Main Article by Ira Zlotowitz Forbes Council Member, Contributing remarks by Sylvia MacFarlaine – MVM Senior Coach/Mentor/CEO & Founder.
You may be good. But are you indispensable? As various forms of technology, data collection and social media penetrate more deeply into our profession, there’s a degree of misapprehension about long-term viability of Mortgage and Finance brokers
Some may even be convinced that they won’t be dislodged from their jobs by the effects of technology. As I see it, they believe they can’t be replaced by a machine – and therefore, their jobs are secure.
Mortgage and Finance Brokers who say they are experts in their field and that they bring an essential human element to the job are, in essence, right. There will never be a fully automated processe. Every transaction will require the involvement of a human broker, no matter how advanced various forms of technology may get. Each broker using tech will likely be able to close more, which means the overall population of brokers could be reduced.
Taking this observation further, an informal survey sheds some light on the way brokers view the effect of technology in their roles. Recently, I asked individuals in my LinkedIn network, “Over the next few years, do you think investment sales, leasing and mortgage brokers will be replaced because of technology?” The 673 replies were a combination of yes, no and hybrid – technology combining with human brokers. More than a third, 36% responded no, brokers will not be replaced because of technology, with a total of 63% answering yes or hybrid.
But Mortgage and Finance Brokers won’t be replaced by technology the way, say, elevator operators were replaced by automatic, push-button elevators – or the way steam drills replaced the legendary John Henry and other musclebound steel-drivin’ men.
People won’t face such an either/or scenario in our industry. In our sector, brokers who embrace and learn technological skills will likely find more sources and close deals at a faster pace than their less tech-savvy counterparts. Because their new skills have made these brokers more productive, there may be a decrease in the total number of people a brokerage will require to get the same volume of work accomplished. This could mean a brokerage closing 300 deals a year with 10 brokers could close the same number of deals with fewer brokers.
Generally speaking, the steady pace of transactions each year may contribute to a shrinking brokerage community as technology allows fewer brokers to complete more transactions – while increasing earnings for these remaining brokers.
The overall efficiency doesn’t stop with brokers, either. As technological efficiencies are manifesting in the broker’s world, they’re also appearing on the client side. Lenders, buyers and sellers are also adopting cool, new tools. The added synergies will further elevate the industry’s overall level of efficiency.
The infusion of technology – including data collection and social media – will continue to grow. As noted in Avison Young’s 2020 Global Forecast, the current use of technology and automation to process and manage more information is in its infancy. Avison Young also sees automated processes becoming less expensive as they grow more efficient – and embedded – in cutting-edge organizations. For Mortgage and Finance Brokers this may mean leveraging zoom. automations in processes, digital fact finds, electronic signatures, electronic VOI and digital marketing.
Which brokers will survive? It’ll be the ones who can combine their human expertise with a comfortable mastery of new technologies. I’ve found five ways to move toward that comfortable mastery and integrate more technology into day-to-day operations.
- Work Within The System.Brokers should learn and fully utilize any data sources or systems that their team or company is presently using.
- Find Data Sources.A successful broker should master the usage of the marketplace’s leading sources of digital tools. Zoom, G-suite, Frollo, Hashching, Illion or Bank Statements/Cashdeck, Aggregator Digital Fact Finds etc.
- Manage Your Own Data.Brokers and their teams should collectively manage information about all of their contacts and clients using their Aggregator CRM. The more enriched your data is the more valuable your business asset will become.
- Focus On Internal Communications.Brokers, together with their teams and companies, should use a high-functioning internal communications service or platform, such as Slack or Google Chat if with g-suite products.
- Organize Your Workflow.Stay organized and work efficiently by setting up project management tools for yourself and your teams. Some examples are Monday or Trello.
Looking at the continuing growth of technology and the informal survey of brokers’ relationship with innovation, it’s clear that those who adapt their skill sets will continue to find success in real estate. Brokers won’t be replaced by technology like those in other industries. They will find a mix where their participation pairs with technology to achieve more efficiency – and potentially more income – as more work can be done by fewer brokers.