It’s always exciting to talk to a broker who is doing some really innovative things when it comes to technology and training their agents.
I recently had the chance to interview Jonathan Boatwright from Realty Austin. Realty Austin has been in business since 2004 and has three locations: downtown Austin, Westlake and Lake Travis, with 130 total agents.
I had a really interesting conversation about Jonathan’s philosophies in regards to training and recruiting as well as lead generation. After chatting with him, I thought it would be really great to share his insights with our InmanNext audience.
Realty Austin is generating an enormous amount of leads through its site. Here is a screen shot of the home page. I showcased a few key parts that really stood out to me, including a clean navigation, strong calls to action and a very solid social media presence.
Jonathan, what are the types of agents you attract to your brokerage?
We attract experienced agents who are progressive, tech-savvy, innovative marketers. Our average agent has been in the business almost 10 years.
What is your background and why is technology so important for you and your brokerage?
We grew up as an online focused brokerage and have generated about 30 percent of our business online every year. We now leverage CRM and marketing automation to help keep our agents in front of their clients in a consistent and professional manner, generating more business than ever from their database.
You’ve told me about your website and you have some really impressive numbers. How many visits do you get per month and how many leads does that generate?
We had 141,000 unique visitors in the past 30 days, and we generated about 3,200 new leads in the last 30 days.
How do you handle the volume of leads? How do you use Salesforce?
Our website is integrated with Salesforce in real time, which allows our agents to see the new leads as they sign up or return to our site, and to pick and choose the leads that are looking at homes in the areas and price ranges they prefer to work.
What is your lead conversion rate and why is that important to you?
Our conversion rate for the leads our agents “claim” is 3.9 percent. This is much higher than the industry average, because our agents are able to pick the leads they want, and take ownership of pursuing each new relationship.
How much of your business comes from your site and how much of it comes from agents’ SOI/past clients?
Thirty percent direct from the website, 70 percent from SOI/past clients.
Technology is at the forefront for your brokerage. Do you get any “push-back” from agents?
Not really. They have to embrace technology to work at our company. That said, we give them plenty of training and try not to adopt every new technology that comes along. We adopt only best-of-breed systems, many of which are not tailored for real estate out of the box, but have to be customized for our business.
You also have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter with more than 4,000 total fans/followers. How do you maximize that? Brand building? Lead generation? Other?
We currently use social media to get the word out about our company and our agents to build a bridge with the community. We don’t use it for lead generation, just brand building.
You said you have only 12 desks to rent with a waiting list. Are you finding that most of your agents work at home? If so, how do you keep them engaged and integrated into your team?
Most of our agents work at home and out of their cars. Our systems keep them very connected with the heartbeat of our company, so they really feel like they are in more of a team environment, even though they don’t see one another daily.
How do you feel like you stand ahead of the crowd?
We believe in a servant leadership model, where we serve our agents, not the other way around. Our staff employs the same philosophy, so our agents are all treated as our customers. We’ve found that if you have happy agents, then you also have happy clients. We survey every closed client and very rarely encounter someone who wasn’t overjoyed with his or her experience.
Thank you, Jonathan, for your time and for sharing some of your key insights with us!
You can find Realty Austin on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/realtyaustin and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/realtyaustin.
I’d love your comments about this type of brokerage model. Do you see this type of model in your market? Leave me your feedback below!