The digitization of real estate companies is advancing more and more. With 5 strategies we want to help you to optimize your real estate business.
Today’s technology-driven real estate companies can dominate their analogue competitors, and not just because technology saves them money. Sure, efficient resource allocation will lower costs over time, but digitizing your real estate business can affect your entire business.
The digital transformation of your company will help you:
Close deals faster and thereby increase your bottom line
Enable an improved customer experience (which leads to referrals)
Attract top agents who outperform the competition
But you may be wondering …
Where exactly do I start?
The idea of digitizing a real estate business may seem overwhelming. That’s why we wrote this article to help brokers and real estate agents move their businesses into the 21st century.
Follow these 5 steps to create a smart, cost-effective strategy that will help you modernize your operations without disrupting the normal course of business.
The good news!
You don’t have to do everything overnight. In fact, it’s best to start small and approach changes incrementally based on feedback from your employees – something we’ll discuss in detail in this post.
Step 1: evaluate your processes
The first step is to get an overview of everything your company does, from customer-facing activities to backend processes that only you and your employees know about.
Make the list of all your processes including:
Real estate listings (including photos, videos, etc.)
Collection of all leads and follow-up
Closing procedure (from income of funds to signing documents)
Accounting and bookkeeping
Working hours tracking
Internal project management
Ask your team to list everything that is part of their job. Explain to them that you want technology to make their job easier and that you need their help in identifying potential areas of digitization.
Step 2: Identify Your Biggest Problem Areas
Once you have all of your processes under control, it is time to identify the problematic areas. These usually arise from old habits that are difficult to break – things that you do in a certain way because you “have always done them that way”. It’s time to break free of old habits.
Do you keep track of your internal processes and crack the numbers in Excel tables, for example? While technically a digital tool, there are far better solutions for things like tracking customer relationships, managing projects, and keeping track of certain financial metrics. Look for software that has been specially developed for real estate companies and that maps all the most important data in a centralized app so that all employees stay up to date and the information is not stored in multiple folders.
Are you still manually signing documents instead of using DocuSign ? Do you also do the transactions manually instead of using platforms like DotLoop ?
Ask your agents and employees what their biggest frustrations are and how much money your company could lose each year as a result
Time for bug fixes
Customers/references lost through inefficiency
Workplace mood when things go wrong
Of course, it is not easy to calculate the money lost due to the outdated processes, but when you consider the above factors, existing problems come to light. Identify these problem areas and go to step 3.
Step 3: introduce changes (and remember to start small)
Now that you know your biggest problem areas, choose a couple of digitizing techniques. Start small – this way you can evaluate your progress and remember what still needs to be optimized.
This approach has its roots in a Silicon Valley model called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) . It usually refers to product launches in software companies, but can also be used for changes to internal processes.
The idea behind this is that the first version of a product (or the change to a process) doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be functional. In other words, it has to work as expected and after you get it out there you can start collecting feedback from the end users. That makes a lot more sense than predicting!
As the people who use your new product on a daily basis will tell you what works and what doesn’t. This is far more efficient than wasting countless hours looking for a solution based on your guesswork, only to discover that your product is seriously flawed and needs to be changed. With an MVP, your end users help you perfect your processes from the start and improve them with each next version.
Step 4: get feedback
Remember, some employees don’t want to cause trouble. They accept the technology you give them and adapt without complaint. So you have to explain to them that now is not the time to do this.
Let them know you want to hear everything. What do they love and what do they hate? What works well and what needs improvement? Sit down with them in a face-to-face meeting to delve deeper and receive constructive, actionable feedback. This is the only way to get rid of the bad solutions and perfect the good ones.
Step 5: don’t stop optimizing
Once you’ve successfully digitized one of your outdated processes, move on to the next opportunity. And don’t forget that continuous improvement is a cycle, not an end goal.
Return to step 1 and evaluate your processes in the light of recent tweaks as things may have changed. It is possible that one optimization was solving multiple problems at the same time, reducing the urgency of other things that you saw as an urgent priority. On the other hand, digitizing one process could increase the need to digitize another process that you originally considered a lower priority. So don’t be afraid to change things.
Go on step by step, jotting down the problem areas, making changes, getting feedback, and adjusting things further.
Managing long-term change – the right way
Remember that change management is a group effort and that this is where all-round participation is key. If you involve your entire team, you will get better feedback and, in the end, you will have better processes. In short, your efforts will prove effective, sustainable, and profitable.
With that in mind, let the communication between management and everyone else be open. Give your team the opportunity to identify opportunities for improvement and to discuss them openly. After all, technology is constantly improving, and if you stay updated with these changes, your real estate business will remain competitive for years and decades to come.