Shining a Light on Agent Technology Adoption

Posted on May 20 2016 - 9:42am by Paige Tepping
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tech platformAs the technology landscape continues to change, keeping up with today’s connected consumer is a challenging proposition. Understanding and aligning with the connected consumer is a must, but real estate professionals and brokers alike often don’t know where to begin when choosing which technology will have the biggest impact on their bottom line.

And then there’s the issue of agent adoption, a topic that was examined in the latest installment of RISMedia’s Broker Best Practices Webinar Series. Sponsored by ERA Real Estate and moderated by Verl Workman, founder & CEO of Workman Success Systems, “Bet on Buy-In! Proven Strategies for Agent Tech Adoption” took a closer look at ERA’s implementation of ZipRealty’s ZAP platform to provide attendees with a case study for how to promote agent tech adoption.

“Our biggest challenge centered on changing agent behaviors and thought processes,” said Chris Trick, chief marketing officer, ERA Franchise Systems LLC.

“Central to our approach was the belief that agent adoption begins with an understanding of the connected consumer,” a process that was set in motion by bringing agents into alignment with changing consumer expectations before impressing upon them that the ZAP technology platform was a solution that would drive results.

According to Trick, five key trends are responsible for shaping the relationship between brands and consumers today:

  1. Hybrid Service
  2. Personalization
  3. Transparency
  4. The Social Graph
  5. The Journey

“These trends set the stage for our solution, and providing this context helped our agents understand the business imperative that made change necessary—and facilitated adoption,” said Trick.

As consumers continue to change, there’s the added expectation for their online activity to segue effortlessly into getting the services they need, a movement that’s causing the focus on technology to increase in order to provide real estate professionals the tools they need to engage consumers.

“Today’s real estate consumer is empowered, and they expect personalization,” said Jake Lyman, ZipRealty’s chief product operations officer, who explained the importance of the consumer experience in driving technology adoption for agents.

“Our technology is built with the consumer experience at the center,” said Lyman. From highly-optimized and engaging agent websites that increase reach and visibility to online consumers to a modern and easy-to-navigate design, the ZAP platform was built with the consumer in mind.

Another key to driving technology adoption among agents? Demonstrating the increased efficiency and effectiveness in managing and maximizing the consumer/agent relationship at every touch point.

“Adoption is also driven through the feeling of being part of a larger community of change,” added Lyman. “Building a forum/community where agents can feel like they’re part of the larger revolution of technology change is very valuable,” a key component of the ZAP technology platform.

In the end, changing behaviors requires a new way of thinking—as well as a new way of doing business—an understanding that laid the foundation for the creation of the ZAP platform as a tool that seamlessly fit into the daily operations of agents.

From Wayne Weaver’s perspective, system integration was the most important factor when it came to agent adoption. An ERA Trainer/Sales Associate, ERA Team VP Real Estate, Weaver has spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 helping ERA brokers and sales associates leverage the ERA ZAP platform.

“We didn’t want to add another to-do to an agent’s schedule, so system integration with existing platforms was critical,” said Weaver, who went on to say that selecting a ZAP specialist within each office to provide agents a direct connection should they need help along the way was another critical piece of the puzzle in terms of championing agent adoption.

“We also focused on live learning events where agents were encouraged to set up the technology and actually use it during the training session,” said Weaver. “This allowed us to work face-to-face with agents, moving them in the right direction.”

As ERA approaches 50 percent agent adoption, the key players in the platform’s initial success are looking forward to an even brighter future.

“As we continue to roll out the program, we’re focused on finding solutions to problems people don’t even know exist,” concluded Trick.

To learn more about getting agents to adopt technology, watch the webinar in full below: