By Kylie Davis
The most common question I get asked these days is “how do I choose the right proptech?’.
The traditional way of approaching this question has been to understand all the new tech available, compare them to the problems you think need fixing in your business and to make a decision from there.
But with so many proptechs out there now, real estate agents and property owners are spoiled for choice and the options can feel overwhelming. Its a bit like being a kid in a lolly shop. Yes, you could try one of everything before you decide which bag of sweets you’ll spend your money on, but there is a very real chance now that the sugar rush will kill you.
And taking this approach has additional flaws. It assumes that as a business owner you are an expert who knows what the problems are in your business that need fixing and the best way that should be done. But the benefit of most proptech is that they bring new thinking and is innovative about how they solve problems and deliver growth.
Embrace new thinking
Many proptechs actually have a completely new way of seeing the industry and plugging into this thinking offers the most exciting opportunities to reimagine how you operate, grow and montise. Traditional assessment methods therefore risk being reactive and restrictive.
So what do you do instead?
The approach I recommend to my clients is based on Design Thinking. Rather than focusing on our problems, and our pain it helps to take a bigger view and ask “what would an amazing experience for my clients look like?”
Let’s take a moment here to define clients. In real estate we have clients who deliver direct revenue as sellers and investors/landlords and clients that enable transactions – buyers and renters. While we don’t get a direct payment from those last two groups, if they didn’t exist, we would have no business so they are very important!
What does an amazing customer experience look like?
Each type of client has a different experience with us as a business. So taking each group individually, it helps to do the following exercise. I’ve used property sellers as the example below for clarity but you should repeat the exercise for each client type.
What does an amazing, no holds barred and no expense spared experience in real estate look like for property sellers?
What is the experience that your agency and your brand longs to deliver to sellers? How does your brand interpret this amazing experience?
Map a typical sellers journey and the key decisions or pain points they experience and how you’d make sure they were awesome rather than awful. Let your imagination go wild. We will sort out the details later.
Why do you struggle to deliver that amazing experience?
Now ask your team – why do we struggle to deliver this experience? This is an inquiry not an accusation. To really get to the bottom of this ask: what are the most common complaints and questions we get from our sellers? List them out because they are gold.
Next, ask your team what are the parts of their jobs that they hate the most? Is hate too strong? Not for the purposes of this exercise. We want to understand the hardest parts, the most frustrating and stressful, the most bureaucratic and slow. Let them list them out and get it off their chests.
Now do a comparison. Is there a link between the work your team finds the most stressful and hard, and the complaints and issues your current clients have? I’m going to take a guess here that the answer is yes.
And now consider, if you could solve these issues for your team and prevent these problems for your clients, would you be closer to that amazing experience you mapped out at the start? Aha!!
Stress and amazing are at different ends of the same spectrum
And here is the other great thing. By mapping out these pain points you now have a fairly comprehensive problem statement. You can now use this as the basis upon which to assess and understand which proptechs are going to be right for you because you have the framework to assess a more targeted group of solutions.
Alternatively it can be the basis of a “call for ” or tender document. Rather than you trying to assess each proptech you hear about individually, put out your tender document and request the proptechs come to you. The solutions they come back with are likely to blow you away.
Google has an arm in their business they call their Moonshots Team. It’s based on the idea that if you aim for the stars and miss, you’ll hit the moon. And that’s still pretty awesome.
Taking a similar approach in our own businesses by stretching out to create stellar experiences for our clients helps us engage the right proptechs and will transform our industry and ourselves.
Kylie Davis is the president and founder of the Proptech Association of Australia. This article is brought to you by Dynamic Methods, the team behind Australia’s largest and most advanced Real Estate forms platform, REI Forms Live, Realworks & Forms Live.