Technology Ch-Ch-Changes: Transforming Your Brokerage and Getting the Agent Buy-In

Posted on Nov 22 2016 - 11:03am by Nick Caruso
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TechChange is inevitable in life, both personal and professional, but it’s essential for broker/owners in real estate who want to build a dynamic office atmosphere and ensure the highest levels of efficiency. Technology moves fast and in order to get the maximum ROI from it, you need to be able to introduce new methods to your agents and encourage adoption—the clear message from the most recent RISMedia ACE Broker Best Practices webinar entitled, “Change Management: Broker Technology Initiatives That Stick.” As David Bowie once told us, we need to “Turn and face the strange.” To some agents, “the strange” can be scary, but with the right training and implementation strategies from leadership, change can bring a lot of dollars in…for everyone.

Moderated by Verl Workman, founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems and sponsored by DocuSign, the webinar provided groundbreaking advice on how brokerages can barrel forward into the future with their agents in tow. Angela Raab, director of Agent Development and Technology Advancement for the F.C. Tucker Company suggested that companies select one cheerleader—a person who’s excited about an upcoming product and understands how it’s going to help the company, agents, and/or consumers.

“So many companies assign projects because maybe they fit in the department or because nobody stepped up to do it. I feel that’s the wrong approach because whoever is excited about the product should be the one who leads it and becomes the biggest cheerleader,” said Raab. “[The cheerleader] takes the hits and keeps on trucking, and their enthusiasm overcomes the hits.”

The goal, Raab said, is to have as minimal an impact on agents’ day-to-day workings as possible. The very first thing brokers should do before implementing a change is to explain why the change is being made. “You cannot over-communicate this point,” said Raab. “You’re going to feel like you’ve said it so many times your ears are going to bleed, but in the absence of communication there’s going to be a void, and the thing that naturally fills that void is negativity. Work your best to avoid having a void where negativity can grow.”

Raab compared the process of implementing change in business to the stages of grief in what she calls “The Change Curve.” The Change Curve showcases the emotional journey agents go through for any change (particularly, changes in your organization): shock, denial, anger, depression, acceptance and integration.

“You’ll never go straight from shock to integration. You have to let agents go through all these stages and make them feel like they’re heard at every stage,” said Raab.

Leane Forsee, administrator for Dilbeck Real Estate in LA County, said brokers need to own change. Identify the best person to be your project manager (that person should own the process from start to finish), and make sure that planning, communication and training are on point—these are the keys to success.

Forsee agrees with the need for a cheerleader, and added that strategic planning must be a part of the process. Have a plan, communicate the plan, test the plan with a core testing group, execute the plan with the remainder of the team, and, finally, revisit the plan throughout the process and course correct as needed.

When Forsee’s company began implementing DocuSign’s platform, she quickly realized that rolling it out company-wide was not the way to start. “DocuSign has been amazing helping us work out the bugs. We made a conscious choice to start with one of our offices, and rolled it out to the entire staff and let them work it before the agents. Then, we went to every office and introduced it to the [rest of the] staff. Then, we went back to the first office and rolled it out to agents. We did it in baby steps,” she said.

Forsee also noted that people learn in three ways: visually, audibly and kinesthetically. “You need all three when teaching or training,” said Forsee. “We completed mock transactions, and people took everything they just learned and then had to go do it. We had six or seven people who were semi-experts walk around and show people shortcuts. Without showing people, it would not have worked. We really needed that second part of the training so everyone could practice what they just learned. That’s when we got the buy-in.”

Business, along with the lives of tech-savvy consumers, is ever-evolving. Keep up with technology. Increase efficiency. Implement methods that can better help your agents do their jobs.

In other words: Face the strange and be more like Bowie.

View the webinar in full below:

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