Today’s real estate landscape is filled with noise about supposedly game-changing technology. But without a clear purpose, this technology has limited value and utility.
Recently while at ICSF, I attended a demo from a newer “technology-focused” brokerage claiming to have a platform that could disrupt the real estate industry. The interface of their product was indeed modern and sleek, but as the discussion concluded, one major topic was left unaddressed: how will this technology help agents improve their business?
In pursuit of the next shiny new thing, many brokerages are ignoring this essential question, and that’s a miss. At Coldwell Banker, we develop technology by asking, “What problem am I solving and how can it increase agent productivity?”
Agile for agents
I’m an agile development advocate. Agile is a process that promotes rapid development cycles, allowing you to pivot quickly based on changing priorities and needs. One of the main concepts in agile development is that you must constantly evaluate your product against your goals. The data, input, and feedback from users guide the next upgrade. The process drives the improvements.
Applying this approach lets us collect and act on the feedback quickly. That gives the development team the opportunity to constantly increase the value of our technology for agents.
Taking a scientific approach to tech
Real technologists are like scientists. We start with a hypothesis – in this case it’s an idea for a product to make agents more productive. Then we do research to make sure we are on the right track.
Through our Voice of the Customer program, Coldwell Banker collects insights from our network to find areas where technology could alleviate a pain point. Once we identify the need and have a concept for how to address it, we find a group of agents to pilot the technology to ensure its success.
This process played out with our newest product, CBx Seller Leads, which is part of the CBx Technology Suite. Our hypothesis was that we could address the issue of low inventory by using big data to predict which households were likely to sell before they ever reached out to an agent to discuss the possibility of putting their home on the market.
Prior to launch, we conducted a pilot program to test our hypothesis, and the results confirmed that the product was effective. CBx Seller Leads is now uncovering hidden inventory using predictive analytics and machine learning, growing more and more accurate over time – a benefit no one else in the industry is providing.
The two requirements for release
Not every concept makes it out of the pilot stage. We focus our efforts on technology that provides real value to agents and brokers. That’s why our products must meet two requirements before release: they must have the ability to increase agent productivity and be something an agent will actually use.
The biggest hurdle to increasing agent productivity is the inventory shortage. CBx Seller Leads addresses that head on – over 45,000 leads have been distributed since the product launched in May.
And people are using it. An office in Utah that followed up on 25 new leads from CBx Seller Leads secured one listing, two listing presentations and another likely to list in the near future. Boyd Livingston, General Manager at Coldwell Banker Premier, has been using CBx Seller Leads since the day it launched and explained, “Because of the lack of inventory, these leads are so critical. It gives us a leg up.”
CBx technology is thoughtfully designed by people who know real estate and are committed to accelerating agents’ business growth – not creating the next Silicon Valley unicorn. Other brokerages may tout their tech, but at Coldwell Banker, agents always come first. Technology development is an integral aspect of our business, but it will always support our larger purpose: empowering agents.