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Premier Listings Broker Owner Jordana Tobel Shares Her COVID-19 Growth Story
RE Technology is constantly on the lookout for inspiring stories about businesses that have performed remarkably well in extreme circumstances by leveraging technology in the best possible way. Thanks to a tip from CINC, one of the leading technology platforms for top performing agents and teams, RE Technology had a chance to connect with Jordana Tobel, broker owner of Premier Listings with an office of 50 agents in Delray Beach, Florida. Her transactions span the southeast Florida seaboard from Port St. Lucie down to Miami Beach. In Jordana's early years, she focused on the REO market and worked with Carrington Real Estate before starting her firm in 2015. Her business model is based on an idea she cultivated while at Carrington: providing value to her team members in a way that impacts their bottom line—in the form of actual buyer and seller leads. Through resources like CINC, Jordana can provide her agents as many as 50 leads per month while implementing a unique accountability program and a culture conducive to productivity. With any goal, you're going to perform better when you're held accountable by someone who cares. Jordana's model keeps agents on track using tactics such as call minimums, a scrolling leaderboard, and other policies. From 2017 to 2019, the company experienced a 33% annual growth each year. Premier Listings' growth from 2017 to 2018 was 33%; and again, coincidentally, from 2018 to 2019, the same growth, 33%. Out of the gates, 2020 was going strong and Jordana was on track to hit her GCI goal of $2 million when the world changed. In Florida, real estate was declared an essential business. But, operating as an essential business was fluid. Often the information about showing conduct was changing daily. Jordana rose to the occasion by staying connected to her team using regular Zoom meetings, recording YouTube videos, and continuously communicating with her agents. She began emailing agents to share information, engage team members, and ensure their mental health, all while doctoring deals and maintaining the agility to keep everyone on track. (Many of these videos and meetings are available on the company's YouTube channel). Of the myriad challenges faced by agents, one of particular interest was the lack of inventory coupled with a belief, by buyers, that real estate must be on sale since the stock market was in the tank. In reality, low inventory and high demand are driving multiple offers in the $500,000 to $700,000 price range with many homes trading at prices over the list price. Premier Listings carries about 50 listings at a time and that saw a little dip in this number during March and April. Although the company missed Jordana's projections in April and May, things were quickly back on track in June, and July is looking like an $8 million month, which will be a company record. Jordana's brilliant strategy not only carried her company, but created the opportunity for growth through a pandemic. RE Technology learned from Jamie Quenzer, VP of Marketing at CINC, that companies who maintained or even doubled-down on lead generation and digital advertising budgets in Q2 saw enormous returns. Cost per lead for Premier Listings, and others, actually dove down 47%, as many firms put their lead generation budgets on hold. This also provided an abundance of opportunity to set the stage for a fantastic rebound. At Premier Listings, Jordana Tobel has some key observations about her lead funnel. Her goal is to find a middle ground where 50% of company transactions come from agent relationships, and 50% comes from broker generated leads. For Jordana, that sets a lead generation goal of 500 to 800 leads per month so that she can guarantee at least 40 leads for each member of her lead team. She writes the check, CINC delivers high-quality leads. For agents not on the lead team, production comes from client engagement. Premier Listings has been able to keep up their transaction pace by enabling agents through constant communications, ongoing training, and many, many, many live webinars that help agents maximize the opportunity in using their CINC platform. The biggest bottleneck in the funnel has been challenges related to buyers not being able to look at homes due to travel restrictions or buyers competing against multiple offers. Premier Listings has been a client of CINC since 2016. Over the years of lead generation, they have developed a pond database of more than 17,000 leads. In 2019, at the CINC Summit in Orlando, Jordana and her team were able to sit side by side with other CINC clients to learn best practices, tips, and strategies for conversion. She and her team have also developed friendships with other brokers and agents that create a steady flow of inspiring new business development tactics. These friendships carry on though the private CINC Owners Mastermind group on Facebook. Whenever Jordana needs new ideas, she jumps on Facebook with a question and gets a wealth of responses from likeminded business owners who share a technology platform and the same commitment to success. It's the support of this community of other CINC broker owners, along with the hard work of her team members, that have yielded top results, even during difficult times. Jordana is 100% committed to CINC and advocates strongly on their behalf. Feel free to reach out to her directly to learn more about her experience (*or to join her team, as she is always hiring). As a small business owner, rather than employ her own tech support, Jordana is able to utilize CINC's support line to field technical questions from her agents. In addition to a support line, email, and dedicated account manager, CINC provides a constant source of training opportunities such as live webinars, recorded webinars, as well as 1 to 3 day events throughout the country. This enables broker owners like Jordana to focus on growth, while CINC trains and supports her team. From a certain perspective, life can happen to you or for you. In Jordana's case with Premier Listings, hard work, dedication, and access to the right technology gave her a competitive edge in a crisis that resulted in record growth. With a new investment division in the works and an upcoming 3-Day Training Event exclusively for Premier Listings agents, there's no doubt that you'll hear more from Jordana and the Premier Listings team in South Florida.
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Canvas Real Estate Sees Massive Growth Through Independent Tech and Training
Canvas Real Estate is among Florida's leading independent real estate firms. Spanning the east coast from their base in Ft. Lauderdale, the firm is generating over $13 million in gross commission income across 800 agents. WAV Group founding partner Victor Lund met with Canvas CEO Ernesto Vega to learn about the key strategies that are powering success at Canvas. Mr. Vega has a fundamental belief about what success means in real estate. He uses the metaphor of a wheel to describe the key elements of growing his brokerage. For Vega, the key spokes in his wheel are technology, recruiting, and training. Vega's view is that independent firms that become the hub of these key spokes will outperform franchise organizations every time. Vega explains, "You cannot outsource your recruiting, training, and technology to your franchise organization and expect to have good results in your company. Your agents will not adopt those tools; they will not actively participate in this training. You must earn the confidence of your agents by being the trusted source for these key spokes." One of the ways he's earned this trust is by aligning with an independent tech company, Inside Real Estate, to offer the technology, systems, and tools that he has personally researched and vetted, and completely believes in. "I tried the franchise path where you rent a brand and tools. That didn't work for us," says Vega. For his critical "technology" spoke, Canvas uses kvCORE, Inside Real Estate's comprehensive platform that integrates easily with other solutions he uses and is customized to fit his unique business. "I really wanted a single platform for everything, but one that also gave us the flexibility to customize it into what we needed, and kvCORE was our answer," says Vega. "With kvCORE, we have so much of our business integrated into one platform including the broker websites, marketing platform, intranet, CRM, email, calendar, tasks, action plans, and so much more." In addition to empowering his teams and agents with all of the tools they need to be successful, the platform also builds upon agents' trust by providing them with a personal, private database and independent lead gen tools. kvCORE has also been at the center of Vega's recruiting strategy. Since implementing the platform, Canvas Realty has solidified its leadership position in their market. Their massive growth, happy agents, and proven results help attract top agents and teams alike. Vega shared that "an intro video to our kvCORE technology platform is texted to the recruit when they are in our lobby for the interview, and there have been times when the agent preempts the interview and says they are ready to join before I even get started." The third important spoke is training. You get the impression from Vega that he has a training program that is tailored to every single one of his 800 agents. Vega tracks the usage of their technology tools on an agent by agent basis. Whenever an agent is failing to use the tools, they are on it. The spoke metaphor is also carried through the training. There is a wheel for managing and growing your business as an agent that includes lots of open houses, telephone calls to sphere, targeted email campaigns, buying leads, social media marketing, etc. "Our reporting allows us to visualize the activities of our agents and deliver prescriptive training to support any success tool that an agent is underutilizing," says Vega. No doubt, 2020 has proven to be an interesting year with COVID-19, but we feel very confident that Vega and his team at Canvas are perfectly positioned to weather this storm based on their fundamental philosophy to empower their agents with technology and training that everyone—from the broker and office staff to the teams and agents—fully buys into. It is worth noting that Inside Real Estate provided financial relief to their clients in the form of a deferred payment program to help their customers through the crisis. This gesture shows what happens when you are aligned with a great partner. If you want to take a look at the tech stack available from Inside Real Estate, visit insiderealestate.com. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Success Story: Brokerage Leader Forgoes Franchise Tech in Favor of "Most Effective Tool I've Ever Used"
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Case Study: How Quicken Loans Boosted this Agent's Closing and Retention Rates
If there's one thing Quicken Loans has, it's name recognition. You've probably seen their ads on TV or online, but have you ever wondered what the company can do for your business? We talked to Ari Prostak, a top-producing buyer's agent with the Jason Mitchell Group to find out just that. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the sheer size of America's largest mortgage lender, Ari found that Quicken offers both agents and consumers an easy, tech-driven experience that's user friendly and customer-centric. In this new, downloadable case study, Ari shares: How Quicken's Verified Approval program provides peace of mind, ensures more closings, and works as a strong negotiating tool. How Quicken's customer service team works faster than smaller lenders, leading to happier clients and quicker closings. Why Quicken's trusted name and brand recognition is a plus for consumers. Why, despite relationships with multiple lenders, his multi-state team does the majority of their business with Quicken Loans. How working with Quicken Loans results in more referrals and repeat business. Download this free case study now to find out how Quicken Loans can boost your closing and retention rates!
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77 Year-old Brokerage Has Modern Approach to Lead Generation
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Long-term Relationship with Tech Partner Leads to Long-term Client Relationships for Florida Brokerage
The Holy Grail of real estate is maintaining long-term relationships with clients--and reaping referrals and repeat business from them over the years. But what about long-term relationships with your real estate technology partners? We talked about the value of a years-long relationship with broker Mike Larocque of LaRocque & Co., Realtors. He shared how his seven-year partnership with realtor.com has benefited his family-owned company. While the technology and consumer habits have changed, one thing has been consistent—realtor.com has been a steady source of quality leads for LaRocque & Co. for the better part of a decade. Read on to learn more about how this long-term relationship with realtor.com has helped this brokerage build long-term relationships with clients. Is the magic still there after seven years? Yes, it's true we've been using realtor.com leads for seven years now. There have been consistent quality leads and it still represents the lion's share of the business that we do at a company level. I've managed to expand into three counties and I've hired more agents. I'm in a growth spurt again at this time. I'm actively recruiting because I have so many leads that I need more agents to service them. I can only recommend it after seven years of a really profitable relationship with realtor.com. I'm a very happy broker. Do customers you met there back in the beginning come back as repeat and referral business, or do they just go back online? 100% of our goal has always been to get the best quality leads from realtor.com and set a relationship as a customer for life. We acquire their referrals and their repeat business, friends and family. It is very common that we're doing multiple transactions with individuals originally sourced from realtor.com. It's an exponential rate of return over time because you're not just doing one deal and done. You're doing multiple transactions with them over the years. Absolutely it's a big component of our business, as well as the repeat business from originally sourced realtor.com leads. Do they need a nudge to remember you if they do go online again? We are now using realtor.com®'s Local Expert(sm) for branding, knowing the importance of continuing to brand even to our past customers. We use this to catch them when they start looking at properties anew on realtor.com. The consumers are fickle and they want what they want when they want it. They don't oftentimes realize that we work in a contingency based environment, and so unless we consistently brand to them and remind them of who we are, they start looking at properties online or go to open houses and such and could wind up stepping foot across other brokerages and agents. Then it complicates our business model and our ability to get paid. Is this the only branding you do? I have no branding at a company level anywhere else. But Local Expert(sm) is giving me an opportunity to acquire some brand-new business. Because consider when the public hits "enter" to get more info about 123 Elm Street on realtor.com (or any site for that matter), they don't really realize who is going to be reaching out and contacting them. It's then that we need to set the hook and let them know who we are. With new customers, branding comes into play after our agents have contacted them and we need to stay top of mind. When they go back to realtor.com, and they do, they're going to start seeing our smiling faces on and also crossing their feed on social media. It's going to click and trigger their memory a little bit and it's a good use and deployment of branding. This is a neat tool and kind of a niche tool for us as a complement or sidebar to the tremendous amount of business we're doing from our realtor.com Connections Plus lead program. This is a nice little addition to that. Is this all focused on buyers? Actually what may be the most significant part of this is the "wow" factor under the auspices of acquiring listings. We can showcase how we can draw attention to a homeowner's property on realtor.com in a listing presentation for the purpose principally of acquiring that listing. The likelihood of actually acquiring a buyer using this tool is awesome. It certainly becomes a more powerful tool in your arsenal than posting things like open houses, for instance, because you'll never get the exposure doing that. I know a lot of agents whose whole business model is hosting open houses with little more than lawn signs. Well, pitch that to the curb using the tools as we just described. If you can showcase a listing across a user's feed on realtor.com, that's a powerful tool.
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Winning More Listings through Teamwork and Technology
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Success Story: San Diego Team Triples Their Transactions with Software Switch
We're back with the second entry in our "Success Story" series. This week: Scaling your business with the help of the right technology. The "right technology" is what made the difference for Kyle Whissel and his team. One year after changing software, the team nearly tripled their number of closed transactions. What caused the need for the tech change, and which platform did the Whissel Realty Group switch to? Read on to find out!
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Learn How the Real Estate Industry Is Avoiding Economic Meltdown with the Broker Public Portal
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See the Real Estate Social Media Tool Contest Backed by Reality Capture
It's impossible to ignore. Today, people spend an average of 122 minutes each day viewing social media and real estate companies are taking notice. In fact, some companies are even creating their own platforms, designed for getting more use out of these social ones. Better Homes and Garden Real Estate (BHGRE) is one such company as they recently launched their own social tool that's integrated with their current intranet portal, "Greenhouse." It was a launch that featured a contest to encourage its use and offered a unique prize for creating unique content designed for making the most of the unique opportunities provided by social media.
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RPR Data Helps Kentucky Brokerage Conduct Real Estate 'Check-Ups'
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Premier Sotheby's International Realty Partners with RPR to 'Connect' with New Recruits
Even the biggest of brokerages can use a little help when it comes to onboarding and training new agents. The team at Premier Sotheby's International Realty recognizes that RPR provides unique services, dedicated support and a user-friendly interface. That's why the Naples-based firm, with more than 1,100 agents in West to Central Florida and North Carolina, is utilizing the analytics and custom-branded reporting tools they're able to tap through RPR to elevate their own brand.
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How Kyle Whissel became the #1 Team in San Diego
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How One Brokerage Gets More Listings and Referrals with Online Branding
Robert Slack, LLC uses branded property portal and retargeted ads to attract clients, recruit agents, and win listing presentations. In this interview, Robert Slack, Founder and CEO, and Dan Walters, Partner and COO, share their secrets to online marketing success.
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Magic Happens When Broker Culture Fits with Technology Offerings
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How One Real Estate Agency Is Increasing Engagements with Immersive Listings
It's an increasingly difficult task gaining client attention in today's digital landscape. Establishing differentiation with your brand and listings can now take place on many different levels. As a member of the Keller Williams Infinity Group, we at The Kite Team are always looking to find differentiation with innovative ways to improve our client's experience and create efficiencies for everyone throughout home search process. The real estate tech boom is changing the way we do businesses
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Mission Focused: Behind the Scenes of a Top Team
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The TRIBUS Case Study: RESO, Brokers and a Million New Voices
Membership among brokerages in the Real Estate Standards Organization – RESO – has exploded in recent years. With nearly 1 million agents now RESO members through their brokerages, we have a million new voices helping us further our mission to create and promote the adoption and utilization of standards that drive efficiency throughout the real estate industry. Recently, we collaborated with real estate brokerage technology provider and RESO member TRIBUS to better understand the practical value that standardized data can deliver to real estate brokerages. We also wanted dive deeper to understand better the vital role that broker technology partners perform in addressing many of the crucial challenges that brokerages face today. More importantly, we wanted to put a spotlight on our findings and share them broadly.
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Success Breeds Success: How One Leader Builds Up His Agents
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One Brokerage's Key to Success
Starting a real estate brokerage from scratch is no easy task--especially in one of Canada's biggest housing markets. It takes hard work, dedication, and resources. But that didn't stop Michelle Napieralski. As a Realtor in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada's largest metropolitan area, it didn't take long for Michelle's drive to kick in. She wanted more from the brokerage she was working at; she wanted to be able to grow as a team with her partner. So she and her partner started a brand-new brokerage—and before long, Manor Hill Realty was on its way.
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Staying Ahead of the Game with Comprehensive Market Research
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A Boutique Brokerage's High-Tech Secrets for Beating the Competition
"Small, but mighty," is how broker/owner Erica Ramus describes her firm, Ramus Realty Group. The numbers back up her claim: with just seven agents, this rural Pennsylvania brokerage closes over 200 transactions each year. Though their team is small, Ramus Realty Group's productivity dwarfs that of their larger competitors. So how do they do it? That's what we wanted to find out when we sat down with Erica during a recent webinar. Here's an in-depth look at what we learned: High Productivity Means High Expectations One key to Ramus Realty Group's success lies in their hiring philosophy: "I don't want people who don't want to work," says Erica. And work Erica's agents will. Ramus Realty Group only hires full-time agents and has a minimum production level of 24 sides per year that each agent must meet. The bottom third of her agents meet the goal of 24 sides, while the top third complete a whopping 60-70 transaction sides per year. When hiring new agents, Erica screens for a willingness to try new technologies and to follow their system. "We believe in slow to hire, quick to fire," she says. Even if someone says the right things, if they do not start using their processes and technology immediately, Erica is quick to let them go. "I want someone to fit with how we roll, and we're high tech," she says. Erica also considers the cost of someone who doesn't fit their culture. "She's costing you not just the systems and the tools that you're paying for, but she's costing morale. When people see that other people are not pulling their own weight in the company, or are not buying into what everyone else is doing, it hurts everybody." Smart Tech for a Small, Mighty Firm For agents that are willing to work hard, Erica offers plenty of support to help them meet their production goals. As an early adopter of technology and "a geek at heart," Erica began blogging and using ActiveRain shortly after her office opened in 2007. As a result of over a decade of blogging and promoting her firm's website, the site has excellent SEO, or "Google juice," as Erica puts it. Because the site brings in tons of organic leads by itself, Erica doesn't have to pay for leads. Her agents can cherry-pick the hottest leads and incubate the rest. Erica was also an early adopter of online forms. When zipForm debuted, Erica worked as an agent for another brokerage that, she says, "was still doing paper and carbon." She paid to use zipForm herself because "I knew that was the technology of the future." Technology like that, she says, makes her brokerage faster, better and stronger. Erica offers zipForm and DocuSign Transaction Rooms to create an online transaction that's not only more efficient, but also more transparent to the consumer. Her company prides itself on combining this technology with live guidance to clients about key elements of the documents they've been sent. For Ramus Realty Group, DocuSign makes it easier to close deals faster and give consumers full transparency on the steps needed to complete a transaction. "Paper and carbon and meeting someone in a coffee is great, but it's also great if my buyer is two towns away and they want to put an offer in immediately. If we can not only send it over through zipForm, but then have them DocuSign it, that's win-win." So what's on Ramus Realty Group's tech shortlist? According to Erica, it's: zipForm and DocuSign Access to the MLS Marketing tools for creating collateral like flyers and ads Trello for checklists; each listing has a Trello board RE Technology.com Two virtual assistants "[Agents] want to know that they bring the listing in, they bring the buyer in, and we're going to do the rest so that they can get in the car and go do the next deal," Erica says. Ensuring Agent Adoption Because she invests in so much technology, how does Erica ensure that her agents actually use it? "I think it depends on how important the program is to the broker. So, for example, zipForm and DocuSign -- to me, that's a drop-dead. They have to use it. If they're not using it, they're not going to be in the office." Erica is more lenient on other things, like their online lead generation program. She can see when agents are logging in to the system and collecting leads. When they don't, the system cuts them off from receiving more leads. If that behavior doesn’t change after training and coaching, the agent is let go. The key to agent adoption for Ramus Realty Group begins with agent recruiting. Erica doesn't recruit agents who show a reticence to using technology systems and processes. That's not just about efficiency, she says. It's about how today's consumer wants to do things. Selecting New Technology Erica has some advice for brokers who struggle with evaluating the myriad new technologies that debut every year--think about comfort. Are your agents comfortable enough with the technology to use it daily? The program they will actually use is the best. Also, consider if the technology solves all of your pain points. If not, look at others. As for Erica, she limits her experimentation to the types of technologies that will help her agents the most and that they are willing to use: CRM, marketing tools, lead gen and online transaction processing. The Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® provides zipForm as part of her membership, so it doesn't cost extra to provide it to her agents. Looking Ahead to Tomorrow's Tech When it comes to the technology of the future, Erica is intrigued by the promise of the blockchain. But "not necessarily for real estate sales," she says. Rather, it's the title and mortgage side of blockchain that she thinks could speed up transactions dramatically. "It could make our closings much faster if we don't have to worry about all these title issues and verifications because blockchain has enabled every step of the process." Want to hear more of Erica's thoughts on leading a tech-driven brokerage? Watch our webinar for the full-length interview. To learn more about building a technology platform for your brokerage, download this FREE guide from DocuSign.    
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WATCH: How Newly Licensed Agents Get a Fast Start
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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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No. 1 Franchisee Aligns Agents with Top Resources
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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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How RE/MAX Integrity Overhauled Its Recruiting Success Rate
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"How about now?" Broker's quick thinking leads to listing
Questions about the accuracy of real estate information is every RPR user's dream. It gives REALTORS®, like Neal Oates, Jr., a chance to shine. Neal, an independent broker/owner in the competitive south Florida market, is "that guy" in real estate. Taking to data like a duck takes to water, he capitalizes on what many small brokerages do to remain competitive in the information age––using the most reliable, accurate and cost-efficient resources to propel his business in the direction he wants it to go, while positioning his brokerage, World Renowned Real Estate, against larger, and more leveraged, national franchises. "In real estate, there's always something new and shiny that we have to pay for," says Neal, "but then we forget about the foundational things and the value of accurate info."
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A Broker's Recruitment Success Story
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Case Study: Showing Service Delivers Key Ingredient in Broker Success
WAV Group has just published a case study examining specialized showing software. WAV Group works with real estate brokerages to assess back-end technology solutions. Real estate brokers have been working with specialized back-end showing software like Centralized Showing Service (CSS). This paper examines two very different customers of CSS.
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How REMAX Results Boosted Website Search Traffic by 25 Percent
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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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Client Engagement Leads to Early Buy-in
Glen Moss, a broker from Austin, Texas with more than a decade of success in the real estate industry, takes client engagement seriously. He believes securing an early buy-in from would-be homeowners gives them ownership of the process. And he uses the RPR app to do so. "As soon as my clients are in the car, I give one passenger my wifi enabled tablet and ask the other to use his or her smartphone," said Glen, who holds several leadership positions with the Austin Board of Realtors®. "One touch opens the wide world of RPR." Glen first directs his buyers to the app's map feature which is guided by the phone's GPS. He explains the color-coded icons ("for sale" or "recently sold," among others) and shows the client how to move the map around to reveal on-and-off market properties in surrounding areas. Frequently, a client will find a listing not included on their tour. Right there in the car, Glen will show his buyer how to pull up the property's characteristics, photos, taxes, history, and hundreds of other datasets. "They are simply amazed by what they see," he said.
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BHHS Homesale Realty Hits Bullseye with Technology
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Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Turns Buyers Into an Asset
About the Firm When outlining broker excellence, it is always helpful to begin by painting a picture of the company that is executing an effective strategy. There are many dimensions to operating a successful brokerage. Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International real estate finds its success by serving consumers along the North Shore of Long Island from Manhasset to the North Fork where they operate 25 offices to support about 850 agents. Real Trends ranks the firm 59th in the nation across all brokerages for volume, and fourth in America among Sotheby’s franchises. They are among the first brokerage firms in the nation to develop buyer data as an asset. We met with their CTO, CIO and CMO to understand their buyer as an asset strategy. Pursuit of Buyer Data as an Asset We interviewed Susan Poli, Chief Information Officer for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty to learn about a new strategy that we are beginning to see brokers execute around making buyer data an asset of a brokerage. For Daniel Gale, data assets have long been understood in terms of listing data. “The management of a broker’s listing inventory continues to be a center of excellence for Daniel Gale,” says Poli. They have long understood the value of supply side management in real estate. Now they have branched out to improve the demand side of data asset management. They are moving beyond lead management into buyer asset management.
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How Automation Can Empower Your Brokerage's Marketing Department
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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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RPR® Commercial Serves Multiple REALTOR® Specialties
Word about RPR®'s commercial platform is popping up across the nation and, sometimes, in surprising ways. In the apex of a finance course at REALTOR® University's Master of Real Estate program, Adrienne "Abe" Wagner needed to identify, analyze and then bring to market a commercial property in order to pass the class. "I'd been using RPR for my business for a long time, but only for my specialty, which is residential," said Abe, an associate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Donegal, PA (pop. 165). "We don't have city sewer on our main road, so our commercial properties are very limited. So I knew this assignment was going to be a challenge." Never one to back away, Abe, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics, a Master's in Real Estate, and a robust line up of real estate related certifications, set out to become an expert in RPR Commercial. "'Know what you don't know' is common parlance among commercial REALTORS®," she said, "so learning to use the tools provided by RPR Commercial gave me everything I needed to generate an amazing array of reports on my income producing property. I couldn't believe the wealth of information and tools provided on the site." Increasingly, rural-centric agents like Abe are turning to RPR to identify marketplace opportunities for business owners, property managers and developers intent on moving into their areas.
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User Story: 9 Real Estate Pros Share How They Leverage Technology
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Case Study: Targeting Consumers Curbside Boosts Brokerage's Leads
We talk a lot about online leads and the technology used to capture them--everything from broker websites, search portals, email newsletters, and beyond. Today, we're going to switch gears and look at how one brokerage automates their main phone numbers to capture leads at the moment of peak interest--right at the curb. "It's the new point-of-sale," says Charles Hunt, General Manager at Hunt Real Estate in upstate New York. "Everybody for years has said that you've gotta have the best online presence.' Well, I think you just need the best lead capture tool for where people are." Capturing Leads Right at the Curb Hunt Real Estate has boosted their lead conversion rates by eliminating agent and broker phone numbers from all their yard signs. Instead, the firm's signs now offer only a single automated number provided by VoicePad—no small undertaking for a firm with 38 offices and over 1,000 salespeople. This automation is an important factor in Hunt's lead conversion success. A recent study has shown that only 48% of leads are responded to and, of those, the average response time is over 15 hours. By tying their yard sign number with VoicePad's Interactive Voice and Text information system, Hunt gives their leads an instant response and even the option to connect directly to the listing agent to schedule a showing. Consumers at the curb can either call to hear an automated audio recording with property details, or request a text message to receive a text with more information and a link to Hunt's GPS mobile site (also provided by VoicePad).
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SEO and Marketing Tips From the Pros - Part 4
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SEO and Marketing Tips From the Pros - Part 3
This is the third article in a series on the value of SEO (read Part 1 and Part 2). Today, we're continuing the series with the second of three case studies that explores how top performing brokers leverage SEO for success in real estate. LIV Real Estate Sheldon Johnston – Broker/OwnerSara Mac Lennan – Director of MarketingEdmonton, ABhttp://www.edmontonrealestate.prohttp://www.livrealestate.ca This Edmonton, Alberta company was founded in 1975 by Ken Johnston as a small family owned and operated real estate firm. By 1985, the brokerage had grown to become one of the largest independent real estate brokerages in Edmonton. In 1993, headed by Ken's son Sheldon Johnston, the firm joined an international franchise, a relationship that lasted nearly 20 years. In 2005, Sara MacLennan joined the team to establish the brokerage's online marketing and is now the firm's marketing director. In 2012, the franchised brand was no longer a good fit for the personality of the brokerage. So Sheldon and Sara repositioned the firm, developed its brand strategy, and created its new identity: Liv Real Estate. People Are The Brand Sheldon and Sara love living in Edmonton and feel one of the reasons Liv Real Estate is so successful is because they truly embrace the great changes they see in their city. They feel that energy and spirit is very similar to their company. Sara explained, "The way I see it, every person in our company is an extension of our brand. We recruit agents that share the same values and come to work with the same energy and enthusiasm that Sheldon and I have. It's contagious." When I visited the Liv Real Estate website, I actually commented to Sara on their agents and the fact that the team looks so energized and happy. You can definitely feel the vibe on their website, which is a great marketing tool.
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SEO and Marketing Tips From the Pros - Part 2
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Case Study: Creating the Local Search Experience
Most people searching online are looking for something local. They're searching for real estate or restaurants or parks in a very specific geographical region. A smart broker will be aware of this and will respond with appropriate online marketing strategies. But how do you create the local search experience? One of our local brokers is doing it right. Century 21 Hometown Realty ("C21 Hometown") is a leading broker in San Luis Obispo County, with a presence in Ventura County and Southern California as well. They use technology wisely – for consumers, their brokerage, and agents. They've created community pages to satisfy their customers' desire for the local search experience. Here's a peek at one of their community pages. Since this image is pretty small, you may just want to check it out here. So, what's on this community page? Copy. At least 300 words describing the area and detailing any factors that might influence the local real estate market. Graphics. People love visuals. Using a graph or chart to depict real estate trends is a great way to capture your visitors' attention. Photos of the area are also nice – just be sure they look professional. A custom search. A button that leads them to a custom search for that specific city, zip code, or neighborhood is a MUST.
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A Question of Value
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Some Brokers Really Suck
WAV Group is blessed to work with some excellent brokers. We have never worked for an agent unless it was through their broker. Regardless, we try to keep the agent in clear perspective because agent retention and recruiting are the mantra of the best brokerages in America. Yesterday, I ran across the path of a brokerage that really sucks. Here is the story. A young family with three children struggled with a stay at home mom who nurtured each babe through adolescence and into first grade. The mother was raised a dancer and supplemented her sanity and the family income by teaching dance classes at night. This is how we met. When her youngest child entered school, she added more part time jobs to help the family. Eventually she found her way to becoming a real estate agent. Still in her first year, she worked as a buyer's agent in six transactions, procured two listings and sold one. Clearly this gal has skills. We were sitting together last night when a tweet popped up on both of our phones from Point2, something about a sale on leads. We both chuckled at the irony of following the same company on Twitter, but she asked me about leads and Point2. I retorted with questions about how she generates leads today, how many leads her current listing is pulling in per month, and how she follows up on leads. To my surprise, she said that she did not get any leads. Since I am a "fixer," she and I set out to see what was broken. We checked online and saw her listings syndicated everywhere. I suggested some improvements to her profile and told her how to modify the description text on portals to generate more calls and clicks. Then we tested the lead routing solution from her broker. I inquired about her listing and we watched her phone for the lead to come in.
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A Brokerage Can’t Do for You What You Can
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Trend Spotting: How to Recognize Trends and Act
Do you ever feel behind the eight ball when it comes to figuring out changes in the market? For example, you hear of a sales associate who is killing it in the REO market when you just realized that it was a niche you should pursue? Most of the time, if you're reading about trends in the newspaper, you've already missed your chance to be an early adopter. But, if you know what to look for in the market, you will see the signs for an emerging trend. Leo Pareja, a team leader with Keller Williams Realty in Reston, Va., is a master of knowing what to look for when spotting new trends in the market. Pareja got wind of the market shift a couple of years ago before it even occurred and pared down his team from 18 people to 10 people in anticipation of the slow market. He started personally investing in several rental properties well before prices started heading upwards. "I bought as many as I could. The last four years were your best buying opportunity in years," he says. In the past several years, Pareja has focused on REO and short sale properties, but now shifting his business to the future—traditional sales. How is he able to spot trends and act? Here are his secrets: 1. Watch business trends. "I read a ton—macro and micro economics, indicators, trends. I also mastermind with business owners outside of my industry," says Pareja. In fact, he noticed a trend with some business owners that it was getting hard to find good talent. "That's a good indicator that real estate will get better in the next few years." Pareja reads the Washington Business Journal, and The Wall Street Journal, and he uses the Flipboard newsreader app, which allows him to pick different feeds of news to read. "I get a lot of trends through social media. I read the posts by other professionals."
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125 downloads and counting...
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Monday Morning Mobile: There is no “i” in FRUSTRATED
As we all know, technology giant Apple recently released the new iPhone 5 which hit stores a little over a week ago. Now, I don't necessarily consider myself an "Apple guy"--although I do love both my iPhone and my iPad and have learned to look past their limitations--but have to admit I was disappointed by the release of the iPhone 5. I feel it lacked the "wow factor" I have come to expect from Apple product releases. That being the case, the following is a personal account of a five day period starting Monday, September 24th and ending Friday, September 28th. Feeling unexcited about the release of the iPhone 5 and its lack of new features, most notably NFC (near field communication) technology, I began researching other devices on the market. I had seen a number of commercials over the weekend for the Samsung Galaxy S-III. The ads highlighted many of the features missing on the iPhone, which were--conveniently--present in the Samsung device. I was impressed. The more I read about the S-III, the more intriguing it became to me not only for the mobile features, but for its presentation capabilities. I finally convinced myself that I owed no loyalty to Apple or its iPhone. I deserve to have the best technology on the market today and shouldn't limit myself to just Apple products if the S-III can give me all the iPhone can and more. Monday night, I waltzed into the Verizon store and used my upgrade to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S-III. I took it home and began to experience firsthand all the features it had to offer.
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Journaling with Purpose
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Give Buzz Another Look
Twitter and blogs have their own online magic. Tweets are perfect for sending out short bite size messages, but they aren't ideal for engaing in a conversation. Blogs are far more effective in getting a thread online and drawing in comments and conversations. But they are more laborious to post, and writers often feel pressure to fine tune and make sure the post is the best reflection of them.  Is there something in between?  Yes!  Matt Cutts, Google's SEO guru, keeps his reader up to date with his latest technology recommendations; recently he wrote about Google's Buzz. This could very well be the tool the real estate community has been waiting for.  To give a quick snapshot of this emerging social media platform, Google Buzz allows Google users to publish their ideas to the world or just to a few of their closest friends or favored business contacts. This platform is integrated into the user's gmail account; comments get sent right to the inbox so it's easy to keep the conversation going. Users can post pictures to enhance their posts, and it can import information from their Twitter, Picasa, Flickr, and Google Reader accounts. Buzz is available on mobile devices, to keep the conversation alive, with real time updates to the conversation. See a screen shot of Google Buzz to the right. Matt Cutts certainly favors this Google product, and wrote an insightful blog.  To read his thoughts, continue....
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A Customer Service Confluence
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SureClose Wins Wright Kingdom's Vote
Wright Kingdom Real Estate recently deployed SureClose® within their company, and they have already begun to enjoy the benefits of their decision. Lew Kingdom, managing broker of the firm, spent time researching various transaction management software, available to real estate professionals.  Lew Kingdom choose SureClose for his firm and then recorded a video to spread the word about why SureClose worked for him. He explains the process he went through to decide on SureClose, and the specific technical needs SureClose meets. Continue to view the video...
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Using Technology
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