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Why You Should Consider Exclusive Licensing

April 21 2014

stand out from crowdHave you ever received the same marketing message from multiple companies? We have. Our CEO, Victor Lund, was recently telling me how three different brokerages sent him the exact same "Spring Forward" postcard. Though each "customized" the message with their logo, they also distributed it via Facebook, Twitter, and email. That's 12 exposures to the same boring message!

As an industry, we can do better. How phony do you look when you're doing the exact same thing as the competitor across the street? What's more, how do you differentiate yourself when all you're doing is exactly what everyone else is doing?

We recently talked about exclusivity in email marketing. The buck doesn't stop there, though. If you want your brokerage to remain competitive, consider purchasing an exclusive license for your company website and back office solutions.

The What and the Why of Exclusive Licensing

So what is an exclusive license? In short, it's a way to guarantee that the product you've purchased cannot be used by any other broker in your area. While more expensive than a non-exclusive license, exclusive licensing pays off in other ways.

Here's a scenario. Let's say you've decided to purchase a virtual office website (VOW) for your brokerage. You like how they provide consumers more data than IDX-enabled websites--information about active, pending, sold, and even expired listings. You appreciate how this brings you more knowledgeable buyers and sellers and encourages consumers to use your site instead of another broker's.

However, if another company in your area has the same great idea and licenses the same VOW as you, the value of your website is diffused. If consumers can access the same data and tools on another site, why should they comes to yours?

This is where exclusive licensing is beneficial. "Consumers get confused when they see multiple sites offering the same information," says Dennis Vaughn, founder of VOW provider Quantum Leads. Quantum Leads is one of the few companies that offers brokers exclusive licenses by MLS or zip code. The solution provides extensive property history and sales data, resulting in highly engaged and educated consumers. Real estate is a competitive business, Vaughn reminds us. Exclusive licensing prevents the competition from offering that same valuable data.

The advantages of exclusivity applies to broker back office solutions, too. Like your website, back office software is a foundation technology for brokerages today. The product you use becomes part of your company culture, and can even be used as a recruiting and retention tool. Offer agents solutions that are better than what they're currently using. Providing the same tools as every other brokerage in your area only weakens your value proposition.

And, in the end, it's all about value--value to consumers, to your agents and your bottom line. You're already investing money into systems to make you successful, so consider going the extra mile to make sure what you're offering is unique.