4 Steps Brokers Can Take to Get Agents to Adopt Technology
March 14, 2017
One of the greatest struggles that broker-owners have with technology is getting their agents to use the technology tools they provide. On the other hand, many agents are suffering from tech fatigue with simply too many tech tools to learn, sometimes taking too much time to learn, none of them being integrated and often requiring too many different passwords to remember to access everything.
While brokers throughout the U.S. over many years have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in technology for their agents, many studies show that fewer than half of all agents are using the tech tools their broker provides. A study by the WAV Group (“Broker Tecnology Adoption and Satisfaction Study”) pointed to some of the reasons:
- Most brokerages today are managing relationships with five to eleven vendors
- Many of the tech tools provided have overlapping features and few, if any, ever work together
- The tech tools are scattered and not located in a single place for agents to access
The study points out that “the cumbersome nature of this lack of organization leads to poor product adoption by agents, and low degrees of satisfaction by the broker.”
4 Steps to Adoption
Unfortunately, most brokerages can’t waive a magic wand and fix all of these challenges overnight. So we talked to our Tech Helpline analysts for their advice on how to get agents more comfortable with technology. Tech Helpline is a service owned by the Florida Realtors® and the real estate industry’s number one tech support service. Tech analysts work with real estate agents every day and have a combined IT experience of nearly 300 years.
What they suggested were four basics steps that every brokerage can take today to help agents adopt their most important technology. Think of these steps as a “workaround” – a way to increase agent adoption despite other considerable challenges that may be inherent in how a brokerage provides technology to agents today.
Step 1: Invest in Super Users
Designate specific agents/staff to be the internal ‘go to’ people for the software/program. Invest in their training, and even give them incentives to be the first to adopt and be fully immersed in the software/program. These Super Users should be capable of learning quickly and of giving others support and guidance when requested.
Step 2: Get everybody else familiar with it
Offering a technology is not a one-and-done process. Too often, most efforts to expose existing agents to a new tech tool are done at the launch or introduction of the new service or product. For new agents, it’s done as part of the boarding process. But getting agents familiar with a technology is best done over time, and not just on a single focused effort, no matter how large.
The best approach is to provide information and training continuously. Do so through internal promotions, at staff meetings, with contests, and on-demand videos. Use all the communications available to you to keep the technology top-of-mind with your agents.
Step 3: Get them to watch someone else using it
Watching someone use something is one of the best ways to learn how to use it. Just look at today’s YouTube generation: When they want to learn how to put something together or take something apart, they don’t read a manual, they watch a video. It’s the same thing with learning how to use software today. When people get stuck using a software program, step-by-step videos can walk them through to get unstuck.
Watching someone use software in person is even more powerful. That’s because you can ask questions and create a completely interactive, multi-dimensional experience, and that’s something video can’t do. Training is one way to teach through demonstration, either in person or via a live Webinar, but a more effective way is always one-on-one. By pairing agents who don’t use the technology with your Super Users, expert agents that use it all the time, it can be a highly effective way to move agents, especially more resistant ones, toward adoption.
Step 4: Get them to try it out
So much of our communications about new and existing tech tools for agents and the wonders they offer are focused on the features of the tech tools and not the benefits the tech tools bring. It’s something marketers understand: sell the sizzle, not the steak. Brokers need to do the same for agents as the final incentive to get them to try the technology out for themselves. Agents need a solid WIIFM: What’s in it for me? This is where Super Users are key. They should be so immersed with the software that they can speak with authority and credibility about all the specific, and real-life benefits with conviction. Moreover, they can be there to support and guide the more hesitant users through the process, giving them the confidence they need and on-the-spot answers to the questions they have.
Once you get agents engaged enough to try out the technology, it is this fourth step where you will see the greatest impact. You will have moved them through the first three steps to the one that counts most: using it. Using a technology is the fastest path to agent adoption, but laying the foundation is important to getting them to stick with it.