A 5-point checklist for every brokerage tech roll-out

 What follows is a fictitious letter from a brokerage marketing leader to a technology vendor in anticipation of a company-wide launch.

Dear vendor:

It is coming… another technology “roll-out”.

These words strike fear in the hearts of a brokerage marketing department like ours.

Even after months of vetting your technology, overcoming seemingly impossible data issues, jumping through endless rounds of customization and pushing past myriad implementation hurdles, we are still only at the starting line.

The race ahead holds countless hours of overtime.

We will need to organize a roadshow to every sales office. Talk down cranky managers. And provision months and months of training for agents who really would rather be selling real estate than sitting through another demo or getting another email from their marketing department.

The end result for all of our hard work may be embarrassingly low adoption rates and yet another line item on the expense list that we will have to defend to our CEO.

This is the world you are stepping into. This is the experience we have had far too often in the past.

So, forgive us for the mute reaction and 1,000-yard stare we gave you during your first demo. The challenge of the roll-out was looming even then.

It could be better than this. We’ll need to work together. Here’s what you’re going to have to give us:

First, tell us your why. We need a sentence here. A few descriptive words. We do not need your checklist of features. We need a short, snappy elevator pitch that we can deliver to our people that instantly communicates why they should bring your product into their world.

Have empathy. Know your customer and, if possible, avoid any statement that uses the word “leads”.

Distill your process down to a few steps. Our agents are salespeople. They are “people” people. For the most part, they are not sophisticated technologists. So, slim down your process and make it simple. Get them to the goods as quickly as possible. We cannot and will not communicate your complicated workflows. Believe me, that is not going to fly here.

Give us the promotional tools we need. Give us videos and webinars; write the introductory emails or Facebook posts we can share with our team; send us the documentation on the feature set. The more the merrier. It is all good. Our people learn in lots of different ways: some are visual, some are analytical, some like to have their hands held. We are going to need lots of options. And we need you to produce all of it for us.

Come here in person. Yes, we know it is easier and cheaper to Skype in. But consider the first impression you are making. The companies that have truly succeeded inside our halls are those that introduced their technology in person to our agents. Visit a few of our sales offices, sit side-by-side with a top producer or two. Offload some of our training burden and we will thank you forever.

Finally, you need to follow up. We are busy people. Our lives do not revolve around your product like yours do. That said, we are big fans. We would not be here otherwise, and we want to help. So please, scan your stats. Examine your usage patterns and share where things are breaking down. Give us weekly pointers and write communications we can send to our people to get them using your product more effectively. Remember we are your conduit to proving your worth and it is in both of our interests to do so.

Do these five things and you will find yourself in pretty elite company. Too few real estate tech vendors take these steps. It’s not that hard.

We love your product, we think our agents are going to love it, too. But you need to work with us to avoid another roll-out catastrophe.

Now, let’s get rolling.

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