Brokers helping their agents to thrive
With ever-improving tech and new ways to advertise every day, agents obviously need to stay up-to-date on the best technology to get ahead and keep improving. Besides honing skills, utilizing technology to your benefit can one day put you in top producer status, too.
But what about brokerages? What should brokerages be doing in terms of technology to help their agents’ businesses in terms of staying ahead of the game?
I reached out to a few brokerages to see what they provide and pay for to help their agents:
I asked Rich Rogola, digital strategist for Coldwell Banker’s Chicago offices, what most of the company’s money goes to when it comes to websites and software that helps agents. “We invest a lot of money into our own technology and end up building a lot of that out,” he said. “Most of our marketing spending and strategy goes into generating online business for our agents, making sure those leads go back to our agents as quickly as possible and then giving them the tools to stay in touch with their clients during and after the transaction.”
Coldwell Banker also has various partner programs. In Chicago, the brokerage has a subsidized deal for single property websites through Homefinder.com, and Coldwell Banker also pays for agents’ listings on Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.
In addition, the company has an eMarketing platform available for free to all agents that helps them stay in touch with clients through email or social media, and provides Homebase, a secure and paperless online transaction management system, for free.
Baird & Warner
This company recently implemented a texting program available to all agents for free, according to Andrea Cordts, communications manager for Baird & Warner. Any buyer interested in any Baird & Warner property can text “BW” to the number 59559, and the user will receive information and property photos via their mobile device. From there, the listing agent will receive the user’s phone number and be able to contact the potential buyer regarding more information or a showing.
“Since it was launched in January of last year, Baird & Warner has received over 30,000 buyer inquiries from this marketing method,” Cordts said.
In addition, Baird & Warner has a mobile CRM that helps them respond to clients in a timely manner, and the company runs over 6,000 websites integrated within this system, and provides the means for agents to create individual property websites for agents to market listings. Baird & Warner also hosts a seminar called “Career Institute” every few months to make sure all agents are familiar with its tech tools.
The company has several partnerships, among them with HomeFinder.com, Realtor.com, Homes.com and Trulia, which provides discounts to its agents for certain advertising packages with the various partner sites. For example, agents have a 50 percent discount with the Showcase Advantage program with Trulia and Homes.com.
This boutique firm of about 159 agents and four offices in Chicago pays for all of its agents’ advertisements on Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and the Chicago Tribune. The agents are on their own for their own websites.
To me, the most helpful tech “tool” brokerages could do for agents would be paying to advertise listings online. Are brokerage-provided CRMs of any benefit to agents? What do you wish your brokerage provided for you, and what’s better handled yourself?
Note from AGBeat: not all brokerages responded in time to be included in the story. The above is a sampling of brokerages, and is not meant to be a complete dissection of the industry.