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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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In these times where inventory is so low there is nothing more important than figuring out new ways to secure listing appointments and convincing consumers that it’s the right time to sell!   Finding the best ways to engage with potential sellers is the KEY to business success. You’ve probably heard the old adage – You have to list to last!   How can you train and motivate your agents to aggressively pursue seller leads and scheduling listing presentations?   What you do in the minutes after you receive a lead makes a huge difference. And when you wait to contact that lead, chances are another real estate agent is going to get to them first. So what can you train your agents to do? Your agents need an iron clad lead follow up strategy that instantly responds to leads for them, so even when they are busy… they can still keep potential clients focused on them and not another agent. On Wednesday, September 27th at 9:00am PT W+R Studios’ National Trainer, Ricardo Bueno, Marilyn Wilson from RE Technology and Realtor Ray Fernandez are holding a free, panel-style webinar “Lead Follow Up Secrets for Busy Agents.” Join me on a webinar that I’m facilitating next week! This webinar will cover simple and proven lead follow up strategies that will help even the busiest agent convert more leads into clients. You don’t want to miss this! REGISTER NOW!  

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It’s the Biggest Marketing and PR Mistake

by Kevin Hawkins on September 18, 2017

Targeting Consistency

Stay on message. Those three little words sound so simple. But it amazes me how difficult it seems for companies – and their messengers – to do this. It should be the core of their marketing and PR compass. Consistency and repetition: That’s what every well-crafted marketing and PR program adheres to over the long haul. Unfortunately, most companies forget these crucial tenets and they stray. Or worse, they veer so far from their original course, they completely undermine what they have already have accomplished. Building brand awareness takes time, often a very long time. Building brand loyalty (a.k.a. understanding and being able to explain your brand to others), takes a lot longer. To accomplish either requires – you guessed it – consistency and repetition in your communication. You have to stay on message. You must repeat, I say repeat, and repeat it again, and again and again. Yes, everyone at your company, especially you, if you are running the company, will grow tired of your messaging. And if you are like most folks, you will grow tired of it literally years before it has even come close to needed to be changed and refreshed. Yes, there are exceptions, but these two ideas — consistency and repetition — are pretty much an iron clad, time-tested (oh, say since the invention of Marketing and PR) fundamental truth. Set in stone. Make that steel. The Challenge in Real Estate I get that it isn’t easy to implement a marketing and PR program in an industry that requires independent contractors to play a key role in the public execution of your communications. I feel for real estate brokerages, in particular, and their unique challenges when it comes to the communications equivalent of herding cats. Independent people like to do things independently: like creating their own unique communications. Their own logos, their own flyers and brochures, even upon occasion (Egads!), their own new releases. I’ve seen and read many of them, mostly in horror, because the vast majority of them are awful. And I don’t fault the creators for the creative: they are not trained marketing and PR professionals. They didn’t spend a couple of decades or more perfecting this stuff, much less going to grad school for a degree in this area. Yes, there are exceptions and on occasion, exceptional work. But even then, those independently produced pieces often stray from the corporate […]

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Want Raving Fans? 5 Gotta Haves for your 2018 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 5, 2017

Budget

WAV Group conducts more subscriber satisfaction research for MLSs than anyone else in the country.  We have a depth of understanding of the key drivers of satisfaction and perceived relevance for MLS organizations. Here’s the 5 key opportunities for improving your MLS’ satisfaction and relevance as you move into 2018: Go TO your Members Create a Field Support/Training Team There is NOTHING that drives up customer engagement and satisfaction for MLSs more than a team of customer servants that go out into the field, attending office meetings, broker events and community events.  These valuable team members can help educate subscribers on the technology and tools offered to drive up adoption and perceived value of the MLS fees. They can also gather input on ways to improve technology, service and support for your customers.  On every survey that we field, satisfaction numbers are off the charts with those that have attended sessions with MLS customer servants. Marketing Make Promotion a Priority    All of our MLS clients wish they could get every one of their subscribers to take full advantage of the tools, support and training they offer, yet,  according to the 2017 CMLS Best Practices Survey, just 18% of MLSs have full-time marketing staff.   In order for your members to take full advantage of the services you offer they need to understand the practical, tangible benefits that will help them succeed in real estate.  2018 is the year to think about hiring a marketing person, contract with an outside resource or a combination of both. Prepare for the Future Strategic Planning Our industry has never moved faster than it is right now. It’s time for every MLS to question every assumption and take a fundamental look at the company’s role, relevance and reason for being.  It’s time to think about important new ways to anticipate the needs of your customers and find new ways to help them be more successful without levelling the playing field. How do you know if you are addressing the needs of your brokers?  As part of the preparations for the strategic plan, you interview your largest brokers to be sure you are getting the whole truth so you can address their needs. Sometimes brokers are more willing to speak to outsides than their own team.  You will get unfettered access to the best ways you can improve your working relationship and value with your brokers. It’s […]

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MLSListings Shares Best Practices for Public Relations

by Victor Lund on September 5, 2017

MLSListings

Public Relations is a key communication practice for leading MLSs. Silicon Valley, California-based MLSListings is leveraging Public Relations to promote the relevancy of the MLS in the best possible way. They have developed communications for the real estate trade media and the consumer media that are both having positive impact. Consumer Media Trade The real estate industry has brokers and agents who continue to invest in newspaper advertising. By and large, newspapers may not display real estate listings from the MLS unless there is a special consideration. To save brokers and agents money, MLSListings has developed an agreement with 12 BANG Bay Area newspapers that allow the newspaper to display the broker and agent contact information and listings (fair display) if the newspaper provides MLSListings with a monthly bi-line. Articles written by MLSListings CEO James Harrison or their Board of Directors President appear each month in these newspapers though the agreement. As a result, MLSListings has gotten $400,000 in media trade. MLSListings subscribers further benefit because every article points buyers and sellers to the value brokers and agents provide. Consumer Press Release MLSListings’ press release strategy has shifted from market statistics to lifestyle and is generating incredible results. For example, a snapshot from March of this year generated $120,000 in earned media advertising. It has become very difficult for Associations and MLSs to get decent exposure to their publication about market stats. For a variety of reasons, newspapers publish data from Zillow Group, CoreLogic, or RealtyTrac. This shift by media company pickups has caused MLSListings to innovate around lifestyle. Here is a sample headline that talks about foreign buyers – MLSListings Becomes the First Real Estate Platform in California to Offer Chinese Translation Silicon Valley Property Information Translated for Agents and Brokers MLSListings Compiles List of Most Affordable Bay Area Homes Silicon Valley Property Information for Homes Under $300k As MLSListings issues press releases, they not only capitalize on supporting journalists with interesting consumer stories, but also educate consumers about the MLS, working with real estate professionals, and viewing listings on MLS- powered consumer websites. MLSListings has parlayed their PR strategy into tens of thousands of consumer visits to their consumer facing website, MLSListings.com. Moreover, the press release gets published to hundreds of news wire sites driving links back to their website for improved search engine optimization. The secret behind the success at MLSListings is Myra Jolivet, the vice president […]

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Bigger Conferences Are Not Better

by Victor Lund on April 20, 2017

Indie Broker Summitt

The real estate industry is going strong. It is healthy and vibrant, full of bloom and experiencing exciting change. As agents, brokers, MLSs, franchises and tech firms explore a deeper understanding of the industry’s best practices, they look to conferences to gain insights and meet the people that are powering new ideas. Conferences are good, and we attend a lot of them. Our annual conference tour includes two NAR conventions, two Inman Connects, CMLS, two RESO conferences,T3, RIS Media, and a variety of franchise, state AOR, Leading RE, The Realty Alliance, 1000Watt, Clareity, and large AOR or MLS events. Yup – that is a lot of travel. If you add up the flight costs, hotel costs, convention fees, etc – it’s expensive, especially when you have multiple people attending. I remember a conversation with the event manager at Trulia a few years ago before the Zillow deal. They were attending over 450 events a year at the time. Yikes! It is old school business development – belly to belly, burnin’ shoe leather. With the economic rebound, these conferences have become overwhelming. When you have thousands attending a conference, it gets out of control. Hotels are sold out, restaurants are impossible, service everywhere is stressed out. But most importantly, you can go to conferences without seeing or meeting many of the people that you want to see. It’s a struggle, not fun. I remember a few years ago when conference guru Brad Inman expanded ConnectSF to New York, London, and Miami. New York stuck, Miami and London did not. I think that Inman must feel the same as I do regarding conferences. His conferences have always had Tracks – but he is building micro events at his Connect conferences now. This year, he is launching Indie Connect – a meeting for independent brokerage firms that will examine how they can pursue success and excellence in the wake of Franchise domination. Also, Inman is returning to his roots for CEO Summit by returning to the site in Sonoma where it all started. Lobby Con Conferences continue to be a target rich environment for meetings. That has been our game plan for the past few years. Each even allows us to schedule about 8 or more meetings a day with clients, prospects, and friends. These quiet, small conversations are where the good stuff happens at conferences. Off stage, people get right to the […]

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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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When is the Last Time you did a Media Audit?

by Kevin Hawkins on March 28, 2017

Media Audit

African-American novelist, playwright, poet, and social critic James Baldwin put it best: “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” That sage advice is at the heart of why every organization benefits from a Media Audit. Never heard of a Media Audit? You are clearly not alone, because despite its enormous value and incredible insight for business and communications objectives, most companies don’t use them. What is a Media Audit? A Media Audit is a survey – a deep dive into how a company and its competitors communicate, either internally and/or externally. A Media Audit looks at industry positioning, competitive media messaging, the effectiveness of that messaging by sampling over a specific period of time comparable media reach and coverage achieved, and subjectively analyzes PR/communication strengths and weaknesses. A Media Audit is all about a look back to where you have you been, what have you said, what digital footprint, if any, you have created, including baggage you’ve left behind. And it is all about benchmarking: Where are you and your competitors today? What is your share of voice? Are the right messages resonating? Are you winning in the right markets or are your competitors? Benchmarking with a Media Audit helps you measure – and justify – new PR/communication efforts and strategies. What are the benefits of a Media Audit? The purpose of an Audit is to assist in a constant honing of key messages, to identify competitive differentiators and adjust PR/communication strategies based on effectiveness, or lack thereof. Again, it’s the best way to get the metrics to measure success – and helps guide success as if you continue to Audit at key intervals, you can use this information to course correct. So why don’t more firms do Media Audits? Media Audits can sometimes show that the Emperor has no Clothes. In other words, it can expose weakness in PR/communication programs and strengthens in our competitors that some firms would rather not have their management see. In other cases, firms believe they already know what the findings will show – in nearly every case they do not – so they think they are saving money when in they end, they will end up likely wasting much more than they will ever save by not doing an audit. Those who do not do Media Audits are losing sight […]

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Effective Ways to Generate Seller Leads

by Victor Lund on March 24, 2017

Lead Generation

WAV Group recently did an audit of a broker’s lead strategy, and it caused a bit of a eureka moment for the broker. We found they needed to stop focusing on buyer lead generation immediately and focus on seller lead generation. As a consulting firm, WAV Group has a full bag of executional tricks for firms to consider when they are setting strategy. The way that these activities are implemented and driven though the culture of an organization is the secret to success. We considered a few of these strategies in our latest study entitled Generate Seller Leads: Don’t Worry About the Buyers, They Will Come. Read the full study here!

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RESO Real Estate Standards logo

Few people understand industry standards.  “That’s for the computer geeks,” most of us think.  Our busy schedules and our tenacious focus on business priorities rarely allow us to fully understand how standards directly impact us every day. Our ability to easily communicate with one another relies on standards.  Think of computers and operating systems.  Right now, the giants are Apple and Windows.  They each implemented their own standards for communicating between devices. If standards had not been designed and implemented, we would not have cell phones, tablets, laptops and desktops all talking to one another.  Do you remember when Apple devices could not talk to Windows devices? So now, let’s look at the real estate industry.  We all agree that MLSs are our life blood for listing and finding properties suited for our customers, our revenue.  Yet MLSs tend to have different ways of presenting data.  So RESO has created a “data dictionary” that ensures each system speaks the same language and defines real estate data in consistent terms. As real estate listings flow from one place to another, they follow policies and rules through software that facilitates listings from the MLS database to be publicly displayed.  This process is called Internet Data Exchange or IDX.  It allows brokers to reciprocate information. So, I can see that your eyes are beginning to cross.  Let’s stop here and simply remind you to think about how fast information travels today.  Think about all the technology that has dramatically changed our lives in just a couple of decades.  And it’s moving faster and faster BECAUSE of standards. Do you want to get left behind like the guy who insisted 8-track tapes were better than cassettes or, for the younger in the crowd, who still has a fat TV instead of a smart TV? For those of you who take action to learn and understand the brink that the RE industry is on, for those who accept the role as an early adopter, YOU are the leaders who will benefit rather than get left in the dust. YOU will be the innovators who can see the future and who will TAKE the competitive advantage.  You will BE SET APART from the masses who follow. Take that leap to set your business at the top and keep it there.  Join us at the upcoming RESO webinar to discover how to cut operating expenses, to establish […]

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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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Time For Brokers To Clean Up Online Profiles

by Victor Lund on December 1, 2016

Online House

Real Estate Agent and Brokerage Profiles Online are a mess. Specifically, agent and broker profiles on the broker website, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Homes.com are naturally in disarray at this time of year. With transaction volume low during December, it is a very good time to clean everything up. Most brokerages audited by WAV Group consulting average 10% inaccuracy, which reduces lead generation and undermines a firm’s online reputation. Start With Data Collection It is a relatively easy task to collect the data necessary to update profiles. Start with your offices. “Offices have identities,” says Marilyn Wilson, partner with WAV Group. “When we audit brokerage firms we find that companies who have moved offices rarely put forth the effort to remove the old offices from Association Data Bases, MLS Data Bases, Brokerage websites, and syndication websites,” according to Wilson. There are services that can do this for you. WAV Group has resources that can automate the process on major search sites like Yelp, Google, and others. But the syndication sites require more effort, typically requiring the broker to log into the publisher site to make corrections. Agent profiles are the heavy lifting. It is vital that you collect the profile image of all of your agents, detail their contact information, and help them curate a reasonable bio of at least 250 words. Here is a quick guide for 5 Best Tips to Create a Powerful Bio (Sherry McCormick) Audit December is a great time to audit your syndication websites. Look not only for agent and broker profiles, but you may also want to measure the effectiveness of the sites where you syndicate. “If you are going to share your property listings with third party websites, you should do so with intention,” says Victor Lund, listing syndication specialist with WAV Group. Here are a few things to consider” Does the website adhere to the fair display guidelines (see fairdisplay.org)? Do you get leads from the site? Test it – inquire about one of your listings on each site to see if the lead is produced in your lead management system. Review the terms of use. Many brokers may not be aware of the terms, especially the liabilities related to listing content and copyright. Check the agent profiles for every agent in your company. If they are incomplete, you may be missing out on leads and lead conversions. Document “It is a good idea […]

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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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