do we lead with technology, or do we lead with a personal connection?
Today at my brokerage office, we listened to a presentation on the newest technology that our corporate offices are rolling out, and while a lot of it makes a ton of sense and I'm looking forward to using it, part of the message was also that the tools we will have will help us combat the arguments that agents get about our prices, insight, recommendations, etc. He literally closed the presentation with 'if you want to keep going with the thought that people like you and you just love houses, then good luck to you....' I get the point he was making, because I couldn't do my real estate work without tools like the MLS, and without stalking the public sites that are often the way non-agents find properties and come to their own conclusions about value and condition of homes. The new tech we learned about today seems to have a lot of benefits to agents, so I'm looking forward to trying it out, but the movement toward accepting that technology is not just a tool, but the machine itself when it comes to real estate is a little harder for me to swallow. I DO love houses! I love making friends with my clients, and I get immediately attached to their motivations and goals for buying or selling. I put myself in their shoes and empathize with their situation. I try to find the best solutions not based on just what the sales average per square foot for their desired zip code is, or by what the statistically similar - but shoddily built as opposed to custom crafted - home down the block sold for, but by taking into consideration WHY and HOW they intend to move in guiding their process. Today I showed a home to a repeat client that has renovated her home, but is looking for a solution to some of the permanent issues that house has that don't work for her lifestyle. In this situation, were I to lead with data, to distill her transactional possibilities down to what the CMA, the online estimates, the average market times, and the neighborhood PSF costs are, it would be to completely disregard the complex emotions behind a sale like hers. There is value in having a voice and a face you trust that is guiding you through such a tenuous process like home buying or home selling. I really enjoy the challenge of blending the information I have that informs my advice with the connection I make with a client and why they feel moving house is the right thing for their family. I haven't closed 300 sales or been #1 in my region or whatever, but I have done enough business to see that in every sale there are emotions, stresses, and hopes that need to come front and center in the transaction in order for everyone to walk away from the table happy. I know some people would argue with me, and take the side that the transaction itself is the business - that we are selling a commodity like anything else, and we have to put the market and the data above all else in order to be successful. In some cases i'm sure that works really well for agents, and they are likely making a lot more cash than I am. However I think today's meeting cemented for me that I want to continue to keep technology in the toolbox where it belongs, and hope that eventually this crazy technique of using my left brain to sell houses pays off. And speaking of techniques, I've been making a list for myself of some new ones that I can hopefully write about as having been successful after I try them out....I wish I could just check back here in a few months and see if they paid off, but i'm going to have to put my money and my new business cards where my mouth is, and find out firsthand.