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Technology or rapport? What is most important in real estate?

InternetThere is a lot of discussion in real estate circles about technology, AI, data, iBuyer programs, etc. and how this is going to change real estate. Lots of people are pouring money into new technology that is going to disrupt the real estate field. I remember when my wife began in real estate many of the agents in her office said the internet was never going to replace the trusted MLS book. I get it we don't like change.

I wrote a little about this last week when a comment blossomed into a bigger answer than I intended. But, I have been thinking about this as clients call and I think, why?

Those of us who are active and have been in real estate for more than a few years know where our business comes from. As Mr. Buffini and any good manager will tell you, your sphere is a pot of gold.

Why do those people in your sphere contact you to buy or sell or refer a friend or family member to you? Because they trust you. Over time you have built rapport up with them and because of that they know who to call. They know you are good at what you do, you understand the local market and you put the interests of your clients first.

But, what about all this disruptive technology. Well as I said, the creators of that technology are mostly raising lots of money, and because of that they are answerable to those who are investing in their businesses. That means they are not putting the client first, but the shareholder or investor. 

Should we shun all technology. Many believe so, the Zillow naysayers will tell you that they set out to destroy the real estate business and we should never consider doing business with them. However, I have earned a very good return by advertising on Zillow over the years. Today, I am shifting as I realized things were changing and the quality of the leads was dropping. I tried some data program last year, and have not continued it this year as I felt it did not pay off.

I am working more on my rapport with past clients, friends and members in my community. But, I am not ditching technology, I am exploring it, finding what works for me and applying it where I can.

I have done that all my life, buying a fax machine so I could send invoices quicker, a computer to keep track of inventory and customers, a digital camera so I could ditch film, a combined scanner, printer and fax machine when they became available. That technology helped me to do business, may be some of it is a little tired today, who still uses faxes, but as things improve I am considering them. Today, I use email newsletters, YouTube, Social Media etc. I use a lap top, tablet and smart phone; the Commodore 64 went away a long time ago.

Not every shiny toy works for me, sometimes I find it money well spent, sometimes not, sometimes it is a wash or takes longer to pay off than I am willing to commit to it. I got a call from a lead identified by that data program last year. Having spoken to them several times last year they were not ready to move. Now they are and they called me because I think I built rapport.

So what I really find is that the technology helps me to service my clients better and allows me to build rapport with them. It is a combination, I use the technology to serve my clients, putting their needs first so I can build rapport at the same time.

So, if you are looking for a tech savvy Realtor in the Tredyffrin Easttown area, or along the Main Line, then call me today, Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, Nick@VandekarTeam.com, website www.SellingTheMainLine.com. I look forward to connecting and getting to know you.

If you are buying or selling on or around Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line we can help you,  contact us or connect

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Comment balloon 36 commentsNick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 • February 22 2019 04:41PM

Comments

Nick,

In 2013, we wrote a post on High Tech and High Touch.  As I am reading different reports on the state of luxury, the same refrain is High touch matters way more than high tech across all generations.  They all know the difference and the coldness of high tech...is no longer so cool.  A

 Carol Williams here is another good post for Second Chance Saturday.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 3 months ago

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543  We need to tech-savvy but also not forget to be socially friendly. Just like everything else we need to do it all. I think you have the right attitude  

Your post has been

Featured in Bananatude

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Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) 3 months ago

Hi Nick... I'm all about technology with that personal touch! They can totally go hand in hand to enhance our relationships with clients.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) 3 months ago

Ron and Alexandra Seigel thanks for the recommendation for the second chance Saturday. I am reading more and more about putting your technology aside to break the addiction it has become. So much is suffering, conversations, relationships, attention etc. I think we will see more push back against technology in the near future and that high touch rapport building will be very important.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Hannah Williams and Nina Hollander I think that is right, creating a balance where you are using technology to the benefit of your customer, not imposing it upon them.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Hello Nick, You are right about that pot of gold but so many Realtors forget to follow up with them.

 

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 3 months ago

Good for you. It's important to remain open to shifts and changes and know what works - and what doesn't. We are doing some old-fashioned farming this year. I'm anxious to see how it pays off. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 3 months ago

Will Hamm we are all guilty as we get distracted with new clients and forget to make that extra call.

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD Trudy is not a believer in direct mail, so always hard for me to sell that as an option.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Good afternoon Nick. I really like this and your approach makes perfect sense to me.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 3 months ago

The personal touch, and excellent service, is what will get people calling. Technology is what will help us do what we have to do to make their experience amazing.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) 3 months ago

While we do need technology, we can never be successful in real estate without the personal touches.  Technology is a tool, one of many we use!

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) 3 months ago

Technology is a great tool ( and I love every aspect of it ) but it will NEVER replace the human touch. Great article! 

Posted by Jean Richer, No Gimmicks, No Nonsense, only Straight Talk (Keller Williams Realty Inc.) 3 months ago

Real estate is a personable, people business in which if you have the right technology will blend seamlessly and provide the best client experience.

Posted by Peter Mark SEO Services, Full Time SEO (PeterMarkSEO) 3 months ago

Well said! 

Posted by Erika Rae Albert, Austin Real Estate Expert, Exceeding Expectations in Every Transaction (E*Rae Real Estate Group- Brokered by eXp Realty LLC) 3 months ago

Nick, finding balance is smart business. I'm with you and focus on my past clients and sphere. I've spent the last 5+ years going as hard and as fast as I can and found out that working with those I know or through referral is really what makes me happy. It's rewarding. Technology is important but, chasing the latest shiny object in my experience never pays off. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group ) 3 months ago

Great post.  Yes technology can be important but lets not forget that human relationships and face to face contact can not be replaced or overlooked.

Posted by Robin Wells, Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time ( RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections) 3 months ago

Technology is a tool which, if used properly and judiciously, help us provide great experiences for our clients. It's the experience the client has, and the rapport we build, that make our phones ring.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) 3 months ago

Loved the Commodore 64 comment. Times are changing. For those new to the field and who don’t have a “sphere,” they are looking for the shortcut. The easy way is to grab on to the technology, buy your way to a client list, and market that. Both ways have their place, it just seems the old way is a little more warmer. Best wishes!

Posted by Corey Vandenberg (Platinum Home Mortgage) 3 months ago

I've been deciding which are the most important technology platforms to focus on that will help me stay in touch with my sphere and help grow new business. We all know the main ones, but there are so many others... not everyone is on FB or AR or Twitter, Instagram, etc... the list continues. It can be time consuming to be effective given the multitude out there. Not to mention, contributing on other sites. 

Posted by Cathy Starkweather (La Rosa Realty, LLC. ) 3 months ago

Good morning Nick.  All the technology in the world will not replace that rapport that happens between an agent and their client.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 3 months ago

Building the trust with the potential clients is a key way they will remember you.  Follow up and stay in their "lives"until they are ready. Good job!

Posted by Rose Mary Justice, Synergy Realty Pros (Synergy Realty Pros) 3 months ago

Real Estate has and always will be a people business first. I enjoy building relationships with my clients. The buying and selling of homes become secondary. We help them with recommendations for many other needs they have. Whether they are local or new to the area. 90% of my business is referrals. Being their go-to resource for advice and counseling is the way to run a business. Technology can't replace that. Tech is just a tool to deliver those services. 

Posted by Rick Gehrke (Re/Max Executives) 3 months ago

Nick, with all this tech stuff it is easy to think you are "staying in touch"  but I think the "old fashioned" phone call works miracles with people.

Don't get me wrong, many of the younger folks like the tech-touch and that's OK, but putting yourself out there and letting them hear the inflections of your voice can build the best rapport with everyone.

Posted by John Dotson, The experience to get you to the other side! (Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC) 3 months ago

It's all about the right balance.

Posted by Marilyn Holda-Fleck, Personal service for each and every Customer (Coldwell Banker Residential Broker) 3 months ago

Sheila Anderson thank you, I think people are starting to get burned out by the constant demands of tech upon them. 

Kat Palmiotti I agree, people remember you, not the tech and most likely the tech will have been replaced.

Shirley Coomer that is very true and we need to learn to use the tools to their best ability without sacrificing personal connections.

Jean Richer thank you nothing replaces the personal connection.

Peter Mark well said.

 

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Erika Rae Albert, Austin Real Estate Expert thank you.

Amanda S. Davidson I agree with you and think many of us are learning that as well.

Robin Wells people want to deal with people, they do want to look in your eyes and know you got their back.

Lottie Kendall very true, it is our job to make that experience outstanding and then to stay connected.

Corey Vandenberg I think many of the disruptors are young and don't think about how the customers think or what they want, they just look to make a buck off the back of either the agents of the sellers.

 

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Cathy Starkweather the best technology is the one you use and are consistent with it. It can be a roldex if it works, the technology is really irrelevant, it is a matter of consistency and finding a tool that works for you.

Gabe Sanders that is very true and when we realize that more of us will stay connected.

Rose Mary Justice staying connected is the kicker.

Rick Gehrke you seem to have it right with a referral rate that provides that much business

John Dotson however you do it, as long as you are in touch and communicating it will work. Some like a phone others like a cup of coffee and being face to face.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

 

 

Marilyn Holda-Fleck very true, find the balance and give your client what they want.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Nick a well said post, I agree with you, some clients I have never met until after they became the owners.... other clients I have met and built rapport with them and then used technology to improve the relationship.... so one size does not fit all. Hence I tailor it to the client I am working with.... now some appreciate it others do not but that is life, Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 3 months ago

We can't be very productive if we don't use some technology, but I think in the end it's the rapport that creates the business.     Time will tell!

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) 3 months ago

Although technology increases our efficiency, organization and ability to stay connected with our sphere,  it's the personal nurturing of relationships that creates bonds and business.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) 3 months ago

Endre Barath, Jr. thank you for the compliment. Every transaction is different and every client has different needs relating to technology. Our job is to work out what those are and meet them in a way that builds rapport and create a bond so they use us again and again.

I am not advocating for laying all technology aside, I use plenty myself, but asking the question to challenge us not to hide behind the technology M.C. Dwyer 

Sharon Parisi totally agree, technology allows us to build the rapport how the client wants it to be built.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

I agree with Endre because it depends, doesn't it, on who your clients are, their expectations and needs? Your assertion that investors come first before clients or customers is troubling since any business needs enough customers or clients that fit their client profile to remain in business, so, it should always be customer first or go out of business. Could be the primary cause of business failure since most businesses fail within the first 5 years. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) 3 months ago

Kimo Jarrett not sure where you got the idea I put investors before clients or customers as nearly all my clients are not investors but home owners. I always try to meet a cleint's expectation of how they want to communicate rather than pushing them to what is convenient for me.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 3 months ago

Without rapport...technology doesn't matter to anyone in a transaction that may never be...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 2 months ago

It takes a combination of both, and knowing when to use each one.  Whatever it takes to get the job done.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) 2 months ago

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