Technology: The Secret Sauce for Small to Mid-Sized CRE Players
For most problems there is no silver bullet to solve them. But, in CRE, there is a secret sauce that his helping small and mid-sized mom-n-pop brokerages keep up with the big players in the market. Technology is part of the sauce, but not the secret.
The Secret in the Secret Sauce
The secret is in how small brokers are leveraging different types of technology to create unique competitive advantages. Think about this; the workforce is largely made up of millennials now. Most millennials even if they’ve never taken a computer programming class in their life have an intuitive relationship with technology. When you can recruit tech savvy agents, adapting and adopting new technologies specific to your goals is easier than ever.
Last year a survey conducted by Better Homes & Gardens in conjunction with RisMedia found that most brokers believe that their biggest obstacle is increasing agent productivity. New technologies are aimed at increasing productivity by automating and streamlining as many processes as possible.
Meanwhile new disruptive technologies are making it hard for brokers to stay ahead of the threats coming their way. The same survey found that nearly of third of those interviewed saw the biggest disruptive model to commercial real estate as direct-to-consumer (Online digital models – 21%). However, leveraging online technology and commercial assets, tiny five person operations can compete with the biggest players in real estate with a smart strategy.
Adapting Legacy Systems
Before any of those strategies can be implemented though, smaller firms have to have the systems in place to pull off AI, 3D modeling, predictive analysis, real-time data updates, etc. The biggest problem facing smaller real estate firms and individual agents up until now has been the expense and hassle of adding new technologies on top of antiquated legacy systems.
Legacy system adaption has plagued the real estate industry for years. It could be argued that it is a major reason why commercial real estate has lagged so far behind most other industries in technology adoption.
According to the numbers, close to 15% of brokers say that streamlining technology platforms is their biggest obstacle while 7% point to reducing technology costs. The good news is adopting most new technologies takes only a fraction of the costs that it took to install or create old legacy systems.
Attracting Talented Agents with Technology
Another problem facing brokers that is being solved by technology is recruiting. It too is a huge obstacle for brokerages. The majority put recruiting agents as their biggest operational challenge including adding more agents to the firm, which keeps 22% of them ‘awake at night.’ Recruiting top talent in the field is a concern for 12% while recruiting is the most pressing issue for 29% of brokers.
Today’s best agents expect a tech advanced brokerage, no matter the size, that will have tools to help them maximize their abilities and make the most money. AI is the most widely adopted real estate technology so far and it is giving small understaffed brokerages a leg up on competitors. A one-person operation can seem like a team of brokers if chatbots, CRM software, and other technology are used to handle the mundane, repetitive, and easily automated daily tasks of a broker or agent.
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Gives Small Firms Large Brokerage Capabilities
Historically, adopting new technology meant rebuilding an entire enterprise system, costing tens of thousands of dollars. Even recently in order to integrate old systems with new systems, brokers had to give up some of their data or pay exorbitant costs for tearing down their old system in order to implement something new.
SaaS is helping to overcome that problem for small brokers. It allows these brokerages to adopt and customize platforms in a way that targets their specific pool of prospective clients. Our CRM is designed to do all of the above better than any company in CRE. Contact us for a demo.