How To Improve Real Estate Agent Tech Adoption | Dotloop

Real Estate Tech: How the Psychology of Change Can Help Improve Agent Adoption

Imagine the frustration of investing in real estate tech to find less than 10% of your team using it. Discover the scientific method to ensure long-term adoption and success of real estate tech apps and tools.

Key Concepts to Driving Real Estate Agent Tech Adoption

Every team lead and real estate broker knows how frustrating it can feel when they invest in a new real estate tech or transaction management software tool, only to find less than 10% of their agents and transaction coordinators actually using it.

In a business composed largely of independent contractors, it’s critical that real estate managers understand the psychology of change to help ensure long-term adoption and retention.

Creating change does not happen overnight. In fact, according to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, experts estimate that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and 66 days on average for a new behavior to become an automatic ritual.

Change can be scary and complicated, and it requires disrupting current habits while adopting new, unfamiliar actions.

However, by mastering a few key concepts, real estate brokers, team leads and managers may find that they can attract more users, improve long-term adoption and increase productivity with their new tech rollout.

4 Prerequisites for Change and Long-Term Adoption

There are five essential stages of change – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance – the latter serving as the most important stage when a person has accepted change and is working toward long-term adoption.

Similar to most employees of corporations and other organizations, real estate agents may be motivated to change when they have a) a positive attitude, b) a supportive environment and c) acceptance by society or a group.

For instance, a new agent may only want to adopt a new real estate transaction management software product if they see benefit, which in turn will engender a positive attitude; they are supported by managers and coaches who check in on their training and progress regularly; and they see widespread acceptance by their team or brokerage.

Before a new user can transcend all five stages, according to top management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., four conditions must be present in the workplace to change their mindset:

1. Positive Intention

To motivate agents to change and move them from the precontemplation to maintenance stage, they must understand the “why” behind the change. Brokers, team leads and managers must explain how a new transaction management software system, CRM or digital earnest money app will benefit their business.

2. Rewards and Recognition

A solid rewards system must also be in place to recognize the agent’s adoption and progress of learning and engaging with the new real estate tech or process. This might be an agent who’s closed 10 deals in the first month with a transaction management mobile app sharing their success story with the team. Or, it could be a leader board recognizing an agent who’s converted 20 leads from a new CRM. Tiered commission structures with built-in incentives may reward adoption monetarily.

In all cases, the monetary or non-monetary reward and the metrics to measure performance must scale and consistently reinforce the expected behavior. The point is, a good rewards and recognition system will not only encourage adoption but also help foster long-term change from the precontemplation phase to the maintenance stage.

3. Skillsets are in Place

Agents, admins and transaction coordinators can’t adopt new real estate technology if they aren’t properly trained on the software. A common mishap among workplaces hoping to change employee behavior occurs when leaders impose a new expectation but don’t give their workers the sufficient tools to carry out the change.

According to adult learning specialist David Kolb, people don’t typically learn by merely listening, but rather, must practice their new-found skills and integrate them into their existing daily processes. Knowledge should be broken down into manageable chunks with intervals between each to allow users time to absorb, experiment and apply new learnings. In other words, large-scale change occurs in steps.

A great way for real estate agents to learn is by teaching others their new knowledge. According to organizational psychologist Chris Argyris, people use different areas of the brain for learning and teaching. Together, these acts of learning and sharing of knowledge with their peers infuses a powerful “double-loop learning” and retention dynamic. For example, teams and brokerages might have agents take turns role-modeling scripts to overcome customer objections. By learning, then applying, their knowledge, they’ll develop a deeper understanding of the tool or process.

Fundamentally, the new real estate tech tool must be easy enough for both new agents as well as veterans to use. In a digital age where fewer clicks means less friction and more customer satisfaction, it’s important that real estate apps are connected. Dotloop, for example, is an open platform transaction management software app that integrates with more than 75 other real estate apps, including CRMs and accounting apps. As a result, agents and transaction coordinators can see their closed lead sources for better ROI; automate across their tech stack; pay earnest money or notarize online; receive closing sales data; and get real-time reporting with fewer clicks through one centralized transaction management system.

As Ashley Dane, Regional Director of Technology, RE/MAX of Michigan, points out, “We can give agents tools, but the more they have to interject themselves into those processes, the more dropoff we’ll have.”

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4. Management Role-Models Behavior

The last change-adoption factor, according to McKinsey, is the active role-modeling of the behavior from the top down. While a broker may not be as proficient on a transaction management system as the transaction coordinators, managers should have a working knowledge of the technology or at least be able to thoroughly communicate its value.

Many experts argue that consistent role-modeling is the most important factor for instilling long-term change among users. In any organization, humans look to influential figures and those in positions of power to model their behavior.

Within the real estate team or brokerage, the group in which a user is closely attached must also embrace the expected change. For instance, if a transaction coordinator is told by her manager that the brokerage is providing a new real estate app but the rest of the transaction coordinators are bad-mouthing the new tech, this environment is less likely to induce long-term adoption. Group confirmation can be powerfully persuasive, but it can also deter change if enough leaders and peers fail to buy into the concept.

One great way for managers to attract more users and increase widespread adoption is the 7×7 Method of Communication Sherri Johnson, CEO & Founder, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting, details in a RIS Media blog. Because people learn and retain information differently, the frequency and way in which managers communicate their message to agents and transaction coordinators is critical. Managers should plan seven different methods to “overcommunicate” the new behavior they want their staff to adopt.

7 Ways Brokers Can Communicate their Desire for New Tech Adoption:

  1. Announce the new rollout at sales meetings – not just once, but multiple times.
  2. Feature the new tech tool in a video announcement with leadership demonstrating the benefits.
  3. Email the benefits of a new brokerage management software or app tool with several different angles.
  4. Train to the new technology or process both online and in-office.
  5. Socialize the message on any interoffice social media groups.
  6. Create a pop-up on the company’s intranet site to facilitate training signups.
  7. Engage individually with agents to sign up for training and give feedback.

Best-in-Class Training Resources

Dotloop customers enjoy a complete resource library, featuring on-demand digital training sessions, an intuitive support website, online certification programs and a dedicated Support team available via phone, email and chat. It’s just another reason why we consistently earn a 92% Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) or greater year after year.

Follow-Through for Lifetime Usage of Real Estate Tools

Continued reinforcement of change is critical to the overall adoption and retention process of any tech tool or process.

In sum, to engage long-term adoption of any real estate tech tool:

  1. Introduce the tech early in the new recruit process. Dotloop, for instance, offers an HR Dashboard to help facilitate onboarding of new recruits, which familiarizes users with the software from Day One when they’re processing their new hire paperwork. This, in turn, encourages them to use the software when they’re ready to transact.
  2. Continue training throughout the lifetime of the agent. The most successful organizations constantly train on their transaction management software for months and years after its initial rollout to engage and teach not only new agents but to also refresh the knowledge of veteran agents.

Once all parties are onboard with the new tech tool, more users will see the benefits firsthand, refer the tool to others and enrich recruiting efforts long into the future.

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