Agent Shield founder Jason Dolle may be to real estate agents and the new homes industry what Abraham Lincoln was to the Civil War.
Just as Lincoln changed the course of history, Dolle’s technology is changing the way Realtors and homebuilders work together. Honest.
Through the years both groups have tried everything they could think of to improve relationships and sales. These efforts have been like drinking water from a cracked glass for as long as anyone can remember.
Dolle explains the need he saw, and how he filled it.
"New master-planned communities and homebuilder websites are some of the most cutting-edge and effective sites in use on the Web, but real estate agents would not consider linking to a new development website for fear of losing leads," Dolle said. "As a result, the greatest tool to help agents sell homes and condominiums in these communities was rendered useless as far as working with agents was concerned."
Dolle’s patented solution is called Agent Shield, and 8,000 Realtors and 50 communities are using his technology. Agent Shield’s free Web tools, email tools, and widgets enable agents to market new homes without losing leads.
"When an agent sends a prospect to a new development’s website through Agent Shield, the agent’s information replaces the developer’s information on the developer’s website," Dolle said. All leads go directly to the agent, not the developer. If the prospect returns to the site within one year, the agent’s commission is protected.
What!? Who would think a developer would dare to allow such a thing?
For homebuilders and community developers, Agent Shield is a measurable, low-cost way to build a local, national and international co-broker network.
Here is how Agent Shield works for homebuilders and developers, who pay a one-time $500 setup fee plus $100 a month:
- Agent adds widget to their website.
- Prospect visits developers website from agents website and wants more information. Agent Shield activates, and keeps track of referring source.
- Lead goes to referring agent. Email notifies developer that the agent has generated a lead. Prospect’s first name and last initial is included in the email.
"Agent Shield technology stays inactive when visitors hit the developer’s website (as direct traffic or) as a result of the developer’s own efforts, such as Google searches," Dolle said. "Nothing on the builder’s or developer’s website changes," Dolle said.
Some of the biggest names in real estate are embracing Agent Shield as an integral part of their prospect delivery strategy: Prudential Florida Realty, Michael Saunders Company, Lennar Homes and WCI Communities, to name a few.
"We encourage our 1,400 agents to add Agent Shield to their websites," said Prudential Florida Realty’s President and CEO Rei L. Mesa. "Agent Shield offers our agents a way to position themselves as new homes specialists and gives them a tool to draw prospects to their website they would otherwise miss."
Prudential Florida Realty even includes Agent Shield in its new agent orientation, Mesa said.
Lennar Homes uses Agent Shield for five its southwest Florida communities, said Michelle May, Internet sales manager for Lennar’s southwest division.
"Agent Shield gives our on-site agents a real sales tool for our agent network and confirms to our co-broker network and agents in general that we are serious about helping them and want them to enjoy doing business with us," May said. "We encourage our on-site agents to aggressively refer Agent Shield to their agent database, because the more Realtors on the system, the better our chance of them selling one of our homes."
Dolle said agents are referring Agent Shield to local communities and homebuilders that are selling products the agent would like to make available in the new homes section of the agent’s own website.
Amy Drake, who directs the new homes and condominium division for Michael Saunders Realty in Sarasota, Fla., has established a direct feed from Agent Shield to the company’s 550 agents.
"There is so much information out there," Drake said. "Agent Shield gives our agents instant access to new homes inventory and prospect registration for a wide variety of communities. Whether they be agents, homebuilders or developers, providing this type of technology sets a tone for our company’s commitment to work the new homes community."
Do we understand what is really happening here? Peace is coming to the valley. The lion is laying down with the lamb.
Homebuilders, community developers and Realtors who for years seemed mired in strained relationships are now recommending to the other that they join forces and work together using the same technology, Agent Shield.
"We realize that sales are the key to the agents and builders success as well as ours," Dolle said. "This is why we added a marketing component that provides free Web and email tools and widgets that make it super easy to market their communities locally and around the world."
This means that agents can market themselves as new homes specialists, add search engine phrases that include the names of the communities, and be paid commissions — not referral fees — for properties purchased around the world, while expanding their business locally.
The solution is free for all agents. Commissions range from 3 to 10 percent.
When I first saw Agent Shield at a trade show four years ago, I knew immediately that this product solved a huge problem for both agents and builders. It also most too simple to understand.
I felt then, as I feel now, that Agent Shield brings a fundamental change to builder-broker relationships, and to how general agents position themselves on their websites.
Realtors and homebuilders are finding and liking a measurable, affordable way to use the same tool for the same purpose. This can only get better.