Technology is getting cheaper and easier to implement, it is also rapidly changing the way customers interact with and get services from agents, banks and others.
Very few of us could have predicted how quickly Uber would change the taxi industry, or AirBnB the accommodation industry. Yet Uber carries more passengers than any taxi company, and AirBnB is the largest accommodation provider in the world.
AirBnB does not own a single bed. Uber does not own a single car.
And now Amazon has announced it is launching a real estate agent referral service in its home market place. This means customers will be able to get quotes and referrals from Amazon for real estate agents just as they currently get for electricians, plumbers and others.
In the US this will allow someone to ask their Amazon Echo (Alexa) to make appointments with the top agents in their area. Not using a web site or even a mobile phone, just talking to a device in their home.
With many tens of millions of Echos already in homes in the US, and shortly coming here, customers will literally be able to say “Alexa, find me good local agents in my area who have sold the most properties like mine at the best prices.” And Alexa will send referrals, or set up appointments, using the Amazon marketplace as a reference.
As an agent, are you ready for this?
The way to be ready is to be aware of your strengths, to have data to backup why you are successful, and to engage with these technologies as they arrive so you understand how to work with them, or compete with them as you see fit.
The Amazon marketplace, for example, will need to recruit good agents and will need proof of those agents effectiveness. It will probably massively reduce the referral fees currently charged by some of the current operators in Australia, but will require agents and agencies to work inside its ecosystem.
Embracing an understanding of what it is, having the data to validate that you are effective, benchmarking yourself against the competition, and then marketing yourself on your strengths, will prepare you for its arrival.
The same approach will work with other technologies, from Big Data models that predict who will list and when, to Internet of Things solutions monitoring properties in real time and allowing for maintenance delivered by local providers where the property orders the maintenance not the owner!