At least once or twice every year someone comes out with a newer, cooler, easier, prettier technology to purportedly give offices and agents a leg up on the competition. Most of the time the sales pitch for the new shiny penny is so good that you have no idea what you are buying or what advantage it will give you, just that it is really cool! Often overlooked are the questions such as "How will it fit in with our operations?", "How will my staff be trained?", "Will there be more work for staff?" and "Can I count on this shiny penny company being around for the long haul?"
If you want a really good example think back to the craze over QR Codes. "You've got to have these" was heard at every conference and meeting. "Put them on your signs, your ads, your benches, even your kids' lunch boxes. If you don't have QR codes in your office you are a dinosaur." A year later, you never heard a whimper. In the meantime, software companies were scrambling around to keep up with the latest shiny penny. Office staff were scrambling to be trained and agents spent a lot of money getting all their printing changed.
The biggest challenge is that brokers, agents and staff feel that they have to jump into the first thing that looks good regardless of the consequences to time and money spent. It can be hard to stay competitive if the competing office down the street has a coffeemaker that brews your coffee by sensing that your car has pulled into the parking lot. Hey, not a bad idea! The challenge is the new shiny coffeemaker doesn't use the same coffee, filters, and requires special cleaning separately from other coffeemakers in the office. In the end though, the expensive coffeemaker costs too much money and brews coffee every time any car drives by the office. Then, your agents become upset because they can't just make a simple cup of coffee without viewing a 30 minute online tutorial. Sound familiar?
With the industry buzzing about paperless closings, e-signatures, online closing rooms and all in the cloud, shiny pennies are popping up again. Many brokers have been bombarded with pitches about being paperless and signing everything online and agents are asking their brokers "What is this new shiny penny that you don’t have and that my agent friends are telling me about?"
There are benefits to these technologies such as the environmental impact, cost savings for brokers and improved efficiency on transaction processes for agents and their buyers and sellers. The challenge is when these new shiny pennies are introduced into the existing brokerage infrastructure, it takes planning and execution by your software vendor, management team and especially office staff to ensure a smooth transition.
There are questions brokers should ask the shiny penny salesperson prior to adopting their new technology, such as "How does your system work with my existing software products?" "Will I have to enter my agents and all my closings in two places?" "Will there be a seamless transfer of information back and forth as closing details change?"
While there are many software suppliers providing great new shiny pennies, ask yourself if they are interested in making your business easier and more efficient to run or just interested in turning their shiny penny into lots of your hard earned dollars.
Des O'Kelly, President and Partner of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies, joined Lone Wolf in 1990. Since then, Des has focused much of his time and attention on the development, growth and enhancement of the Lone Wolf product line, the Complete Enterprise Solution. With a strong understanding of, and experience in the real estate industry, Des has helped Lone Wolf grow to become the industry leader in real estate solutions and services. For more information on Lone Wolf's Complete Enterprise Solution visit www.lwolf.com or call 1.866.CRY.WOLF(279.9653).