WAV Group Consulting Newsletter

Don’t Miss Out!

by Camilla Harvey on June 21, 2017

Ocean Wave

We are officially midway through 2017, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on the year so far and to begin preparing your organization for the inevitable evolutions we will experience throughout coming months and into 2018. Do you sometimes feel like your Board of Directors and key staff could benefit from a WAV Group overview of what is happening in the real estate industry today? Could your organization benefit from an information resource like WAV Group to characterize the rapid change in our industry? Would you like an informed review of how similar MLS boards are developing centers of excellence and outstanding performance? Join us for the WAVes of Change! Our WAVes of Change Series delivers regular industry insights and overviews of the topics shaping our future. Four times a year we present a live webinar, usually falling after major conferences such as AEI, NAR Mid-Year, CMLS and NAR Annual. These featured webinars provide exclusive looks at WAV Group research, emerging technology trends, broker challenges, and policy discussion, as well as other stimulating and engaging topics from key conferences. We provide updates on projects like AMP, Upstream, Broker Public Portal, Zilllow, Data Licensing, mergers and acquisitions, data sharing, and more. 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. Get Pricing Today You simply cannot afford to miss out on this vital subscription! Please contact camilla@wavgroup.com to schedule a call, get pricing, and take advantage of the series today! Please join your Association and MLS colleagues for this insightful series!  You’ll be glad you did!

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How Loyal Are YOUR Customers?

by Marilyn Wilson on June 6, 2017

Hand Holding Small We Love Customer Signage

It is critical for MLSs and Brokers to measure the relationships they have with their customers.  While most MLSs do not have DIRECT competition, they have tons of indirect competition.  MLSs compete against companies that generate leads for agents since that it one of their key roles. They compete against training companies providing CE credit and teaching about technologies. MLSs also compete. MLSs also compete with companies that provide ways to aggregate and distribute real estate listing information for the purposes of monetizes the information flow.  While MLSs have survived well in the real estate ecosystem, some are more well-regarded than others. Brokers, on the other hand have TONS of competition from their fellow brokers.  Understanding customer loyalty is even more critical for them. To really know how well you are doing in building and strengthening customer relationships, it is critical that MLSs measure customer satisfaction. There are two measures that WAV Group recommends for its clients – the Net Promoter Score® or NPS. Second is the Customer Effort Score or CEF®. What is a Net Promoter Score (NPS)? Net Promoter Score, or NPS is a customer experience metric developed by Fred Reichheld, aimed at determining the level of customer loyalty. NPS was introduced by Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article “The One Number You Need to Grow“.  Net Promoter Score measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a brand’s product and services to their friends, family and colleagues. NPS is a simple metric, based on a single question that measures customer loyalty: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company’s product and services to a friend or colleague?” Respondents answer by choosing a number from 0-10, with 10 being the most likely to recommend.   While this question can work well for brokerages and technology companies where there are lots of competition in the marketplace, we have seen it not work as well for MLSs, mainly because in most markets REALTORS® do not have a CHOICE of MLSs organizations to work with. Sometimes it angers MLS subscribers and they will say things like “I have no choice so I would have no need to recommend my MLS to anyone. Depending on the score they give, customers are then classified as promoters (score 9-10), passives (score 7-8) and detractors (score 0-6).  The more 9 and 10 scores you receive the higher your Net Promoter Score will be. Those that […]

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Pacific Union Delivers On International Reach

by Victor Lund on May 25, 2017

Black PU logo

WAV Group has been studying broker website effectiveness for more than a decade. One area of interest is global reach. When we look at Google Analytics, we study traffic to understand the level of visibility that brokers are achieving for their websites internationally. Over the past 12 months, Pacific Union International has been living up to their name by expanding their international reach. Driving International Reach International reach has largely been a listing tool in real estate. Even in global cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, we see that 85% of buyers come from the immediate region. 10% come from other areas within the United States. Only 5% come from international buyers. Despite the real data, sellers continue to believe the media that buyers come from China and Russia. For many brokerages, the seller’s demand for international reach is colored in though franchise or network relationships. There is good news for brokerages that are not affiliated with franchises or networks. Over the past year, Pacific Union International has been focused on reaching high net-worth individuals, increasing their reach in the U.K. by 360%, and over 500% in China. Their targeting has resulted in 900% increased traffic in India and a staggering 2190% increase in Brazil. It is a 6 figure investment, but far more effective than the delivery of international buyers from networks or franchises. Pacific Union’s traffic, leads, and transactions have grown enormously with this proactive approach. Building International Relationships In addition to international marketing, Pacific Union understands that the true success of any international effort is developing relationships with leading brokerage firms across the globe. The distinction here is that they are not building a list. The relationships that they have built for decades are sincere and personal.  Their commitment to these relationships ensures that Pacific Union clients buying abroad get the same level of service that they get at home. Moreover, Pacific Union delivers concierge service to international clients here in America in return. The countries on this map represent the nations where Pacific Union holds these personal trust relationships with foreign brokerage firms. The Pacific Union executive team travels to many of these locations each year to bond with partners, and welcomes inbound partner visits in the best possible way. Communication to Agents and Consumers Performing at this high level is nothing new for Pacific Union. They operate in the most competitive […]

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Coach

None of the brokers we’ve worked with believe that their office managers are doing what they are supposed to be doing — sales training. Instead, they act more like den mothers. When they could be working on sales coaching or recruiting, office managers are consoling agents who lost big deals, troubleshooting broken printers, or retrieving lost MLS passwords. It’s too easy for office managers to spend the day putting out a series of small fires. Its easy to use all of those daily tasks as excuses for not focusing on the most important roles that managers are responsible for. The path toward a More Profitable Office The first thing for brokers to understand is: You are going to have to change the way you — and everybody in your office — thinks about success and productivity.  Office managers are stewards of productivity. You need to arm them with resources and tools they need, and you need to shift the expectation (both in yourself and in your agents) that the office manager is any kind of glorified fire marshal. Here’s how you do it. The 5-step process You probably already have the basic tools you need to make this shift work — the array of technology offerings that you’ve made available to your agents, and your hard-working office managers. Step 1: Clear the decks. Everyone in the office needs to be trained on how to manage basic administrative tasks. A transaction coordinator is a good hire at this point, someone who understands the law and can help agents with sticky deals or contract negotiation scenarios that the agents haven’t seen before. Step 2: The “reset” meeting. Hire a facilitator to come in for a planned meeting; this person can explain to managers how their jobs will change — and get them excited about it. The facilitator should explain the renewed focus on sales success and shift away from administrative tasks. They will also have to talk about the gentle balance of retention and how helping agents sell more real estate will be the BEST way to retain them in the long run. Step 3: Training the trainers. You want to turn your office managers into technology trainers, and that means they’re going to need to understand the technology. Ideally, they will use appropriate technologies in their own business. How about learning how to use the CRM system to manage recruiting efforts […]

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LIBOR and BNAR getting serious about REALTOR(R) safety

by Marilyn Wilson on May 16, 2017

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Did you know that nearly 1/3 of REALTORS(R) STAY in situations where they feel unsafe as they strive to make a sale.   Nearly 4 in 5  do NOT ask for Identification/Verification before meeting a client.  Just about everyone (88%) of agents are alone when showing a home to new prospect. Bottomline, many agents put themselves at risk REGULARLY.   While real estate is an amazing industry that provides exciting career opportunities to nearly 2 million people every year, it’s a job that deals with the public.  By definition, it puts agents at risk. The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® have recognized these issues and are trying to support agents to help them stay safe.  Today they have announced a partnership with Real Safe Agent to provide safety training and technology. Read the Press Release Below:  Austin, TX, May 16, 2017:  The Long Island Board of REALTORS® and the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® are joining the growing list of Multiple Listing Services and REALTOR® associations deploying the Real Safe Agent system, which includes the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service and the Fort Smith Board of REALTORS®. “Staying safe means preventing a crime, not reacting to one.  So, when I presented the Real Safe Agent system to my BOARD, we knew we needed to purchase the system for our members”, stated Dave Legaz, President of LIBOR.  “As a former NYPD Sergeant, it’s clear to me that Real Safe Agent understands both REALTOR® and criminals; and allows the agents to prevent a crime without jeopardizing a sale.” BNAR’s CEO John Leonardi, a retired US ARMY Lieutenant Colonel and 25-year industry veteran as an MLS and REALTOR® Association executive said, “Real Safe Agent is one of the most innovative products I’ve seen, it’s rare that something comes along that changes a paradigm in our industry and Real Safe Agent completely changes how REALTOR® safety is approached.”  The Real Safe Agent system differs from traditional safety products in that it’s based in behavioral science and uses the real estate community to prevent the behavior patterns of predators from bearing fruit for the predator, as well as denying the predator the environment needed to commit the crime.  Carl Carter, Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation and son of murdered real estate agent Beverly Carter commented, “I think the Real Safe Agent system is the real answer for the industry, […]

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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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Enroll for WAVes of Change Today!

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

WAVes of Change

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

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Industry Vet Russ Cofano joins eXP Realty

by Marilyn Wilson on July 29, 2016

EXP Realty Logo

We want to congratulate Russ Cofano for his exciting new position at eXp Realty as Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Legal Counsel! I used to have a job as the Chief Strategy Officer when I was at Fisher-Price. It is SUCH a fun position where you can have a real impact on the growth and innovation of a company! Congratulations Russ!  Can’t wait to see what amazing news you bring to the industry in this position!     BELLINGHAM, WA – July 29,  2016 – eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI) today announced that industry veteran Russ Cofano has joined the Company as Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel. Cofano brings more than twenty-five-years of industry experience to eXp. He most recently served as senior vice president of industry relations for MOVE, Inc. operator of REALTOR.com® developing strategy and building relationships with the real estate industry’s leading organizations, MLSs and technology companies. Cofano has also served as chief executive officer for the Missouri REALTORS®, the largest trade association in the state of Missouri, and as vice president and general counsel for John L. Scott Real Estate, consistently ranked as one of the largest real estate brokerage companies in the nation. He has also served as an advisor to a number of REALTOR® associations and MLSs and as CEO of a real estate CRM technology company. “I have been looking for ‘the next great opportunity’ within the industry, and I’m certain that I’ve found that opportunity at eXp,” said Cofano.  “Unlike other new entrants, eXp is redefining the brokerage model of the future from within.  Glenn Sanford has assembled a fantastic team and I’m excited to join them and use my various industry experiences to help the company chart its course of success.” “Russ brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the Company from multiple perspectives,” said Company founder and CEO, Glenn Sanford. “We’re fortunate to be able to add Russ to our team and believe he will have an immediate and lasting impact on the Company as we continue to grow.” Contact information for Russ Cofano: russ.cofano@exprealty.com About eXp World Holdings, Inc. eXp World Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for a number of companies most notably eXp Realty LLC, the Agent-Owned Cloud BrokerageTM as a full-service real estate brokerage providing 24/7 access to collaborative tools, training, and socialization for real estate brokers and agents through its 3-D, […]

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For those who are in the know in the MLS space, you are aware that Sandicor has always been one of the MLSs to watch. Led by Ray Ewing, President and CEO, they are early adopters of exciting new technologies often setting the pace for other MLSs around the country.  Sandicor follows their own path choosing the tools they believe are going to be the best for their members. Today’s announcement that Sandicor has selected CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite is no exception. When I saw the overhauled interface for the CRS Data system about a year ago, I was blown away.  Unlike most of the tools available today that have user interfaces that are a bit “long in the tooth”.  The CRS product is clean, simple and very user friendly.  When I tested the product I felt as though I could easily access all of the core functionality. The product almost has a calming effect because of the simplicity of the design and the colors chosen.  I love to see core MLS products like CRS data upping their game and bringing these important systems into the 21st century without scaring agents who are change averse and somewhat afraid of technology. Here’s what Sandicor the San Diego County Regional Multiple Listing Service (owned by the three Associations of REALTORS® in San Diego County serving over 19,000 members) had to say about their decision: “We spent more than a year researching property tax data systems to find the right combination of timely and accurate data, cross platform usability and intuitive navigation,” said Ray Ewing, President and CEO of Sandicor, Inc. “Our members need the ability to access property tax data via their mobile device or desktop, and be able to create and utilize streamlined property reports with interactive features, such as parcel and topography map layers.”  CRS Data’s three-year agreement provides 19,000 Sandicor members with quick online access to a wide variety of property tax data and information. From customizable maps, neighborhood and comparables information to in-depth search capabilities and thoughtful prospecting features, CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite delivers simple navigation and innovative usability. “Our ultimate decision to partner with CRS Data was based on their approach to tax record services and the ease with which our members will be able to fully utilize the CRS system whenever and on whatever device they use to access our MLS system,” said Ewing. He added, […]

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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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Do you have a PR plan for 2016?

by Kevin Hawkins on January 21, 2016

Public relations may be one of the most underappreciated and misunderstood tools in the average real estate brokerage’s marketing arsenal. Yet, the more you understand public relations and how it can be fully integrated into your marketing plans and sales activities, the greater your ability will be to make both more effective. As we begin a new year, ask yourself this question: Do you have a PR plan for 2016? What is PR? It’s no wonder most people are confused when trying to describe what PR really is. Trying to find one universal definition is futile: there are dozens. Here are just a handful of definitions from PR practitioners that show you the breadth and depth of what PR actually is: “Public relations is the art and science of sharing genuine, credible, relevant news and information to grow, maintain and protect brand acceptance, awareness, reputation and sales, when appropriate. Public Relations creates measurable, fact- based conversations, events and activities conceived to generate positive, third party endorsements and target audience buy-in.” –Deborah Weinstein “Public relations is a highly strategic discipline that’s integrated with marketing to achieve business goals. It positions companies and spokespeople with key audiences, whether internal or external. Public relations complements an integrated marketing campaign with measurable results garnered through media relations, social media, thought leadership, industry analyst relations, investor relations and/or special events.” – Jayme Soulati “Public relations communicates the news, influences the news, receives the news, and responds to the news for a brand via the media. It’s the art and science of talking to the right audience in the right voice. PR is the communication hub of an organization. It influences and shapes a company’s image, reputation, brand perception and culture. PR connects a brand and its public via direct messages or editorial media including print, broadcast, radio, digital, video or social media.” –Lisa Buyer “PR is the process of making a heartfelt connection between a person or organization and the people who can truly benefit from and care about their message. It’s an awareness of what makes people tick, facilitated by a desire to build communities, engage and discuss, and give voice to worthy projects. PR isn’t mass messaging, spinning truths, or a barrier between the public and the person represented. PR should make genuine connections.” -Shennandoah Diaz What can PR do for your brokerage? Because PR has so many different components and uses every communication channel […]

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New Opportunities for Form Simplicity, Tech Helpline

by Kevin Hawkins on January 21, 2016

The big buzz in November at the National Association of REALTORS® Convention in San Diego was all about transaction management. The move by NAR to make one solution available as a member benefit was a major validation of the crucial business role that forms and transaction management technology play in streamlining the real estate process. Forms and Transaction Management must be universal to achieve the ubiquitous mission of paperless real estate transactions. For more than a decade, Florida’s state Realtor association, Florida Realtors®, has been providing technology solutions created by Realtors for Realtors. Nearly five years ago, the association launched its forms and transaction management software – Form Simplicity – as a member benefit funded by dues. The idea of technology developed by Realtors for Realtors was something the association accomplished nearly fifteen years ago when in 2001 it created another member benefit, Tech Helpline. Today, Tech Helpline not only provides support for Form Simplicity broker and agent users, but reaches well beyond the Sunshine State. In fact, Tech Helpline is real estate’s #1 tech help desk, serving about one-third of all Realtors across the U.S. and Canada. The service supports applications far beyond the Association offerings including things like Anti-Virus, mobile phone mail configuration, printer glitches and more. Looking ahead As we begin 2016, it’s important to note that Form Simplicity is pushing full steam ahead. Form Simplicity will not only continue to be a major member benefit for all Realtors in Florida, but will continue to expand its offering. Several new associations recently finalized contracts and others have either upgraded their Form Simplicity offer for its members by renewing contracts that continue the offering of their transaction management solution. Why wouldn’t these associations pick Form Simplicity instead of a free offering? Here are three things that associations or brokerages that will benefit Form Simplicity going forward: Need for choices Understanding “free” Value of brand identity Need for choices Independently minded sales professionals power the real estate industry because by and large, they are independent contractors. The ability to be self-determining is engrained in the minds of sales professionals. This is true of broker-owners as well as they too want to control their own destiny and that means choices. We all enjoy getting something for free. Heck, I have a few dozen free apps on my iPhone that I rarely use, but hey, they were free and someday I […]

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Brokers Talk Marketing Webinar Invitation

by Victor Lund on January 15, 2016

  WAV Group supports brokerage companies in selecting and implementing marketing automation software. Firms of all sizes need and easy to use, a one stop shop for agents to access all of the marketing tools that power their success.  Last year we worked with Hunt Real Estate and others as they integrated their chosen solution into their broker back office solution.  Dan Mirsky of Hunt Real Estate will be joined by marketing executives from Berkshire Hathaway, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX to share their perspectives on the experiences they have had with marketing automation. Joining the call with be automated marketing software provider, Bill Yaman, President of Imprev. Yaman will outline current and future trends that his firm is developing against. Please accept this invitation and join us on February 2nd, 2016 at 10 am PST/ 1 PM EST. The webinar will be recorded and distributed afterwards. If you cannot make it, that is ok – just register and we will send you the video to review at your leisure and for sharing with your leadership. The integration allows the broker and agent marketing plan to be triggered around specific business marketing strategies. Marketing Listings Recruiting New Customer Marketing Customer Retention Marketing

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Annual Swanepoel Power 200 Recognizes WAV Group

by Victor Lund on January 13, 2016

Howard Lund had a philosophy about lists. He said that it is great to be on the good ones, but don’t take too much pride in it. He shared his thoughts on this whenever I made honor roll, or was recognized for accomplishments in sports. It is the type of fatherly wisdom that sticks with you. I think that Mr. Swanepoel and his team does a good job in their selection – a process too difficult to imagine. Its an honor to receive the recognition, and I am especially proud of my partner, Marilyn Wilson. Her dedication to her trade and the people we work for is inspired. I rue the day when members of our firm are no longer on the list. It means that something terrible has happened or we have aged out of relevance. A big High 5 to our many clients that are represented on the list. And for those who did not make it, lets charge forth in 2016 to make a remarkable difference! Here is the link to read the Power 200. January 13, 2016 – San Juan Capistrano, CA. The annual Swanepoel POWER 200 2015/16 ranking the most power people in residential real estate was released today. Leaders from all the largest real estate companies in the United States and Canada, including Realogy, Zillow, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Keller Williams Realty, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Move, Inc., and the National Association of REALTORS® are represented. Holding the number one spot for the third consecutive year is Richard A. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Realogy Holdings. Realogy owns many of the county’s leading brands, including: Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Sotheby’s International Realty, ERA Franchise Systems, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and ZipRealty. With approximately 13,600 franchised and company-owned offices, and over 250,000 brokers and agents worldwide, Realogy touches one out of every four home sales in America. Moving up one spot to the second most powerful person in real estate is Ron Peltier, chairman and chief executive officer of HomeServices of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. HomeServices posted solid growth year over year while continuing to add new companies in 2015, the largest of which was $2.5 billion First Weber in Wisconsin, pushing their total agent count to over 70,000, generating over 550,000 transactions annually. Zillow Group chief executive officer Spencer Rascoff, Gary Keller, co-founder and chairman of Keller Williams Realty International, and Dale […]

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WAV Group consulting will often involve recruiting key leaders to join a company and support the execution of their strategic plan. WAV Group is searching for a number of key positions now. If you are looking for a new adventure, be sure to let us know. Confidentiality is paramount for most of the recruiting that we do here at the WAV Group. Most often, we are seeking C –Level executives – Chief Executive Officers, Chief Technology Officers, etc. We support our clients in the effort to find alignment with experienced leaders. Here are some of the positions that we are filling: Head of Broker/Franchise Technology – One National firm, one South East Regional firm. Both positions report to the President/CEO. Head of Broker Business Intelligence – This may be the first position of its kind in America. This person will be responsible for leveraging data as an asset to generate market insights and new business opportunities. California, Bay Area. Head of MLS – Multiple positions available for medium sized MLSs – Association owned. Head of Broker Sales – East Coast All of these positions represent exciting opportunities. It’s time to clean up your Linkedin profile and sharpen your sword for the New Year. 2016 is expected to be a modest year for the economy, but a great year for innovation in the real estate industry as it awakens from the 2006-2014 economic slumber. Again, confidentiality is key. The caliber of people we are looking for are never jobless. We get that. But if you are looking for a change, or a new opportunity to expand or enliven your career – let us know. Happy New Year!

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MLS Policy for Days On Market

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

Depending on where you are, Days on Market could be a hot topic. Perhaps the most sensitive area to Days on Market is San Francisco. I had a chance to talk to Steve Mavromihalis of Pacific Union about this topic last week. Steve is one of the most productive agents in the nation. Every year, WAV Group watches the listing count for Pacific Union go down by two thirds starting just before Thanksgiving and lasting until March or April – that’s 5 months of the year. Clearly this has P&L implications and budgeting implications for the brokerage. The truth is that these listing are still kind of “for sale”, but the agents take them off the market to prevent Days on Market from accruing. Sellers authorize this, and every listing agent tells the story to every seller for every company in the area. This is not a specific agent or a specific company following an unwritten policy. “It’s the culture of selling real estate in the Bay Area,” according to Mavromihalis. “People want to enjoy the holidays or go skiing in Tahoe. Because of summer vacation, a lot of listings go off the market in August too!” Mavromihalis admits that if another agent were to give him a call, he could probably arrange a showing with his client. Because the volume of off-market listings can become vary significant in areas like San Francisco, many MLSs have incorporated a status called Coming Soon. It recognizes the need to manage data when a listing is not active or before it comes active. In hot markets, listings will sometimes go from Coming Soon to Pending without every having any active days. The big advance in policy here is that the MLS can get the data for comparables, CMAs, Market Reports, Market Share and other high value needs of the MLS, its agents, brokers, and consumers. Days on Market does not accrue during Coming Soon status. MLS Listings, the MLS to the south of San Francisco, has done a great job with the development of MLS policy around coming soon. MLS Listings CEO James Harrison and his then Board Chairman, Broker Robert Bailey championed policy development and shared their efforts with the industry. I am not sure how the other Bay Area MLSs have dealt with it. Overlapping market disorder is very prevalent in the Bay area – San Francisco listings are placed in […]

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Is there a hidden downside to lead generation?

by Kevin Hawkins on December 16, 2015

Real estate lead generation research tells us only about 1 or 2 percent of all purchased online leads become transactions. Another way to say that is 98 out of 100 times, an agent fails to turn a lead into a client, or 98 times out of 100, they are being rejected. Yet, the conventional wisdom in real estate is that you only need to turn one lead into a transaction to pay for all the leads you’ve purchased this year many times over. But is there a problem with this logic? Is it looking at only one side of the equation, that is, the upside? But isn’t there a downside once one considers all the collective human capital that is expended to find that one needle in the proverbial lead generation haystack? Is lead generation also creating a tremendous waste of human intelligence? The cost of human rejection Most of us probably don’t think too much about the impact of the massive rejection that online lead generation is creating in real estate today. There is a reason we have robo-calls and don’t have door-to-door sales anymore: As humans, it’s tough to tolerate this kind of continuous rejection. It’s likely the main reason why sales call centers have incredibly high turnover rates. When someone hears “no” 99 times out of 100 calls, it has to be demoralizing. Is it really any different in real estate? A UCLA-lead team of psychologists found that two key areas of the brain appear to respond to the pain of rejection in the same way as physical pain. The study’s lead author, Naomi Eisenberger, told ScienceDaily, “There’s something about exclusion from others that is perceived as being as harmful to our survival as something that can physically hurt us, and our body automatically knows this.” We know rejection is painful, yet real estate subjects tens of thousands of hard-working real estate agents to this process all the time. Is it any surprise, taking these numbers into consideration, that real estate agents struggle in following up on all the leads their brokers give them? (See this WAV Group study.) One has to wonder if online lead generation isn’t contributing to weakening teams and agents. Breaking bad habits An argument can be made that the correct way to handle this type of lead generation is to use employees and agents who are independent contractors to handle these leads […]

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Hire a Curator

by Victor Lund on December 16, 2015

A quick Google search brings up the definition of curator – it is a word derived from the Latin word curare – meaning, “take care.” A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally this word has a connotation of maintaining historical things because it is an official position in museums, but that is not the context intended here.  The role of a curator in today’s business is to keep things current. WAV Group Communications starts projects with an audit. We begin by understanding the variety of audiences that the company engages. We then take a look at how MLSs or technology companies, or brokerages are communicating with their audiences. What we find is typically dated, stale, gross. Under the watchful eye of a curator, this never happens. A curator scours every touch point with every audience and keeps it clean and fresh. Agent images are always uploaded and there are no grey skulls. Old logos vanish and are replaced with new ones. Documents that have not been used or updated in years are refreshed. Social media updates happen every day. Press releases happen monthly. Intranets are hydrated with how-to tips, community stories, and celebrations. Consumer sites have daily contributions and newsletters go out on a regular basis. A curator is not necessarily the person who creates all of this content. It’s a management and supervisory position that draws communications from across the enterprise to leverage the expertise of the organization. They find out from the help desk what the most common calls are and create a task to create training materials. They speak to leaders about successful strides in the business and work with a PR firm to distribute a press release. They monitor social media and build reports on reach and study effectiveness, and so on, and so forth. I challenge you to take a few moments and look around your business. Look at every communication to every audience. I guarantee that you will find dozens of flaws. If you don’t have time to do this, hire us to do it for you. If you need a curator, we can step in and build the plan and kick it off. We can even train or hire someone to manage it after it is on the right track. WAV Group Communications is a full service public relations and communications firm. We work on retainer with brokerages, technology firms, and MLS […]

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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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Advertising contrarian Bob Hoffman gave a talk at Matt Beall’s Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers’ Worthshop 5 conference last week, which is a wake up call to real estate agents and brokers everywhere. Why are we spending so much time, energy and money marketing to 18-34 year olds when the greatest, wealthiest, most powerful spending group in the world in nearly every major product category is 50+ years old? Remarkably, Bob helps us answer that question and a more important one: How should we be marketing to the over 50 crowd? Full disclosure up front: The majority of the marketing world hates Bob Hoffman and thinks he’s dead wrong. The only problem with this is that all the facts and research say he’s right. Why do we market to Millennials? Bob has researched this extensively and his findings are jarring. His overall conclusion is that most marketers have a herd instinct: They are marketing to Millennials because everyone else is and somewhere there must be someone who has the facts and knows “why the hell we are doing this?” Bob’s been looking for that someone and looking for the facts to support this movement, but has come up with contrary research at every step. He cites Nielson, saying: People over 50 are the most valuable generation in the history of marketing They are responsible for over half of consumer spending They outspend the average consumer in nearly every product category: food, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, etc. They account for 55 percent of all package goods sales and dominate 94 percent of consumer package categories They outspend other adults online two-to-one, on a per capita basis They buy about 60 percent of all cars He also shared this nugget: “You know how you see all of those Millennials in car commercials? Well, people 75 to dead buy six times as many cars as people 18-24.” Then he dropped this statistical bombshell, met with gasps from the audience: People over 50 account for more than 70% of the wealth in the U.S. If they were their own country, they would be the third largest economy in the world – bigger than India, Japan and Germany. The biggest problem, says Bob, is this: People over 50 are the target of only 10% of all advertising in the U.S. Marketers are not over 50 Listening to Bob, you immediate start to ask yourself, […]

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