Advice to Tech Companies: What Brokers Want

Because I am public about my affinity for real estate tech tools, companies call me often to get feedback on their products. I meet with them, listen to their sales-pitches, and sit through their demos. Because I am terrified about technology passing me by, I meet with everyone that asks. To that end, we have started an Innovation Team within the CBRE-New Jersey branch to meet with tech companies and vet their products before taking them to the greater brokerage population within our three offices.

During these meetings, I relay the same message over and over again. For an already successful broker to be interested in new technology, it has to hit one or more of the following three criteria:

  • Will it help me make more money?
  • Will it help me save time?
  • Will it help me provide my clients with a higher level of service?

It’s really that simple.

If you are a broker, ask yourself why you are using a new piece of technology.  Often, we respond to the herd mentality. If everyone is jumping in, I should too. LinkedIn was that way. Everyone joined LinkedIn, but until it became a source for news and information, it wasn’t a valuable tool. Now, I check in daily because I am able to learn something each time I am on the site, usually through an interesting news article someone posts.

Speaking of news, The News Funnel saves me time.  How? Because the site and the app put all of my real estate news in one place which allowed me to unsubscribe from at least a dozen email blasts. All of the information is there for me when I visit the site or click on the app.

VTS actually hits a few of the bullets above. It saves time because I am able to streamline my landlord reporting through the site (and the app) and it allows us to provide our landlord clients with a higher level of transparency into the leasing activity on their buildings.

In a recent meeting with CoStar, which I consider a tech company, I challenged them to tell us how we could use their site as more than just a listings database. They have so much data, but I find it hard to access much of it. Can they help me provide a higher level of service to my clients? Yes. Do they always? No.

We will be hosting a demo day later this spring here in our East Brunswick office for tech companies. Each company that we invite will be given 30-minutes to present to our Innovation Team and any other brokers that would like to sit in. When we spell out the goals for the presentation, the three bullets above will be front and center.  If you are a tech company that would like to join us for the event, let us know how you can address those three bullets.  If you can’t, maybe it’s time to re-think your pitch. And if you are a broker at a competing firm, give me a call the day after. I’d be happy to share our findings with you (maybe).