Doing business the heart way: bridging humanity and technology

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The NextHome leadership team brought a touch of orange to Inman Connect this week. Tuesday’s sessions ended with an inspiring talk from NextHome’s Chief Strategy Officer Keith Robinson. No better way to wrap up Tech Connect than to bring it all back to the humans we serve every day.

Keith brought a bit of humanity back to the tech-focused seminars by reminding brokers and agents that the next step in the evolution of real estate agents isn’t robots. Tech Connect showcases lots of tech edge and content which is great on many levels but can feel threatening on others.

Keith focused on Zillow, Opendoor, and Amazon as examples of technology dimensions that encourage the idea that real estate agents are becoming extraneous to the residential real estate world. However, nothing can be farther from the truth.

He highlighted the data behind why fears of these entities are unfounded. Opendoor, for example, does 2/10th of 1% of all real estate transactions. Fear from such a market share just isn’t logical but the concern is real.  

“I get it,” remarked Keith. “When you lose a listing to Opendoor, it’s 100% of that listing. However, does the fear we have really equal the threat these companies potentially present? I don’t think so.”

With the augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence in the market today, it can feel like humans are irrelevant. Keith thoughtfully suggested that this is a real estate business, not a technology business. He encouraged agents and brokers to do what they do best – connect to people!

“We often forget about all the microtransactions and macro transactions that we have with human beings every day,” Keith noted about not only retail sales but real estate as well.  

He encouraged everyone to realize there are so many things that technology can’t do. For instance, it can’t give someone that first-time homeowner hug. Technology doesn’t make the real estate process personal.

“The intimacy and the connection while shepherding someone through their transaction just isn’t something that technology can do yet. Technology won’t be reviewing a 300-page inspection report for their buyer,” emphasized Keith.

Brokers and agents are in the business of helping people get what they really want out of life and out of their real estate. According to Keith, it’s all about the smiles, the genuine smiles that come from people helping people buy or sell their home. Technology simply won’t replace that.

“I love this industry. I love that we get to help people. We get to make those genuine moments happen for them. When we remember that and don’t lose sight of that, it won’t matter who partners with Amazon or what next ‘scary’ thing they are going to announce,” explained Keith about keeping the focus on the humans we serve.

Keith challenged his audience and the real estate world to put #humansoverhouses. It’s not about consumers but the human beings who are buying and selling homes. That’s what will resonate so tell their story.

Share on social media about the perseverance of that first time homebuyer that put in fifteen offers before they won. Spread the word about how selling a house helped a woman get exactly what she wanted out of life.

Keith supports that if brokers and agents remain focused on the human connection, there are no threats in the real estate industry. Technology then becomes something that supports the #humansoverhouses connection. He inspired the Inman Connect audience to tell the story of residential real estate and the humans involved.

“That’s how we can all win!” exclaimed Keith at the end of his presentation. Join Keith in promoting #humansoverhouses by sharing your stories of the humans that make real estate great.

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