Avoiding the Technology Trap with Brian Buffini

International speaker Brian Buffini spoke to a packed audience Saturday morning at the conference about the technology trap. The technology trap is learning to avoid your commission being slashed by technology. He announced he will release the first anti-social network in January: You TwitFace. Someone in the crowd behind me commented he could also be a comedian and I have to agree. He is hilarious.

He started with the top tech issues agents face:

 Shiny Object Syndrome
“Technology is fun, but it takes you away from the core.” Buffini says that in most of his media interviews the interviewer wants to discuss two things: Millennials and no more commissions. He warned that REALTORS® will be threatened that they will be replaced by an app in the future, but promised we will not be.

Spending time and money and not seeing results
According to Buffini, many agents don’t know what they are spending time and money on. Seven out of 10 agents surveyed by Inman News are spending money paying for online leads. Buffini asked how agents would rate leads on a scale of 0-10. Most people in audience said 0-2 for internet, 7-10 for signs, 8-10 for referral, and he made everyone crack up again when he said grandma’s referral is a 12! He emphasized that not all leads are created equal.

“Don’t give into the electronic whore house of online leads,” said Buffini. He made everyone laugh when he asked agents to give him an estimate of how accurate Zillow is, but also admitted buyers love it because they don’t have to get into the car to see the homes. “You have to beat the crap out of the leads to get them to hear you,” but there is some hope. Buffini noted there is still “the promise of online lead generation,” which is to marry old-school personal touches with online leads by exceeding expectations and getting referrals from those online leads.

According to Buffini, “We are in the midst of the biggest change in our industry in 50 years. All you have to do is not abdicate the lead-generation process.” Make leads into walking, talking billboards. There will be constant threats to commission. Are you going to be the full-service trusted adviser or the guy who cuts his commission and provides a la carte real estate? “We have to be better. You can’t be average.”

Next, he showed video of one of his agents, Barbara Betts. She was spinning her wheels with no plan or schedule, working round the clock and missing her kids’ events. She changed her life by first putting all of her kids’ events and family events like vacation on her calendar and scheduled everything else around her core activities. She took control of her lead generation process and she closed $21M in 47 transactions and never missed her kids’ sporting events.

Finally, he presented on tech tools REALTORS® actually need. They are as follows:

  1. An online presence like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. People use tech to vet but still need a trusted adviser during the process. He warned agents about spending too much time on social media but he gave the audience a free tool to help called “The Social Media Survival Guide,” which you can download here, using the access code: Success2015.
  2. Mobile savvy-ness to keep speed.
  3. Video is the currency of the world. (He recommended mailVU, eyejot, and BombBomb.) Reach all of your clients all at one time. He showed video of “killer grandma” Sharon Downer who bridges the gap between tech and relational approaches to lead generation. He also showed example of Nicki Mascotti who is following up with property specific videos post open houses (within one hour after they’re over) and is averaging 30% conversion.
  4. A CRM (Client Relationship Manager). You have to have a system in place to support your relationships.

Buffini ended the session with the short video “God Made a REALTOR®,” a video I’ve seen before but an excellent reminder of all of the hats we as agents wear every day. Right before it ended he said, “Amen,” and I couldn’t agree more.

4-Time Featured Attendee

Melisa Camp is a licensed REALTOR®, Green with HomeSmart Elite Group and owner of a green remodeling company, greenhab.