First, recently acquired by RE/MAX, is an app for discovering new business from old leads and existing contacts.

First, an app for driving business from existing contacts — and now a RE/MAX product — has become mobile-only and added features that support the coaching approach that underlies its intent.

I had a look at its new iteration recently, merely days before its acquisition by RE/MAX was announced, guided by CEO and Co-Founder Mike Schneider, and I came away excited for the agents who would use it.

There are number of impressive features within the app, but as a technology columnist, I’ve seen great features get hampered by poor onboarding or a tedious setup process.

Challenging him to make good on his promise of an easy setup, Schneider timed the installation and initial launch of the app on my phone. It took 5:43.

First’s Mike Schneider shows off his app’s setup time.

In that time, the app was downloaded, I entered my general details, stepped through the basics common to most apps, and it scanned my contacts and email accounts to build my network. Ready to go.

First has been enriched with a little “gamification,” a term I typically don’t entertain because it’s so often broadly applied to any number of features that track progress.

First leverages the idea in more of a coaching manner, using animated alerts and cards to encourage contacting and “getting in flow” with.

The My Funnel card plainly displays Opportunities, In-Flow List and your Hot List. The first and last not needing explanation, In-Flow means connecting with an existing contact or at least actively understanding their current buying or selling position. It’s the middle ground between a basic contact and an active client or lead.

Entering your MLS ID pulls in the stats of your current market, allowing you to stay on top of listings connected to your existing network. And, it’s also the main source of a new feature that tracks how much in commission you’re losing each time someone you know sells or buys a home. That’s more kick-in-the-pantsification than gamification. But I guess that’s the idea.

Expect to encounter an app that comes off as light and supportive, it’s not an eye-searing sheet of names and numbers or a clinical, hardline approach to getting deals done. That’s what makes First effective — its cut-and-dry take on the power of who you already know.

I think First can be quite advantageous as a second CRM, which is something I wouldn’t normally recommend. Use it to supplement your larger, omnichannel marketing suite or broker’s enterprise software. Its mobile capability and quick setup make it a powerful tool for finding commissions you’re not always looking for.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.

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