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How Technology Training Revolutionized One Realtor's Business

February 23 2016

pa john diazIt was a fluke that led John Diaz to the training program that changed the direction of his real estate career. In August of 2013, he had been in real estate for over a decade, and a broker since 2005. Diaz already knew that leveraging technology was important for success in real estate, but he struggled with how to implement it. He planned to get an iPad, but hadn't yet. He had also tried Evernote, but "could never put my arm around how to use it for my business."

That all changed when he travelled from California to Chicago for a conference hosted by his franchise. There, he hoped to learn how to better use technology in his business, but was largely disappointed—with the exception of one fleeting moment.

"What I had flown to Chicago for I didn't really find," said Diaz. "But what's interesting is that the speaker I went to listen to briefly mentioned The Paperless Agent. He's actually the one who pointed me in their direction."

The Paperless AgentThe Paperless Agent is a training program owned and operated by the leaders of GoodLife RealtyGoodLife Realty. GoodLife is an independent brokerage in Austin, Texas that's well known for driving sales through their innovative use of technology. Through The Paperless Agent, they share the technology systems and best practices they successfully use at GoodLife Realty with other real estate agents and brokers.

On his flight home, Diaz took advantage of the onboard wi-fi to work through the first training session of The Paperless Agent. He was so impressed with what he saw, that he immediately went out and bought his first iPad and started implementing what he had learned.

A Turning Point

Diaz knew that he wanted to start training his agents on the program, so he flew to Toronto to meet the leaders of The Paperless Agent, in person, at a conference. His franchise's headquarters were also located in the city, and he intended to stop in to talk about implementing Paperless Agent training for all of their agents because "we were known to be a technology company, yet we were sort of behind the eightball."

Diaz suggested to his franchise's leaders that they open a dialogue with The Paperless Agent and consider making them a preferred vendor. The franchise refused, saying that the Paperless Agent's owners, GoodLife Realty, was a competitor.

"I said, 'How can you consider them a competitor? They're 25 agents in Austin, Texas, and we're 100 offices in North America with thousands of agents. I hardly consider them competition. If anything, the stuff they're going to be teaching our agents is relevant because they're using it."

The company still refused and, according to Diaz, "The answer I got back was actually the reason I ultimately left the franchise, to be honest with you, and went independent." He added, "Unfortunately, sometimes when companies get to a certain size, they get braindead."

Going Independent

From the start, Diaz knew that he wanted his new brokerage to be technology focused. "I began talking to agents and unless an agent was willing to go paperless, the Paperless Agent way, I wasn't willing to hire them." Diaz ultimately launched two companies, URealtyTeam and Uhoo.comUhoo.com, with brand new agents. That way, he could train them as paperless agents from the ground up. "They had no industry baggage," he says.

Diaz wanted his agents to understand that they needed to stand out from the competition. "The best way to do that is to walk into a home with a smartphone and tablet and literally do a full presentation, sign the listing—everything without walking in with paper."

It's a technique Diaz learned from The Paperless Agent's Digital Listing PresentationDigital Listing Presentation. "My whole idea is if somebody comes in behind me with a handful of paper, the sellers are going to think to themselves, 'That guy is out of date.'"

A Commitment to Learning

Diaz ensures that he and his agents are up to date with current technology through continuous education. He recently completed a new certification course that teaches agents how to market their listings and their business online, and has two agents currently working through the program, as well. The course is called REDMREDM and it's the latest educational venture from The Paperless Agent.

REDM offers training on critical digital activities like building identities online, property landing pages, SEO, YouTube videos, geotargeted Facebook ads, and more. Just as important, agents learn skills that justify their commission, as well as strategies for selling homes faster and for more money.

The Profit Factor

Though learning new ways to leverage technology has been crucially important to Diaz, he says that the confidence he's earned because of The Paperless Agent is his biggest return on investment.

"I was like everybody else in terms of going after listings," Diaz said. "Sellers would say, 'Hey, this guy will do it for 5 percent.' You find yourself doing the same thing. Through the process of going through these different programs, I've gained a certain confidence level that allows me to be able to say, 'My wages are not negotiable, and here are the reasons why they're not negotiable.'"

Diaz now commands a 7 percent commission on all of his listings, frequently beating out agents that offer 5 percent. This is possible, in large part, because of the techniques learned through The Paperless Agent. The technology he now uses enables him to sell a house faster and for more money than this competitors.

"In my market, it takes 43 days to sell a house from start to finish, on average," he said. "My average is 28 days. The average agent sells a home for 96 percent of the list price. My average is 99.1 percent. That's because of the level of confidence that I've gained through The Paperless Agent training and the things that I've learned there."

To learn more about The Paperless Agent, visit their websitewebsite. For information on REDM, their new digital marketing certification course, see this article.

Other articles of interest: Top Producer IDX | Using Technology