People and Technology: A Perspective

OK, I will admit it; I am a dinosaur… a late period reflection of the old days in the real estate business.

And, you see, at 75, I am just a tad set in my ways. I don’t check e-mail on a regular basis and worse, when I do, I don’t read it. I rarely “surf” the Internet because at my age, surfing has gone the way of the jitterbug and the hokey pokey…a nice idea but who has the energy!!

However, I also understand that we must embrace change and realize that it is inevitable as we grow and seek new frontiers. I also understand the importance a critical question facing our business… Namely, what to do about all this technology available and how do we make it work for our clients and ourselves?

For me, the fundamental question is a broader one than the considerations of the mechanics of technology and how it might make our business more effective. The most important question must be, “How does technology fit into the practice of Exchange Counseling?” In other words, what we do at our exchange marketing meetings (with our very short and precious time) will of necessity be the basis for consideration as we incorporate additional technology tools into our real estate practice.

Think about this: What really is the basis for all successful real estate transactions?

I believe the answer is simple: CLIENT COUNSELING…which entails identifying and solving the problems of the Client with regard to some real estate situation. Perhaps, it is an exchange of equities, get off the note, get out of debt, or get out of this or that ownership challenge. In many situations, we are frequently looking as a regular sale as the best solution.

More frequently, I believe, the uniqueness of the Society, as an organization is much deeper and more involved, namely, we take on the challenge together with the client’s difficulties, or dreams, or aspirations, and put together incredibly involved transactions with myriads of moving parts and lots of people stuff.

Now, think about this next question: What do we do at our marketing meeting to further this problem solving enterprise?

Well, we engage other counselors and see whether we can affect a fit with our clients’ situation. Sometimes, the most important part of every meeting is the business of sitting in the breakout room, or at lunch or cocktails and playing the “what if” game with another counselor.

I remember beginning with a “what if” with Chuck Sutherland over a cup of coffee and a napkin, which much to the surprise of both of us, ended in a closed transaction. Who we are and how we do business, is the core consideration when asking “What about Technology?”

Many of our fellow exchangors tell us about how they have used a particular technology system successfully, or are somehow intrigued with the electronic possibilities that new technology brings us. Well, I am not so sure. Personally, I fall in the category of mild intimidation when it comes to the workings of all these electronic miracles. So maybe that is what has happened, or maybe, and this is my suspicion, the technology itself lacks certain ingredients that are germane to our creative solutions to our very difficult tasks.

We all need to look very objectively at what we feel is the heart of what we do and ask whether a particular technology tool fits at the fundamental level of people and property. The time factor, how we spend it at our exchange marketing meetings, and how any technology contributes to closing deals has to be at the center of this consideration.

I sometimes wish putting deals together was not so dependent on the flexible and creative mental input of others guys and gals… but so far, those are the only ones I’ve been able to do.

Now, as for this old dinosaur, I think I will go check my e-mail and do a little web surfing. Old dogs can learn new tricks you know…

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