broker technology

5 MUST HAVES for your 2017 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 28, 2016

we-get

We’re getting to budget time again and  starting to think about what products and services that MLS’s should offer their members in 2017 and beyond. MLSs, of course, need to continue to offer their core MLS system, but there are a few other areas to consider as you move into your next budget planning cycle that will help your members.  WAV Group believes you should offer products and services that are designed to address a core need of your subscribers.  No MLS should offer a technology just because it’s exciting or new. They ALL need to address a fundamental challenge or create new opportunities for your subscribers.  There are five key needs that we believe are vital to the success of any MLS organization that need to be considered in 2017.  We have outlined the strategies and the proposed solutions below: Making Earnest Money Collection Safer Providing Broader Data Access Helping your Members Succeed with Technology Keeping your Subscribers Safe Making it Easy for Brokers to Leverage MLS data Making Earnest Money Collection Safer Our industry has done a good job of bringing the transition process online.  We now have great methods for filling out, signing and distributing disclosures and forms online via a myriad of document management, transaction management and electronic signature solutions. We haven’t yet addressed the final mile though.  Today, agents are still driving all over town to collect and deposit earnest money checks.  There is more risk within this part of the process than any other yet we as an industry have ignored.  Read this interesting case study about how Northstar MLS is addressing this problem very effectively. Providing Broader Data Access The core job of the MLS is to provide comprehensive, accurate and up to date real estate information that every REALTOR can leverage in their business.   Brokers continue to be frustrated by their inability to get one regional source of data for their websites, back office tools and mobile solutions.  MLSs will be doing their members a great service by finding ways to get them broader data access beyond JUST their local MLS.  While consolidation is the ultimate way to accomplish this task, many regions just can’t get beyond the politics. In the meantime, you can look at a variety of FREE and paid methods for accomplishing broader data access with data sharing efforts. I recently published a white paper on the topic entitled […]

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Blow Away Your Broker Profit Goals

by Marilyn Wilson on April 20, 2016

Leverage

Top 5 Reasons to Leverage MLS Listing Data in Your Brokerage Today MLS data can make a lot of the systems in a brokerage work more smoothly and can create new ways to serve the needs of your clients while helping your brokerage be more competitive. I have been working a lot recently with brokers who are finding new ways to provide better service to their agents, sellers and home buyers by integrating their systems with MLS data in new and meaningful ways. Here are five benefits of integrating your systems with MLS data and how they can help your business be more profitable. 1. More Traffic to Your Website Today, every MLS is REQUIRED to offer you SOLDs in your IDX feed if you so choose. Why can SOLDs be a benefit? First, they can make your site more competitive with the depth of content offered on third party sites. Second, it can give consumers a reason to engage earlier on your site while they’re in the early research phases of their search. It can also help engage potential sellers looking to see how much their home is worth in today’s market. 2. Improve Professionalism Today, many of the online transaction management companies out there like Docusign, Form Simplicity, ZipLogix and others have easy ways to populate forms with live MLS data. The data then passes through to all of the documents that will be used in the transaction seamlessly eliminating the need for redundant data entry which inevitably leads to mistakes. A lack of attention to detail is one of the things that consumers complain about most. This is a great way to eliminate that problem. 3. Close Deals Faster Time is of the essence when an agent secures a listing. By using marketing automation systems like Imprev and others, property flyers and additional marketing materials can be built in real-time using MLS listing information saving hours and even days of turnaround time. These systems help you create a more consistent brand presence, provide better service to your agents and help you start to market your properties much more quickly with a push of a button. Our clients who use these types of systems LOVE them. They have freed up their marketing team to focus on corporate marketing programs, brand enhancements and other more strategic projects. 4. Reduce Staff Time and Cost Many of the industry-centric accounting packages […]

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A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

by Kevin Hawkins on April 20, 2016

Coin Flip

A French writer wrote this line – “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” It often pops into my head when I read a trade story about a hot new real estate tech company that upon closer inspection, isn’t a company at all, but an idea in search of a business plan. I also find myself thinking about the same thing when I walk through a conference where startup firms are lined up. I pay a game in my head call “product or product feature.” It seems that so many tech startups in real estate are really just a feature that should be rolled into another product that is offered by an established company. Most often with these new tech startups, there isn’t enough “there there” with the product to justify building a company around. Real estate tech conferences need a professional match-maker who walks around to counsel these firms solely on what product their product feature would best fit, and find a way to marry their innovation off that company. You’re no Google At one conference, I challenged the founder of one of these firms on the viability of his product when it became clear he had no idea how he was going to generate revenue. The CEO argued that Google didn’t have a revenue plan. Google. Really? You are going to compare yourself to Google? I bit my tongue and almost found myself paraphrasing President Ronald Reagan’s retort by saying “You’re no Google.” Not to be too cynical, but there continues to be too much hubris and not enough substance in the plans for some real estate tech firms. Their hockey stick projections that they are selling to the VCs are based on fairy tales of product adoption rates that have never been achieved in real estate. It feels like there are 500 companies all offering the hottest real estate tech for agents at just under $20 or $50 a month. When you ask how many sales they think they can hit, they talk about 10% of the 1.2 million agents as being a “conservative” number. My math says that’s 120,000 agents, paying $20 a month, or $2.4 million in gross sales per month, nearly a $29 million a year business all from one product. No wonder the VCs are throwing money at so many of these firms. That’s sounds great, sounds easy even. Until it […]

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Crye-leike IT SEO Award 3.9.16 Posed

Nashville, Tenn. (March 9, 2016) – Crye-Leike, REALTORS®, the nation’s fourth largest privately-held residential real estate firm, was named the winner of the 2015 Most Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy Award for outstanding website marketing of its Crye-Leike.com website. This coveted SEO award was presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global community of more than 500 high-quality independent real estate firms. Crye-Leike.com was recognized for its website marketing strategy in making it easy for consumers to find its website, with competitive positioning on popular search engines, unique content focusing on key markets, effective incorporation of social media and other tactics. This win marks the fourth time Crye-Leike has achieved this distinction, including years 2014, 2011 and 2010. Additionally, LeadingRE® presented Crye-Leike the Website Quality Certification (WQC) Award for being among the best in setting the standard of website excellence in design, technology and service. Among Leading RE’s 136 certified sites, Crye-Leike.com was one of eight websites chosen in 2016 for this award of excellence. Crye-Leike has annually maintained its website quality certification since 2009 when LeadingRE established this certification program to recognize and encourage superior websites among its 500+ member firms. The awards were presented at the network’s annual awards gala in Miami Beach, Fla. which attracted nearly 2,500 real estate professionals from 25 countries. Chief Executive Officer Harold Crye and Chief Information & Strategy Officer Gurtej Sodhi accepted the awards on behalf of the company’s Information Technology Division. Winners were selected by a panel of independent judges who conducted a thorough comparison of 500-plus real estate companies globally in the LeadingRE network, rating and ranking these websites against a long list of performance metrics. Every 12 minutes, the Information Technology Division of Crye-leike updates over 400,000 property listings on Crye-Leike.com to ensure the most accurate information, noted Sodhi. Crye- Leike.com pulls its real estate data from numerous member Multiple Listing Service agencies in nine states where Crye-Leike has a market presence. “With our web site generating over 12,000 visitors per day and 30 million hits per month, you will not find any other local real estate company to come close to Crye-Leike’s internet activity,” said Sodhi who is a two-time award recipient of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2014 & 2015 Chief Information Officer Award in its Large Private Companies (501+ employees) category. “Earning recognition among this elite LeadingRE group is a considerable achievement […]

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Will the Last PC User Please Turn Out the Lights?

by Victor Lund on March 25, 2016

Businessman using modern mobile phone

Mobile has gone global and everyone from Wired Magazine, Gartner, Forrester Research, and Barron’s is writing about it. The headline is almost always the same – “THE DEATH OF THE PC HAS NOT BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED.” The real headline is that PC sales have been negative since 2011 and the 2015 numbers showed the largest drop in sales volume in history. Before you get overwhelmed with the fear of PCs going away, it will take a long time for that to happen. Shipments of new PCs globally is still running at a pace of around 65 million to 70 million a quarter. Interestingly enough, the iPhone ships about the same number of units – and that is just from one smartphone manufacturer. As an aside, Lenovo (formerly IBM) holds the top market share with about 20 percent. HP is second in market share with 18 percent, followed closely by Apple at 16 percent and Dell at 14 percent. The new MacBook Air helped Apple pass Dell. The debut of Windows 10 did not make a big difference. There was a belief that corporations and consumers were holding off and building a demand ahead of the release. There was a little bubble, but nothing strong enough to thwart the 10% drop in PC sales. Heck, because of the move to mobile, Google even revised its revenue outlook. Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are enormously focused on mobile. You should be too! Real estate was super late in moving to mobile. Many would argue that we are still in the teeth cutting stages. A lot of this was caused by the lag of MLSs being crossbrowser compliant and mobile browser compliant. Thank goodness that we are almost there now with the leading MLS vendors. Some, like CoreLogic, have even gone the extra mile to integrate mobile apps like GoMLS. Others are using third party solutions like HomeSpotter (formerly Mobile Realty Apps). Real estate brokers should be jumping on this trend early. There are three keys to success. The first is to make sure that your app is both agent facing and consumer facing. The second is to ensure that the app that faces the consumer is integrated into your website so their saved searches and favorites are preserved across app and browser (like Zillow Group and Realtor.com). The third is to make sure that the agent app has single […]

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Making Vendor Partnerships Work

by Victor Lund on January 21, 2016

The tragedy of software in real estate is lack of adoption by agents. Brokerage firms and MLSs who invest dearly in technology solutions start out with the hope that agents will use it and success will come. Since hope is not a strategy, more work is required to find success. First of all, there is a difference between a site license and a user license. As you enter into partnerships with vendors, consider user licenses. That will bind both the vendor and the company to a mutual goal of driving agent adoption of the application.  Companies should not pay license fees for software that is not used. Adoption Strategy has a few components that should be considered in advance of choosing your vendor partner. They include onboarding agents, training, support, and communicating best practices. Who’s in? Onboarding and Managing Agents – This is an ongoing effort that never subsides. Basically, it is important to manage two lists. The first is a list of agents who have adopted the solution. The second is a list of agents who have not. At a frequency that is agreed upon, email and telemarketing communications to non-users is critical. Perhaps the list should be reviewed once a month. Firms need to add new agents to the list as part of the onboarding process. A warm introduction is a good start. It is also important that you advise the vendor when the agent departs the firm. Add a requirement to your software license agreement to get a user report each month. Let’s Get Started Training is obvious. The best practice is to offer three training classes – basic, intermediate, and advanced. Depending on the application and the number of updates, you may want to have a training class that introduces new features as they come out. Organizations should consider live training and online webinar training. Sometimes you need to stand in front of the agent, but usually a webinar will suffice. Agents are busy and always juggling priorities. It is a good practice to record the online training and publish it to YouTube so agents can watch it anytime. Add a requirement into your software license agreement to have the vendor support the company with regular training. Can I get some help please? Agents will naturally abandon an application if they get stuck. Sometimes a feature is broken or the user is not fully aware of […]

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Stop Buying Technology

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

It’s the season. WAV Group is fielding satisfaction surveys to determine how agents and brokers use or don’t use technology offerings. We even encounter a curious situation where we are measuring satisfaction with broker solutions and MLS solutions in the same market. Sometimes the easiest answer to a strategy is the simplest. What WAV Group sees today is that less is more. Too many technology solutions is real estate have feature creep. Regardless if it is a broker CRM or the MLS system – they are too complex.  In real estate technology, usability trumps functionality. Change is Hard The most difficult thing for anyone to do in life is change. Moreover, the older you are, the harder it is for you to learn or change.  Real Estate people are old. We see this constantly, and even NAR yells it from the rooftops. Before you switch systems, think very carefully about the overhead that it will cost your organization and users in functionality. Everyone takes a big hit. In most cases, you are taking your user intelligence way backwards to inch forwards. Tread very carefully and try not to change too often. Training Trumps Everything WAV Group does not have a specific gauge on training effectiveness. But we are deriving certain solutions that can help. First, training needs to be offered every day in every way! Remember, every day there is a pile of new agents entering the business that need to learn everything. Moreover, unless you have been training hard for years, even your most experienced agents are not trained on everything. Think about training plans for each product you offer. Create training for Expert, Intermediate, and Beginner. Think about training methods – concierge 1 on 1, in office, online webinar, How to Articles – FAQs, recorded webinars for all levels of experience. Watch your help desk calls! Inform your trainers of the top 10 reasons why people are calling and use that to drive training. Yes, you do need to begin every training session on how to recover your password! Measure Success Surveys are pretty cool because you can see (by email address) exactly who is screaming for training. Section that group out of each of your surveys and have your trainers attack them.  After 3 months, go back and survey the same people who were looking for training and survey them again, again, and again. There is a […]

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Top 10 Ways to Become a Truly Broker-Centric MLS.

by Marilyn Wilson on November 11, 2015

Ever since the now infamous Gripe List was published, MLSs have been scrambling to find out they can better serve their MLS Customers.  I was honored to moderate a panel of brokers at the highly successful RESO conference last week as part of the first business track. I asked them what they believe an MLS must do to become broker-centric. Since there is no official definition of what a broker-centric MLS is I thought I would take a crack at it to get the conversation going. The following list is a compilation of their answers along with interviews we conducted with brokers throughout the country and even our own experiences with MLS organizations working on behalf of our broker clients. Here you go: 1. TRULY understands and addresses broker’s needs The broker-centric MLS goes to school on their brokers – they spend time truly listening to their brokers and uncover new ways to help them be successful in the ways that brokers are interested in.  Importantly, they DO something about what brokers need – they don’t just postulate about it 2. MOVES quickly – solves problems and create opportunities Brokers are entrepreneurs by definition. They work in a highly competitive and undifferentiated environment. They need to solve problems every day to open up doors of opportunity for their agents and for their clients.  MLSs who do not have a sense of urgency are slowing down a broker’s ability to get it done and make a sale. When a broker calls, she needs an answer quickly.  As soon as you slow down the potential for a new sale or a new line of business an MLS is NOT being broker-centric.  We get complaints all the time about MLSs who simply say no or worse yet, don’t respond at all to requests. It’s also important to support the companies that work for the brokers.  Some MLSs treat technology companies like lepers. They portray a genuine disinterest and even disgust for vendors that have been hired by brokers to deliver services.   The attitude of broker-centricity needs to extend to ALL of the companies that support them, not just to the brokers themselves.  We just had a hellish experience with a small MLS in New York State that simply refused to answer questions that we were requesting on behalf of one of the MLSs clients. We weren’t asking for anything other than public information […]

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Boost Your Member Satisfaction by offering RE Technology

by Marilyn Wilson on November 11, 2015

Real estate agents and brokers are overwhelmed by technologies. Telemarketers pitching the latest and greatest gimmick inundate them. We have been changing this since 2010 and now serve 750,000 MLS and Association subscribers with straight shooting information. Let’s meet at NAR to discuss this top rated solution for your area. Trust the Real Estate Technology Leader RE Technology is an online source where agents and brokers can learn about how to use technology to win more listings, sell homes more quickly, and maintain stronger relationships with past clients. Currently agents and brokers have access to thousands of articles and product reviews, as well as the most comprehensive directory of real estate technologies available anywhere. What can RE Technology offer? A robust library of articles to help agents and brokers get the most out of technology. A comprehensive product directory. A customized daily and/or weekly newsletter. Live educational webinars Todd Smith, MLS Training and Project Support Associate at the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS writes “I even showed a broker who came by for MLS help RETechnology.  I went to the site, logged in and showed her what she has access to and a free benefit for.  She took down the MAAR url with enthusiasm.  She was looking for vendors who make websites.  As a trainer, I seek to be informational all the way around.  Not just in what I’m training, but also resourceful with tools and tidbits that can help realtors be greater and do better.  RETechnology helps me do that.” Check Us Out at the NAR Annual Conference Want to take RE Technology for a test drive? We’ll be at the NAR Annual conference in San Diego. To set up a meeting, give Leilani Bruce a call at (702) 302-6882 or email her at leilani@retechnology.com.  I’d love to learn more about you and discuss how RE Technology can help.

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Broker Public Portal Update – October 2015

by Victor Lund on October 27, 2015

Many participants in the Broker Public Portal project were in attendance at the Council of MLS annual meeting in Kansas City. It was an extraordinary event, and one could not walk away without a sense that brokers and MLSs are communicating and working together better today than ever before. The BPP, LLC leadership in attendance was able to have meetings with prospective and partner MLSs, providing status updates on our progress.  We also spent the day before the conference to make progress on two fronts – the data license workgroup and the technology workgroup. Data License Workgroup Update Representatives from the legal advisors, Larson Skinner, attended the CMLS legal summit and there was some discussion of the data license agreement between the broker public portal and MLSs. Aside from some clarifying questions, there was strong support for the agreement template among all in attendance. No significant changes were suggested. Technology Workgroup Update The BPP, LLC will be among the first applications to be driven off of the RESO RESTful API that is mandated by NAR for MLS adoption by mid summer 2016.  This will provide the opportunity to add new MLS markets in hours rather than days. A number of our more than 50 MLS supporters will be providing API access for development. The Broker Public Portal product itself will be both responsive and come with native app support for iOS and Android. Business Update In October, three more brokers and two more MLSs joined the BPP. We welcome @Properties of Chicago, BHHS Bruce Mulhern, BH&G Gary Greene of Houston, and the Heartland (Kansas/ Missouri) and RealTracs/Middle Tennessee Regional MLS’s. Although we are getting strong industry support now numbering more than 50 Brokers and 50 MLSs, it will take more than that to be successful. Please check out this webpage to see the industry leaders who are participating. http://www.brokerpublicportal.com/founders.html – please encourage others to help. Vision The BPP aims to provide a home search experience as it was meant to be, simple, direct from the MLS, and based on the common sense principle of connecting consumers to the people who create the listings and are best able to help them. We will be successful through the support of our current community of BPP, LLC unit holders combined with the ever-increasing encouragement of brokers and agents all over the country. We aim to delight the consumer while adhering to Fair Display […]

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Upstream Agent Record

by Victor Lund on October 22, 2015

Many assume that Upstream is only about listings. In fact, there are six database categories that are contemplated for the application that solve a lot of problems for brokers of any size. The Need For A Single Agent Record Depending on the brokerage, the Agent Record – their office address, office phone, bio, headshot, cell number, social media profile, et. al. Agent Records are used in a lot of applications across the brokerage. Here is a partial list, but a common list for a brokerage of 1 agent in 1 MLS market. Broker Website/Agent Website MLS MLS Consumer Site Mobile App Virtual tour CMA Flyer/Marketing Accounting System Realtor.com/Zillow Group et al Newspaper/Magazine et al Drip Marketing Lead Management Buyer Listing Notifications Franchise/Network Agent Ratings Contact Management System Transaction Management Document Management Digital Signatures For an agent to update their profile across all of these systems is cumbersome. For a brokerage to try to manage the identity of their agents in all of these applications is even worse. Consider the added complexity of multiple offices, multiple MLSs, and in many cases, multiple marketing solutions. Brokers and agents die the death of a thousand cuts when it comes to managing disparate databases. It is equally problematic for technology vendors who want to launch or migrate users. With Upstream, any broker can add/edit their data in one system – and permit any vendor to access their data records from one system. It’s simple, elegant, and necessary. This solution will be available in Q1 for certain Alpha markets. If you are a vendor who is interested in getting access to the Upstream API as it becomes available, please send an email to Victor Lund – victor@wavgroup.com. We are beginning the process of developing application requirements. If you want to get an overview of Upstream – download our Upstream Report here.

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Getting The Word Out Through Agents

by Victor Lund on October 15, 2015

WAV Group works with a number of different company types. We work with large brokerage and franchise organizations, technology firms, MLSs, and Associations of REALTORS. Our specialty is enterprise strategy and enterprise systems. For a long time now, we have seen our customer segments struggle with communications. “Agents Don’t Read” The chief complaint with communications in our industry is that agents don’t read. At WAV Group Communications we call that stinking thinking. Agents do read, but only things that they consider to be important to them. Most communications strategies are deployed through bulk email with open rates that rarely go beyond 50%. Either the quality of the communication is undervalued, or the communication channel that you are using is flawed. One of the best strategies for reaching real estate agents today is through social media, or specifically Facebook. Agents spend hours a day on Facebook and now you can direct your communications directly to them and only them. Did you know that you can pay to display Facebook messages directly to people if you have their email address? When you have a message that is critical to communicate – be sure to use more paths than just sending a bunch of email. Direct Mail, Office Meetings, System Messages, Social Media messages, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and phone calls create a pretty comprehensive assault on every channel of communication to the agent. B to B to C Many brokerages and Associations of REALTORS have a deeper challenge. In marketing, it’s called Business to Business to Consumer. If a broker or an Association wants to reach the consumer, they can either go direct to consumer or go through the agent who has developed a trust relationship. A company called Reach Communications has been delivering B to B to C solutions for a long time now. http://www.reachcommunications.com/ – I have not spoken to Lois Landau in a long time, but I think that Alain Pinel and a number of other large firms use the solution. It creates a newsletter that is sent to the agents. In turn, the agents edit the newsletter or just hit the send button and it goes out to their customer database.  Agents don’t share their customer database with their broker, so this solution fixes that problem. Hootsuite Amplify Yesterday, Hootsuite launched a product called Hootsuite Amplify. If you have a communications manager, or hire a firm like WAV […]

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Better Market Reports

by Victor Lund on October 13, 2015

Graphs, Actives, Pendings, Recently sold, yadda, yadda. I have been reviewing the market reports across a variety of brokerages recently. They all seem to be missing the same little touch of information – an AVM. What Is A Market Report? The definition of a market report is hard to pin down. They are automated reports that tend to change based upon the state of the consumer. If the consumer is actively looking to buy or sell, the market report is like a listing alert. If the consumer is not in the market, the market report is like a stock portfolio summary. Why Brokers Need to Deploy AVMs Automated Valuation Modeling, or AVMs were developed to help banks measure their loan portfolio. You put hundreds of thousands of homes into a mathematical equation and it spits out estimated home values. These AVMs are considered excellent when they come within 5% of the value of a home 90% of the time. In other words, the best they can do is get close enough for horseshoes. Perhaps you may have had experience with AVMs on a consumer site called Zillow®. Their AVM is the Zestimate™. When Zillow launched their Zestimate, they crashed their servers. Consumers were so excited that they overwhelmed the young start up. They replaced a lead form on broker and agent websites. That was in 2006, nearly a decade ago. Today, only a scarce few number of brokers have Zestimates on their website. AVM Best Practice The industry hates Zestimates because pricing a home is sacred ground. Even if the Zestimate were perfectly correct every time, the industry would still hate it. Its time to get over it and introduce AVMs into all of your consumer facing products. Don’t deploy AVMs with one solution. You know and I know that they are only horseshoe accurate, so show that to the consumer. When you deploy AVMs, put two or three of AVM solutions on the property. Fox and Roach launched this solution last month. When you show more than one, the consumer recognizes the margin of error for each solution. It invites a conversation with the consumer about what AVMs are, how they work, the range of error, and most importantly – pricing strategies. AVMs will actually set the REALTOR® up for the conversation that they need to have with every buyer or seller. Be sure to tell them that mortgage […]

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Brokers Must Immediately Audit Mobile

by Victor Lund on October 12, 2015

Mobile traffic is 50% for most brokers today. Sadly, the mobile solution that you purchased a year or two ago is probably behind the times. Not only does your website need to be “responsive” to any mobile browser, but you’d better have a damn good app too. The first thing that you should do is try it. Make sure that you download your app, and use it every time you need to look up something on property. Moreover, be sure to use the mobile browser. This consumer experience is lost on most brokerage operating principles. The second thing to do is audit your agents and office managers. Ask them to show you the company’s app on their phone. You will be astonished at the number of agents and managers that do not have the app installed. It’s a good time to ask them “Why not?” There may be a very good reason. Promote Your App On Your Website Sometimes the simplest things can make enormous differences in your business. After getting everyone in your firm to download the app, market it everywhere. We audited a brokerage firm’s online strategy recently and made a simple suggestion. We asked the broker to code in links to their mobile app on every page of their website. It is a simple procedure; place the icons and links to the download sites. We were astounded by the results. Their app downloads went up by more than 3000 percent. The funny thing is that consumers visiting their mobile website were already presented with the “Download Our App” option when they first hit the site. The website would detect the mobile solution and make the appropriate recommendation. Unfortunately, that option disappeared if the user did not select it immediately on the first page. I guess what we learned is that the consumer wants to access the content first, then download your app after you have demonstrated that your website is the one they want to use for home search. In other words, app conversion is happening at a much higher rate on page view 3 or 4 than on page view 1. Promote Your App On Yard Signs Most brokers have some form of mobile call to action on their yard signs. I have seen everything from sign riders to banners, to QR codes. They all work, but perhaps something more elegant is to simply put the […]

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Broker Public Portal License Agreement

by Victor Lund on August 11, 2015

WAV Group is providing consulting services to the Broker Public Portal project. This project seeks the collaboration of MLSs and Brokerages in developing a national MLS consumer-facing website that adheres to the Fair Display rules for property search. Since starting the project in January, the company has developed and filed its LLC governance, elected the board of managers, and is running three parallel projects. The first two projects include Brand development (work contracted out to 1000watt Consulting), and Request for Proposal (being done by a workgroup of the Board). The third project is the development of the data license agreement between the portal and the MLSs participating in the site. WE NEED YOUR HELP! The goal of the development of a data license agreement is to create one license agreement. We have engaged the services of Larson Skinner to manage this process. A first draft of the agreement has been circulated to MLSs participating in the project. In this second phase of review, we would like to extend license agreement for open comment until August 24th. There are two documents linked to this post: the first is a letter explaining how to submit your feedback (click here to download), and the second is the revised draft license agreement (click here to download). Please carefully review both documents and submit your feedback to bppcomments@larsonskinner.com BY THE END OF THE DAY ON August 24, 2015.

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Is Zillow A Great Broker?

by Victor Lund on July 23, 2015

Zillow is not a broker. Well, technically they are registered as a brokerage in many states and hold brokerage licenses, but they do not market themselves as a brokerage. The point is that they provide a lot of broker-like support for agents that are noteworthy and remarkable. There are plenty of brokers who can take a page out of their book and improve their business. Specifically, brokers can learn from the way that Zillow provides technology tools and communicates and trains agents. Wth the acquisition of of a transaction management solution they complete a broker-like set that includes agent websites with IDX, marketing, lead management, mobile, digital signatures, agent ratings, CRM, not to mention a pile of consumers. Zillow Academy Zillow has a full on training, technology, education, and support group. They have live agent events, record educational webinars, develop tutorial videos for using Zillow, and invite agents to read and discuss topics on the Zillow Pros Blog. Seriously, only a few brokers could have a full time employee doing this sort of thing. I am not sure of the number of agents that would be required to support this type of FTE, but I would guess that it’s probably somewhere in the 350 agent range. Franchises do a pretty good job of this. So does Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Some large MLSs do this too. If you need a roadmap for excellence, take a look at this Zillow Academy page http://www.zillow.com/academy/UpcomingWebinars.htm Drip Marketing Zillow also pushes content out to agents in bite-sized pieces via email.  In fact, it was this email piece on Phone Scripts for Success that prompted this post. What I liked: Subject Line: Success is on the line, Phone Scripts that Work. It’s kinda punny – line – phone…… you get it. Strong Offer: Free Scripts – Zillow cannot do the work for agents, but we all know that door knocking and phone calls build business in the best possible way for agents. Ingredients of a broker training program Drip Marketing Webinars Training on Demand Office meetings Office Manager training Quick Start Training Help Desk Video Training WAV Group can help your brokerage put together training and communications that will transform your company. They are ideally designed for large firms. Call Victor Lund if you want a consult. p.s.  Brokers need to choose to outsource all of this stuff to Zillow, or be […]

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There has been a lot of discussion about the challenges of separating listing add/edit from MLS systems. This has long been the practice is many MLSs and this announcement today adds yet another to the list. Instanet Solutions Implements New Listing Upload Interface for NWMLS NWMLS members reduce redundant data entry using InstanetForms® in TransactionDesk® ​ June 3rd, 2015 Austin, TX – Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) members can now create an MLS listing from a listing input form in TransactionDesk®. With one click, the data entered in the listing input form is processed and uploaded to the MLS as an incomplete/draft listing. The forms can also be saved for future use, allowing the agent or brokerage to finalize and review the data before the listing is uploaded to the MLS. This faster, completely paperless process provides NWMLS members with better data accuracy and reduced redundancy. Members can now enter data while at the property rather than having to try to remember property details later. Additionally, MLS metadata and input rules are incorporated into the listing input form, allowing members to select data options from drop-down lists rather than entering each option manually. This integration makes the entry process easier and more accurate. “Northwest MLS is excited to make this service available to our members. It launched a few weeks ago and we’ve received nothing but positive comments,” said Tom Hurdelbrink, President and CEO of NWMLS. “We’re able to provide our members with another interface for adding listing data; one that is seamlessly integrated with their online forms and their electronic signature system, InstanetForms® and Authentisign®.” Instanet has integrated and deployed this solution with several other MLS systems. The data can be uploaded to the MLS using RETS Update, a web service, or other methods. The upload can be made RESO compliant or can be made to adhere to virtually any MLS data format. “In just a few weeks, we’ll have over 100,000 MLS members around the country using this listing upload interface. It’s a great solution in markets where signatures or initials are required on the profile sheet, if assistants or brokers are helping with the listing upload process, or where brokers want to get the data before or at the same time that it’s entered into the MLS,” said Martin Scrocchi, CEO of Instanet Solutions. “Nobody wants to have to remember which features a property has the next […]

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Forward Looking Technology

by Victor Lund on March 12, 2015

2015 and 2016 will be years of incredible change in real estate technology. For too long, the real estate industry evolved in an eggshell whereby data, applications, and presentation layers were composite to one another behind most fragile and isolated shell walls. Today, we see systems that separate these three components of the technology to maximize the usefulness of this information to the industry and the consumers it serves. We Got You “We got you” is a statement that can have two meanings when a technology provider speaks it. It can take on the meaning of “we screwed you” or it can take on the meaning of “we have your back.” As the needs of MLSs or real estate brokers or agents evolve, it is important that the vendors of services are evolving with or ahead of their clients. If your vendor is not evolving at the pace of the industry, you are screwed. If the vendor is staying ahead of you, they have your back. WAV Group is seeing the division of “We Got You” play out across our client group is pretty significant ways. We saw quite a bit of it between 2010 and 2014 as the industry struggled to adapt to the mobile revolution. Many technology providers ducked their chins and excused themselves with contract babble or “we are working on that.” Others were out ahead of their customers with ready-to-go applications that met or exceeded the need for mobile well before the adoption curve grew exponentially. New Rules One of the biggest challenges that face our industry today is the interoperability of applications used in real estate. Each application or product lives in its own silo with a disparate database. Few solutions “talk” to each other, creating dysfunctional workflows that causes users to jump from application to application. Single Sign On has taken care of the biggest barrier – logging in and out of a half dozen or more tools that the user needs every day. But true integration is only beginning to reveal itself. The new rules that are emerging are related to data standards and application programming interfaces (API). These new rules are poised to break down the barriers between applications and allow them to talk to one another. Any information that a user would expect to be carried across different applications will begin to happen. To clarify my point, please enjoy the simple […]

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Automate Your Business with zipForm® Plus and Zapier

by Victor Lund on November 26, 2014

Most people have heard the devil is in the details, and to achieve success, the goal is to eliminate that devil. For real estate professionals these smaller details, like keeping address books synchronized, can become a large nuisance. To help with this zipForm® Plus has integrated with Zapier. Zapier specializes in connecting web applications utilizing ‘If This – Then That’ automation. This enables anyone with basic knowledge of multiple applications to easily connect them by defining a trigger, the ‘If This’, that causes an action, the ‘Then That’. Currently 360+ of the most common applications are available to connect immediately, in many ways that can make you the champion of multi-tasking. zipForm® Plus has joined the large group of web applications that is ready to connect within a few steps. Some of the applications that are sure to be the staples of real estate professionals are LinkedIn, Twitter, Office 360, Gmail and Exchange. Just imagine the ability to add a contact to your Gmail account, then have that information delivered to your zipForm® Plus address book only saving it once. Each connection created is called a ‘Zap’ and creating these connections are simple. See some of the following ‘Zaps’ are waiting for you in Zapier today. If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then a invite is sent to connect on LinkedIn If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then add that contact to Contactually If a new contact is added to Gmail contacts, Then add the contact to the zipForm® Plus address book If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then create a Evernote note for that contact There are many more pre-defined ‘Zaps’ that are available. Each ‘Zap’ is free to use as defined or modify to your needs. If inspiration strikes you can always create your own. In the first Zapier release for zipForm® Plus, contacts will be the focus of available connections. Post release plans are being made to add support for transactions and documents in Zapier. For additional information on how to zipForm® Plus with Zapier see: http://www.zipLogix.com/zapier To learn more about Zapier see: https://zapier.com/ To learn how zipForm® Plus and Zapier work together see: https://zapier.com/zapbook/zipform-plus/

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The two valves that constitute the heart of consulting are benchmarking and case studies. Benchmarking is measuring an industry norm. Case studies focus on telling the story of new strategies deployed by pioneers for products or tactics. Both provide organizations with insights that sharpen their aim or expand their aspiration. A great example of a benchmark is WAV Group’s report that 4 in 10 real estate professionals have not done a transaction in more than a year. Take a look at this study that surveyed data from MLSs across the nation. WAV Group recently compiled a CRM case study with two of America’s leading brokerages that are highly committed sales driven organizations. As dedicated sales driven organizations, the agent sales funnel and the agent presentation tools are regarded as the most important assets deployed by the firm. In both cases, Windermere and Long and Foster revealed the success found through changing client relationship management software providers. WAV Group invites you to download a complimentary copy of this whitepaper. In the case of Long and Foster, the company switched listing presentation/CMA providers. In doing so, they were able to level set the buyer and seller presentations across the entire salesforce. They gained design and information control. They also supported agents by delivering a solution that works on all devices – mobile and desktop. Today the company reports higher much higher utilization of broker supplied presentation tool and higher conversion rates. In the case of Windermere, they took on the goal of rolling out a CRM solution to all agents in their company and franchise. A unique feature of the CRM is that it is centered around a sales funnel and coaching by the office manager. They solved problematic adoption challenges by integrating with the company’s MS Exchange email, calendar, and contact solutions. As you will see, the sales impact in market share has been significant and led by greater sales penetration in the middle 60% of the agents. We hope that you will enjoy this study with our compliments. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. If you are exploring a new strategy within your company that you would like us to look at for a case study, please let us know. By sharing information across the industry, we will keep the broker and agent as the centerpiece of real estate trades in America. See the […]

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