WAV Group Consulting Newsletter

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

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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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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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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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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WAV Group is leading an effort to help Pacific Union International (PUI) find a Vice President, Business & Digital Intelligence (VPBDI). The person in this position will lead PUI’s work in market dynamics based analytics, business and digital intelligence and client demographics. This strategic role will be responsible for business and digital intelligence programs and models to drive market share, client retention and decision support for our regional executives, real estate professionals and related business units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. This key role will lead the industry and our company as the “go to” authority for new technical and digital initiatives around data mining, client demographics and analytics. Pacific Union International boasts one of the strongest brands in the real estate industry today. The company is a leader in the residential real estate industry as well as a formidable competitor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Commanding nearly twelve percent (12%) market share in the nine Bay Area counties, PUI has grown from $2.2 billion in sales volume in 2009 to nearly $7.5 billion in 2015. PUI’s relentless pursuit of Vision 2020 will drive strategic initiatives to further grow the business by increasing market share in the Bay Area and growing our geographic footprint throughout the Western USA. If you have demonstrated abilities to lead organizations by providing rich insights and new approaches to residential real estate and thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented, technology-intensive environment, then this is a position for you. Responsibilities include rapidly building and overseeing business intelligence, internal and external communications and a willingness to be or become an industry spokesperson. Success will be dependent on collaborative and productive relationships with our Regional Executives, marketing, public relations, finance and technology leaders. To learn more about the position and Pacific Union, contact Marilyn@wavgroup.com or jenna@wavgroup.com.

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Each year, the National Association of REALTORS releases a study of homebuyers and sellers, which is my favorite REALTOR research publication. The NAR Research Group publishes publishes excellent research  — including its superb daily Economists’ Outlook — but this one is especially chocked full of golden statistical nuggets, which is ideal for a data junkie like me. These are the kinds of facts I love to pull from research because these data points are what help tell a story, and that’s a great way to earn the attention of a reporter who covers our industry. Here are seven facts from this brand news report that you may or may not find surprising, but my guess is your clients would: Most home buyers have no kids at home. A full 63% of home buyers did not have a single child under the age of 18 living at home. What are we going to do with all these McMansions? Home buyers in the South are more diverse than those in the Northeast, or Midwest. Southern diversity (82% White) among home buyers significantly eclipses both the Midwest (93% White) and Northeast (90% White), and almost ties the West (81% White). We have a lot more work to do as an industry in this space. The Northeast by far had the most First-Time Buyers in the last year: As a percentage, 43% of all home buyers in the Northeast were First-Time Buyers, compared to 26% in the West, 30% in the South, and 38% in the Midwest. One would think the Midwest or the South, with lower price homes might be higher, but lower incomes clearly play a role. First-time home buyers have plummeted as a percentage of all buyers: First- time buyers only account for 32% of buyers, that’s down from 42% in 2001, a high of 50% in 2010 and was even down from last year (33%). Millennial research may provide more insight here. Only 1 percent of all buyers say “Tax Benefits” was a primary reason they purchased a home. Please don’t tell this to your Congressional leadership. Nearly one in four home buyers say they will never buy again: 23% of buyers say they are never moving, as they are in their forever home. Think how this could impact your lead nurturing strategy. Yard Signs are still cool. More than half of all homebuyers (51%) counted the Yard Sign among […]

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Solving for Technology-Confused Agents

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group supports organizations (Brokers/MLS/Associations/Franchises) to develop support services for the technology applications used by agents. To kick off these programs we audit the systems that an agent has access to. This is an administrative process whereby we inventory all of the tools that they access from any source. 7 Sources of Real Estate Agent Technology (with one common example) National Association of Realtors – RPR State Association of Realtors – Forms Local Association of Realtors – Lockbox Multiple Listing Service – MLS system Franchise – lead management Brokerage – eMail Self – website The Big Problem: 7 different channels of training and support Forget about training and support for a second. Let’s start with a basic observation: For an agent to even know what each of these tools do, they would need to spend at least 1 hour on a demo to get an overview. In reality, something as sophisticated as the MLS system would take at least two hours just to show an agent around. A fundamental problem with real estate today is that this basic process of introducing an agent to the tools they use is optional. Set up and basic training must be a key component of onboarding a REALTOR®. If you look across the horizon of these seven entities, there is only one logical source that can consolidate training – the brokerage. Where is your customer support directory? I constantly ask this question during our kickoff audit and the reaction to this basic question is the cornerstone of the tragic comedy that we face in our industry. Some people know part of the answer, but nobody knows the entire answer. And, to be fair – I did not list all of the applications that an agent would need to use. In most cases they have 5 or 6 services from their MLS, six to seven more from their brokerage and franchise, and another 2 or 3 on their own just considering the third party publishers. Fix this and sell more real estate. The old adage is true. If the agents would only use the tools we provide, they would sell more houses. Simple Steps To Solving This Problem Create a list of every product, making sure to contact every company to understand what the product does. Write a brief description of the product. Find out if each product vendor has a schedule for training Create […]

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What’s “News” at WAV Group?

by Victor Lund on November 11, 2015

WAV Group strives to provide up-to-the-minute information about developments in real estate practices and technology. This means that we are always updating our blog with new articles to keep you informed and on top of things in our industry. Some exciting things have happened since our last newsletter! We’ve collected our recent articles here so that you can get up to speed heading into the NAR meetings. You can also get our updates in real time by visiting our home page (click here) and subscribing to our RSS feed. Tech Helpline Now Available to Orange County Association of REALTORS® CoreLogic Extends Trestle RETS Server to other Systems for FREE Damien Huze Joins W&R Studios’ Leadership Team As Chief Design Officer Online Marketing is for Sellers, Recruiting, and Retention Gavin Blair Named as New CEO of the Iowa Association of REALTORS® WAKE UP BROKERS! Hablas Español? Is Email Volume Killing Your Company? America’s Largest MLS Offering System of Choice CoreLogic and Instanet Get Married

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5 Hot Trends in 2016 to Look for at NAR

by Kevin Hawkins on November 11, 2015

This year’s REALTORS® Convention & Expo in San Diego traces its origins to the first Chicago meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges held May 12-14, 1908. One hundred and seven years later, some 20,000 real estate professionals will visit the San Diego Convention center where more than 400 organizations will display their offerings and pitch their products. 2016 promises to be a pivotal year of rapid adoption of sweeping innovations and the emergence of new powerhouses in the residential real estate matrix. Here are five hot trends to look for and listen at the workshops to learn about to get the most out of NAR to help you next year. Full disclosure: All of these trends identified here come from my own personal biases and prejudices, having delved deeply into these subjects over the last several months. Trend #1 – Marketing Automation It’s is a no-brainer that Marketing Automation will dominate the minds of broker owners in 2016. This is what solves the low adoption rates by agents of new technology offerings their firms provide. It’s also a huge boost for broker ROI as it removes agents from the quagmire of self-created marketing materials. Agents waste a huge amount of time creating marketing materials to promote a listing and themselves, and Marketing Automation allows them to focus instead on the things they are good at: Generating listings and closing sales. Take the agent out of the equation when it comes to creating, deploying and promoting listings by automating the marketing for them and you have 100% agent adoption and deliver zero wait time to promote properties for every seller. Bill Yaman, President of Imprev, a leader in this effort, has written extensively about this topic in his blog, here. Trend #2 – Mobile everything It’s go mobile or go home in 2016. It’s not just Google driving this accelerated change, it’s also your clients. Zillow is saying that 70 percent of its weekend search traffic is coming from mobile devices. Mobile First remains the best strategy and companies that understand the difference that this approach brings – versus the shortcut of building responsive websites or just mobile apps – are going to distance themselves from the competition when it comes to lead gen. At NAR, look for firms that really are committed to a Mobile First strategy. Trend #3 – Mobile Admin Speaking of mobile, forward-thinker Randall […]

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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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