By Sam Guillen
I love ‘new school’ technology.
Some would say I’m addicted. I’d say I’m eager to adapt what’s new. After a long and productive day at work, who wouldn’t want to set the temperature for an evening bath from a tablet device? Or, watch your son smack a homerun at his baseball game from your cell phone while you’re at a business conference 2,000 miles away?
For more than 21 years, I’ve embraced all things new and hip in my real estate career. I believe that technology and systems, if implemented properly, squeeze out the inefficiencies in our business. Technology enables us to manage multiple clients, handle several transactions at once, and streamline the real estate process so we can provide better service to our buyers and sellers.
But there’s a slippery slope when using technology that can quickly turn a convenience into a crutch. Technology is not, and never will be, a determining factor to success. It is a supplement to that success, of course, but it is not the be-all and end-all to achieve your professional goals. This is where technology and I temporarily part ways. I am completely old school when it comes to my lead generation, rapport-building techniques and prospecting. That’s right I said it … prospecting!
I know “prospecting” can be seen as a dirty word these days. But let’s face it; an overwhelming majority of real estate transactions today still get closed across the kitchen table. Yes, the lead may have been initiated on a website or on social media, but ultimately, the customer chose you because he or she liked you when you eventually met in person. You were friendly, intelligent, informative and probably in right place at the right time. Technology may have sparked the opportunity, but you were the kindling, the fan and the fuel that kept that fire going.
In general, the public may love to receive information and updates on their tablet or smartphone but the people want to talk. Your friends want to meet you for lunch. Your colleagues want to catch up about the latest sports scores or current events. They want your opinion. Consumers are interested in what you have to say and the most powerful and effective delivery of your insight happens with face-to-face interactions. Yes, you can do something similar with blogs, videos, emails and social media, but if I put you in a room with 500 people, how many leads would you walk away with? Are your skills sharp enough to capture someone’s attention? Are you compelling? Have hours of sitting in front of a computer whittled away at your ability to network and socialize? What if you went out and talked to 10 new people a day, 40 per month, and 480 per year? Could you find at least 20 clients and help them buy or sell real estate? Would all the in-person discussions from that year help improve not only how you interact with people but also the quality of those interactions? Hopefully, we can all agree that the answer is ‘YES.’
So come out from behind the new, shiny technology. It’s great. It’s incredible. Nobody doubts that. But it’s not everything. Once you start really combining new school technology with old school techniques, that’s when success happens. And there’s no app for success.