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Are REALTORS® Slow Adoptors?

September 30 2010

Increasedgrowthchart200pxREALTORS® are not stupid, just slow to adapt to new technologies. Not because they cannot, but rather because in an industry comprised of independent contracts, the majority chooses to use the Frank Sinatra style – “My Way.”

Looking back through time clearly shows most real estate professionals are up to the task of adapting and implementing new technologies successfully. For example in 1973, almost 40 years ago, Electronic Realty Associates, a new real estate franchise at the time, (today known as ERA Real Estate) became one of the fastest growing franchises of the 1970’s by introducing new a technology into the industry. It was the fax machine and it was their competitive advantage.

Competitive advantage. Not anymore. Today everyone uses faxes. Many would even argue that the technology is old and that its newer counterparts, the e-fax, PDFs and email, all have eclipsed faxes.

In the following years, companies such as Century 21 and RE/MAX both expanded so rapidly that they extensively started using the Personal Computer to manage their national franchise network. So unique was the PC that for years it was the exclusive tool for brokers and management, not agents.

Today there is no successful real estate professional that doesn’t use the power of the computer, the Internet or even mobile devices like the iPad on a daily basis.

Show what does that show?

It affirms that we as an industry have successfully introduced and mastered technology. Check out the innovations and the approximate dates of their introduction into the real estate brokerage business:

  • 1975 – 80 Fax
  • 1980 – 85 PC
  • 1985 – 90 Real Estate Software
  • 1990 – 95 Internet / Email
  • 1995 – 00 Websites / Mobile Phones
  • 2000 – 05 Broadband / Video
  • 2005 – 10 Social Media / Real Time

Technology frequently takes around five years (depending on whether you track first usage, wide application, or universal implementation) to mature before the next follows.

REALTORS® do – as general rule of thumb – resist innovation for 2-3 years, before they start accepting it. And then during the next 2-3 years they move rapidly to incorporate it into their business.

In recent times, think of the addition of photos on websites, IDX feeds, blogs, Facebook pages & links, the use of mobile phones, etc. etc. So no, REALTORS® are not stupid. They may dwell on taking a decision for a couple of years, but then they move quickly.

And that brings us to the next decision: Social Media. It is neither a passing fad nor the silver bullet to solve all our problems. During the last two years it has rapidly woven itself into the very fiber of our industry to become a tool that REALTORS® use to reach out and touch buyers & sellers, recruit new agents and stay in contact with their customers for life.

Social Media is the next stage of technology evolution in our beloved industry and we will, as we have before, successfully master the use of using this new innovation.

PS. Don’t be too slow in staying up with change. The need for speed is increasing, as is the number and quantity of new technologies constantly being introduced.

If you would like to read the original blog post, please click here.