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Finding Your Inner Entrepreneur and Launching Your Own Start-up
The real estate industry is filled with entrepreneurs – every individual agent is the CEO of their own business. With over two decades of experience as a broker, owner, operator and investor, Dave Garland, Managing Director at Second Century Ventures helps members of the real estate community turn their ideas into reality. Three years ago, Dave was tapped to oversee the National Association of Realtor’s venture capital division (Second Century Ventures) and NAR REach – a program that provides exposure and guidance to startups that are building technology for the real estate industry.
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Mission Focused: Behind the Scenes of a Top Team
The Nick Shivers Team is mission-driven, dynamic and red hot. What's their secret? Peek behind the curtain of one of the most successful teams in the Pacific Northwest. Nick Shivers Team, Keller Williams Realty Portland Central Building a Culture In real estate, we talk a lot about culture — and culture seems especially important when it comes to building, growing and sustaining a team. How would you describe the culture of the Nick Shivers team? Our team culture is about giving back, through our Sell a Home, Save a Child initiative. So at the core of it, we all believe in trying to help people; that's the basis of the team and the business. But as the team leader, I know that if my agents don't have business opportunities, they can't help clients or give back. So, we recruit with a combination of making sure the culture fits, but also by feeding them high-quality business opportunities and leads so they can better jumpstart their businesses. Extending Your Brand Online and Listings Statistically, sellers list with someone they know and trust. How do you carry your brand over to online to start building trust with those who don't know you and your team? The Local Expert™ product from realtor.com® really helps us in our listing presentations. It's an online ads solution that targets buyers and sellers with ads on realtor.com® and Facebook. And I know it works because my agents are using it to win the listing. The biggest thing that I've seen my agents do there is show sellers, "When people click in your area, you can have your open house advertised right there." It's massive exposure and I know that sellers, who are really interested in their house being seen by as many buyers as possible, are impressed. I can tell without having a lot of data (because we're in the early stages), that it is working right now. We also have our rocket listing, which is our instant buy program that I run on radio and billboards and advertise on realtor.com®. Lead Nurture, Persistence and Conversion If you meet a potential seller online, they may be months away from making a decision to sell. How do you keep the relationship fresh? To be successful, you need to be structurally able to follow up immediately. We offer new agents a 90-day ramp up where they're trained on scripts, dialogue and follow-ups for leads. The key is the follow-up and how they can use our technology to do that. We also focus a lot on staying the course. When I started in the business, I was really good at working with the leads who were interested in transacting in the next 30 to 60 days. I was not so good at the longer-term prospects and that's where the gold is. The sale might come after seven, eight or nine follow-ups. That is where you're going to get a lot of those deals, but it is in those repeat contacts that a lot of agents will give up. So we are laser-focused on training our agents not to give up too soon. Retention Once your agents "get it" and start using these guidelines, do they stick around? If I get my agents on the system, my retention improves. I suggest agents stick with me for a minimum of three years and then if they decide to start their own team, that is completely all right with me. I had an example in 2018, my number one producer decided to go out on his own. We are really good friends and I said, Great, go for it. He made less money this year and admitted that it's a lot easier to think about it and talk about it than to actually do it. Final Thoughts from Nick What defines your company? What are the main reasons that should someone consider joining your brokerage? Our big mission statement is about serving people — saving kids by selling real estate. Everything that we do is based on how we can give back to underprivileged children around the world, so that's number one. If that strikes a chord with you, then you're going to get past the first layer. The second thing is we love the underdog. I don't care where you have been. I want to see that you've had success, but I also believe that it doesn't matter where you start, it's where you're going. Last, it's about our systems and our lead generation and solutions and their long-lasting impact. And from this, we've built a tribe of loyal clients. In today's market, that's so important for agents. And of course, a big part of that is that our followers and clients know what we stand for. Because when you can literally say that your industry has helped — our Sell a home, Save a Child movement has raised over a million dollars to help kids — I think that makes a point where people go, "Wow, I'm not going anywhere else but with these guys and gals."    
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Follow the Leader: Max Henderson, Compass
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AI and Real Estate: Hype, Hope or Here Today?
When you see the letters AI, what do you think? What do you feel? For many, there's a natural reaction of "not quite sure" and for even some, a bit of fear. As we enter the early days of the fourth Industrial Revolution, a new world of artificial intelligence and machine learning is being ushered in. Many new commercial iterations of AI have focused on service industries and trying to create applications where machines can provide consumers with a better service level than that historically provided by humans. In this episode of the Gradually...Then, suddenly! podcast, listen in as industry executive and host Russ Cofano interviews John Berkowitz, Co-Founder and CEO of OJO Labs, a real estate AI company in Austin, Texas. John provides his thoughts on the promise of AI in real estate and what OJO Labs is doing to help both consumers and agents get value out this new technology. Specifically, John describes a problem in home search where buyers are not quite ready to talk with a human early on, and solving that problem by providing them with meaningful assistance from a machine that eventually acts as a bridge to real estate agents. Tune in to the podcast now! Russ Cofano is a thirty-year real estate industry veteran who has served in executive capacities in various industry sectors. Russ was President of eXp World Holdings, led Industry Relations for Realtor.com, and acted as Chief Executive Officer for the Missouri REALTORS. He is a noted author and speaker at industry events on data, technology and innovation in the brokerage industry.    
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The WHY for CRM
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Success Breeds Success: How One Leader Builds Up His Agents
Dan Lee is a team leader and broker unlike others. "I don't consider myself a savvy businessman," he says. "I consider myself as someone who took the responsibility to provide for everybody else's livelihood." Lee's focus on cultivating his agents' success has led to his own success in retaining and recruiting top salespeople. In this interview, Lee shares his approach to keeping agents happy, why he doesn't hire until he has leads for a new agent, and why he's never had to fire an agent. Read on to learn more!
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Retention Expert Offers 13 Ways to Keep Top Agents
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Bradley Real Estate Going after Listings with Effective eProspecting Campaign
Jason Lytz, Vice President at Bradley Real Estate, operates in Northern California, a market experiencing extremely tight inventory. He spent time with us to explain a new process their company is putting in place to engage potential home sellers. Jason explains Bradley's company-wide campaign to help their agents build relationships with potential sellers by arming them with detailed neighborhood data and teaching them ways to encourage homeowners to contact their agents if they are considering selling. Read the interview here:
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A Commercial Pro's Success Amplified through Realtor Membership
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Doubling Sales Volume Six Years in a Row -- By Following Up
From agent follow-up to leveraging the right tools, broker JP Piccinini, Founder and CEO of JP and Associates REALTORS, shares the secrets that have helped his firm double in size every year for six years. Check out the the interview below to learn more:
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Audience Engagement in a Noisy World
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Flashback Feature 2004: Keller Williams' Gary Keller Teaches His Way to the Top
This Flashback Features series unearths profiles from the past of real estate and technology leaders. A version of this story was first published in California Real Estate magazine. This profile of Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty International, is from 2004. His mother was a teacher, his father was a teacher, he had uncles and aunts who were teachers, and even his big sister is a teacher. So why didn't Gary Keller, Cofounder and Chairman of one of the fastest growing brokerage firms in the US become a teacher? "I did, didn't I?" asks Keller rhetorically, explaining, "What I do is the private enterprise teaching versus the public kind." Keller as a teacher – or what today is termed a "professional coach" – is the hallmark of Keller Williams Realty International's style as well as its success. Less than a decade old, Keller Williams 22,487 agents are based out of less than 300 offices that generated a remarkable $531 million in revenues in 2002.
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A Realtor's Path from Selling Homes to Investment Real Estate
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A Top Real Estate Team Shares Their 3 Keys to Success
The Kevin Blain Team closed 1400 transaction sides last year--their volume was over a quarter BILLION dollars in 2017. With 18 years in real estate and 75 team members, they're the number one team in California, according to Real Trends. So what are their secrets to success? They shared their approach to customer service, recruiting, and lead generation in recent interview with realtor.com®. Here's a transcript of the conversation: Customer Service You worked hard to establish your name and reputation over the past 18 years and to grow your business. Your team in itself is now larger than some real estate companies. How do you keep that high quality relationship going when you are managing 1500 transactions? Are the customers expecting you to be personally involved? How do you maintain that level of quality and care when delivering through a team? To be able to offer the same level of service with that many transactions we have specialists in place—there are sales specialists, listings specialists, support team specialists. With each having a defined role, it has allowed us to keep a high quality relationship with each of our customers. We have an expression: one client at a time. Each client gets individual attention; that's how we work. Recruiting How do you recruit team members that give you that level of professionalism? We are always looking looking for talented agents. We recruit here in Central California and we look for three things: integrity, attitude and intelligence—and maybe four, as I like to throw in energy. Bringing to the team the quality of service the right people will provide gives us what the customer is looking for. You may ask if the customer is looking for me to be personally involved and the answer is not usually—they expect the same quality of care as if I was. As long as the specialists on the team are delivering that, we will get a five star rating. And what are the agents you recruit looking for in return? What is your value exchange? When they look at our team, we need to exceed the value of what other companies may offer. We have the best support staff—a listing coordinator, a transaction coordinator, sign people—and we have the best training. They are getting training from the number one team in California. When they walk into a listing appointment, they can say that their team is the top team in all of California. We add value by providing leads—internet leads and from other media. Those leads do provide value. Here is a true example: We had an agent who was just starting on our team and after just 60 days in real estate, had closed five and had eight more pending. That does not typically happen, but it shows these leads can help an agent get off to a good start. Lead Generation We understand you have worked with realtor.com to bring in more leads for your team. Do you introduce your lead program when in a recruiting discussion? They bring it up—they know there is value in being on the team. They know there are several ways of getting business and one of those is online leads How have the leads from realtor.com contributed to the growth of your team or your plans to grow? About two and a half years ago, we started our inside sales department and that's when we started to purchase online leads, including realtor.com leads. From there, we have been able to expand to four counties in the Central Valley of California. When you are working with online leads, you need to respond quickly and have the wherewithal to follow up. We know it takes eight or nine contacts to have someone convert to become your client. If that work is not put in, then you may as well not purchase leads. We plan to engage up to 12 times knowing the conversion tends to happen after the eighth or ninth attempt. These are viable people and they get busy, so you have to call or contact them and they will finally respond when it is most convenient for them. What do you do to make sure that the investment you make in leads is not wasted? How do you track what actions are taken with them? I check numbers weekly with our inside sales dept. I look at lead measures every week so there is accountability on both sides. As I see them come in, I can see the follow-up efforts and appointments set, and address any issues if the follow-up is not happening. Is it all worth it? After investing your time and capital in realtor.com leads and following up, what kind of return are you getting on your investment? We get a good return on our investment and we work every day, every week, every month to get better. If you hear complaints that the these leads are not good, I don't believe that. What we have seen is that if we are doing our part to mine these leads and to provide good customer service, then they do pay off. We are continuing to enlarge our territory and go into new locations with online leads. Without them, we could not have made this happen so quickly.  
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Is Broker Paid Marketing Making a Comeback?
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An Economist's Tour from Wall Street to Main Street
Realtors® are often looked at by clients as local economic experts. With expectations to time markets precisely, identify future purchase/sale opportunities before anyone else, and ultimately apply all of this to determine the optimal purchase or sale price for projects having multiple year outlooks. Of course, this comes easy with a crystal ball, but if you don't have access to one, knowing a few data points and having the right resources can vastly improve your odds at projecting things accurately. Lucky for Realtors®, experts like George Ratiu are here to guide us in how to better use a tool like RPR Commercial in order to mine economic insights.
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Next Week's Don't Miss Event: First Live Interview with New NAR CEO Bob Goldberg
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How One Brokerage Cured their Weak Conversion Rate (and Brought Their ROI Back to Life)
When Pat McCandless and Chris Earl bought Stephens Real Estate in 2013, they became the instant owners of one of the top firms in their area. They knew, however, that the company could perform better. "Our reputation is excellent," says Pat McCandless. "But we did realize our support systems were out of date. In order for our agents to maintain our standards of service, we had to update those support and tech systems." One major underperformer was their online lead generation effort. Their ROI was weak, with leads converting at just half the industry rate. Obviously, something was wrong—but what? McCandless and Earl had to dig in deep to find out.
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Pull the plug or double down? Why one brokerage invested in new tech to get more value from their low-conversion paid leads
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3 Simple Ways to Find the Time to Grow Your Brokerage While Saving 8 Hours a Week
Every broker and manager that I know suffers from the same problem – there is simply not enough time in the day to effectively coach each agent to be the most successful they can be. We are too busy putting out fires all day, working our way through transaction anomalies and answering questions. What if there was a way to free up 10 to 20 percent of your week? Would that help you and your managers be able to focus on more productive work? We interviewed Sally Liddicoat, a broker from Arizona, and she gave us some great insights about how her transaction management system freed up numerous hours per week of her time for more profitable activities. Liddicoat runs WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Peak Performance, a brokerage in Arizona with 13 agents, including herself. Like most small business owners, she wears many hats, including owning her own real estate school. She is extremely busy. We spoke to her about Reesio, the program she has chosen to manage her transactions—completely online. Free Up About Half a Day Per Week Liddicoat tells us that by bringing her transactions online with a platform that systemizes transactions and creates easy-to-follow workflows, she has freed up time to focus on revenue generating activities. By streamlining her management process with a cloud based system, Liddicoat says that she found the time to start her own real estate licensing school and join the board of her local association—a much more productive uses of her time, in her estimation.
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Changing Buyer Behavior to Convert More Web Leads: A Q&A with San Diego broker Jesse Zagorsky
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Follow the Leader: Merle Whitehead
Our follow the leader series is an effort to write about the best ideas and best practices of great leaders in our industry who are raising the bar. In this episode, I am grateful to share the inspirational story of Merle Whitehead, a gentleman who grew America's ninth largest real estate firm, RealtyUSA. The intention is to share some background on centers of excellence in real estate that others can be inspired by. Early Career Start Merle Whitehead calls the Buffalo, NY area of Western New York his home. He started his career selling clothing on commission and came to the realization that commission sales are greater when you are selling more expensive things. At the age of 18, Whitehead married his high school sweetheart, Jan, bought a home, and started selling real estate at Lorigo Real Estate. It was not long before Whitehead became a leading sales associate at the firm, and was inspired by a few others in the office to start their own firm, RPM. The cornerstone of RPM was door knocking. Ron, Pete, and Merle would work on door-to-door solicitation every day. After a while, Whitehead was invited to join H. Potter Realtors®. After success in sales, Whitehead became an office manager which led to his 50 percent ownership in the firm by 1985, operating 11 offices and 400 sales associates. The Big Roll Up Whitehead was able to meet Warren Buffett a few times in his life. Buffett owns the Buffalo News and Whitehead was a big advertiser. Buffet inspired Whitehead with a story that the real estate industry would consolidate like the automobile industry did. Buffett mentioned that in the 20s there were 56 automobile manufacturers that consolidated into the big three. Buffet said that he believed the same would happen to the real estate industry and Buffett wanted to become one of those three. Inspired by that projection, Whitehead started growing a regional real estate company.
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How a Black Sheep Transformed His Personal Brand into a Successful Brokerage
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Opening Doors to Real Estate Investing
Garland Harris Jr., REALTOR® Masters in Community Development, BA in Architecture from Prairie View A&M University Garland Harris Jr. may be new to the REALTOR® family, but he is already primed to make his mark on the Houston area. By keeping his eyes open for opportunities, he has moved from watching developers as a service provider, to building an investment team and client base driven not only by profit, but also positive community impact. Our conversation with Garland should encourage anyone looking at real estate investing to become a sponge for knowledge and enact a plan for 2017. When did you become a Realtor® and how did you start working with investors? Garland: I joined the REALTOR® family in 2016, but started working with real estate investors in 2014. My first exposure came from working as a design architect for some local townhouse developers. After learning the development side, I gained interest in real estate investing, and became a REALTOR® to get access to data and build relationships with agents, affiliates and lenders. How is working with investors different from working with a client who intends to occupy a property? Garland: The main difference is what drives them to a buying decision. An investor is not focused on things like street appeal, but on how the numbers work and how the investment fits into their overall business goals. Understanding your investor's financial wants and goals is critical.
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Meet Patrick Arkeveld, Lone Wolf's New CEO
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Lean, Mean Brokerage Machine: Technology Empowers Firm to Operate with Zero Debt
Cory Kammerdiener is a military veteran who applied the technical skills he honed as an Electronic Technician in the U.S. Navy to running a real estate brokerage with minimal overhead and no debt. He accomplishes this by operating his company, NewHomePrograms.com, virtually. The firm has 55 agents and eight brokers in six major cities across Texas and Florida. Rather than leasing physical offices and hiring staff in each of those places, Kammerdiener leans on technology to close transactions, engage his agents, and bring in new business. "If you look at any other real estate company that has offices in as many cities as we do, they probably have a broker, an office manager and someone answering the phones," says Kammerdiener. "But I'm pretty much a one-man operation. I'm the accountant and lead coordinator. I do payroll and transaction management. I'm literally filling in for probably 10 different people that a typical real estate company has to hire. I can do it all because of the software I use." Kammerdiener uses four programs, all integrated with each other, from Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies to achieve this: brokerWOLF, for accounting needs like managing commission structures, tracking expenses and listing inventory, and real-time reporting. WOLFconnect, a virtual front office management system that helps agents working remotely stay connected to the brokerage. loadingDOCS, a document and transaction management platform. globalWOLF, a website solution that automatically syncs online leads to WOLFconnect's built-in CRM. "We first built the company with the idea that brokerWOLF and WOLFconnect were going to be the foundation," Kammerdiener says. "We wanted to be able to grow not only in our city, but in other cities, as well. Lone Wolf allows me to expand our operations without having to hire a bunch of employees."
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A High-Volume Brokerage on the Solution that Enriches Their Bottom Line
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Management Migration: A Sign of the Times
The conclusion of the industry's recent round of summer presentations and articles provides an opportunity for reflection and consideration regarding what lies ahead for fall and winter. As has been the case for the past few years, increasingly dramatic transformation continues to occur. Issues regarding the control and processing of listings and other real estate related data, the emergence of the hybrid brokerage culture, the continuing demise of MLS organizations and REALTOR® associations, the sharpening of the consumer expectation and the industry's almost myopic focus on all things 'portal' provides the framework for this ongoing discussion. Certainly one of the most significant dynamics currently driving the industry is the almost universal sense that little or no change will be initiated or driven by the traditional brokerage element. With few exceptions, like great fortresses along the Maginot Line, they stand bravely facing out toward the forest, awaiting their fate at the hands of those that will carry the day forward. Yet under the umbrella of the forest, there is a great deal of activity. Record numbers of more aggressive agents are abandoning these fortresses seeking refuge, safety and success with brokerage organizations that appear to be preparing to take both a leadership position and the advantage of the evolving marketplace environment. Many of these agents are entering into new brokerage relationships that involve levels of compliance, accountability and discipline that would never have been possible in the traditional sector. These agents may constitute the first wave of the new movement. If that is the case, the second wave is likely to consist of the brighter and younger managers who are increasingly recognizing that their futures are likely to depend upon getting onboard and up to speed with a brokerage that is preparing to align with the trends, emerging rules and realities of the new industry environment. In July of this year, I found myself engaged in a riveting discussion with a group of clients, all of whom are very successful brokerage management executives. The conversation worked its way through a number of interesting issues before coming to rest on the subject of management careers in the real estate industry. It was at this point that one of the participants assumed the leadership position and sharpened the group's focus by sharing the fascinating story of her recent career changes.
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Advice from a Veteran Public Relations Expert: Use Local PR to Build Strong Local Real Estate Brands
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Back to Basics
The other day I was on the phone with Mark Z. He's a leader of one of the top producing Keller Williams Realty teams in the country. The Mark Z. Home Selling Team closed over $59 million in sales transactions, just short of 500 deals, last year. He and his team are on target to eclipse 500 deals in 2015. That means they are closing more than two sales every business day this year. With that kind of volume, I was certain Mark Z. must be West Coast, East Coast or Texas based. That's where most of the hottest housing markets are, right? But here's the thing: Mark Z. isn't an associate broker on either coast, and is based nowhere near Texas. His market is the Detroit metro area – the most maligned city in the U.S., for goodness' sake! I'm especially taken aback because I was born just outside of Detroit and have watched its downfall for decades. For the first year of my life, we lived on Seminole Street off East Jefferson Ave, near the then glamorous Whittier Hotel where my dad and uncle worked. The Whittier was the grand dame of the Motor City. It was where the Beatles spent the night on their Detroit stop during their 1964 U.S. tour. Mark Z. and his team built a business around an area that's home to the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, is notorious for its exceptionally high major crime rates, has record unemployment and there are over 70,000 abandoned homes in the city. What's even more remarkable is the fact that Mark Z. and his team's numbers are not a fluke. They closed $10 million in sales in 2007; more than doubled that number in 2009 with $22 million; and more than doubled it again in 2012 with over $51 million in closed sales.
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Follow the Leader: Ken Moyle from DocuSign Leading Real Estate into Faster Transactions
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DocuSign's Mike Dinsdale: Leadership from the CFO Position
Every executive within a company needs to be a leader. That holds especially true for the role of the Chief Financial Officer. I had an opportunity to have a conversation about leadership from the CFO position with Mike Dinsdale of DocuSign that shines a light on a new style of CFO that is emerging in business today – a CFO focused on strategy and corporate development. Dinsdale's focus is as much external as internal for DocuSign, and he is inspiring many of the top CFOs in America to take a fresh look at their role in their organization. The Chief Financial Officer is defined in so many different ways across organizations today. It is hard to cull up the "typical" responsibilities of this position even when you try to align responsibilities according to the size of the company. Inevitability, the CFO has hands in many roles across the organization, if not all of them, to some degree. The list includes: Human Resources, IT, Accounting, Facilities, Budgeting, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Mergers and Acquisitions, Training, Support, Product Development, and so on. "All of these are the component parts of my departmental functions, but only a small portion is really what I do every day," says Dinsdale. Dinsdale joined DocuSign when the company was 50 people. Today, the company is 1000 people. Along the way, his focus has always been on corporate development and strategy. Everything else under his tent is accomplished by hiring the right people. I asked Dinsdale about their recent transition to paperless vendor systems. His response was that "my role in that was bringing on a good comptroller that does things like that." There are rumors about DocuSign going public, and Dinsdale has that experience. I asked him how much of his time is spent on that. "I hired a VP of investor relations," he replied. "Today, we do closings like a public company and practice mock earnings calls. We will be ready to go public if or when that makes sense for the company," says Dinsdale.
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Automated Listing Video Platform For Brokers From VScreen
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Is Data Scraping Taking Money from Brokers’ Pockets? Realtor.com’s Curt Beardsley Says, ‘Yes’
Data scraping and misuse of listing data that belongs to brokers are growing concerns. Many scrapers (or others who receive the data legitimately but use it in ways that violates its licenses) are actively reselling listing data for various uses not intended by brokers, such as statistical or financial reporting. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Curt Beardsley, vice president of consumer and industry development at Move, Inc., a leader in online real estate and operator of realtor.com®. Beardsley shared his thoughts on the proliferation of data scraping, the grey market for data, and how brokers can protect their data from unintended uses. Reva Nelson: How are scrapers using the listing data once they scrape it? Curt Beardsley: The listing data's first and foremost value is as an advertisement to get the property sold, and to promote the agent and broker. That value is clear and fairly simple. But the second value is not as clearly defined, which is all the ancillary ways this data can be used, such as for statistical reporting, valuation, marketing of relevant services, targeted mailing lists – that is beyond the original purpose of the listing, which is to present information to consumers and other agents to facilitate the sale of the property. Banks and other entities are eager to get hold of that data because it lets them know who will be up for a mortgage, who will be moving, who will be potentially needing services, etc. People who are selling homes offer a prime marketing opportunity since they may need movers, packing materials, storage, etc. There is a vast grey market for this data. RN: Given that the users of this data aren't even in the real estate industry, why should brokers be concerned about this issue? CB: If your license agreements aren't clear, that whole other world gets fed and is living on this data. It is taking money out of the broker's pocket. The leaks are taking money away in two different ways. First, if this marketplace could be created, it's a revenue stream. Brokers could be making money off of this. Second, they lose control of the leaked data. Brokers are losing control of their brand, and the way that listing is being monetized and displayed. Consumers are agitated when they keep connecting to their agents with homes that are not really for sale. A lot of it is wrong. Agents are paying for leads on homes that went off the market months ago. As a broker, that's a brand problem.
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Broker Jan Hooks on Technology
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Technology and the Road Ahead: An Interview with Broker-Owner Lee Garland
During my most recent trip to the great state of Mississippi to visit the Jackson Association of REALTORS®, I had the pleasure of chatting with well seasoned REALTOR® Lee Garland. Lee is the Broker-owner of Remax Alliance in Mississippi. In his 17 years of experience, Lee has many achievements under his belt, including Recruiter of the Year, being recognized as a Certified Residential Specialist, and serving on numerous boards and committees for the Jackson Association of REALTORS®. During the few moments I had to talk with him and get to know the JAR Board members, I learned Lee has a world of industry knowledge and a love for training. One broker told me he is the best teacher she knows. What follows are some of the insights he shared with me: 1) What is your opinion on the health of the market in Jackson, Mississippi? I have seen an improvement in the market in the last two months. I'm seeing progress in new development areas that we haven't seen since 2005. The increase could be attributed to interest rates. People start to see them go up so they want to make a move before they increase any more. 2) How has technology changed the way you work in the last 5 years? Everything is getting smaller. Agents aren't dependent on bulky desktops. Everything is going mobile. Also a transaction can be made with the first sit down meeting being at closing.
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Follow the Leader: An Interview with Krisstina Wise
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Educating Buyers and Fostering Good Will
Today's market brings a plethora of new challenges to both the real estate business professional and the buyer. "The mortgage process has changed and many buyers are not prepared for the process of obtaining a mortgage loan. Buyers also face competition with cash buyers," says Bessie Conway, the broker/owner of Realty Executives Premier Group in Towson, Md. Read on as she gives RIS the scoop on reaching out to buyers through education. Bessie Conway Broker/Owner Realty Executives Premier Group Towson, Md. Region served: Baltimore metropolitan area and surrounding counties Years in real estate: 11Number of offices: 1Number of agents: 25Average time on market: 97 daysAverage sales price: $284,596Top tip for keeping organized: I carry a notebook with me at all times and write everything down in real time.Must-have technology tool: My BlackBerry What is the climate like in your local market? The real estate climate in the Baltimore metropolitan area is good; 2012 has proven to be a year with much more sales activity. Inventory that is realistically priced is moving, interest rates are at incredible historic lows, the resale market has been fairly steady, new home construction starts are up for the first time in several years, there are many first-time homebuyers in the market, and the credit and lending crunch has eased, making it easier for homebuyers to obtain financing to purchase a home.
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Technology Helps Facilitate Five-Star Service
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Technology Enhances Winning Formula
When it comes to giving consumers what they want, a consumer-centric website and open lines of communication are undoubtedly at the top of any prospective buyer or seller's list. Find out what Chuck and Chad Ochsner and Greg Smith, partners, RE/MAX Alliance are doing with their website to help create a winning formula when it comes to working with today's clients. Barbara Pronin: Congratulations on the launch of your redesigned website. What can customers expect to find at HomesInColorado.com? Chad Ochsner: The new site is 100 percent customer-centric in design. It gives people the most flexible array of search options and data available, whether they are choosing a neighborhood, researching school districts or comparing properties and prices. Consumers can take a virtual tour of the homes that interest them and save their searches for future reference. We will also be incorporating walk scores for neighborhoods and we will integrate social media through a new platform called Social Bios. Greg Smith: Great communication is at the very top of every consumer's want list, so our site now offers the industry's most robust customer relationship management system. That means our customers can expect—and get—instant responses to their questions. And they will get those answers in whatever mode they prefer, whether by phone, text or email.
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Never a Better Time to Buy
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A New Spin on Agent Ratings- Don't Criticize, Just Compliment
People like to evaluate and share experiences. When it comes to evaluating an experience and letting others know where they landed, the people that choose to take time out of their day are typically those who either had an exemplary experience or an awful one. Agent ratings serve two purposes: To give valuable feedback to an agent for him/her to understand areas of strength and areas that need to be strengthened To provide the agent with testimonials they can use to build their online reputation and establish local expertise As you are reading through this series about agent ratings and the available solutions to real estate professionals today, what is your motivation? Are you looking for a marketing tool? Are you looking for a way to stand out from your other local competitors? Or do you feel like you have reached a plateau as a professional and would like feedback to help you grow and expand your skill set? This series will help both types of people find the solution that fits their needs.
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Want a New Way to Generate Leads via Mobile Technology?
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New Innovative Way to Market Properties: QR Codes!
Where else could QR codes be flaunted to attract the eye of homebuyers trolling neighborhoods, looking for their dream home?  For Sale signs!  Homebuyers cruising around on a Sunday afternoon pursuing attractive neighborhoods can scan a QR code from a For Sale sign from their car and view photos, property details, pricing, open house schedule and the listing agent’s contact information.  In an era of convenience and catering to the consumer, QR codes start to look for attractive in promoting real estate listings. This week we were able to preview a marketing solution by Homefinder.com that provides a QR code component for real estate professionals. We spoke with Mark Tepper, VP of Business Development and Sales, specifically with regards to QR codes.
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Using Market Statistics to Gauge Brokerage Productivity
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Development Differences Part II
Last week in our conversation with John Packes, Director of Product Development for Mobile Card Cast, New York (www.MobileCardCast.com) we looked at the differences between developing for the traditional web and Mobile Web. What we uncovered is that from a conceptual and information architecture standpoint, the two development processes are fundamentally different. Shortly thereafter, in a conversation with Ryan Jennings, Managing Partner of Indigo6, a Graphic Design & Digital Communication Company based in Norwalk, CT, he expressed to us how his firm views the challenge of continuing to focus on their core competencies while meeting consumer demand for Mobile to stay ahead of the curve. “Given the range of mobile device capabilities, it’s impractical [for us] to manually version content for delivery to the largest audience. Today, digital agencies need to partner with channel experts like Mobile Card Cast to ensure the message [they create] reaches the largest audience in the most compelling way,” Ryan Explained. This strategy will allow Ryan and his team to remain focused on creating the content knowing that the integrity of that content will not change no matter what mobile device it’s being viewed on. So how do the differences in traditional web development and Mobile web development impact me, my brand and my real estate business? What are the practical differences and what do I stand to gain from working with a dedicated Mobile web developer?  For this, we turn back to John Packes for a detailed explanation.
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Closing.com Interview with Victor Lund
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Home Closings Made Easy
DotLoop CEO and co-founder, Austin Allison appeared on FOX Business Network's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" on the Small Business Spotlight segment. This video details a new software solution for real estate agents to use to speed up the closing process, and join the digital movement. DotLoop is  a company that offers a transaction and closing management solution; they "connect the dots and bring people into the loop," hense, the name of the company, DotLoop. In this video, Austin Alison expains how the company began, what it does for agents, how much it costs and the overall benefit of using it. To see the video, click to continue....
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