SAN FRANCISCO — Of all the ever-growing responsibilities agents and brokers must take on, decision-making is arguably the most complex. With every choice you make — every dotted line you sign — you nudge your business closer to (or further from) success.

  • Choose technology that will do the work for you; simplification is key.
  • If it took six months for a technology to work for another agent or broker, you should be prepared to test it for eight to 12 months.

SAN FRANCISCO — Of all the ever-growing responsibilities agents and brokers must take on, decision-making is arguably the most complex. With every choice you make — every dotted line you sign — you nudge your business closer to (or further from) success.

In today’s increasingly digitized society, deciding on the right technology can do wonders to foster growth, increase revenue and automate the mundane. Choosing the wrong one, however, usually results in lost time, wasted money and continual inefficiency.

Curaytor’s Jimmy Mackin, Opcity’s Ben Rubenstein and Remine’s Leo Pareja took the stage with Brad Inman last week at Inman Connect San Francisco to share tips on how to make the right decision when shuffling through the constant parade of software and platforms.

‘If you do everything, you do nothing well’

Jimmy Mackin, Curaytor

“Before you think about how you distribute your messaging or ads, you have to establish what you believe in and what your point of view is; because if you don’t have a unique point of view as a company, all Facebook is going to do is amplify the fact that you are just like everybody else,” Mackin said.

From a marketing perspective, Mackin says the biggest mistake agents make is not focusing on building a strong brand and reputation before advertising. And when it comes to your advertising spend, avoid spreading your dollars too thin. Mackin recommends investing in one advertising channel rather than several.

“If you do everything, you do nothing well,” Inman added. He also pointed out that some agents spend $20,000 a month advertising on Zillow, realtor.com or others, which raises the question: How should an agent determine how much to spend?

“Understanding your customer acquisition cost is critical to being great at marketing,” Mackin said. “But being willing to think longer than that first transaction” is crucial as well.

If you purchase a service and “take one lead and turn that into a deal and then take that one deal and turn it into three or four additional clients, the ROI of that one service becomes significantly more,” Mackin said.

Many agents don’t think long-term ROI, so they switch advertising platforms before they have a chance to see progress. That short-term view is limiting and costly.

Simplification is key

Ben Rubenstein, Opcity

Most agents and brokers look for new technology for the purpose of expanding their business, making more money or saving time. Rubenstein said agents should choose technology based on what best simplifies their business processes.

Instead of just looking at attractive features, Rubenstein says to focus on technology that can do your work for you.

His company, Opcity, helps agents and brokers who spend money on marketing with no clear ROI. “What we said was, ‘We will take on all the risk,'” Rubenstein explained. They purchase all the leads, “scrub ‘n’ screen” them at their call center, and collect payment from agents and brokers only after a deal closes.

A chatbot is another example of “something that works for you” or makes your team more efficient, according to Rubenstein.

“The only way to scale is to get either other people to be more efficient for you or for automation to happen,” he said.

He used a CRM as an example of a practical system that allows people to scale by taking over many small but important tasks. “Now with a CRM, so much is automated for you. You can automate email, you can automate communication, you can stay a lot more organized.”

Sometimes people get “starry-eyed” over the latest and greatest gadgets, Inman added. And that’s just not the way to go — simplicity is.

Learn from others

Pareja’s property intelligence platform partners with MLSs.

Leo Pareja, Remine

“It’s property intelligence on top of pubic records,” he said. And they use data to tell when someone is going to sell a house. It’s a product “born as a rallying cry to protect the practitioner” and he’s been successful in getting it out to the industry.

As a former agent — no. 1 Keller Williams agent in the world in 2010 with about 14,000 homes sold — he has many years of experience dealing with his own technology options (and frustrations), which lead him to create Remine.

But not every agent is going to create a unique software to improve ROI.

Pareja knows agents who spend money on Zillow and get a great ROI, while others don’t. He recommends asking highly successful agents what they are doing and what steps they are taking. “I asked for references from the top 10 most successful agents using the technology, went out to their offices and visited them,” he said.

When checking references, “talk to someone who’s a lot like you and you know runs a very similar operation,” added Rubenstein.

Not only that, but also be prepared to test the solution for a reasonable amount of time. If it took six months to work for someone, make sure you test it for eight.

Closing thoughts

“If your only grasp on your team is the fact that you have great technology, everyone can basically copy exactly what it is you do,” said Mackin.

“So, from a broker perspective, I understand technology is a necessity. But I don’t believe that from an agent perspective they should rely entirely on broker services or needs when it comes to technology.

“Because within an individual brokerage you have agents, you have teams, you have sort of many groups of people, and each one of those groups of individuals has different needs, different goals,” he closed.

And always remember that what’s right for everyone else might not be right for you, said Pareja.

The basic message: “One size doesn’t fit all,” Inman said.

Email Fabiana Gordon.

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