Realogy announced Wednesday it’s launching a new lead conversion tool, built in conjunction with the Austin-based real estate technology company OJO Labs, the firm behind the artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant OJO.
Called Conversion Boost, the new tool will be available to agents affiliated with all of Realogy’s brands in roughly the next two months. It is being rolled out ahead of schedule due to COVID-19, but it’s been in the works for some time. It qualifies and nurtures internet leads for brokerages and their agents, and OJO Labs boasts that it increases conversion rates by more than 200 percent.
“With everything going on in the world, we believe it’s extremely important for our brokers to own the upswing and be able to convert every opportunity that comes across their desk,” Morgan Salama, the senior director and Head of Realogy Launchpad, the company’s internal think tank, told Inman.
Salama’s team, which sits inside Realogy’s strategy office, is focused on incubating and launching early stage, high-impact tools for agents. Salama is able to work with Realogy’s brokers and agents to help develop products, like the early ideation of Realogy’s Social Ad Engine.
“We’re really able to build for the market, whether that’s building something national or building for the needs of a more niche market,” Salama said. “I talk to our data team on a regular basis, I’m talking to agents on a regular basis, and that’s able to help us build and incubate some really great products and programs.”
OJO Labs and Realogy’s Launchpad have been working together for more than two years, and Realogy has previously invested in OJO Labs.
For conversion boost, the partnership with OJO Labs was natural, due to the OJO Labs’ background in artificial intelligence (AI) and developing AI-powered tools. The deeper into developing these tools, the more OJO Labs began to realize that brokers and agents were an increasing part of the story, John Berkowitz, co-founder and CEO of OJO Labs, told Inman.
The problems OJO Labs were trying to solve, he explained, were many of the same problems that brokers and agents were facing.
“It was a natural transition to say, our consumers need these agents and these brokers and agents have trouble creating a good consumer experience and converting leads from websites or portal purchases to transactions,” Berkowitz said. “All of the things we built over the years naturally lends itself to delivering value to the broker and agent while delivering value to the consumer.”
The goal of Conversion Boost, according to Berkowitz, is to make the experience of going from searching for a home on a brokerage website or a portal to visiting a home with an agent, one that’s better, faster and has a higher percentage of happening for an agent.
“If you are a broker today, less than 2 percent of the leads that come off a website will end up transacting with your real estate agents,” Berkowitz said.
Conversion Boost has three key components and starts at the first point of contact. OJO Labs’ customer service team vets leads as soon as they come in, and if the homebuyer is ready to speak with an agent, the team will foster a warm transfer. Those still in the early phases will be onboarded to OJO, the AI-powered virtual homebuying assistant.
The buyers in the early phases will receive personalized property recommendations and guidance from OJO, which aims to keep consumers engaged and supported throughout the journey, until it’s time to hand them off to an agent.
As buyers engage with listings, the technology can develop a deep understanding of an individual’s preferences, which leads to better, more personalized recommendations. It also allows OJO to deliver critical insights into what buyers want and need, so when they are handed off to an agent, that agent is better able to serve the client.
As Realogy has deepened its focus on technology, artificial intelligence has been a key area for the nation’s largest real estate holding company, which includes a massive owned brokerage and franchise group, including Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Sotheby’s International Realty, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Corcoran and ERA Real Estate.
“There’s so much what we’re doing focused on what I call value proposition for our franchisees or affiliates, and this is one of many initiatives that we’ve launched or are launching soon across a breadth of tools,” Dave Gordon, Realogy’s chief technology officer, told Inman.
“There’s a lot of AI that we’re building into our tools. I like to think of them as intelligent products, not just products,” Gordon added. “This is just one of several.”
The company is also building a new AI leads engine, according to Gordon, which is a tool that matches agents and leads using machine learning. It’s also using AI to improve the rate of title capture for Realogy Title Group.
“We’re embedding AI into many of our products now, which is really our strategy,” Gordon said. “As it’s all rolling out, it’s clearly starting to pay off.”