First off, hats off to the exhibitors for working hard to create a modern experience for the agent attendees. From futuristic cube-type areas for demonstrations (realtor.com’s rebranding booth) to a “fruit” flattering recreation of a “genius bar,” the expo was a colorful feast of media for those in attendance.
Aside from the usual pens and pads, vendors tried to step up their game with creative promotional pieces and enough candy to create a sugar high strong enough to launch a kindergartner into space.
After walking through the show, I realized two things:
1. Agents are struggling to vocalize the type of solutions they are looking for to improve their business.
2. The tech exhibitors are struggling with helping the agents understand what their products do.
Some agents were so worried about getting their freebies and moving on to the next booth that they were rushing other agents who were asking questions so they could get through. Glossy marketing materials were abundant, filled with stock photography of successful, happy agents whose lives are magically changed by using the new product or service.
Although I’m a firm believer that there are no magic fixes, there were some standout stars at the event.
This brokerage-based transaction management solution had too many sexy features to list. This product would be perfect for boutique offices that are looking to step up their game and get tasks such as desk duty, required paperwork and tasks under control. I believe this solution would also work for large real estate offices and teams, and it would even be useful for REO management.
“We give time back to individuals in the organization, so they can focus on what they do best,” said BackAgent Marketing Director Daniel Contreras. “We give time previously spent wrangling paperwork and compliance issues back as time for growing their brokerage. For the agent, we remove guesswork and help keep transactions on track — giving time back for business generation.
“Additionally, we empower the entire organization with the extended tools needed to help turn time saved into time well-spent. More than a paperless version of static processes, we have revolutionized the way real estate brokerages operate — driven from an all-in-one, virtual software suite that includes a robust intranet, transaction management and marketing platform.”
Game-changing feature (one of several): Have you ever received a PDF document and the pages were out of order? BackAgent features a PDF converter that allows you to reorder, stack and convert effortlessly with its floating-table feature. It is as easy as spreading the stack out in front of you as if you were working with real paper.
The agents behind this piece of tech have a light in them that is hard to miss. Finally a lead management system that encourages a healthy relationship with your vendor network and your extended referral network. This is a straightforward, mobile-friendly system that was created with your lifestyle in mind. This platform, when set up correctly, can collect all of your incoming leads from third-party sources.
How frustrating is it when you give a loan officer a lead and you have to constantly hound them for updates? LoomLogic allows you track exactly what phase the lead is in and any referral fees associated with it.
“Two years ago, our business exploded when we figured out how to generate leads online and ever since have been growing exponentially,” said LoomLogic CEO/founder Alex Tkachuk. “The challenge we had as agents was tracking the lead conversion. Since a majority of our leads were first-time homebuyers who wanted us to recommend a good lender, we started sending out a lot of leads to our lender partners, and it turned into a full-time job.
“Trying to constantly remember what lead was sent to what lender, what was the status, and since there was no system that automated this process we ended up losing around 30 percent of our business due to poor follow-through. In one year, we went through 12 different lenders that overpromised to us and did not deliver. We noticed that lenders will say whatever they want in order to win your business. Something needed to be done.”
Thus, LoomLogic was born.
Game-changing feature: Vacation Mode. Set up your team, or snag a couple of office buddies and switch to vacation mode. All of your leads will be handled and assigned out to whom you choose in real time. That feature alone is worth a tropical daiquiri.
Remember I mentioned the genius bar? These kids lured me in with organic Popsicles and promises that their sites “do not break.” I cannot speak to that, but I will state that the price is right. They are currently running a special through NAR, and depending on how your MLS works, you might be able to link up for as little as $5.
The design is modern and mobile-friendly. For those of you looking for a website upgrade, you could easily combine your newly claimed .realtor domain (you did this, right, guys?) and this template site for a new luxe look.
Game-changing feature: Again, it’s the price and the mobile responsiveness. If you currently are using Zillow’s website option and are looking to migrate, this would be an easy transition.
In a world where digital marketing reigns supreme, finding creative, direct print marketing that stands out is a challenge. Enter Zoxx Boxes — they are a marketer’s dream.
If you have gifts and kits built into your customer care strategy, check out Zoxx’s creative line of boxes and bags that you can design to build your brand. As a true ’80s kid, Happy Meals bring about a wave of nostalgia.
Game-changing feature: Pillow boxes. How great would these be for open houses with a few pieces of chocolate stashed inside?
Our industry is in what I refer to as a “renaissance” of art and technology that is morphing agents into bionic super heroes via their smartphones. The future is here, gang — and it’s awesome.
Agents, what were some of your favorite vendors or moments from the expo? Please share in the comments section below.
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.