I am lucky enough be a moderator at a conference with the CRE Finance Council and host a portion of the program that covers the basics of Crowdfunding and how the CRE industry could be transformed. For those of you who are new to this exciting bridge between technology and real estate, crowdfunding platforms allow individual investors to own parts of real estate properties and earn returns on their investments. They didn’t have to leave their house; they didn’t have to leave their office; and they didn’t even need to speak to anyone in person. (Check out CNBC Crowdfunding-Ifunding for a Power Pitch from a company called IFunding for more information.) Companies like IFunding, Fundrise and ProHatch are created as an effort to provide access to commercial and residential real estate investments that may not have access to investment options. It provides new ways to invest and diversify your portfolio.The idea of crowdfunding and having the ability to do almost virtually anything made me believe even more than I already do, the importance of staying tech relevant to better serve your clients and investors. Whether you are introducing a new idea, presenting a better way, or showing a client commercial real estate from across the country, you rely on technology, in some way, to get results faster and more efficiently. Every year, month, and day, technology is moving and changing, and this stresses the fact that as a leader - so must you.

With today’s environment being highly competitive, what you can’t do, your competition will. Your competitors may be better, or they may just have better technology at their disposal. Now, information is readily available with just a few clicks. The importance of staying on top of social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), introducing knowledge of your industry through blogs, or answering a quick email from a client becomes expected. The shift of power moves to the customer. According to Gartner Group, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a company without any human interaction. This means that you may never see or talk to your client if you can’t provide what they need.

Clients and investors want accurate answers to their problems with zero wait time…

You’re asking yourself, “What do you mean they don’t want to wait?” As I stressed before, technology can help bring you to the next level. This can be achieved through many different outlets such as private client portals, document exchange services, or web-based conferencing giving your clients the feeling of interaction while providing the access they want. It doesn’t stop there; this can be available to team members as well. According to Gallup, eight in ten workers (79%) view the ability to use devices to stay connected to the workplace after normal working hours in a positive light. By giving your team and your clients the access to the information they need and want, you enhance their experience with your company.

More so now than ever, being constantly involved in the new changes in technology, recognizing the shifts in how business transactions are closed, and learning from new recruits adapting in fast-paced work environments, keeps me relevant and I am able to serve my clients and investors better, stronger and smarter. Industry leaders have to now establish new norms when it comes to client interaction and take the step necessary to keep moving in a forward direction. Keeping in mind that every business is different and what works for one may not for the other.

The point is to find what works best for you and your client. Use this as an approach to show that your business travels with the times and continues to grow and improve.

Want more commercial real estate conference news? I’m a penelist at the CREFC High Yield & Distressed Realty Assets Summit taking place March 11th and 12th in New York. We’ll be discussing issues in enforcement foreclosure rights, including: Judicial vs non-judicial foreclosure states, the key issues for a lender to consider; the borrowers’ efforts to delay the foreclosure process, what a lender can do in response; and alternatives to the foreclosure process, regaining control. Learn more and register for the program here.