This month we take it to the other side of the aisle to catch up with a guy who talks and thinks tech nearly 24/7. Tyler Smith is the Founder and CEO of SkySlope, a real estate industry leader in Digital Transaction Management software. Having been a top-producing agent himself, Tyler offers a unique perspective from both sides of equation.
Q: As a former real estate agent, what role did technology play in your practice?
A: I know it’s hard to believe but when I was a REALTOR®, Facebook didn’t exist. Technology was a lot clunkier back then. In terms of the internet, there weren’t a lot of online outlets for collecting data or connecting with clients. Most agents relied entirely on the MLS as an online tool. That said, I’ve always been interested in how technology can improve processes and help people be more efficient. Online leads didn’t exist back then so I wasn’t using technology for outbound sales. However, I did find ways to use technology to provide better internal customer service. I had my web designer create an online offer management form so I could compare offers more efficiently. Instead thumbing through each 18-page offer, I could compare the important data points in a spreadsheet to see which offer was the best. I used technology as mirror to reflect the personal service I provided but it was paramount in reducing the ridiculous amount of paperwork that is involved in real estate.
Q: What led to recognizing the problem you believed technology could help you solve for the real estate industry?
A: I was doing a massive amount of volume. I had a file for each property I initiated, every listing and every sale. Since it was such a huge volume, I had a team that would help me. Trying to maintain one complete file with all of our notes and correspondence was way too time consuming and completely inefficient. Instead, each of us had our own file, with all of the same documents, for every single property. This way, if a client called, any one of us could easily access and reference the paperwork. Eventually, three files per property created a storage nightmare. The solution? A digital storage system. We used MS Sharepoint as a centralized place for all of our files and everyone had their own folder, per property, for notes. This was the seed that eventually grew into SkySlope.
Q: How has mobility impacted the real estate business and the opportunity for SkySlope in today’s market?
A: Today, rarely, is anyone more than a moment away from the internet. While some people say technology is creating a disconnect, REALTORS® are actually able to be more present with their clients, colleagues and vendors. They have more time to connect with people in their sphere of influence because they simultaneously connected with their current transactions via mobile. SkySlope has to be mobile or we are out of the game. By allowing agents to access files & transaction records on the fly, we further aid that presence and ensure being “out of the office” isn’t an excuse anymore.
Q: What aspect of technology are you most excited about in and outside of the real estate industry?
A: 99 percent of my mind is taken up with real estate so in that vein I think virtual reality is going to play a huge role in the future of real estate. Giving clients the ability to tour tons of homes virtually, picking their top choices to then tour in person. This will increase efficiency throughout the buying/selling process and provide tons of opportunities to collect data we don’t currently have to better understand clients.
Final Thought: Tyler’s philosophy on technology was consistent from his time as agent to his time as a vendor; use technology to make the process more efficient and enhance the customer’s experience. The SkySlope platform he created does just that, increasing agent efficiency and allowing them to enhance the experience they provide their customers.
SkySlope is the brainchild of Tyler Smith, a former top-producing REALTOR® who realized efficient transaction management software was lacking in real estate. For more information, visit www.skyslope.com.