What’s Next?: Using Real Estate Technology To Answer The Million Dollar Question

In the July 5 issue of Realty Times, columnist Bob Hunt points out that in California, new real estate agents are popping up at the rate of 6.5 per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In fact, if you put all of the agents together, their number would make them the 5th largest city in California.

That’s a lot of competition.

That means that every night, when you go to bed in California, you wake up 8 hours later with 52 more people competing for a piece of the same real estate pie.

Sure, a lot of them will drop out over the next few years. That’s the nature of the business, but that still leaves a lot of real estate professionals out there going after your prospects, your clients and your business.

What’s a simple way to make sure you stay a step ahead?

Working harder isn’t the answer. Long term, it isn’t a very efficient plan and can lead to burn-out pretty quickly.

Plus, there is always someone who will be able and willing to work harder and faster.

A better answer is to work “smarter” and to ALWAYS be asking yourself, “What’s Next?”

What does this have to do with real estate technology?

By using real estate technology to automate your business systems, you can help create the time you need to figure out an answer to your “What’s Next?” question.

This one question, “What’s Next?” is really a catch-all for business building questions like:

-How can I make my service better?

-What new problem can I solve for my clients?

-What were the major problems from my last 10 transactions and how can I redefine or retool what I do to either minimize the chances of those happening again or avoid them altogether?

-What is the promise that only I can make to my clients?

-Why should they do business with me vs. ANY and EVERY option available to them?

-What new niche market can I target?

-How can I improve my marketing systems and improve my conversion rates?

The way you create the time you need to answer these questions and implement the solutions is to automate as many of your other business systems as you can with real estate technology.

Most real estate pros have at least 3 main types of systems:

1. Client Attraction or Lead Generation

2. Client Fulfillment (Doing the transaction.)

3. Client Retention

If you haven’t sat down and clearly outlined each of these three main systems, the concrete steps they contain and the results they are currently producing, now is the time to start…

Once you get that done, it is time to automate using technology by using things like websites, autoresponders, 800 lines, mailing list software, newsletters etc.

Let’s take your Lead Generation System as a quick example…

The point of any lead generation system is of course to get those who want to buy or sell to raise their hands and let you know they exist. But generally, a good number of those folks won’t be top quality prospects for you immediately. The next step is to filter down the results so that you only invest time (your only real asset) into those who are ready to act now… The rest of the prospects get diverted into another system that keeps checking in with them until they are ready to act.

The trick is to get all of that to happen with little involvement from you.

Does that mean that you don’t give your prospects quality service? No… It just means that you strike a balance so that you don’t spend your time running after opportunities until your systems have identified the “hot” prospects.

So here is a question to ask yourself as you go throughout your day as you “do” each of your business activities:

“Have I done this before? Can I automate, delegate or accomplish this in anyway that does not require my hands on attention?”

If you aren’t sure how to use real estate technology to automate your systems, you need to get help.

For once you do, your main priority becomes improving your systems rather than running your business. The systems run the business, you tweak the systems.

All of the answers to the “What’s Next?” question then center around improving your systems or creating new ones.

Plus, by developing your business systems and then automating them to largely run unattended, you have just solved a major challenge in most independent professional type small businesses: you have built equity in your business.

Your systems are your business, and that is where the real value is. The better they are, the less of YOU is required. That makes your business saleable, which means you won’t be having to work for the rest of your life.

That sounds good doesn’t it?

Business & Technology Crack – Does Business Drives Technology or Technology Drives Business?

Information Technology and the move to a computerized infrastructure model are bringing great changes to many industries. Often it is the CIO of the company who escort this fundamental shift in the business revenue stream. Leading others through modernization, revolutionize and transformation means you must be able to make changes yourself.

Forget about asking whether technology drives business or business drives technology. Stop perturbing about whether or not technology is strategic. Silence all the confusions about how advance this technology is to that technology. In technology, there are numerous questions that if you have to ask, you probably already know and don’t like the answer. A more satisfying line of inquiry is how much of your technological horsepower is actually being used to turn the wheels of innovation.

Some people says that Technology drives business modernization, novelty, success & Innovations that opens up new doors of opportunities, improves the company’s performance on the whole, sharpens the company’s market intelligence, and makes new things possible for the clients. Another school of thought is that the Business Drives Technology, as such integration is about assisting business to facilitate their profitability by utilizing technology and other resources available to the enterprise. But realistically speaking, the driving force comes from the CEO and CIO of the company, who both endeavor to leverage technology to its fullest potential.

In a society that has become entirely dependent on computers and immediate communications, technology is becoming the heartbeat in the process of office design as decisions on layout and services. Some aspects of technology, like the computer animation & communication, are highly visible demonstration devices. But more of it is in the largely unseen infrastructure, with the emphasis on sophisticated wiring and smart communication devices to provide for an ever greater flow, and on communications and power facilities to keep operations running through almost any anticipated calamity.

In the modernization of the today’s businesses, Common business drivers include; Mergers and Acquisitions, Internal Reorganizations, Application and System Consolidation, Inconsistent/Duplicated/Fragmented Data, New Business Strategies, Compliance with Government Regulations, Streamlining Business Processes. To achieve the success in the accommodation of these business drivers, the sturdy and smart input would be required from both the parties i.e. the business as well as the technology.

In a company, you could cover every surface in your office with how to manage change. But one aspect of change management that often dodges IT Managers is how to better influence corporate colleagues. If information technology drives business decisions, the IT executives must communicate and be persuasive with other department heads on key project management issues.

Strategic planning for Information Technology is one component of an overall company vision for success. This psychoanalysis facilitates IT professionals to successfully define short and long-term goals and ascertain the resources necessary to apprehend such goals. To ensure success, the strategic plan should be developed in a thorough but rapid manner, consist of a brief, succinct compilation of analyzed data, and provide opportunities by which additional planning and analysis can occur.

Several important benefits occur as the result of a successful strategic IT plan. First, employees are provided with an understanding of how their role fits in with the overall company structure. Also, this planning allows managers to realize additional opportunities for growth and success. Finally, important relationships between technology investment and positive outcomes, such as increased market share, are revealed.

It’s now become the industry dilemma that IT people need to know more about business. They need to understand the disciplines and the lingo of business process management, business performance management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, financial management, human resources management, operations management, etc. Lacking that knowledge, communication with business people and understanding of business requirements will forever be troubled.

On the other hand the Business people should also drive their efforts to know more about information technology. As with all communication and relationship issues, this is not a prejudiced problem. Just as IT people need to become more business-oriented, business people need to be more IT-oriented. They need to understand the roles and relationships among the many different kinds of technology upon which their information systems depend, and they need to understand the dependencies among those technologies. Business people need to have a working knowledge of the technology stack as it affects their capability to get information, perform business analysis, and make informed business decisions.

Beyond the relatively straight-forward needs of business becoming IT-oriented and technologists becoming business-oriented, there lies a new challenge. We must develop common understanding and shared perspective of value, an issue that is both a business concern and a technology consideration. When business and IT have different meaning and outlook for value, conflicts are certain to arise.

Business and IT organizations often have two evidently different perspectives of value. IT expert generally take a data-to-value approach. Where Data produces information, information enhances knowledge, knowledge drives action, action produces outcomes, and favorable outcomes deliver value. Business management typically uses a goals-to-value system. Business drivers and goals determine strategies, strategies drive tactics, which in turn produce results, and positive results produce value.

Effective business/IT relationships are ultimately a question of alignment. New IT skills, new business skills, and new perspectives that sets the stage for business/IT alignment. But it doesn’t assure alignment. To achieve genuine association there are several things that must be done; some by IT, some by the business, and some collectively.

Conflicts between business and IT organizations have existed from the very beginning of automated Information Systems. We have accelerated in so many ways both in business and in technology. However, the problem still pestilences most of the businesses. The Business/IT crack must go away. The cost is high; the value is null; and the barriers that it crafts grow bigger each moment. The problem can be fixed, and the time to fix it is now!