By Brooke Wolford
We have all gotten sucked into this world of technology. We do everything we can to stay on top of what’s new and hot and purchase the latest iAnything. Even I can’t help but admit that that I do like the “shiny” things in life. However, the other evening, I looked over at my 10-year-old son. My son has his own laptop, iPod, cellphone, and every gaming system imaginable. He’s learning a ton about technology and is even dabbling in learning how to code. Being the techie that I am, I feel proud. But while watching him type on his computer, listen to his iPod, and simultaneously check his cellphone, I began to think about the possibility that he was missing out on basic relationship building opportunities. I think for many of us, we are heading down the same path.
Recently, at the St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS® YPN Smarty Pants Tech Bar, a lot of agents were asking technology-related questions like, “What apps should I be using?” and “Why and how should I use social media?” Many seemed overwhelmed. They all wanted to know, “What gadget or social media site will solve my latest business problem?” I sat at the gathering knowing that it was this question itself that was their greatest problem of all.
The truth is, it’s not all about technology. Sometimes, the best way to fix something is on our own without any devices or gadgets, because in the end, nothing is ever going to replace human contact. At the 2012 Massachusetts Conference for Women, Arianna Huffington warned against this while delivering her keynote speech: “If we don’t learn to disconnect from technology and really connect with ourselves, we will become fried,” she said.
As REALTORS®, we still have to connect with our clients, and the more times we reach out to them behind a computer, tablet, or cellphone screen, the farther away from them we’re really getting. Think of those moments when you show a client a home and they instantly fall in love right before your eyes. Personally, as an agent, that is one of my favorite moments and something I really enjoy about being an agent. No amount of technology is ever going to replace that.
The real dilemma with technology is that it causes people to hide behind text messages, e-mails, cellphones, and social networks instead of communicating directly. It’s still very important to reach out to your clients offline. People still crave human contact and always will. Yes, some of the technology out there will help you be more productive, but you should be spending the time saved to personally connect with the consumer and be present in their lives.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.