times as they need to until they feel comfortable with the tool.
Takeaway: A knowledge center that includes FAQs and quick tips on how to set up the new tech gives agents the information they need to get started.
4. Guide agents so they experience early wins.
Agents may be intimidated when they’re introduced to a brand-new product. They’ll likely find reasons not to use it because there’s a lot of information to take in, and it isn’t immediately clear how the new tech will be of benefit.
To ease agents into adoption, show them how to master one task in the new tool. This will give them an early win and will guide them to experience their aha moment. This is where they experience value for the first time and understand how the tech can make life easier.
With our tool Spacio, designed for CRM automation, one way to direct users to an early win is to encourage them to host their first open house with the tool. Show agents how to create a custom sign-in form and how to connect the app to your CRM database. As visitors arrive and sign-in and agents see the efficiency, your team will be more open to investing time in learning more about what the tool does. Agents will even feel encouraged to personalize their account and start to test out more advanced features.
Takeaway: Get agents on board with new tech by guiding them through their early use of the product.
5. Introduce new tech to early adopters first.
Whenever you roll out new tech, there will undoubtedly be agents who question why new tools are needed. There may even be resistance if you’re already using some tech but are pushing for an upgrade. Agents might not want to spend the time learning a new system, so adoption will be slow.
To get agents to be more receptive to adopting new tech, get buy-in from early adopters on the team. Early adopters are people who are open to trying new things, proactively make suggestions about the tools you use, and have a general interest in testing new tools. If you can get them to talk about their experience and share details about how the tool has helped them be more efficient and productive, you use social proof to convince naysayers to get on board.
As an example, let’s say your agents find that they have a lot of impromptu meetings with leads and clients. Introduce a tool like Rev — a transcription service — to your early adopters. Have them record some of their meetings and then order transcripts. Afterward, ask this group to talk about the experience of ordering the transcripts, the quality of the final product, and the ways they were able to focus on what was happening in the meeting vs. focusing on taking notes.
You can even ask the leadership team to join sessions and ask questions. Have them talk about their experience to show that the company is on board with this new tech.
Takeaway: Get buy-in from people your agents look up to. This improves the chances that more people will adopt new tech, because they respect the opinions of these people.
6. Offer ongoing support.
After the initial training sessions, there might be product issues the team has to deal with, or perhaps they feel unsatisfied with aspects of the tool. If you offer only one-time training — like during the initial rollout — you won’t always hear about dissatisfaction, because there aren’t opportunities for agents to share feedback.
Instead of looking at training as a one-and-done task, look at it as an ongoing process. After agents have had time to use the new tool, send a survey to the team to learn more about their early experience and to gauge their satisfaction with the tool.
Based on the feedback you collect, you have a few options:
- Provide extra training.
- Unveil additional features.
- Add more content to the knowledge center.
- Offer additional training sessions.
- Host regular Q&A sessions.
This support will help agents become more familiar and comfortable with the new tech and give them an outlet to voice their opinions or share more feedback.
Takeaway: It’s important to show agents that you’re listening to their thoughts and making changes to improve adoption of the new technology.
There are solutions to the challenges of implementing new technology
Part of your job is to stay up to date on new tech available to your team. Once you decide which new tech offers the most value and solves the problems your team is experiencing, keep the focus on creating a space for your team to learn, share comments, and offer feedback.
Consider this: The more adaptable training is and the more access there is to ongoing support, the better equipped you are to manage the challenges that arise when you implement new tech. Give these tactics a try, and let us know what your experience was like.