Francisco “Kiko” Angulo is the Vice President of Global Development for REALOGY.
You’re happily browsing the web in the pursuit of a new home when you stumble upon a chat with a predesigned message: “Hi! I’m Hector. Are you looking for a new apartment?” Yeah, right. I’m not falling for this one, Hector. I know you’re a chatbot.
As technology makes its way into one of the oldest industries known to humankind, many consider automation an incredibly useful tool for businesses. So why is it that the real estate industry is still highly dependent on human interaction?
The Human Factor Is Becoming More Important
Conversations with chatbots can feel awkward and don’t seem to follow a fluid communication pattern. How do you explain to a chatbot that your biggest fear is ending up with a loud neighbor? Even if the bot understood your request, is it going to jump out of the screen and pay a visit to the apartment owner? I hope not – that’d be horrifying.
A trusted real estate agent can help you conduct due diligence on any given property to a level a robot simply cannot offer. That’s why the human factor is increasingly becoming more critical, as it takes care of everything automation cannot yet achieve. Yes, technology has enabled us to pair clients with properties that better meet their needs, but it only goes so far, which is why humans often prefer to work with other humans during their journey to find a place to call home.
Trust And Comfort Are Crucial
Trust is highly valued in the residential real estate industry. Buying a home is exciting, but it can also be extremely stressful. It is a significant life decision, and often the single biggest purchase a person makes in their lifetime. Understandably, it is easy for first-time homebuyers to let emotions run the show. It is because of this that an agent’s ability to earn their client’s trust is crucial. Brokers can earn their clients’ trust by approaching them with transparency and an open heart.
Creating an accessible profile with successfully closed deals and testimonials is essential for agents to reflect an honest and transparent work ethic. As an agent, you can also be proactive in providing additional resources to your potential clients, such as connections with reputable executives that can help them obtain a mortgage, manage their property or find reliable moving services.
Strengthen Positive Emotions
An agent and their client can forge the most profound connection when using technology as a tool rather than a panacea. Technology is great for quickly sharing information, but it often misses the mark of dealing with human emotions. Humans can strengthen positive emotions; robots can’t. Because of this, agents can leverage their humanity in real estate transactions by magnifying positive emotions while building trust, comfort and rapport.
When it comes to negotiations, agents need to understand the other party’s motivation to build an authentic connection that will help lead to the best outcome for everyone involved. Homebuyers don’t need bots to aid in negotiation. They need an agent who is interested in what drives the other side. Successful negotiations are often a work of collaboration between two parties who are aiming to create a scenario in which both parties feel satisfied.
To help you find this authentic connection, you should ask yourself a few questions. Are you ready to open your heart to build the trust that will allow for transparency in advising my client and fairness in their mind when they are making a final decision? How much time should you invest leveraging technology, and how much time should you invest showing them the human side of their big decision? Use your common sense, and find out when is the right time to listen to them and when is the right time to speak. You are the inspiration. Help and guide them to make the best decision.
Most of us are excited to adopt technologies that allow us to streamline our processes and work more efficiently. With all the improvements technology brings to the residential real estate industry, it will be crucial for its players not to lose their human side when interacting with potential clients. We can expect a stronger understanding in return when dealing with someone with a heartbeat than when dealing with something with a click.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?
Francisco “Kiko” Angulo is the Vice President of Global Development for REALOGY. Read Francisco Angulo’s full executive profile here.