The difference between closed and open platforms exposed
By Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships, Moxi Works
- A platform is like a power strip; it lets you plug and unplug tools
- An open platform differentiates a broker’s tool set, aiding recruiting and retention
- The difference between a closed and open platform is monumental
A “Platform” is whatever you want it to be
Platforms have existed in technology for ages. Most industries have already adopted them, but it’s a relatively new idea for a residential brokerage. I’ve noticed that the word “platform” is being thrown around heavily right now – it’s the 2017 buzz word and because of that, it’s starting to lose its meaning.
Some of these vendors that are calling themselves “platforms,” however, don’t actually do what they should and because of that, you’ll need to know what to look for. There are five basic services that a proper platform should have and offer:
- Property data that can be shared across all tools eliminating redundant entry
- Brokerage and agent data that’s up to date
- Consumer data so technology can help agents manage their SOI
- Integration with both Microsoft and Google cloud environment to easily and securely share data across tech companies
- An API (it allows other tech companies to integrate and share common data)
Let’s also put some rumors to rest. Just because you use a platform doesn’t mean you need to embrace the entire platform. It would be insane for a single brokerage to use every single one of our 30 integrated partners. A platform is whatever you want it to be for your brokerage.
Also, Security isn’t an inherent problem in open platforms just because a system is open, doesn’t mean it’s insecure. YouTube for instance, is an open platform site. No one is afraid to use it.
Closed vs. Open Platforms
I have to shed light on how important the distinction between a closed vs. open platform is. Many vendors that call themselves “platforms” are just products that sit on a database with no API – meaning they have no way to communicate effectively with one another. Here are some examples:
Open platform: Microsoft Windows. Windows is an operating system that allows you to download whatever you want, whether that’s QuickBooks for your taxes or Adobe Photoshop, and delete the apps you no longer want or use. If apple is more your speed, think iPhone and the AppStore.
Closed platform: Video game consoles. If you buy a game for Xbox and you get a Sony PlayStation, you have to buy your games all over again. The choice is not up to you if you ever decide to switch.
As a broker, this means with a closed platform you have to go with whatever tools the vendor chose to work with OR the vendor built it all themselves and can’t afford to evolve it over time at the same speed as competitors. Either way, it can be a disastrous future for a brokerage.
The reality is, no one can be great at everything. An open platform allows a brokerage to get all of the best tools out there, have them work together, and can change tools at will – hassle free.
Open Platform Benefits
If you’re a broker and you’ve already invested in some tech solutions over the past three or four years like a digital transaction tool, gifting, or lead partners, you don’t have to change them to get on an open platform; you integrate them and preserve your investment in agent training. That’s why an open platform is so dominant: the power and tools stay in the brokerages hands. They help companies retain the tools they love and find replacements for the ones they aren’t jiving with.
If you choose a platform provider for those benefits today, that provider can help you flawlessly transition as new tools come online in the future. At the end of the day that’s what everyone wants right? No headaches and a shorter list of items for a brokerage to worry about.
If those are not good enough reasons to use an open platform, then how about this: money. Maintenance and support are cheaper on an open platform because it leverages the entire community that makes up the cloud. Development time also decreases. Boeing doesn’t make aircrafts, they assemble them.
What’s an Ecosystem?
This is another term used in the platform realm. An ecosystem is a collection of complimentary applications all working together, sharing data, that make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Each platform has its own ecosystem that makes up the cloud.
Again, think of your iPhone. You can have all of your applications together so that the device becomes an indispensable business tool. You get to pick à la carte whatever applications you need and don’t have to worry about how they work together. If you find later you don’t like an application, you can delete it and install a different one.
Why a Brokerage Should Care
It’s no secret that the pace of change for real estate technology is accelerating. We know that there are hundreds of companies making technology for residential real estate, which makes for thousands of applications available for use today.
What this means to a brokerage owner is that there’s no way to predict which companies and applications are going to succeed or even to envision what technologies will come into the market in the future.
Having a platform and ecosystem of applications that run on it is the key to agent productivity and retention. If you don’t think that having a complete integrated technology platform and applications to offer your agents is important, talk to a broker that just lost an agent to Compass.
If you choose the right platform, you’re going to get most of the benefits that Upstream promises for your brokerage today and will future-proof your brokerage for what’s to come in the future.
With over 30 integrated vendors and growing fast, Moxi Works is very excited to announce our new addition to the Moxi Cloud: QuantumDigital.
QuantumDigital is renowned in the world of direct mail, digital, and email marketing for real estate. It’s hard to beat solutions that generate revenue, all while having a 24-hour turnaround time for postcards and all print marketing.
The Moxi Cloud open platform is an entire system built specifically for brokerages and agents to make their lives more efficient. This new vendor will be integrated into the Moxi Cloud through our sphere marketing system powered by Moxi Engage CRM.
“QuantumDigital has great relationships in the real estate industry and we’re jazzed to be partnered with them. Integrated in the Moxi Cloud, together we bring a seamless print, digital, and email experience to our broker and agent customers. We’re looking forward to innovating with the Quantum Digital team,” said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships.
Jim Damman founded QuantumDigital in the 80’s to provide a simple way for agents to generate leads, while freeing up their time to meet clients face-to-face. He pioneered the concept of targeted direct mail and created a postcard marketing service that was fast and easy. Since then, they have paved the way for real estate marketing.
Agents can utilize their offerings by choosing from hundreds of online marketing services or the classic and effective direct mail solution. Some direct mail postcard marketing options include Just Listed postcards, farming, and buyer follow-up.
With agents in mind, QuantumDigital created easy ordering tools that store agents’ photos, company logo, and other details to save agents time in the ordering and checkout process. Their suite of products and services was truly created to make direct mail simple and fast for real estate agents. After all, they’ve been doing it for over 30 years in the industry!
Learn more about QuantumDigital and their deep roots in real estate below:
The Moxi Cloud’s newest integrated partner is Spacio, an app that allows agents to host paperless open houses and turns them into powerful sales opportunities. We’re excited to have Spacio on our open platform to provide an easy and effective way for agents to create new client relationships.
Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships said, “Spacio is a great lead capture solution for agents. By integrating Spacio’s application into the Moxi Cloud, we can automatically insert contacts from an open house to our CRM, Moxi Engage and then email a CMA directly to all the walk-thru’s for follow-up.”
Here’s how it works:
Simple and Paperless Lead Capture
A modern and inviting sign-in form collects visitor information and leaves them with an unforgettable first impression. Spacio verifies the accuracy of visitors’ contact information so agents can focus their efforts on the highest quality leads.
Spacio automatically sends a follow up email to prospects after they sign in. Through Moxi Present, the follow up email can include agent’s customized interactive presentations of the listing. Spacio also gives agents access to all the open house leads in our Moxi Engage CRM.
Get Insights on Your Most Likely Customers
Spacio gathers social insights on visitors and surfaces the most likely customers based on the agent’s Ideal Customer Profile. Lead Quality Scores are based on the agent’s preferences and a variety of factors, including how visitors answer questions on the sign-in form and public data available on leads.
Real-Time Reporting on Brokerage-Wide Activities
Make more effective, data-driven decisions on sales, marketing, and training with comprehensive real-time reporting on company-wide open house activities.
Spacio utilizes the information already in the Moxi Works open platform including brokerage branding and agent/office roster information. Moxi Works’ customers can enjoy automatic onboarding of all agents, including complete agent profiles with headshots in Spacio and all listings automatically populated upon account creation. This means agents spend no time migrating to Spacio and more time using it.
Find out more about Spacio and the wave it’s making in the real estate industry by clicking here.
The Moxi Cloud is the solution to the antiquated real estate industry problem that there was no true open platform available. Our goal is to become the power strip that brokerages can plug new tools into and unplug the tools that are no longer working for them.
Now with dozens of integrated partners, we pride ourselves on having best in class tools available to our brokerage clients – that’s where Flipt comes in. Flipt connects home sellers to top real estate professionals on the web and mobile by using housing and social data.
“Seller lead generation for active real estate agents is critical when inventory is hard to come by. No product, no listing, no bueno. Flipt + Moxi Works provides quality listing prospects directly imported to Moxi Engage. Flipt’s approach by promoting an agent across media properties to surface potential listings is unique,” said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships.
Flipt has carefully vetted their advertising partners and they include the top advertising networks in the business, such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, Spotify, Goodreads, Hulu, Vimeo, and the list goes on.
Flipt lets you claim your zip codes and within a few minutes launches your locally targeted campaign with their easy-to-use ad builder. Within 24 hours your ads are online, where motivated sellers click and request your information from your free Flipt landing page. Follow up with these inquiries on Moxi Engage and have everything in one spot.
Watch how Flipt works:
What separates Flipt from the rest, is that they only show ads to verified homeowners, only in your selected zip code. Agents don’t have to worry about wasting their advertising budget on random people surfing the web.
Buyside has officially teamed up with Moxi Works to deliver agents a great source for seller leads via the Moxi Works open platform.
Buyside brings over 175 years of combined real estate experience to assist brokerages in turning their buyer data into leads, listings, and profits. With an impressive list of clients and a great team, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them with us.
How does it work? Each agent receives a seller lead-gen marketing suite complete with a landing page that has multiple home valuations in order to drive homeowners to seek the guidance of a professional agent. Their intelligent system cross-references against every actively searching buyer to alert your listing agents of matches. All of these leads drop right into Moxi Engage for little to no effort for agents.
“Buyside is a powerful and easy add-in to any broker website that turns your traffic into seller leads. Using Moxi’s open platform API, Buyside automatically sends these new leads into Moxi Engage for an agent to nurture and grow their sphere with zero effort,” said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships at Moxi Works.
Buyside is a seamless solution that easily integrates with how your brokerage does business and by that we mean: they get it. It’s easy to set up, launch and use. Plus, like all Moxi products, Buyside uses Single Sign-On (SSO) so agents don’t have to remember yet another password. Agents can track online activity for active listings and send seller clients a weekly report on their listings activity.
Buyside believes buyer data is the largest untapped asset within a brokerage and represents the final frontier in the digital transformation today in real estate. “Buyside prides ourselves on delivering quality service to the brokerage community and so it was a no brainer to partner with someone like the Moxi Works team who share the same vision” said Buyside CEO, Charles Williams.
If you want more seller leads, Buyside will get you there. Agents generate thousands of buyer leads every month and Buyside uses that buyer data to capture seller leads. Grow your sphere of influence by letting the data do the talking.
Watch how their system works:
iTourMedia is our latest and greatest partner, bringing automated social video distribution to our open platform. iTour lets agents create and edit videos, and through their partnership with Facebook, makes it easy for agents to reach their target audience.
Social media has been a key part of marketing for brokerages and agents as of late, but it can be really time consuming. Some brokerages have dedicated staff to help their agents with social, others hire assistants to do the tedious work.
Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships at Moxi Works said, “iTour Media is another great Moxi partner that’s taking advantage of our open platform. An agent can easily promote their listings on Facebook and their other social media accounts fully managed by the iTour team. It’s a simple button click to start and the “boost” really works for agent branding and property promotion.”
Now with the help of iTourMedia, agents can create visually compelling short videos and push them straight to Facebook all with one app. Why video? 80% of the worlds Internet traffic will be video by 2019 (Cisco, 2015). Besides, it’s the beautiful photos and videos that agents curate that often sell homes.
Knowing what days and times to post can be tricky. iTourMedia’s optimized social schedule allows you to push and boost posts based on the most optimal time of day, meaning more bang for your buck.
There are a variety of plans iTour offers brokerages and agents. For example, their Social Connextions Managed Services gets you experienced social content editors that setup social accounts and manage targeted posting on behalf of an agent. They’ll setup up to 3 social Connextions (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or LinkedIn) and link all social Connextions to Hootsuite for easy combined posting.
iTour even has a Social Audit available where you can receive an action plan to make sure you have optimized your social set-up. If you aren’t there yet, have them set up your Facebook page with a custom branded banner and optimal business configuration. Whether you’re a social media junkie or just starting to dip your toes in the water, iTour holds your hand while you jump in.
Social advertising via Facebook is based on the agent or brokerage’s Facebook Ad account.
iTour grants access to analytics through their app, but they are also accessible through Facebook accounts.
Watch the iTourMedia tour:
iTour will be integrated with Moxi Present, giving agents the ability to add the iTour home tour in their presentations. If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon, do so before it’s too late! While you’re waiting, your competition is growing their following and readership.
Moxi Works is growing fast and has another new partner, SnapNHD. This partnership is meant to provide a quick way for agents to get Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD) reports in the hands of their clients.
What is a Natural Hazard Disclosure? Real estate agents and brokerages are legally required to disclose if the property being sold lies within one or more state or locally mapped hazard areas. The law requires the hazards be disclosed on a form called a Natural Hazard Disclosure. SnapNHD reports offer more than the six mandatory hazards; depending on the area there might be info on environmental related issues, airport influences, and Megan’s Law.
SnapNHD offers a fully integrated digital signature solution which makes it fast and easy to sign the NHD. Their platform allows them to offer the best report for the lowest price in the industry. Right when the listing hits the MLS, the report is delivered to the agent via email. As a reminder, it is also emailed to the agent when the listing moves to Pending.
SnapNHD will also soon offer the industry’s first text bot, which lets customers order and receive NHD reports via text message.
York Baur, Moxi Works CEO says, “SnapNHD is a great example of the automation value made possible by the Moxi platform and how with a click of a button an agent can have this very necessary thing happen. That is the genius of SnapNHD – they’ve taken advantage of the technical capabilities of an open platform. Agents don’t have to waste time entering a bunch of data and risk inputting the information wrong.”
With the best technology in the Natural Hazard Disclosure industry, SnapNHD is so passionate about protecting homeowners that they donate 1% of their gross revenue to homeowners affected by natural disasters.
SnapNHD Example Report
“We’re also big fans of SnapNHD’s give back mentality like we have with the Moxi Fund; they’re making it about more than just business,” said York Baur.
Read more about SnapNHD and how it’s positively affecting the Natural Disaster Industry in this Inman article.
Moxi Works has a new partner and their name is Offrs! This partnership was created to provide agents with quality seller leads. At Offrs, they identify over 70% of the homes that will sell in the coming year using predictive analytics. Now integrated with the Moxi open platform, seller leads are placed into the Moxi Engage™ CRM and are noted that they are sourced from Offrs.
Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships said, “Together with Offrs, Moxi Works delivers agents new listing opportunities every month. Quality seller leads are discovered and nurtured by our lead generation partner Offrs, then seamlessly integrated with Moxi Engage, providing agents highly valued listing referrals coupled with an automated follow-up process. The team at Offrs have been awesome to work with as we integrated our solutions.”
So, how do they do it? They conduct an in-depth analysis of the data that then predicts when people will sell. This data is then presented to the agent via their Territory. Each agent chooses a Territory which includes details on every property or property owner, including mailing address, email, phone number, and a predictive seller score that is updated each month based on thousands of data points.
Getting your Territory is relatively simple:
• Step one is picking a territory that is available (you can even pick more than one).
• Simply put in the zip code and you’ll see the number of homes and the likely sellers in your territory.
• Once you set up your account, you’ll be emailed a report every month that pertains to your territory.
The reality is, 75% of homeowners choose the first agent who contacts them to list their home. Getting to sellers first is a major advantage to agents using Offrs. Offrs markets to the predicted sellers via email, on-line targeting, direct mail, and call targeting to generate a lead. The leads are then contacted and qualified before being given to the agent in the Moxi Works platform.
Hear what brokers have to say about the listing leads:
Ready to get legit leads in your inbox? It’s time to grow your business!
Moxi Works’ latest open platform partner, Imprev, Inc. allows them to provide a simple, effective way for agents to market all of their listings without lifting a finger.
“We’re excited to expand our partner program to include an industry leader like Imprev Marketing. They have a long history of delighting their agent customers and together we have created a seamless experience for all Moxi Engage users,” said Mike McHenry, head of Partnerships.
Imprev drives synergy between the broker and agent’s marketing, empowering them to effortlessly promote their listings, brands, and brokerages through custom digital, social media, and print creative. Adding this onto the Moxi Works platform allows agents to focus on what they do best: sell.
Imprev allows brokerages and their agents to stay fully-branded with a custom marketing package for each and every listing.
Not only is everything fully-branded, but each package is also brand consistent. This allows agents to market listings across all verticals with print and digital marketing (including social media) for professional looking content, every step of the way.
The marketing materials provided in each package also automatically update for the lifespan of the listing, to insure that agents’ marketing is never out of sync.
Imprev is completely and fully integrated into the Moxi Works experience. Here’s what that means:
– Agents can access Imprev directly through Moxi Works without needing to re-enter your user id and password
– Agent’s contacts will be synchronized from Moxi Works to Imprev, greatly speeding up the process of communicating
Imprev provides automated marketing services, including listing automation, lead and customer nurturing, email campaigns, and marketing centers.
Imprev is part of the rapidly expanding Moxi Works open platform.
The Moxi Works open platform has just become even bigger with our DocuSign partnership! This partnership allows our CRM to provide a fully digital transaction management program for our agents to manage their workflow with clients.
“Partnering with the team at Moxi Works to deliver a streamlined experience for agents ties into our DocuSign ’Lead to Close‘ strategy. By seamlessly integrating the tools agents use every day, we help them remain at the center of the transaction to deliver great service to their clients while eliminating manual data entry, paperwork and associated cost and delays,” says Georg Gerstenfeld, General Manager of Global Real Estate Solutions at DocuSign.
When it’s time for a transaction, Moxi Engage CRM creates a digital transaction room for the agent with all of the client and property info auto-populated. The digital transaction room enables the creation, editing, and sending of documents to anyone and everyone involved in the transaction. This means clients, loan officers, escrow, etc. can all interact within the same space. Now agents can also see the status of where each participant is in the buying and/or selling process, allowing for proper transaction management and maintenance to take place when needed.
York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works says, “Our open platform and our partnership enables us to achieve the first truly end-to-end digital transaction. Many have tried, but until now there wasn’t a feasible player in the game. Teaming up with Glenn Shimkus, VP of Product at DocuSign has been huge; his idea of making DocuSign an open platform has matched ours and that’s what allowed us to achieve this vision of an end-to-end digital transaction between both of our platforms.”
For those that may not be familiar, an open platform means having published, secure, API’s for all of the important functions and data that allow applications to work together. It may sound confusing, but the definition doesn’t matter. What matters is that this allows brokerages to remove stone age tools and plug in best-in-class applications and tools that agents need today. An Open Platform delivers incomparable productivity to help better business and life.
Understand how important it is having your tools integrated on one platform:
Make your agents and clients happy with an open platform and the new DocuSign integration!
*Image courtesy DocuSign.