1/13/13: Embracing Change in the New Year – Getting Investors Up to Speed

Technology is changing the way people live, work and play.  Now that’s not a bad thing, but it’s easy to get left behind.

But just like calculators made doing math different, those who use them most effectively understand the basic mathematical concepts behind the speedy calculations.

So what does that have to do with real estate investing?  That’s what this episode is all about.

Talking tech and embracing change on location in sunny San Diego:

  • Your talkative and embracing host, Robert Helms
  • The Godfather of Real Estate, Bob Helms
  • Special guest, internet marketing guru, Pol vanRhee

Since Bob started investing only moments after God created dirt, we start out the conversation capturing Bob’s observations about the impact of technology on the business of real estate.  You can bet he’s seen a LOT of changes over the centuries.

In the beginning “high tech” was a calculator.  That’s a big step up from those old mechanical adding machines.

Then copy machines replaced carbon paper.  Really.  We’re not making it up.  People used to take two pieces of paper and put a dirty piece of paper in between them and type…or even write by hand.  Then the dirt from the middle sheet would make impressions on the bottom sheet and presto!  Instant copy.  Amazing.

Then things picked up.  Word processors replaced typewriters.  Fax machines became all the rage.  Then everyone had a desktop computer.  Before long, there were pagers, cell phones, laptops, smart phones, tablets and implants.

Okay, we’re not at implants yet.  At least not for communication.  Then again, a nice set of implants says something…but that’s a different discussion.

Did we mention the internet, and search engines and social media?

You get the idea.  More change is coming faster.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

But remember…technology is primarily designed to make the basics of human activity more efficient, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more effective.  There’s a big difference between being efficient and being effective.

Efficiency is about getting things done fast and right.  Of course, you can be highly efficient doing the wrong things – and that’s not very effective.

Effectiveness is about getting the right things done faster. Which brings us back to focusing on the principles behind the technology.

Real estate is a relationship business.  Sure, there’s lots of data and financial analysis.  There’s records to create, share and store.  But the CORE of the business is connecting with people and doing business.  From that stand point, all business is based in relationship.  Yet, we contend that real estate is different.

Why?

Because homes and offices are PERSONAL.  And the numbers are BIG.  There are emotions involved and people want to work with people they like and trust, in relationships where they feel understood.  You might buy a book or a pair of socks on line, but a $300,000 four-plex?   You probably want to talk to someone.

Yet with all this wonderful technology at your disposal, it’s easy to forget the human factor.  Technology should ENHANCE your relationships, not replace them.  It sounds obvious, but it’s really easy to forget.  Why take the call, when you let it roll to voicemail?  Why call back, when you can text or email?  Be careful.

Beyond that, even the holy grail of marketing, “word of mouth” has a new meaning because of technology.  Someone may simply forward an email, share a link, like a page, tweet a URL, etc.   Your mission is to make that easy for your tenants to tell other prospective tenants about your property.  And to be keenly aware of how quickly bad customer service can spread.  There’s little margin for error in today’s connected world.

Pol vanRhee explains how the internet allows people to perform research, seek out products and services, and share information with unprecedented speed.  This means you have more competition when you’re searching for deals or marketing your properties.  It can be good or bad, but that’s not the point.  It’s here, like it or not.

So get ready!  It’s a brand new year and there’s lots of change and opportunity on the horizon.  Open your mind and arms and get ready to embrace it!

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