Seeking database independence is very important to your business health.
Success in the real estate profession, like any other profession, is dependent on sound systems and processes. Unfortunately, sound systems and processes are not part of the training required to obtain your license, so agents start the profession with nothing more than a license to work and a can-do attitude. As a result, many brokerages have found that the best way to attract new agents is to provide a variety of systems to help solve this problem.
This is certainly a nice option as it informs new agents of what types of systems they may need to be successful, and it eliminates the guesswork as to which systems to use from the myriad of options available. The key with all these systems is that they are a database at their heart. Information is captured, is searchable, and is available to be acted upon using the system’s predefined capabilities. Thanks to the Internet, most of today’s systems are accessible from all Web enabled devices such as the computer, phone, and tablet; which is super convenient for the agent on the go.
Unfortunately, the brokerage provided systems are a double-edged sword. It does provide the initial benefit to the agent of not having to choose or pay for their own systems separately. However, the data captured can be used by the brokerage, and when changing brokerages, it may be impossible to get the information out and move into a new system. And, although the company being able to use agent client information for their benefit isn’t great, having to start over with a new database is far worse.
I recognize that many agents start out believing that the brokerage they start with will be the brokerage they stay with forever. But, as someone who has worked in the traditional professional environment for over 20 years and is now on the 5th brokerage can attest, the reality is that affiliation with only one brokerage during an entire real estate career is extremely rare. Agents will change for any number of reasons, many of which may have nothing to do with the quality of the company. For this reason, I strongly advocate database independence.
This simply means that I highly recommend agents have their own systems, systems they pay for, that are separate and apart from any brokerage provided systems. In addition to not having to worry about the impact of a brokerage change on prospect, client, and transaction data, being able to choose the systems based on personal tastes, abilities, and business needs is another major benefit. And, not having to learn a new system will enable any change to be much smoother; eliminating a potentially significant impact on current and future business.
Cost is always a concern, especially for agents just starting out, so paying for a system isn’t something most agents are excited to do. Although I believe the benefits far outweigh the costs, I always keep an eye out for affordable solutions. With over 20 years of professional experience designing, developing, and evaluating business systems, I am happy to report there are quality systems available for all budget levels. Stay tuned for what to look for in a database system and which systems I recommend in future blogs and classes.
Gary Garrison is a well-known and sought-after instructor and mentor. Gary is a valuable asset to the Cindy Bishop Worldwide educational and coaching team. In addition to industry knowledge and experience, his unique technological and consulting background enables him to help his clients filter out irrelevant information and better focus their time and energy to ensure a rewarding experience. Gary’s relevant technology knowledge as well as his abundant real estate expertise makes him valuable to the real estate community.