Today’s real estate firms, franchise or otherwise, need to provide a robust marketing solution for agents that especially support them with digital marketing tools: Video, virtual tours, eMail marketing, and social media marketing. In an announcement today, Coldwell Banker announced a partnership with Imprev to power their digital marketing suite for all of their franchise companies. There are a number of firms that offer marketing solutions, but the two firms that have dominated the selection among franchise organizations in the past years include Marketleader and Imprev. Strangely enough, until a few years ago, Imprev was Marketleader’s partner for their marketing suite, jointly providing a full solution to Keller Williams, unit Marketleader purchased SharperAgent in 2011. At the time of the acquisition, SharperAgent claimed 30,000 customers and Marketleader claimed 50,000 customers. Marketleader then went on to sign up a number of large franchise organizations, including Century 21. Today, the Marketleader suite is a business unit owned by Trulia who is in the process of being acquired by real estate portal leader, Zillow. No doubt, this announcement for Imprev is significant. Imprev has had a nearly decade-long standing relationship with RE/MAX and recently launched an automation platform with Berkshire Hathaway’s largest brokerage, Fox and Roach Realtors (a solution that is tightly integrated into CoreLogic’s AgentAchieve platform). Imprev shows with Coldwell Banker that it can connect to Leadrouter, which is a standard used by other Realogy franchises. Congratulations to Imprev and to Coldwell Banker’s 84,000 sales associates. Since over 80% of a firm’s business comes from sphere marketing – marketing suites like Imprev are critical service offerings. disclaimer – WAV Group has provided consulting services to all companies mentioned in this post. Press Release Coldwell Banker Unveils New eMarketing Platform Madison, N.J. (Sept. 29, 2014) – Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today announced an agreement with Imprev, Inc. to power the Coldwell Banker® brand’s fully mobile eMarketing platform. Coldwell Banker eMarketing is part of the new Coldwell Banker 360 suite of products that give Coldwell Banker independent agents and brokers access to a platform that delivers an extensive range of exclusive designs and marketing content and allow them to easily engage with consumers via the Web, email and social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. “Our new Coldwell Banker eMarketing platform will make it easier for Coldwell Banker agents to connect with prospective home buyers and sellers while increasing productivity,” said Sean Blankenship, senior vice president […]
Agents need help. I guess that I did not truly understand how much until a series of events collided this week. The first lob was the announcement that Century 21 is launching a new program that allows agents to subscribe to a “Marketing Assistant” program for $300 per year. The marketing assistant will be fully trained on all of the services offered on the brand’s Century21Online portal. In launching the portal, Century 21 CMO made a prophetic statement: “The last thing that agents need today is another tool.” She is right. Outside of core technology solutions, agents can be heavily distracted by technology. Based upon the data we collect, by the time they learn it, they cancel the subscription. The idea of the marketing assistant is brilliant. It was the buzz of the annual convention and every voice said, “I am going to sign up for that.” Congratulations to Century 21 for delivering on a heavily desired service. What Thorne made clear is that the Marketing Assistants are not a Help Desk. The second lob colliding into my week was a reminder about TechHelpline from the Florida Association of REALTORS®. They fill the technical support gap by helping with computer repairs, virus removal, virus protection, email set up and problems, software applications and software repair, printer help, data recovery, network problems, spyware removal, and more. I was sitting next to a REALTOR® at dinner when the table topic turned to the acknowledgement that my table mate was the “help desk” for a number of agents in the office. Everyone joked and laughed about how “nice” he was to help. In my mind, it triggered the reality that this agent is having his productivity undermined by this distraction. This agent needs to tell the other agents to go away and spend $200 per year for TechHelpline. This leads me to the last lob, which came from Alex Perriello, head of the REALOGY Franchise Group. “The best way to succeed in real estate is door knocking!” He’s right. All of the technology in the world will not come close to the overwhelming success that agents find from door knocking. The top producer for a broker I work with joined the real estate industry four years ago. For the past four years, she has been working with the company coach and she has dedicated herself to knocking on 100 doors a week. Her […]
LeadRouter is the solution that is used by the REALOGY firms to manage the hundreds of thousands of leads generated by the franchises and the franchisees across the world. It is arguably the most commonly used lead management solution on the planet. Today, it just got better for the agent and for the consumer. In Thursday’s version release, LeadRouter has taken steps to allow agents to immediately contact the consumer by phone when the lead comes in, and the record of that contact record is automatically published in LeadRouther. It is simple, elegant, better. If you are not a LeadRouter user, you may not appreciate this subtle sounding improvement. But it is big. Before the update, an agent would get a get a lead from LeadRouter. Hang up the phone, make another call to the consumer. Complete the call to the consumer, then log into LeadRouter, accept the lead, then update the lead status. All of these steps have been reduced to “Pressing 5” on your phone keypad. When an agent gets a lead and “presses 5,” LeadRouter will dial the consumer’s phone. If the call to the consumer spans 30 seconds, then the contact will be automatically applied to the status of the lead in LeadRouter. One step. Press 5! WAV Group lead research has indicated that our industry is paralyzed when it comes to lead management. Half of all internet leads are never answered and when they are, it is typically more than a day later. REALOGY continues to invest in solving this customer service problem in our industry. LeadRouter “searches” for the most available agent according to brokerage business rules. Usually, the lead goes to the listing agent on all company listings. If the listing agent does not respond within some reasonable time frame, the lead moves on to another agent in the brokerage. Agents who have not taken LeadRouter orientation or do not respond to leads will typically have their LeadRouter account frozen until they take an action to pay attention to consumer inquiries. It is a smart system. IDX or co-broker leads go into lead pools that are targeted to the best available agent that can respond. The leads pass from one agent to the next until the consumer request is satisfied. WAV Group works with many of REALOGY’s largest brokerages to tie all lead generation applications into LeadRouter as a single point of servicing […]
There were times that I looked up at the largest brokerage in America and the largest Franchisor in America and wondered if it was built to last. They have been struggling through a rough patch with the rest of our industry, but they had the added pressure of managing the erratic public stock market and a challenging corporate lending environment. WAV Group does not have any broker clients that trade as public companies. WAV Group consulting has omitted Realogy franchise and NRT performance from benchmarks among brokerages over the past few years. They were fighting battles that private brokerage was not fighting. During the hard times of the real estate crash, Realogy entered into a phantom value plan for common stock. They also paid 11.5% interest on loans. Despite these unfavorable operating terms, they fought through with the strength of their business model, strong performance of management, and the great fortune of the housing market recovery that was wide spread. Now they are operating more in line with private brokerage, and offer private brokers decent barometers for business performance comparisons. In the second quarter report, Realogy reported that they were able to restructure their debt from 11.5% down to 3.375%, reducing its annual cash interest run rate to approximately $255 million per year. This accomplishment in and of itself made a significant contribution to the Company’s adjusted EBIDA performance of $278 Million for the second quarter and will continue to support profits through interest rate cost reduction in the long run. Realogy realized combined transaction volume growth of 21% compared to the same period last year. That is a good benchmark for other brokers to use as a comparative measuring tool. The franchise and NRT segments reported closed home sale transaction side gains of 10% and 12% respectively. It is interesting to note that company owned brokerages are outperforming franchise brokerages by 2%. Average home sale price per transaction improved 10% for franchise, 7% for NRT. It is interesting to note that franchise brokers are experiencing higher growth in sales prices than the company owned brokerages. It would be interesting to learn why. Realogy’s guidance for the third quarter remains bullish. Realogy’s executive vice president, CFO and treasurer Anthony Hull is expecting 17% to 19% growth in transaction volume in Q3.
Century 21 is cool. And that is a new thing for a 40-year-old real estate brand. I purchased my primary home from a Century 21 agent because of the agent, not because of the brand. However, in the past few years, Century 21 started looking cool. Being a cynic and a skeptic, I did not really believe that they were cool. Sotheby’s is luxury, Coldwell Banker is business, BH&G is lifestyle, ERA is old school, and Century 21 is Middle America. None of those brands are cool. That changed for me today. WAV Group works with lots of brokers. They are mostly very large brokers and often independent than franchise. We do not have any franchise or non-franchise beliefs. Either way, if you are a broker – you need to make your business strategy work and that’s what we help with. A franchise is immaterial, but if you have one, we will help you leverage it. About 6 years ago, WAV Group began to consult with an 80-agent company called Century 21 Hometown Realty. The company became a Century 21 franchise in 1978, 7 years after Century 21 got started in Orange County, California. The ownership is local and they are our personal friends. In spite of the chaos of our industry, Century 21 Hometown Realty now has 350 agents and continues to grow. WAV Group is not responsible for the growth, but we are on the team and that is exciting. I am not sure if we learned more from them or if they learned from us. Either way, it’s working out. Success is like a gift horse. All brokers think about franchising. Some brokers hate franchises, some brokers grow large enough to become franchisors, other brokers love franchises. There is a colorful and healthy array of belief. Today, I saw the good and healthy side of the Century 21 franchise, and for that I am grateful. They are not slackers. Since joining the company in February of 2010, Rick Davidson has only been in the office about 100 days. The balance of his days was spent traveling the world, meeting the Century 21 owners and agents everywhere. He is doing the hard work of leadership, which is building trust relationships with his flock – 180,000 strong – one at a time. If you believe that great businesses are operated by leaders who know their company – then Davidson […]