The Eco-System of the Commercial Brokerage Office: Can Technology Eliminate the “Silo” Effect?
For years, the commercial real estate brokerage industry has been known for its typically slower adoption of technology and its tendency to function in “silos.” Although this is still somewhat true today, more and more brokerages are implementing collaborative approaches to leverage the skills and strengths of every team member and also utilizing technology to manage their day-to-day processes. It’s no coincidence that these are the firms that typically stand out from the competition.
If you own or manage a commercial brokerage office than you understand what makes up the so-called “eco-system” of a successful brokerage business:
- The Client Relationship
- The Transaction
- The Closing Process
While these three elements stand out as the most critical components of any brokerage eco-system, unfortunately, these are also the areas that also tend to function within silos. An individualized approach towards overseeing these components is also more likely to make them difficult to manage.
The client relationship is the first and arguably most important long-term element of the eco-system. In many offices, brokers are still using their own customer relationship management (CRM) system or other personal methods for managing these connections which are comprised of everything from prospecting to managing contacts to converting a relationship into a listing or an assignment.
Once an assignment is awarded and negotiations on a deal begin, the second component of the eco-system — the transaction itself—is set in motion. When a prospect or client is now considered a “transaction in process,” many brokers still tend to manage the many critical and complicated details of deals on spreadsheets or even in their head.
After a deal is finalized, we move into the closing process. Essentially the “homestretch” component of the eco-system, a firm must now work with the broker to make sure all documents are collected, deal vouchers are prepared, and commission splits and co-operating broker payments are finalized. But the work does not stop there as firms must also oversee the many other important matters of the deal closing process such as invoicing, receivables, and other items that are a part of a seemingly endless list of procedures.
Most managers, owners, and even brokers understand these three components are the key drivers of their business, yet their existence within company silos is still prevalent in the commercial real estate industry. From an administration standpoint, these silos create multiple data entry requirements, prevent a seamless process of managing the overall transaction and simply waste time.
The solution is having a product that allows all three components integrated into one, easy-to-use system that is specifically built for the commercial real estate brokerage office and addresses these core elements without being overly complex to understand. There are technology products in the marketplace that address each component but require integrations and multiple entries or are limited by the fact that the platform does not function as a seamless one-stop-shop offering.
Developing a single, fully integrated technology program that allows brokers to manage the entire transaction process from listing to closing will steer the future success of the commercial real estate brokerage profession, help break down the silo walls and mitigate the hassle associated with the more technical and time-consuming parts of the job.