A mastery of the right tech is one of the most important ways indie brokers can differentiate themselves from large, traditional brokerages and gain a competitive edge.
At Inman Connect San Francisco on Tuesday, several leading real estate pros shared their must-have tech tools, which range from customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to a 3D virtual office.
Krista Mashore, Homes by Krista
Mashore, broker-owner of Homes by Krista in Brentwood, California, says every indie broker needs a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to automate workflows, streamline lead generation and conversion and maintain consistent contact with clients.
“Agents say ‘I want leads,’ but they sometimes forget that when you get that lead, you have to nurture that lead, and you nurture that lead through your CRM,” she said.
Mashore relies on Realvolve’s CRM and transaction management system to keep the more than 150 sales she completes each year on track.
For example, she has an escrow workflow that has 69 steps — something she’d have a hard time remembering on her own. As she begins the escrow process, Realvolve sends reminders for each step, which relieves stress and allows Mashore to spend time on other things.
Although it can be hard to get acclimated to a new technology platform, Mashore says it’s worth the initial headache. Recently, she was able to eliminate a position on her team because her Realvolve workflow was so reliable, saving her business thousands of dollars per year.
Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty
Sanford’s eXp Realty is a 100 percent remote team, so creating a sense of community is paramount.
“We have to spend a lot of time building community, collaboration, and culture,” he said.
Sanford said his team started connecting on Facebook private groups, but that wasn’t enough to foster the culture he wanted. So, the CEO invested in creating a 3-D virtual world where his 13,000 agents can use avatars to communicate and collaborate.
Every month, roughly 8,000 agents sign into eXp’s virtual world to hold meetings, conduct training sessions and hang out.
Sanford understands creating a virtual world from scratch isn’t an option for most indie brokers, so he suggests using Facebook’s Workplace platform. Sanford prefers Workplace over Slack since the learning curve isn’t so steep.
Chris Rediger, Redefy Real Estate
Rediger has used technology to lower his attrition rate from a whopping 80 percent to 10 percent.
His brokerage, Redefy, operates on a flat-fee commission rate of $3,000, which means agents have to hustle harder than what Rediger calls “the traditional agent.” Furthermore, some agents worked on a 1099, while others received a salary.
Many initial hires weren’t able to keep up with the pace, he said, but those who stayed have become very successful.
“We profiled the agents and tried to figure out what makes the agents who work well with us, work well with us?”
So he reached out to Lever, the company that helped Netflix create a recruiting system, to craft a system that pulled data from MLSs and applicants’ social media profiles. From there, they’d compare the applicants’ profile to the profiles of current, successful Redefy agents.
Rediger admitted his company has “herds of nerds” to help take care of their tech needs, but he believes that all indie brokers must invest in a recruitment CRM to be successful.