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As a business owner, an agent, a broker, you know the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest developments and changes in the way business is done. Whether it’s adapting to TRID guidelines, business diversity, or strategies to help your clients secure their dream home, you know how to carry yourself as an entrepreneur.

In a recent interview with the National Association of Women in Real Estate Business (NAWRB), Helen Hanna Casey, president of Howard Hanna Real Estate, stated, “If you want money to come in, it is really tough to keep the business the same. One of your goals has to be that you want your company and employees to expand and grow. It is a business in which you cannot do everything with technology. You have got to reach out and meet those clients that you are trying to attract, no matter what your business is.”

Change comes in the form of adaptation, and growing your business is a result of determining the right amount of change. Besides new standards and guidelines, technology is the biggest factor changing the way business is done. It’s also one of the keys to remaining profitable in fluctuating markets. Therefore, it’s important to learn about the latest technology products and services; don’t prevent progress by stubbornly refusing to modernize. Most homebuyers still visit open houses and enjoy seeing a home in-person, but technology plays an increasing role in the process.

Websites like Trulia and Zillow let clients browse and tour homes from the comfort of their living rooms, eliminating subpar homes without ever having to visit them, while phone applications tell you a neighborhood’s Walk Score and the quality of nearby schools. Some things that required a local listing agent can now be done with a smartphone and a WiFi connection. There’s more immediacy in the business world, and if you want to keep clients, you need to be able to provide it.

Don’t stick to the old ways of doing business while the market evolves. Consider the fate of print publications that failed to establish a strong online presence. As Casey emphasizes, however, it’s important to always remember the right way of doing business.

Technology is crucial to succeeding in today’s business world, but some things need to be done in-person, as seeing a person’s emotion can be more powerful than reading their words. Sending an email, rather than meeting a potential partner in-person and shaking their hand, might be construed as insulting, killing the deal on the spot. By the same token, being able to call, text and email while on-the-go is a must. As with so many things in life, the key is balance.

Technology will only grow in prevalence in our lives, but it provides little help in situations when you need to interact with someone directly. Have you ever called an automated customer service line and thought, “I could so easily straighten this problem out if I could just talk to a representative?” Your clients and business partners could end up looking elsewhere for this personal touch. Work within the evolving market to diversify and grow your business, but don’t allow technology to cause you to lose sight of your roots.

Desirée Patno is founder and CEO of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB).

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