Preparing for a proptech-driven industry
by Amy Shields, Head of Sales, Sprift
We’re now living in a tech–driven world. We were headed that way already, but there’s no reversing the huge impact Covid-19 has had on the digitalisation of our industry.
It’s a new era of property agency, and with that we need upskilling within our agencies to realise the full potential of technology within our sector. Buyers and sellers expect a certain level of service, as well as information. They are better informed than ever before and know that the data is there, so if their agency doesn’t have access to up-to-date data, or have the ability to utilise technology to streamline the letting or buying process, the chances are that they will move on to competitors who do.
We also need to encourage a new generation of estate agents. Agencies are struggling to recruit new agents. But why is this? Is there a chance many younger people see estate agency as ‘lagging behind’ when it comes to embracing tech?
With the potential for proptech to significantly add value to agency brands, it won’t be long before we see widespread uptake and investment in technology offerings that can demonstrate their worth. Quality technology has a huge range of benefits, saving time and money on processes, speeding up transactions and improving services.
The importance of proper proptech training for agents
It’s not quite as simple as just investing in proptech systems. There is some level of education and training required in the transformation from a traditional to a digital led business. The best proptech platforms have interfaces that are user friendly and quick to learn. However, no matter how easy a platform is to use, training is still important to get the best value from the technology. One of the key reasons why agencies don’t see ROI from proptech (when it is a quality offering and suitable for their services) is because of a lack of training, or staff not implementing technology to its full potential across offices and branches. When this happens, bringing in some quick additional training for staff results in the usage picking up and the business owner beginning to see that all important ROI.
When agencies sign up with the Sprift platform we do a full training session for agents, not just on how to use the system, but also providing them with lots of tips and tricks for them to employ and discover the particular benefits for their unique business. In training, it’s all about opening conversation, ensuring queries are answered and ideas are shared. Good trainers should work with agents by talking to them about their pain points from the start. Some agents we work with utilise our data for prospecting, others for replacing brochures with our Key Facts for Buyers reports. Some agents may be tech-savvy, and others slower to comprehend. There is no effective ‘cookie-cutter’ training, it must be bespoke to have the biggest benefit. This releases the full creative and systematic power of technology.
Agency owners and branch managers need to prepare for training by briefing the trainer on their unique business, challenges, strengths as well as their ethos. This will help the trainer tailor how they should educate each branch. Giving agents and branches a decent ‘heads up’ on the integration of a new platform is also a good idea. No one likes a shock to the system and shaking up traditional ways of working can be tricky for some members of staff. Therefore, giving them time to adjust and prepare for this change is important and makes sure they go into training with an open mind.
Proper integration is vital
Training should not be a one-off tick box exercise. Integrating ongoing training can have particular benefits for larger agencies or those with high staff turnover. Timely training sessions can be scheduled for new starters, and directors should be aware through the platform or agent statistics of which agents aren’t using the proptech, and help them by putting them forward for further training. We go as far as integrating training and feedback into the service, creating an ongoing, productive partnership. We also don’t charge for training, so it’s a great investment of time.
With the future of estate agency set to be built on the foundation of data, technology and digital communication, effective training for agents is key.
Good training from proptech companies ultimately leads to having a better class of estate agent. Personalised training leads to a more productive use of technology and ultimately, a better business, and a better customer experience and journey.