How Technology Can Increase Your CRE Brokerage’s Profitability During A Downturn
Daniel Levison | August 27, 2020
Technology has been revolutionizing industries, for better or worse, for decades– but until the past few years commercial real estate has been largely untouched…until now. Even CRE managing brokers and principals that would consider themselves laggards on the bell curve of technology adoption are being faced with a new level of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are being forced to create avenues of digital collaboration within their organizations.
Increased Job Happiness & Productivity
We’ve all read news stories about how automation takes jobs away from humans. But the real truth is – whether you are just starting out or decades into your career, technology is going to reshape how you work. Automating marketing or back office functions don’t take human jobs; they allow people to become more creative and happier in their jobs. If your key administrative people have better tools to automate the mundane and tedious aspects of their job they will have more time to be creative and strategic, helping to grow and make your business more profitable.
It’s important to work smarter, not harder, and I feel like CommissionTrac has allowed me to work smarter, not harder.
-Shelly Protus, Office Manager CBRE Albany
The question is, as a managing broker or principal will you continue to follow the path of – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it or will you make changes when changes are needed?
Adopting technology when changes are needed and not just when forced to because your legacy systems fail or create significant bottlenecks sends a positive message to your support staff – that they matter to the organization just as much as sales and marketing. All too often administrative personnel only get noticed when there is a problem and they are typically being blamed for some problem.
In a blog written by KP Reddy’s of Shadow Ventures originally published by Propmodo, KP discussed back office and marketing automation. “During the onset of a market slowdown, you can utilize technology to have an immediate impact in helping your business increase and maintain profitability.” Through technology you no longer need two, three or even four people to assess markets, create promotional materials and process commission payments.
Continuing To Be A Laggard in Adopting Technology Can Affect Your Ability To Attract and Retain Top Talent
In an annual study The DNA of CRE Brokerage, Buildout, one of the true successes in CRE technology stated that 84% of the 400 brokerage companies, representing over 10,000 CRE agents said, they plan to start embracing new technologies in a significant way. With a large percentage of today’s CRE workforce being made up of Gen X or Millennial generations, who are known for not only expecting technology 24/7, but also for having a hard time living without it – not adopting technology at a faster pace will likely have a long term effect on a managing broker’s ability to attract and retain top industry talent.
Providing Transparency Builds Credibility Between Principles & Agents
Although none of us have a crystal ball, we do know that real estate is a cyclical business. Downturns always come, and organizations who implement and utilize technology consistently increase their productivity. Through automating your brokerages back office process managing brokers, principals and agents can in real time quickly and accurately understand their future revenue and where it’s coming from allowing them to more effectively tailor their prospecting for future business.
Providing complete transparency for your agents in how their commissions checks were determined can also prevent uncomfortable issues and frustrations. If you’re a managing broker or controller in a CRE brokerage firm calculating commission payments through various spreadsheets – how often do you get interrupted by an agent who needs explanation on how you determined his current commission payment or where he stands in his tiered split plan.
Maybe one of the agents will ask, ‘where am I in my splits?’ and with just a click, it’s all right here at my fingertips. I can’t say that enough, that it’s all right there. It’s a huge deal.
-Melissa Fernance, Operations Manager for Mark Duclos of Sentry Commercial – President of SIOR National
If your brokerage business is anything like our business – it happens every pay period. Automation can provide transparency and faster answers for those frustrating moments and the faster you can answer those types of questions the more credibility you build, and conversely if it takes two or three days to answer their question, you begin to lose credibility.
Measure KPIs in Real Time
Peter Drucker, known as the man who invested in modern business management, has been quoted as saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” So if you aren’t even tracking it, how can measure it, and if you aren’t measuring it, how can you improve it?
While tracking key performance indicators sounds great it can easily become more time consuming creating the numbers to measure than analyzing the information. To grow your business and improve its profitability the ability to access your KPI’s quickly and in real time is critical. The ability to see your data visually also helps tell a story that’s easy to understand at a quick glance.
“Even the home screen (dashboard), it’s just perfect, it’s exactly what Mark wants as well (with all of the graphs). We didn’t have anything like this, we spreadsheets that I put together over the years. It’s a world of difference.”
-Melissa Fernance, Office Manager for Mark Duclos of Sentry Commercial – President of SIOR National
Having individual portals for managing brokers, administrative personnel, and agents provides every branch of your organization access to their own specific critical information with seeing others critical information. The reality is if you are an independent contractor you are running your own small business within a larger brokerage company and having the ability to instantly put your finger on the pulse and heartbeat of “your” business will improve your profitability which will ultimately lead to increasing the entire organization’s profitability.
Be a Better Mentor & Manager Utilizing Technology
How can agents and managing brokers increase their profitability and consistently become top producers. One answer is utilizing cutting edge technology. Understanding agents performance in real time can significantly improve a managing brokers ability to understand which of their agents may be struggling. Whether it’s a seasoned agent not performing at their historical levels, or a rookie needing guidance technology can provide managers real time data to improve an agents profitability.
Is There a Downside To Technology?
The downside to technology is – it’s available for your competitors and if you aren’t adopting technology in your brokerage business and your competitors are, you’ll ultimately be at a disadvantage.
CommissionTrac is here to assist you with all your digital collaboration back office and budget-planning needs. To find out why over 1,000 users and affiliates of Colliers, CBRE, Cushman Wakefield, NAI, SVN, Lee & Associates, as well as the largest national ‘tech-enabled” brokerage business, TenantBase have chosen CommissionTrac as their back office automation CRE platform. Request a demo today by visiting our website at www.commissiontrac.com
Authors: Daniel Levison – Member of the Forbes CRE Counsel and CEO of CRE Holdings (CommissionTrac, Commercial Property Consultants, SharedSpace) and Turner Levison, CEO, CommissionTrac