I often get asked by business owners how best to adopt new technologies and manage changes in process. It’s particularly relevant right now as agents begin to re-open for business with a need to operate in new ways to protect themselves and their customers from COVID-19.
The approach to implementing changes associated to re-opening after lockdown vs introducing new technology is not hugely different when you break it down.
1. I have a problem I need to fix
Firstly, there is the acknowledgement of “I have a problem I need to fix”. In the case of Coronavirus, I want to re-open my office, but I need to make certain changes to safeguard my staff and the public in accordance with Government guidelines. Failure to do so will hurt my business in multiple ways.
From a technology perspective, it’s recognising where your pain points are and establishing where technology could make the biggest gains for your business. Is it customer service, winning instructions or progressing sales effectively and efficiently?
It’s worth noting that sometimes you won’t always see what needs fixing yourself unless you take the time to step back and look at your business from the outside in and this is what we have witnessed a lot of businesses taking the time to do during lockdown.
A common problem with sales progression is a) lots of agents still use paper and b) the sheer cost in time and effort to piece together the chain and get updates from various professionals in order to manage the overall progress whilst also keeping your vendor and buyer updated. This is a common reason why transactions take too long to exchange and complete.
2. Finding a solution
Secondly, there is the research to finding a solution to the problem. What we have witnessed during lockdown is how businesses have been more willing than ever to help one another providing support and advice on processes or technologies that could help not just during COVID-19 but in the longer term. Researching how the solution would work within your business is vital to its success, so from a technology perspective how would it complement other systems you use and is it a prerequisite that it has to integrate in order to solve the problem and if so why?
mio is designed to complement an existing CRM by creating a connected chain view with other agents to effectively manage sales progression – transparency and efficiency with one view of the truth. Benefitting from integrations with third parties such as surveyors, conveyancers and mortgage brokers, validated data is used to automatically update key milestones across the chain, agents can use mio to progress a sale without needing to rely on anything else.
Thirdly, you need a plan of how you are going to introduce your changes. I recommend writing this down rather than being allowed to just float around in your head, because to overcome the final stage, you may find yourself revisiting the plan to remind yourself of the why? Keep your plan concise, starting with a statement of the problem and why you want to fix it. List & prioritise the steps you need to take to implement the solution and how you will approach each one. Remember that during the planning stage it’s helpful to build in a review part way through so you can measure improvements and allow for small adjustments once your implementation is underway.
Don’t be impatient – we live in an “on demand” world and this can sometimes fuel unrealistic measures of success. Once you’re happy with your approach you need to communicate it with your staff so that everyone understands the why, the how and the benefits.
When introducing new technology for instance, a good Business Development Manager will work with you to agree a plan – view them as “one of the team”, because you need to work together to overcome your problem.
Finally, the implementation of the solution, which is often the hardest part for various reasons. Breaking habits, lack of commitment, poor communication, apathy, bad time management (I’m too busy) and bad planning are to name but a few.
All of these can be overcome during the planning stage, but you need to commit to your final plan. Why? Because it will remove another big threat – hijacking your solution by creating more obstacles to reaching your goal. Those obstacles can often boil down to excuses you have created yourself and can signal a lack of commitment.
According to a psychology researcher at University College London, on average it takes 66 days before a new behaviour becomes automatic which is why change management is a key component to this whole process, whatever size of business.
What problem does mio help me fix?
mio is a sales progression and communication platform for estate agents. It connects agents across a single chain view. By removing duplication and creating a collaborative environment, mio uses validated 3rd party data feeds from lawyers, surveyors and mortgage brokers, to automatically update key milestones, saving time and removing duplicated effort.
We consider ourselves a major part of the solution to fixing an industry problem – how to speed up transactions and create a better home buying and selling process.
Talk to us about how we can help with your plan.