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What is Public Relations?

by Kevin Hawkins on April 30, 2018

I am still stunned by the number of people I meet in the real estate industry, including prospective clients, who really don’t understand what Public Relations is. More importantly, many people often have misconceptions about what PR can do. Most often, PR is confused with activities and outcomes that are entirely in the realm of Advertising.

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The Secret to Having the Best PR Program

by Kevin Hawkins on April 16, 2018

When I meet the “father of Public Relations,” Edward Bernays, he was in his 90s. I was a USC grad student in the School of Journalism working on my Masters in Public Relations (MPR). A small group of us had gathered at a Public Relations Student Society of America reception at a national conference to meet the living legend. His body may have been feeble, but his brain was still wickedly razor sharp.

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WAV Group Systems Audits and Integration

by Victor Lund on February 20, 2018

We are excited to have David Gumpper on the team here at WAV Group. Since joining our firm, he has been actively supporting our brokerage, MLS, and technology clients with a wide variety of systems audits and systems integrations.

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WAV Group Announces New Technology Consulting Division

by Victor Lund on January 30, 2018

WAV Group is pleased to announce David Gumpper as the latest addition to its growing suite of executive leaders.  David Gumpper, former Chief Technology Officer for Michael Saunders & Company and Founder of the Gumpper Group, a strong industry advocate will be leading the company’s Technology Consulting division. David’s depth of experience helping brokerages increase market share uniquely qualifies him to help technology companies, brokerages and MLSs  drive success by delivering technology and marketing programs. David is expert at o leading the development of sound technology strategies that position a company well for success and then develop workable and practical plans to implement initiatives for technology infrastructure, security, cloud deployment, telecommunications systems, web and mobile application development, lead generation processes, business workflow efficiencies, measuring and analyzing marketing campaigns, and leveraging data for informational knowledge to help brokerages make more well-informed decisions. Victor Lund, Founding Partner of WAV Group noted “David comes from one of the most highly respected real estate brokerages in our industry.  His experience and real world knowledge addressing the technology, data and security challenges brokers face today is invaluable to our clients.” David is great at both technology infrastructure as well as consumer-facing marketing technologies. In 2015 Real Trends awarded Michael Saunders and Company as the #1 Web Site in the U.S. as voted by 70 of the top CMO’s and CIO’s in real estate.. David’s strong leadership skills led him to become the chairman of the Marketing Technology Advisory Council, the group that drives technology initiatives and partnerships for the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. In addition to a strong technologist, David has been an effective advocate for technology policy which has helped all brokers compete more effectively.   He was instrumental in driving the on-going overhaul of IDX Policies which have given brokers more flexibility to offer pendings and solds on their website, co-mingle data among multiple MLSs, and supporting RESO data dictionary and web API standards. His effective advocacy efforts earned him a position as a broker serving on the Multiple Listing Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board and Multiple Listing Issues & Policy Committee for the National Association of Realtors®. Marilyn Wilson, Founding Partner of WAV Group says, “We are absolutely thrilled to have David join us at WAV Group. He is one of the most strategic, hard-working executives I have met. He’s that unique person that can outline an exciting vision […]

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Communications and Public Relations are not Advertising

by Victor Lund on November 4, 2017

Press Release

About four years ago, WAV Group expanded its consulting services to include Public Relations and Communications. Like everything at WAV Group, this service is an extension of our core Strategic Planning services. In our planning experiences, we learned that companies are not doing enough research to measure customer and employee satisfaction. So we started WAV Group Research. We learned that many companies have a hard time recruiting and hiring the right people, so we started WAV Group recruiting. WAV Group communications helps companies develop and implement great communications and PR strategies. Kevin Hawkins is our leader in this segment of WAV Group. His decades of experience are unmatched and he brings a passion that is the elixir to success. We had a discussion about Advertising Value Equivalents of communications and Public Relations. In Hawkins opinion, measuring communications and PR reach (like add impressions, click though rates, etc) by solely using Ad Value Equivalents sets the PR industry back by confusing Communications and Public Relations with marketing and advertising. There are better metrics, and we have a highly robust media platform that helps us benchmark and track PR success more thoroughly. Today, we find ourselves in an era of content pollution. The best example of that is SnapChat streaks. If you have a teenager, you already know that kids send snaps to each other every day to keep a streak alive with a friend. It’s a small gesture of caring and friendship that manifests itself of a photo of the floor more often than not – ergo content pollution. We see the same thing happen on Facebook, Twitter, and other micro-blogging sites. Heck – the whole fake news thing epitomizes the issue. Here at WAV Group, we develop public relations and communication plans that have meaning. Here is a primer: At the core of successful Public Relations is real “NEWS.” Did you purchase a company, hire a new CEO, close a round of funding, create a new product, open a new branch, grow your company though acquisition, etc. Moreover, if you expect a journalist to cover your news, it needs to be news that readers care about. If my company adds a consultant, that may be interesting to the readers of Inman News, RIS Media, Real Trends, and RE Technology – but not the Wall Street Journal. If Forrester purchased WAV Group – that might be news for the Wall Street […]

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Compass Article Inman

If you are a broker in a market where Compass is operating, you are watching them like a hawk. They have a keen ambition to recruit top producing agents. Yesterday they had a story in Inman News that exhibits the power of public relations. If you track real estate technology as WAV Group does, you understand exactly what this tool is and what it does. If you read the comments, you see that there are a number of technology companies that have offered this tool and functionality for a long time. But peel back the story a layer, and you will see a clear and evident public relations strategy that is working very well. We do not consult with Compass, so the PR strategy that I am going to highlight is my reconstruction of their plan. I do not really know if their strategy is what I think it is, but the article gives us a great sample of good strategy execution anyway. Compass is a venture-funded company that has positioned itself to disrupt real estate. Among other things, Compass shares the belief that brokers should provide consumers and agents with great collaboration tools for home buying and selling. This is a pretty common strategy among all brokerage firms. The PR spin here is that Compass is taking credit for offering a tool. The media does not care if everyone is using this functionality. If Compass is the only one talking about their technology tools, they become the de-facto industry leader. If you want to associate your brokerage brand with being a technology leader, you need to issue press releases to the media about your technology tools. Compass hit a home run with this article. You would not believe the number of brokers who emailed or phoned me yesterday about this article. For the most part, every company who contacted me already offered their agents similar functionality though other applications. I explained that they were not missing the technology strategy, rather that they were missing the public relations strategy. Compass is driving the conversation. This is not just a Compass thing, Fox and Roach were the talk of real estate all last year for their deployment of their seller lead strategy and client for life strategy.  Berkshire Hathway’s largest firm launched Buyside and ePropertyWatch. By all accounts, they are crushing their competition with it; not only driving seller leads, but […]

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Inman Influencer Logo

The impact of the annual reveal of both the Inman Influencer List and the Swanepoel Power 200 is like a social media cannon shot: you can hear the buzz everywhere. The fact that this year, these leadership lists were released nearly simultaneously makes the buzz near deafening. The rush you get seeing your name on either – and in some cases, both – of these prestigious lists never gets old. And nor does the surprise of discovering those who are “missing” – exceptionally worthy influencers and incredibly powerful leaders who didn’t make either list. For many, it must be a personal downer because you can almost feel the entire real estate industry all at once clamoring to click-through these lists to discover who is and is not being recognized this year. Most importantly to the WAV Group – and our sister company RE Technology – are the leaders of companies we work with who have been honored by inclusion on these lists. We are deeply humbled to be included as well. Once again, WAV Group Founder Victor Lund and Marilyn Wilson are recognized by inclusion on the Swanepoel Power 200 as two of the most powerful and influential people in real estate. Victor also lands again on the 2017 Inman Influencers list, and for the first time, Kevin Hawkins, a 30-year communications and marketing veteran who heads up WAV Group Communications division, also is a 2017 Inman Influencer. But our enthusiastic congratulations go to the change-makers we are proud to represent, both current and past clients. For the 2017 Inman Influencers, these industry stalwarts include Mark McLaughlin (Pacific Union), Bob Hale (HAR), Pam O’Connor, Paul Boomsma and Stephanie Pfeffer Anton (Leading RE), Chris Bennett (CoreLogic), Joseph Rand (Rand Realty), Keith Krach and Glenn Shimkus (DocuSign), Ryan O’Hara, Marci James, Luke Glass and Brandi Friedland (Move), Art Carter (Chair of RESO and head of CRMLS), Jeremy Crawford (RESO), Joel Singer and Leslie Appleton-Young (CAR), Guy Wolcott (Homesnap), Susan McHan (Opes Advisors), Ben Caballero (HomesUSA.com), Spencer Rascoff, Amy Bohutinsky, Greg Schwartz, Jay Thompson, Errol Samuelson and Alissa Harper (Zillow Group), Laura Monroe (RealSatisfied), Jim Harrison (MLSListings), John “OB” Jacobi, Anne Jones and Marguerite Giguere (Windermere Real Estate), York Baur (Moxi Works), Jed Carlson (Adwerx), John Aaroe (John Aaroe Group), Marty Frame (RPR), Cindy Ariosa (Long and Foster and MRIS), David Charron (MRIS), Seth Price and Frederick Townes (Placester), Pace Davis (Bridge Interactive), […]

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How Will You Expand in 2017?

by Victor Lund on January 3, 2017

Businesses have a simple strategy – MORE! If you are brokerage, you want more revenue. To get more revenue you need more transactions. If you want more transactions, you need more productivity per agent, or more agents. If you are an MLS or a technology company, you want more subscribers. More, More, More. The problem with more is that it typically does not involve listening to your current customers. In real estate, that means listening to customers. WAV Group is always astounded at the lack of focus groups and customer surveys in our industry. To our knowledge, we are the only consulting firm that specializes in customer research. On any given month, we are running about 10 research projects. That seems like a lot, but given that there are hundreds of MLSs, hundreds of technology vendors, and hundreds of brokers – we arrive at the consensus that the real estate industry is not listening to its customers very well. The McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish A classic business story comes from McDonalds. They are a huge research company. They never guess and do not make decisions without asking customers and testing their food. Makes sense right? They are an example of how to listen. Back in the 1960s, McDonalds noticed sales numbers went down on Fridays. They talked to their customers and quickly learned that Catholics eat fish on Fridays – so McDonalds was a hook with no bait on Fridays. They decided to sell the Filet-o-Fish on Fridays and as you know – it remains on the menu today as a result of the success. Survey and Focus Group Research Survey and focus group research should be part of your annual budget. It is something that you can do yourself, but if you do not have the skills to know how to build surveys, test surveys, and build survey reports – you may have less success than you expect. The same is true of Focus Groups. These disciplines are sciences. A number of companies will hire a firm like WAV Group to do the work the first time, and rinse and repeat in successive years to benchmark improvements. The important thing here is that you know your limitations and seek support if research is not your people’s strength.  Incidentally, be mindful that your customers will tell independent researchers things that they do not want to tell you directly. Truly great leaders are […]

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Companies Are Not Designed to Merge

by Victor Lund on January 3, 2017

Merger Puzzle

WAV Group has participated and observed the mass amounts of merger activity that has hit a high pitch in 2016. It is happening at all levels of our industry – agents merging into teams, brokers merging into mega brokers, Association of REALTORS® mergers, and MLS mergers. Based upon our work schedule for Q1 of 2017, this trend does not seem to have any ebb in sight. WAV Group will facilitate more M&A activity in Q1 than any other quarter in our firm’s history. Company founders and Boards of Directors are often not open-minded about mergers. The first reaction to a merger discussion is naturally defensive because the merger itself often pits a company that is stronger against one that is weaker. The stronger company often overlooks the centers of excellence that the weaker company has. The weaker company often feels dominated and under appreciated. Commit To The Evaluation I fondly recall an awkward meeting where two boards who were considering a merger were stuffed into a junior suite at an industry conference to interview consultants for merger facilitation. My responsibility was to pitch them on WAV Group. I started out by asking them if they had decided to enter into discussions in good faith, had they signed a non-disclosure agreement, were they willing to share financial information, etc. They looked at me like I was crazy. Consultants do not build consensus. They build merger models. I went on to explain that Boards must commit to a full out merger evaluation to have any chance of success. Boards must agree to enter into merger discussions and create merger models that are real. This involves performing customer research, financial modeling, governance modeling, staffing, communications, contract review, etc. In effect, you fully plan your merger before you ever call the question at a board meeting. The role of a consultant is to build the model, collecting information from both sides and working collaboratively to see what the new entity looks like. Both boards should have an answer to every question. The Threat or Opportunity In many mergers, there needs to be some notion of a shared threat or opportunity. It begs the question, what happens if the merger does not go through. If the answer is nothing, then there is probably no reason to merge. However if the answer is tied to protecting both organizations from a mutual threat, or allowing both organizations […]

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Keep Your Board Members Up To Speed for as Little as $12 Each

by Marilyn Wilson on December 20, 2016

Special Christmas Offer

As we end 2016, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the best ways to help prepare your association for the inevitable evolutions and revolutions the real estate industry may experience next year. Do you sometimes feel like your Board of Directors and key staff are out of touch with what’s really happening in the real estate industry today? Do you sometimes feel a bit isolated and would like to know if other organizations are facing the same challenges you are? MLSs, Associations and Boards that do not stay close to trends can enforce outdated rules and regulations that hinder member success. They can make decisions in isolation of the needs of home buyers and sellers weakening the relationship of their members with the buying public. Worst of all, a Board of Directors that does not stay in touch may not even know it is out of touch if it does not reach out beyond its local community to see where the real estate industry is going. We Attend the Events so You Don’t Have To Our WAVes of Change™ Series means we attend the events so you don’t have to. Four times a year we present a live webinar which includes exclusive looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, and policy discussion. Many successful MLSs and Associations already understand the value of this stimulating and cost-effective way to keep their members up to speed on industry initiatives that make an impact. The webinar series also allows for an opportunity for your voice to be heard, regarding issues we have in common, relevant questions as well as sharing potential strategies that lead to optimal success. The WAVes of Change Series allows every one of your board members and invited guests to keep in touch on the ever-changing trends in our business WITHOUT leaving the office. New Year Special Offer Right now, we are offering a New Year Special! If you subscribe for the 2017 WAVes of Change before the end of December and you’ll get 10% off your subscription price. Keep your board members educated for as little as $12 each. If this sounds like something your organization would benefit from please contact marilyn@wavgroup.com or camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call and take advantage of this one-time special!  Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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Strategic Planning – More Critical Than Ever Now!

by Marilyn Wilson on November 17, 2016

Strat Planning

Never before has our industry been moving more quickly.  Industry initiatives like UpstreamRE, Broker Public Portal and AMP are coming are way.  Consumers are looking for more and more transparency.   Agents must learn how to use technologies effectively if they are going to survive working with Millenials. What is YOUR organization doing to adapt and adjust to the fundamental changes that are upon us? WAV Group conducts strategic planning sessions regularly for MLSs, Associations, Brokerages and Technology companies. There are five fundamental questions that every organization needs to ask itself today. What’s our organization’s TRUE value?  If your organization was going to market today, would it be viable?  Would it have unique value to its customers?  Would it have what it takes to attract customers of all shapes and sizes?   Would you be able to secure funding?   How would you quantify that it has value? If the answer is no, then its time to do some thinking about what your customers really need and how you are going to provide vital solutions for them. How good are we at telling our story?  Getting Adoption? While most organizations that we work with offer an amazing collection of services and support, I have never worked with ANY organization that is satisfied with the level of engagement, adoption and usage they have achieved.  Organizations sometimes fall into the trap of “checking it off the list”.  They say to themselves, “yes, I offer a really powerful suite of technologies” or “my customer support is available 24/7” or “my training programs are diverse and helpful”. While all of these statements are probably true, it’s not enough just to offer great programs.  It takes a commitment to on-going promotion of all of the services that you offer and a vigilant monitoring or adoption, usage and satisfaction. We hear stories all the time about how an agent switched from one brokerage to the other because they were offered free Zillow advertising or some other “shiny object”.   We also talk to agents and brokers who spend money unnecessarily on programs that are ALREADY offered by their MLS or brokerage because they’re not aware its available to them as part of their regular MLS subscription. If you don’t effectively promote your services, there’s no way you’re going to get credit for them.  If you don’t effectively promote your services, you’re wasting money and you’re not building your value proposition. […]

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Waves of Change Title

With the holidays fast approaching and the end of the year in the horizon many associations and MLSs have begun to budget and are thinking about what services they should offer their members in 2017 and beyond. Don’t miss out on the WAVes of Change in 2017, be sure to plan accordingly! Did you miss NAR? Where you and members of your Board of Managers stuck in the office rather than being out at NAR a couple of weeks ago … ? …Not a problem! We attend the events and conferences so you don’t have to! We understand that sending a whole team to several conferences can quickly add up and be expensive, we provide an opportunity to educate everyone on your staff for a much more desirable price! Four times a year we present a live webinar which falls shortly after major conferences. We provide exclusive first looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, policy discussion and any other vital information which comes up at industry events! You’ll be joining many other successful MLSs and Associations… Many successful MLSs and Associations already understand the value of this stimulating and cost-effective way to keep their members up to speed on industry initiatives that make an impact. WAV Group will also answer questions that your board and staff have about the climate of the industry, address technology changes, as well as provide guidance on some best practices. The webinar series also allows for an opportunity for your voice to be heard, regarding issues we have in common, relevant questions as well as sharing potential strategies that lead to optimal success. An example of the upcoming webinar topics for November can be found below: NAR Annual Policy Update Consumer Attitudes About Agent Ratings The Power of Consumer Research Panels The Power of Client Relationship Management Effective Ways to Increase Adoption of your Service Governance for the Nimble Organization AMP, Upstream, RESO and Broker Public Portal update Broker Hot Buttons Data Sharing/Consolidation Trends and lots more…… Contact Us Today! If you still have room in your budgeting you cannot afford to miss out on this vital subscription! Please contact marilyn@wavgroup.com or camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call and take advantage today!  Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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WAVes of Change: Spooktacular Savings – Halloween Special

by Marilyn Wilson on October 24, 2016

Piggy and Pumpkin

With the end of 2016 only weeks away, and 2017 fast approaching, ensure your members are well informed with the essential information we’ll be sharing on the latest news and trends, cutting edge technologies, research findings, and strategies to navigate the challenges in the real estate industries. Our WAVes of Change™ Series means we attend the events so you don’t have to. Four times a year we present a live webinar which includes exclusive looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, and policy discussion. Many successful MLSs and Associations already understand the value of this stimulating and cost-effective way to keep their members up to speed on industry initiatives that make an impact. WAV Group will also answer questions that your board and staff have about the climate of the industry, address technology changes, as well as provide guidance on some best practices. The webinar series also allows for an opportunity for your voice to be heard, regarding issues we have in common, relevant questions as well as sharing potential strategies that lead to optimal success. An example of the upcoming webinar topics for November can be found below: NAR Annual Policy Update Consumer Attitudes About Agent Ratings The Power of Consumer Research Panels The Power of Client Relationship Management Effective Ways to Increase Adoption of your Service Governance for the Nimble Organization AMP, Upstream, RESO and Broker Public Portal update Broker Hot Buttons Data Sharing/Consolidation Trends and lots more…… Spooktacular Savings – Get 5 Educational Sessions for the Price of 4! Right now, we are offering a Halloween Special!, If you subscribe for the 2017 WAVes of Change before Halloween you’ll get one WAVes of Change™ session free.  Your group will be able to attend 5 sessions instead of four, including one in mid-November THIS year. You can start your organization on the path of being more informed in just a few weeks! There is also platinum grillz for sale, so change up your Halloween costume this year with something cool. If this sounds like something your organization would benefit from please contact marilyn@wavgroup.com or camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call and take advantage of this one-time special!  Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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Redux: Minding Your Trade Show Manners

by Kevin Hawkins on October 19, 2016

Manners

Last year, I wrote about the 5 rules for trade show etiquette. Several clients and non-clients have told me they share this with their teams just before they attend a trade show.  However, the last couple of trade shows I attended were still brimming with exhibitor faux pas. As we enter the heart of trade show fall mania, with two of our industry’s biggest ones on the horizon – MBA Annual next week in Boston and NAR in a couple of weeks in Orlando – hopefully, even more people will realize that trade show manners matter. The RESO Conference in Nashville is up next. There, I’m hopeful that these rules will be followed because large or small, every trade show offers unique opportunities for belly-to-belly engagement that’s become highly prized in our increasingly digitized universe. Trade shows offer remarkable convenience. You can get on a plane, travel to a half dozen cities, and go through 10-grand or more to see a few dozen people. Or you can go to a trade show and reach a few hundred, with an opportunity to engage with some who would never be able to pencil you in on their calendars. The upcoming RESO Conference is that kind of place, and so being strategic in how you manage your trade show appearance is vital to achieving the best outcome for you firm. Let’s do two things: First, let’s revisit an abbreviated version of the 5 rules for trade show manners, and second, look at 3 ways you can improve your team’s effectiveness at your booth. 5 Trade Show Rules Redux Don’t drink the water (unless you do it discretely). Food and beverages are best consumed elsewhere, and not at your booth. Remember, your goal is to get people to approach you when you are at your booth, not leave you alone. If you’re eating or drinking at your booth, they’ll keep walking by. Stand, don’t sit. Over 90% of communication is non-verbal. When you are standing at a booth, you are signaling that you’re approachable. When you are sitting, you’re signaling that you are either tired or not engaged. If you have to sit, take a break somewhere away from your booth. Booths with barstools signal laziness. Is that the message you want to convey? Buy comfortable shoes instead. Eyes forward, please. And don’t forget to smile often. This is not a time to surf […]

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Re-Inventing the Collection of Earnest Money – A Case Study

by Marilyn Wilson on September 15, 2016

Hands Exchanging Money

John Mosey, CEO of NorthstarMLS is known to be one of those leaders that when he finds a business challenge his brokers face, he will do his best to find a solution.  He is not afraid to go first. As such he has helped to bring to market many exciting new products that serve the greater good.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him about the latest gem he has brought to the market for his subscribers. It’s a company called TrustFunds. TrustFunds, led by Lynn Leegard, was inspired by challenges she faced when she was General Counsel for Edina Realty, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Many of you may know Edina Realty. They are the crown jewel of Home Services of America and they hire only the best and brightest. This exciting new service has helped automate one of the last elements of transactions that are not handled online – the delivery and deposit of earnest money. John told me that when he began to talk to his Executive Committee about how earnest money is handled, many became very sheepish. They readily admitted that earnest money is not handled as carefully or safely as it should be. Most transaction documents are processed, signed and distributed from secure online servers.  Earnest money, on the other hand is collected by hand. Many times earnest money checks end up in the front seat of an agent’s car or in the bottom of their purses while waiting to be deposited.  Earnest money is the last process in the real estate transaction that has not been brought online. Inefficient and Unsecure Process Overall the earnest money collection process is inefficient and unsecure at best. First, the buyer takes the check to their agent, and then the Buyer’s Agent delivers the check to the Listing Agent. Next the Listing Agent takes the check to the Designated Trust Account Holder (DTAH), which could be the listing broker or title company.  Fourth, the check gets deposited in a Trust Account. While all of these steps are going on nobody in the process knows the status of those checks.  Everybody in the transaction is waiting for the check to deposit and settle, yet they are all unaware of the status. Unsecure Process This process is fraught with a lack of security.  Copies, scans and faxes of the checks can end up in unknown hands.  Multiple parties including the agent, office assistant, admin, transaction […]

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Good PR Sometimes Means Keeping Your Name Out Of The Media

by Kevin Hawkins on September 14, 2016

Bad Publicity

It was a lesson I learned fairly early on in my career in Public Relations and one I will never forget: Good PR sometimes means keeping clear of media coverage. It’s an axiom that not many people understand, but I believe it is actually harder than any other kind of strategic public relations. Let me explain. A deeper understanding I wanted to be in Public Relations since I was a junior in high school. That is quite the anomaly, as even today, most high school juniors do not have a clue as to what PR really is. But I was challenged by the fact that despite my having an A-type personality, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was a fateful visit to the school library where I uncovered this profession called PR. It matched up perfectly with my skillset that was gleaned from my career aptitude test. So did social worker, but the estimated salary for PR was twice as much. I went on to study Communications at the University of Miami, Florida and then attended the School of Journalism at USC to obtain one of the few MPR degrees in the U.S. at the time: a Masters in Public Relations. Early in my career, I had the good fortune of some phenomenal PR mentors, from my first PR boss Lynn Dorr, who let this PR cub book the highly popular TV show “AM Los Angeles” for clients that included a dog psychologist and the sewing lady, to Jamie James, who clients included a slew of early technology related firms, including a software-only store owned by the co-founder of Ashton-Tate (dBase for you historical data junkies) – and the one and only Liberace. Now after having spent more than a couple of decades practicing my profession, having represented and worked with some of the biggest brands in the real estate and finance industry, I especially appreciate the nuisances of what we do at WAV Group Communications and I know my colleagues in the industry share the same enjoyment. Another lesson I have learned is that few things are really “new” because in some similar way, it has been done before. That remains true of trying not to garner the attention of the media for very specific occasions. It sounds like the reverse of PR, but in actuality, it is the highest skilled professionals that accomplish this best […]

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Is Data Sharing Still a Viable Option?

by Marilyn Wilson on September 14, 2016

Iphone Holding Hands

The world we operate in is getting smaller and more connected every day. Now that the real estate market is solid again, brokerages are reaching out and expanding into new markets.  Consumers are getting more sophisticated and expect their agents to be able to provide them access to all listings in their region. Homebuyers don’t care that there may be more than one MLS in the region where they live. They just want ALL of the listings available in their area from their agent. WAV Group thought it would be interesting to take a look at the state of data sharing today.  Due to increased focus on consolidation opportunities, data sharing has not gotten as much press recently as it has in the past, but there are many regions where it is alive and well and solving important business challenges.  Many of our MLS/Association clients are considering data sharing initiatives so we thought it might be helpful to interview those that are already involved in data shares to help future data sharing programs. Check out the attached white paper WAV Group 2016 State of Data Sharing reviewing the latest trends in data sharing.

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Enroll for WAVes of Change Today!

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

WAVes of Change

WAVes of Change is a quarterly webinar series that is produced to keep executives and board members current on industry changes and opportunities for operational excellence. Program Overview The WAVes of Change Webinar Series is designed to empower Association, MLS and Broker professionals across North America to make well-informed decisions that help propel their organizations forward. The series is intended to educate your staff, Board of Directors and other invited guests without having to attend multiple events and read scores of journals and research reports. Because WAV Group works with several MLSs, Associations, Brokerages and Technology Companies we bring several perspectives on key issues that are affecting our industry and home buyers and sellers today. The WAVes of Change is a great way to save money while navigating industry changes as well as optimizing time to focus on relationships and profitability. The quarterly (4) 1-hour online events will be designed to educate your Board, staff and other invited guests about the following types of topics: Breaking News and its implications Technology Trends WAV Group research Industry Research Consumer Trends Broker Trends Threats and Opportunities Best Practices/Case Studies Your Board, staff and invited guests will participate on the call with fellow Associations and MLSs from around the country, encouraging information sharing. Since Associations and MLSs share many of the same challenges, the questions posed by the audience will help provide ideas and insight for every participating organization. Since the event is virtual, your Board, staff and invited guests can participate from whatever location is convenient for them – their office, home or your office. The session will be recorded and you will have full rights to share the recording to others in your organization as you choose. WAV Group can also provide you with the presentation materials if you need to use them for another presentation or discussion. About WAV Group WAV Group is highly respected and is a leading real estate industry consulting and research firm. Our Founding Partners have been named to the Inman Top 101 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate and the Swanepoel Top 200 Power Lists. WAV Group works with many of the nation’s largest MLSs and Associations as well as leading brokerages from around North America conducting industry updates and strategic planning sessions. The company also works with many of the most progressive technology organizations keeping them abreast of the latest trends in real estate […]

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CRM Impact on Recruiting and Retaining Agents

by Victor Lund on June 27, 2016

WAV Group has deep experience supporting real estate brokers on the selection and adoption of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for their agents. Sometimes the best business strategy is a simple one. All research points out that successful real estate agents have 500 or more legitimate prospects in their CRM and they actively communicate with those prospects with a customer for life philosophy. Bearing this in mind, a broker or manager can better understand customer value of agent recruiting and retention. If you have been in the industry a long time, you may know the story of Intero Real Estate in Silicon Valley. They worked with a company to build a CRM that became the cornerstone of their business. They used it to recruit like crazy from Alain Pinel and Coldwell Banker and became one of the largest brokerage firms in America under the leadership of Gino Belfari. Granted, having an agent CRM is a requirement for brokerages today, and Mr. Belfari and his partners built the business on far more than a piece of technology. But this is an iconic story that shows the representational value of implementing CRM successfully in a brokerage and the resulting value of how agents using CRM leads to customer development, customer retention, and long term success.   Agent Experience Demographics Recently, we have begun to create three categories of agents: New Colonists, Old Colonists, and Native Loyalists. The New Colonists – Those who have been in real estate less than six years and at the brokerage less than six years. The Old Colonists – Those who have been in real estate more than six years, but who are relatively new to the brokerage. The Native Loyalists – Those who are well experienced in real estate with over seven years of experience and who have also been at the brokerage more than six years. Interestingly enough, we have begun to use this methodology with all of our enterprise software adoption research. As it turns out, year six seems to have a material breakpoint in terms of behavior. At year six, the agent is experienced and routine in their behavior. Changing behavior for people who have been in real estate for less than six years is very different than changing behavior for professionals who have been working in the industry for more than six years. More importantly, it is vital to communicate differently to these groups. […]

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Drip Training

by Victor Lund on April 28, 2016

Leaf dripping water

I love a morning call with a report of success. A broker that I am working with moved their chips around the board, renewing a core vendor agreement and adding five new services without any incremental costs. Bust out the champagne, right? Not so fast. The panic moment hits you when you understand that you will be launching five new products. A few of them are background products that support the operation of the brokerage – accounting type stuff. But a few of them are consumer launches and agent launches. Put the champagne away and start to whiteboard out the launch of each product. Launch event, video training, webinars, tips of the day, help desk training, manager training, individual agent training and support, consumer advertising, website update, public relations, reporting, benchmarking, satisfaction monitoring. All of that is being added to a staff that is already fully utilized. The term drip training popped into my mind. Drip training is not an original concept. I Googled it and found an article from BrainStorm dating back to September 9th, 2015. It’s a great article that you should read. Drip system Seed (input) Nourishment Delivery method Harvest (output) The BrainStorm article is a bit out of context for the types of product launches that we support here at WAV Group. We help brokers launch to thousands of agents and MLSs launch to tens of thousands of agents. Typically, the consumer audience for broker and MLS products aims to reach millions. It’s all good! These are problems that are nice to have. But there is a lesson here that we all should be reminded of. Kevin Hawkins of WAV Group Communications hinted at it last month: “a goal without a plan is a wish.” And WAV Group is always aware that many times, something old is better than many things that are shiny and new. Before you take on a list of new products, make sure that you are not disposing of some old goodies that people love. And, make sure that your new stuff is properly launched and supported right out of the gate. WAV Group does a lot more than help our clients with vendor selection. We help usher the products into your organization so you obtain the strategic objectives of the company. It’s never about the tools you have; it’s always been about the way you use them. WAV Group will be at NAR Midyear. We […]

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