It’s been a great week. So much has been jam packed into it, I can’t quite believe it has only consisted of five days – and as I write this I’m only just embarking on the fifth.
You’d be forgiven for assuming I’ve got a lot done and am feeling pumped as a result of my achievements. In fact, it’s not what I have achieved that has created the jam packed-ness; it’s the learning.
Across the week I’ve discovered ‘the bot’, which led me to think a little more deeply about ‘the human’ in this crazy world of a service-based business. There is a light at the end of the disruption tunnel and it’s time to start thinking.
I knew that robots existed but my, oh my, do they exist. These things are getting so advanced they are now able to teach themselves by watching us. According to Neale Cotton (speaker at the recent REB REinnovate conference), the production of robots is now at a point where, for some industries, the cost of a robot is less than that of a human wage for a year.
Neale showcased a variety of examples of how robots are already here. Think about it: self-driving cars? They are a robot taking you to a destination. Robot technology is so advanced they are even entering the space of creativity – the one area we believe to be a human trait. Robots are being programmed to paint and even write poetry.
Take a test and see if you can tell the difference between a poem written by a robot and a human at botpoet.com
While I have no doubt we are not quite ready to create the R2D2 property manager or real estate agent, there are elements that are close by. Consider for a moment a self-driving car: it arrives at the workplace of a prospective purchaser, drives them to an available property, the front door opens on arrival via a geo-tracker in their phone and, when finished, the door auto-locks behind them and the car drops them back to work. Now that’s not such a crazy idea!
Over the next few months you’re going to hear a lot from me about what it is ‘to serve’ and what it is ‘to connect’, and how important it is to get better at both. The bold reality is that with the advancement of technology (and believe me, it will continue to advance) you can forget ‘combating’ the tech disruption. There will be a point in a week, a year or a decade (you don’t know, since tech can come from Silicon Valley or two kids in the garage of the house next door) when a property owner and a tenant/purchaser will come together to transact online. Tech will be a serious player in our market and will be here to stay. The first company to do it may not get it right, but someone will.
The good news is that when it happens there will still be a place for the human, and the buying decision between tech and people will come down to connection and service. Of course, the market will contract in some way. The decision that you need to make now is: ‘Do I want to be the contracted?’.
So what will keep a client with you or with an agent when technology is available? Well, perhaps it’s the same thing that keeps someone going to the supermarket when they could order online, or visiting the doctor for a routine prescription even though they could log on and download one themselves – it’s relationship and it’s connection.
Your emotional investment into your client and their life will be of paramount importance in their decision to stay local as opposed to going tech. For you, this means developing a strong client relationship, gaining a true connection and providing another layer of service. It’s about really – I mean really – caring about the consumer.
Right now, it’s time to start thinking about the relationships you have with your clients. I mean the real relationships – the ones that will be more important than technology, the ones that provide true human connection and care: the value that could not be replaced by a bot.