In an article yesterday, we highlighted the leadership of one of America’s top-performing brokerage operating officers and her guiding advice that success comes from training and preparation. You would not show up to run a marathon without adequate training to prepare.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® published a quick survey this week called the NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse – April 2020. The survey fielded for 24 hours from the 12th-13th and the results are based on the appx. 2300 usable responses received; most of the survey is related to buyer behavior, seller behavior, and closing behavior. But one of the key questions that we were struck by was related to technology.
What technology tools are you using to cultivate new relationships and communicate with clients?
As a research firm, we believe that attitudes matter as much as facts. Our strategic planning process looks carefully at usage reports that technology providers provide which collect facts – number of valid, number of monthly unique visitors, etc. Technology partners will often register all users at an association, MLS, franchise, or brokerage. We look to see who has logged at least once, and when is that last time they logged in. These are facts. But the NAR research is measuring opinion, which is equally valid because it measures how people feel.
Top Training Opportunities
54% of agents do not use live videos. If you look at data published by Redfin and Delta Media, websites that offer live videos are seeing an enormous rate of consumer adoption. This is a highly desired consumer solution and half of agents are not using them. Many MLSs have made accommodations for live video instructions and are syndicating them to advertising publishers and through IDX. Delta Media reports that these requests are the #1 lead generation tool on their broker and agent websites today.
I was amazed to see that 19% of agents, roughly 1 in 5 are not using social media to communicate with customers. I did a Google search for “what percentage of Americans use social media” and came up with the answer of 79% from Statista. Pew Research says that 80% of Americans use Facebook, 73% use YouTube. The adoption of social media among agents is in line with the general public, but with 4 out of 5 potential customers on social media, agents may need to understand the importance of it in their business. Even if they only use social media for work, it’s a valuable business tool.
NAR may have asked a “bad” question here– I’m not sure that E-closing technology is a term many agents will know. The more common term is Transaction Management. I know most franchises and large brokerage firms require agents to upload completed transaction files to their transaction management platforms like DocuSign Rooms for Real Estate, Instanet Transaction Desk, Skyslope, Zipforms Plus, or DotLoop in order to get paid. Granted, these systems are being used more as a glorified document storage solution than business process solution, but it’s amazing that 46% of Realtors report not using them. This technology is not going away. Realtors need to step up and take the time to learn how to use this stuff.
Only 11% of Realtors indicate that they are not using eSignatures. Way to go DocuSign. It’s probably no surprise that DocuSign Stock hit an all-time high of over $105 per share yesterday. Everyone is using DocuSign for everything.
42% of Realtors claim that they use virtual tours for sellers. I was surprised that the number was so low. Companies like Property Panorama build and publish virtual tours for more than half of the inventory in North America automatically and send the links to the Realtor. That is just one company. I am pretty sure that Imprev automatically builds virtual tours for about 1/3 or more listings in America too. I guess some agents are not aware of this happening because production is automated (one of the drawbacks of artificial intelligence and automation is that people do not value machine work as much as human work). 30% of agents do not use virtual tours at all.
40% of Realtors don’t text! Again, this may be a survey bias. If the question asked about Text Messaging or other messaging systems, I would expect the number to be much higher. Slick Text suggested that 80% of the population uses text messaging. Medium.com research indicates that the number is 81%. Realtors need classes in text messaging, along with other messaging platforms. Medium’s research goes on to claim that Americans receive twice as many text messages as phone calls each day because phone calls are slower and the response time is lower. 99% of text messages are opened. Average time reading a text is 3 minutes. Response rate is 45%. Americans spend 23 hours per week texting. Companies like VoicePad have known this for years and have outstanding response rates on their yard signs, knowing that consumers are much more likely to send a text than they are to call a Realtor off of a sign.
57% of real estate agents indicate that they do not use Webex/Zoom. This is a huge problem for training agents today. They absolutely need to learn how to host and attend virtual meetings. Sounds obvious, but before you create a huge program around online meetings, you may want to start with a training class on how to host or attend an online meeting.
Great job on this timely research by NAR!
Until we have a remedy, the virus will likely be around for a long time, and undoubtedly, this virus will change how humans interact with each other and technology for months or years to come. In the near term, person to person meetings will be the exception rather than the rule. Real Estate is considered an essential service, but to make it possible to transact Realtors will need to adopt and eventually master these technologies. It’s time to motivate Realtors to begin the adoption of these useful tools immediately.