A recent business ‘buzzword’ that is now bandied about is the word ‘disruptive’. A quick check on the word will give you 103 Million results. Most often in business we now speak about ‘Disruptive Technology’ leading to ‘Disruptive Strategy’ leading to ‘Disruption of Industries’.
A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. We see numerous examples of this, for example, many computer applications (or apps) have become disruptive technology. The Internet and apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Google News have disrupted the typical news media landscape leading to the closure or substantial revenue decreases in traditional broadcast such as Television, Radio and Press. The app UBER has led to the disruption of traditional taxi service (they did not do well in Trinidad, probably they should have targeted the PH drivers who have already disrupted the regular taxi service), the app Airbnb has disrupted the hotel and guest house industry, YouTube has disrupted the Music Industry.
These successes have led many new entrepreneurs to look to find the new disruptive technology to disrupt an established industry. The Real Estate Industry is no exception. We have already seen that online searches such as websites and Facebook and Instagram apps have disrupted the typical manner of searching for properties. The Real Estate Agent is no longer the sole source of information on what properties are available for sale or rent. Enterprising entrepreneurs wish to take this further by trying to use technology to even bypass the selling process. They are introducing Virtual Reality to give an online view of the property so you don’t have to leave your desk. They are also attempting to negotiate online and if possible conclude the purchase online. There are already instances where properties internationally have been purchased online without the buyer ever having visited the property. Countries such as Costa Rica have already taken a lead in this regard.
So where does all of this leave the typical Real Estate Agent in Trinidad and how should she respond to these developments. Attempting to go too fast would lead to frustration and yet ignoring the opportunities can lead to obsolescence. I believe a more practical incremental approach is the correct one. Don’t attempt to be a first mover neither be a laggard. Ideally try and be an early adopter.
Practically this means moving with the ten percent after the first 5 percent. The first 5% can be labelled as the innovaters or first movers. If you are part of this 10% group in Trinidad you would by now be aggressively using Websites, Facebook, Instagram and emails. Together with the use of a good smart phone with Whatsapp, you would be conducting the first 40% of the Real Estate purchase or rent transaction, from advertising, searching for leads and potential buyers and sellers, introductions and the viewing of the property online.
These technologies should enable you to determine a potential client from a time waster. Having arrived at 40% of the sale, with a firm interest, the authority or means to conclude the transaction and the beginning of a desire to enter into an agreement, you can now move to the next stage, the physical meeting and seeing the property.
If you are an adept technology practitioner, you may have already touched base with the potential mortgage provider and the property valuator and have a good, clear indication of their views on the property and transaction. All this without having left your office.
Technology disruption is definitely already part of the new business landscape. One that you can ill afford to ignore. In time it promises to disrupt all industries. Adopting an aggressive but practical and cautious approach to its use in your practice will lead to continued success.