Glenn Kelman, the CEO of high-tech brokerage Redfin, has a tip for brokerages and agents who want to entice consumers into requesting showings from listing pages: don’t feature the photo of an agent. Prominently displaying a faceless scheduling tool will generate many more leads, he said.

  • Only route requests to agents who are free; sign up for showing on demand apps; integrate turnkey scheduling tools into websites and outsource showings to colleagues when you're tied up.

Glenn Kelman, the CEO of high-tech brokerage Redfin, has a tip for brokerages and agents who want to entice consumers into requesting showings from listing pages: don’t feature the photo of an agent.

Prominently displaying a faceless scheduling tool will generate many more leads, he said.

Why? Because when given a choice between forming a relationship with an agent and “just seeing the dang house,” consumer tend to choose the latter, Kelman said.

Homebuyers surfing listing sites online “don’t want to get married,” he said. “They just want to see the property.”

Glenn Kelman

Glenn Kelman

That was one best practice for providing “showings on demand” that emerged from a recent Inman Connect panel.

Also key to delivering showings on demand is having a routing system in place that ensures showing requests are only sent to agents who are actually available to show properties.

Redfin uses Google Calendar to pull this off. Only agents who indicate on the app that they are free to open doors for buyers receive showing requests made on redfin.com

Brokers who don’t want to build an on-demand showing platform from scratch can plug showing-scheduling tools provided by companies like Curb Call and AgentPair into their websites. Both provide APIs (application programming interfaces) that brokers and agents can use to customize the showing tools they want to appear on their websites.

Agents who download mobile apps provided by the likes of Curb Call and AgentPair can receive a showing request from a buyer if they’re located near the listing a buyer wants to see and have indicated that they’re free.

What about agents and brokers who want to ensure existing clients, not leads, can always visit properties lickety-split? One option is to create a network of agents that they can call on for help in times of need.

The mobile app Quikshow was designed to facilitate this. Agents who can’t show a home to a client can use Quikshow to outsource a showing to agents who have joined the app’s network.

Dallas-based Quikshow, which has about 500 users, has found that agents in a squeeze pay agents part of Quikshow’s network $50 on average to show a home to a client, said Giuseppe Piccinini, chief operating officer of Quikshow.

But while consumers have a growing appetite for on-demand service, putting oneself at the beck and call of the netizens can backfire.

Redfin has found that offering showings on demand has resulted in many more showing requests from unqualified buyers and lookie-loos, Kelman said.

“When you meet them at the house, it’s because their grandma used to live there,” he said of these undesirables.

He sometimes wonders if prominently featuring a real estate agent on listing pages — which produced fewer, but higher-quality leads — was the best move after all.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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