Mike Audet

Technology Self Audit For Real Estate Companies

by Mike Audet on June 13, 2014

If you are a mega broker, with thousands of agents, you will have an IT department that watches over your software and technology infrastructure.  If you are a small or medium size broker, that chore usually falls to you, much like it does for us, in our consulting company.  We watch real estate technology on a daily basis and advise some of the best technology companies in the business on how to improve their product’s user interface, how to put together marketing and communication plans and many other services, and even for us, this is a daunting task.  Every time you turn around there is another new vendor coming out of the woodwork with another new widget, approach or process. I mentioned that large real estate companies usually have their own IT departments but they are not immune to the complexity of our technology world either.  The reason is simple, the solution not so simple.  The reason we have such a mess in the broker technology world is the way our technology has evolved and the many layers of services and needs that have to be addressed. Over time, many brilliant solutions have been offered for accounting, contact management, CRM, drip marketing, IDX, VOW, lead management, lead generation, showing systems, back office systems, forms products, transaction management, document management, custom CMAs, broker/agent websites and on and on.  These products may have been best of breed in a given moment but the way most brokers have selected and implemented technology is like building a car out of unrelated parts, from technologies and standards that have nothing to do with each other.  In the case of a car imagine one with four different wheel sizes or an engine computer that can’t talk to the electronics or seats that aren’t made for a body style, etc.  It would be a mess and in the case of broker technology it is also often is a mess even though our very talented broker professionals find ways to make it work, with gum, paperclips and scotch tape pulling the whole mess together. Brokers all know that having a hodgepodge selection of unconnected products and services is not the way to do manage their business services but change isn’t easy when it comes to technology.  They have made investments; there may be cost implications to change, and change brings a whole host of other issues from implementation […]

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Early Success Can Be Tricky – Take Care!

by Mike Audet on April 9, 2014

We work with all types of companies and organizations and have the opportunity to see many different approaches to successfully delivering products and services.  Successful companies have many similarities and when you look into them closely you see certain constants.  These companies almost always have strong leadership, values and a clear vision that is understood by everyone that works there.  When you look back at their evolution you see a company that stayed on track to their core mission.  You’ll see a company that understood the basics and paid attention to detail, their customers, what the market was asking for and they delivered. But success, as anyone knows, can be a slippery slope. In fact, sometimes it is success itself that creates problems, especially for young, growing companies. Yesterday’s success story can quickly turn into today’s has been.  We’ve seen it over and over and yet it continues to happen. Some of the reasons are very understandable when you think about it.  First, we often have a really hard time doing anything different from what made us successful.  If it worked then it must work now, right?  Second, as a small company grows, the brain trust and visionaries that brought the early success find that they can no longer do all the same things they did when they were just getting started.  And third, as we start to experience success and more success we believe we’ve made it and we stop paying attention to things that were core to our success in this first place.  This is over simplifying it but I have seen it time and again in companies as they start to experience success.  Take a look at each of these points and see if there is any truth to it in your company or organization. We Keep On Doing What Brought Us Here! If there is one thing you can count on in our lifetime it is change!  Everything is changing and those that can manage change in their lives and businesses prosper from this reality.  Unfortunately, while many of our businesses start as the result of a desire to deliver some new and exciting service or product, needed in today’s changing landscape, once we experience success we often get rigid and static.  Our very success keeps us from rocking the boat.  We’re afraid to change course.  Success today, however, requires continuous course adjustments. Things are moving […]

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How A Top Agent Goes To The Next Level

by Mike Audet on March 12, 2014

A while back I did an interview with Justin Havre, who is a top real estate agent in Calgary Alberta working at CIR REALTY.  CIR is the largest independent firm in Canada with about 650 agents.  With his team, Justin Havre & Associates, he has been number one or two in his market for a number of years, (#1 team for 2011-2013) and to put things in perspective, at the time of the first interview he and his team were doing nearly 200 transactions a year. I sat down with Justin in our original interview to understand some of the things he was doing successfully to reach this level as well as to see where he thought he could improve his business practices. In our original interview, Justin noted the significant investment he makes in technology every year.  He operates multiple real estate websites and the leads generated from these sites form a significant piece of his business.   At the time of the first interview he had 6 people on his team and one of the problems he noted as needing improvement, was the ability to respond effectively to the large number of leads he received every day. The second key area he identified that needed to be improved was his communication and contact with customers he has already worked with.   He realized that largely due to the huge new lead volume he was experiencing he was neglecting the people that he had already done business with. I interviewed Justin recently to get an update on how things were going and to see what he had been able to do to address this specific business needs noted in the first interview.  Most importantly, I wanted to see if whatever steps he took had the outcome that he desired. Re-invent Your Business Remember, Justin is hugely successful and ranks at the top of sales year after year in his markets.  Yet the first thing he told me in this follow up interview was that shortly after our first interview he ripped his business apart and re-invented himself and his team.   A key to the transformation was his willingness to see that if he didn’t change he would get the same outcome, which might look good to some, but to Justin it wasn’t satisfactory.  So his first step was to increase the number of agents on his team from 6 to 28!  […]

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Call for MLS Technology Survey Participants

by Mike Audet on August 15, 2013

WAV Group will be fielding the third annual WAV Group MLS Technology survey in September.  We are inviting all MLSs to take part.  This is a free, non-sponsored survey we provide for the benefit of the industry.  The more participation we have the more valuable the data will be for everyone. There is no cost to participate. Each participating MLS will in turn receive three reports: National Results for all MLSs Your Vendor Specific Results (i.e., All results from users of MLXchange); Your MLS Member results in a system generated report Your MLS will receive the reports prior to the NAR national conference in November.  Survey Objectives The objective of the annual MLS Technology Survey is to provide a high level comparative satisfaction rating of the MLS technology used in our industry. The report will also provide you trending information from year to year in regards to this technology.  Surveys should never be the basis for choosing a MLS vendor and system but should be used as part of your overall due diligence and strategic planning. Survey Design In 2012 we had over 75 MLSs participating with over 15,000 agents completing surveys.  In 2013 we expect to have even more participants.  The WAV Group survey, from its inception, has always measured both staff ratings and user ratings. Staff MLS Ratings: Your MLS staff work with vendors and systems on a completely different level than the general members.  Staff insight is crucial to understanding how vendors are to work with, how quickly they respond to issues, how well they provide general support, and how they respond to feature requests. Member MLS Ratings: Members, will rate the MLS system on usability, and the features and functions they use every day in their real estate practice.  Our survey only collects ratings from those that use the specific features and functions being rated and all questions in the survey are role appropriate. Choosing a MLS Vendor and System Reviewing MLS vendor options is a complex process.  Surveys are a valuable tool to be used as one component in the process, however, they should never be used as the sole basis for making a vendor selection. WAV Group assists MLSs each year in evaluating MLS technology from a full RFP process to Technology Updates.  If you would like more information on our MLS technology evaluation and selection processes please contact us at mailto:mike@wavgroup.com or call […]

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Last Day for Midyear Webinar!

by Marilyn Wilson on June 6, 2012

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Tomorrow we will bring attendees up to date on critical industry issues and trends via our last Industry Update Webinar, including: Economic forecasts for the real estate industry in 2013. Hot NAR topics and policy issues like the new proposed IDX rules. CMLS updates on new industry initiatives. Broker topics like syndication and online marketing effectiveness. Emerging technology trends for brokers and agents. MLS technology update. Promising non-dues revenue for MLSs to offset declining membership…and much more WAV Group founding partners and industry experts Marilyn Wilson, Mike Audet and Victor Lund will be sharing valuable on-the-spot insights gained while attending the annual Midyear NAR Conference held in Washington D.C. from May 15th – 19th, 2012 tomorrow June 7th, 2012 from 10:00 – 11:00 AM Pacific time. Marilyn, Victor and Mike will also be available to take all of your questions during a Q & A session. The final webinar is tomorrow June 7th.  To register click here-the price is $149. Webinars can also be scheduled privately for your organization upon request. E-mail us for more information.

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When we facilitate strategic plans for MLSs across the country, we often hear that board members would like their MLS to do a better job of keeping them up to speed on the key issues facing MLSs today.  With today’s budget crunches it is virtually impossible to send all of a MLSs leadership to conferences and workshops. We thought that maybe there’s a way for WAV Group to bring the conference to MLS boards so that each board member can stay up to speed without having to spend the time and money attending conferences all over the country. That’s why we are launching a webinar series that will follow each major conference.  The first one will discuss all of the key issues discussed at the NAR Midyear conference. We will review the issues discussed at the MLS Policy Committee meeting and the Council of MLS Workshop. We will also provide an overview of the key technology trends we observed by walking the trade show floor and having tons of conversations with real estate technology providers.  We will discuss new tools to address non-dues revenues, rentals/property management and talk about the mobile phenomenon we’re facing.  We will also share our insights and observations of the latest trends in MLS systems and discuss our vision about where the MLS industry is heading. We will whisk through these topics in less than one hour to give your leadership a quick, but valuable overview of the key topics to help them feel more prepared when the issues are discussed at your board meetings. We are offering two sessions next week – one on Tuesday, June 5th at 10:00 am pacific and another on Thursday, June 7th at 10:00 am pacific.   Click on the dates to register.  The cost is $149 per participant.   If neither of those times work for you, we will be happy to schedule a separate presentation specifically for your board.  Please contact us and we can provide you a quote for providing the update to your entire Board of Directors, Technology committee or even your entire membership if you desire.

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Webinar: WAV Group Midyear Update

by Marilyn Wilson on May 25, 2012

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Looking for an easy way to provide your Board with an update on important industry trends and programs?  Don’t miss out on the big news that came out of the National Association of REALTORS® Midyear conference. The WAV Group team was on the spot in Washington, D.C., and they have prepared a webinar that shares all the must-know details, as well as analysis of the issues that are going to shape the future of your business and our industry. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. The cost is $149. In an information-packed hour, all of the WAV Group partners – Michael Audet Victor Lund, and Marilyn Wilson, will discuss the following: Economic update: Macroeconomic factors that may impact the real estate industry in 2013 NAR issues:  Get the latest on IDX rules changes and other MLS policy issues CMLS Update:  Learn all about CMLS’ new SourceMLS initiative Broker issues: Learn about the hot topics being discussed by large brokers Trends in listing syndication and how some leading brokers are adapting to increase the online marketing effectiveness Technology trends:  What’s hot for agents, brokers and MLSs Non-Dues Revenue:   How can you create a new source of income to offset membership losses MLS system trends: An overview of new changes occurring on all of today’s leading MLS system platforms Time has also been set-aside for a question-and-answer period. You will have ample opportunity to have your questions answered by industry experts. Take advantage this opportunity to absorb the key points of the NAR Midyear conference distilled into a single session! To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here. To register for the webinar on register for Midyear Industry Update on Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pacific click here.

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