Here’s the deal: 65% of the Real Trends top brokerages know one big idea and they’re acting on it. Which means, if you’re not in that 65% – chances are you’re doing something wrong or you’re going to quickly fall behind. With brokerage dollars shrinking and agent adoption of technology tools at all-time lows, what are the most productive brokerages in the industry doing better than everyone else?
The one big idea
The top brokerages are consolidating technology tools and focusing on increasing agent productivity, while getting industry leading CMA and CRM tools. And, they’re doing it by having visibility into their business at the brokerage level.
These top brokerages are using the only true open platform in the industry. Not sure what that means quite yet? You’ll find out below. The point is, those not future-proofing their brokerages with open platforms are not going to exist on the top Real Trends list for many more years.
Picture this. Your brokerage: Being differentiated from competitors. Increasing technology adoption. Improving recruiting and retention. And a major productivity rise. All this, just by employing a system that provides best-in-class tools and services you already know and love, and swapping out tools that are no longer performing. Plus, agent adoption rates well over 80% and up to a 43% increase with seller-side and buyer-side transactions.
This is what an open platform can give you. All your data in one place. Your agent roster, property data from your MLS, brokerage assets, brokerage data, consumer data, agent CRM contacts, and an API that allows any tools you want to plug in and play nicely with all the rest of your tools and everything we just mentioned. This is what our Moxi Cloud open platform looks like for reference:
Technology is becoming more segmented for agents and evolving at warped speed. That and brokerage dollars are shrinking, the talent pool for recruiting is getting tighter, and creating business efficiencies are more critical now than ever. If there’s a time to get your brokerage ducks in a row, it’s now. Because eventually, it’ll be too late. If you embrace it now, the future of your brokerage will be much, much smoother.
Find out more about Moxi Works and open platforms here. Don’t feel like exploring? Watch the video below.
Data is the currency you will need in order to exist in the very, very near future. The real estate industry won’t be able to stick their heads in the sand on this one, especially since the majority of industries are already embracing data with open arms. Brokerage data is quickly becoming the soul of the brokerage business that keeps its heart beating and its legs moving.
Why this is happening
The thing many don’t realize, is that data isn’t just a list of numbers. Data is what integration is literally made of. Data = integration. Ever wonder how you could log in to your brokerage’s intranet and have everything you need right there? The answer: Data.
Everything is moving to the cloud. Data gets stored and managed in the cloud. Much of it gets stored and managed by Amazon Web Services. Their data saw revenues soar to over $12.2B in 2016. Salesforce, another data management platform, generated $6.67B in fiscal 2016 revenue. Last quarter, Microsoft’s commercial cloud business exceeded a $10B annual run rate. The company is still projecting this number to hit $20B by 2018.
Data is taking over the world and brokerages have no choice but to hop on the bandwagon. The future of the brokerage depends on how they manage their data.
Data is useless if it doesn’t work flawlessly together and isn’t stored in a shared environment. Picture your brokerage data like an ecosystem. Remember those miniature ecosystems built in a plastic bottle that every generation has to make in their elementary science class?
An ecosystem is a collection of complimentary applications all working together, sharing data, that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Any computer you’ve ever used in the modern age has its own ecosystem. Whether it’s that Epson printer you’re using or the many applications you go through in a day like Skype, QuickBooks, or Adobe, everything works together as soon as you install it. If you don’t like an application, you delete it and get another one. It’s as simple as that.
Our open platform is where your brokerage apps get their data. The three core data sources of a brokerage data exchange are:
- Property data
- Brokerage and agent data
- Consumer data
How to cope
Whether you’re climbing 29,035 feet up Mt. Everest, the tallest point on earth, or looking to grow your brokerage – preparation is key. A solid data exchange plan isn’t something that can happen for a brokerage overnight, unless they choose to get advice and help from the experts.
For instance, many might say that a brokerage platform only needs to have those three data points working seamlessly together. But that’s just not true. When it comes to a truly open platform, they should also have integration with the cloud environment with Microsoft and Google and an open API allowing other technologies to integrate. API is what allows the integration to happen.
Moral of the story: educate yourself, so you can future-proof your brokerage today for what’s to come.
Looking to the future
This isn’t meant to scare brokerages, it’s meant to warn them. While many things in the future are uncertain and we can’t know for sure exactly what will happen and when, we do know that data will be the star of that show. Whether it’s Amazon, Netflix, or the brokerage down the street, businesses will survive and thrive with the data they have and the way they each choose to use it. The conqueror of data will be the conqueror of business and vice versa.
Our entire existence at Moxi Works is built on the goal to make brokerages more profitable by making their agents more productive. Agent recruiting and retention will always exist and while it does, we’ll exist to make it easier for the brokerage to do just that. If this all sounds super overwhelming and you have a slight headache, it’s probably time to pick up the phone and call someone that can advise you and simplify this major step to provide your brokerage with a solid future. Hint: Moxi Works is chalk full of advisors.
With advancements in technologies, brokers are finding that they need to advance their brokerages as well in order to keep up. This doesn’t have to be a drastic, impromptu change, though. We’re challenging brokers to take a step back and think about how they can put systems in place within their brokerage that will align with the changing technological environment of the industry.
Data is power
“More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.” – AnalyticsWeek.com
Data is the currency that will give you an ROI on your technology. Data exchange improves productivity and optimizes operations acrossorganizations in all industries. Real estate is no exception, and we’re already seeing that those brokerages who adopt technologies with consideration for the future, are making significant advancements as a business. Data exchange is what enables an agent to auto-fill MLS information into their presentation, managers to see how for their agents are to their unique GCI goals, brokerages to manage their organization’s roster, and financial success.
Open platform allows fast integrations
The ‘plug and play’ concept is great (we clearly live by it), but only if the plugging and playing can be done quickly. Changing technologies can be incredibly painful and costly for businesses and it’s a major pain point for brokerages in today’s world. The reason brokerages are opting for an open platform API is to hedge against these problems in the future, as the solution enables fast integration of new technologies.
The API (Application Programming Interface) is the key to the open platform. It allows brokerages to plug and play the tools they need into one platform. It means that you have the exact technology solutions you need, when you need them. We integrated 12 tool and service providers within two months. That means within just a couple of months, our brokerage clients had a dozen more technology solutions at their fingertips and they’re able to use what they’d like and forget what they don’t.
From the partner’s perspective, it means they’re able to easily integrate with the Moxi Works platform, sharing critical data and improving the user’s workflow. Interested in learning a little more about how the technical integration works? Check out this interview with Melissa Kwan, CEO of Spacio, about how they launched Spacio to a major brokerage in just 2 days with the Moxi Cloud. From the brokers perspective, it means you can easily onboard new tools to your entire brokerage quickly and easily.
A changing environment
Change isn’t somewhere off in the future, it’s happening now. The real estate industry is faced with the opportunity to adapt, embracing technology that will make brokerages more efficient, winning back higher profit margins. Flexibility is vital, as brokerages that stay nimble and adopt the tools that fit their needs, culture, and process, will find success in providing their agents with tools and services that address their pain points. We like to call this flexibility ‘future-proofing.’ Those who strive to be industry leaders (big or small) will advance along with the changing environment.
How does agent productivity affect your bottom line? It seems obvious that if your staff is more efficient, the business will be more profitable. Yet, agent productivity is rarely a main consideration when big decisions are being made for a brokerage, such as which technology solutions to adopt.
Windermere Real Estate has experienced this correlation first-hand. For far too long, they suffered from ‘shiny tool syndrome’ which was disruptive, inefficient, and caused a lack of cohesion across their organization. When the organization shifted to focus on a sphere selling methodology and put a fully integrated, flexible open platform in place, things changed. Five years ago, Windermere did approximately 60,000 transactions with 6,000 agents. Last year, they handled 83,000 transactions with 6,500 agents.
So… focusing on agent productivity and seeing the average agent increase their annual sides from 10 to 12.8? Not bad for your brokerage profits and growth, but how do you get there? It can be difficult to track the ROI of productivity, so we decided to break down how agent productivity and brokerage profits are interconnected.
Agents can focus on the things that matter
What happens when effective productivity tools are in place is that people have the ability to rely on those tools for the things that make them unproductive. Traditionally, agents are juggling hundreds of little tasks at a given time, trying to maintain relationships with their clients post-sale, trying desperately to acquire new leads, planning open houses and completing transactions, and much, much more. The home sale process has a lot of moving parts, so when a defined process is in place, it relieves the agent from unnecessary stress. Agents spend less time on busy work such as data entry, transaction management, managing their schedule, and client research, and more time developing relationships and closing deals.
Brokerages that have adopted the sphere methodology understand the importance of building strong long-term relationships. Agents need the unique ability to be able to nurture relationships with clients over a long-term period of time to stay relevant in between home sales and gain referrals. With the right systems in place that focus on productively nurturing these relationships, agents can maintain routine touchpoints with their clients in the long-run. What does this result in? High quality referral leads, repeat clients, and easy sales.
Agent recruiting and retention improves
We all know that turnover is expensive. Agents are quick to make the switch from one brokerage to another given the right reason. Work/life balance is a priority for agents, which means productivity is key. The more productive agents are, the better balanced their life is, and the more money they’re making. Providing tools that allow your agents to reach a balanced, lucrative workflow will, in turn, improve your brokerage profitability. Take a manager dashboard, for example. Agents feel more supported, because managers have a level of visibility and become aware of coaching opportunities as they arise rather than after the fact. When agents are used to using a system that makes their business operate more smoothly, they’re less likely to leave. Happy agents make successful brokerages.
As a productivity tool provider, we live and breathe this stuff. Our goal with the Moxi Cloud is to improve margins for brokerages by leveraging technology.
So, what should you do? Take a step back and look at your business critically. Ask yourself what the three major pain points are for your brokerage right now and think about whether they’re linked to productivity and, if so, how brokerage profits might be getting affected.
Agents today have more options than ever of which brokerage they can take “their talents” to. The ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent is more crucial than ever if your brokerage is going to dominate the competition in your market. What measures are you taking to ensure your business is the “it” place to work?
If it has been awhile since you reviewed your brokerage resources for agents, perhaps it is time to take an internal audit and reassess your value proposition. Questions to consider:
- Why would agents want to work here?
- What do I offer agents that the competition does not?
- How do I help agents be more productive and focused on selling?
If these answers are not immediately coming to you, chances are there is something dated with your brokerage process. To get back on track think two words: open platform.
An open real estate platform gives you the power to customize your brokerage to fit your brand and business needs. An open platform works like this: pick and choose, or, “plug and play” from a wide range of options to provide the types of solutions that best fit your needs. Just like a power strip, you can connect the things you want at your brokerage, and not the other stuff.
Competitive Advantage #1 of an Open Platform: Customization. Tools and services come and go all the time. With an open platform, choose the right combination of CRM, CMA, Leads Management, Print, Intranet, etc. that works best for you and your agents. In other words, keep the products that are used most plugged and sunset or unplug those that have fallen out of favor. The ability to customize your platform as needed empowers you to continuously providing best-in-class to your agents.
Competitive Advantage #2 of an Open Platform: Continuity. The power of having all of your tools plugged in and able to talk to one another in real-time should not be underestimated. If your agents know that their listing information will be shared and viewable from their CMA, to the CRM, and even to digital advertising solutions like Facebook advertisements, how much more productive does that make your agent’s time?
Competitive Advantage #3 of an Open Platform: Your Data. Why is data important? Think of brokerage data like digital currency; the more you have, the richer the intelligence and value proposition of your brokerage. If you can articulate both historical and current information data across property, brokerage, agent and consumers across all levels of your brokerage, the ability to identify new areas of business opportunity can be yours for the taking. Seriously.
Need help in determining your current brokerage proposition to agents? The first place to start: figure out which type of brokerage platform do you have.
Your brand is what represents you and sets you apart. It’s why agents join your efforts and why clients remain loyal.
Standardizing your marketing materials and sales tools is vital for building a valuable, recognizable brand. We know that brand consistency is key, but it can be a big challenge for growing brokerages. It’s difficult to effectively distribute updated materials and keep track of what collateral your agents and staff are using when everyone has their own set of materials saved on their individual hard drives. You end up losing control over your brand message and becomes nearly impossible to uphold standard, consistent branding. Those days are over. The companies with the highest brand value keep all of their up-to-date, relevant sales and marketing materials in one central intranet.
When your agents go out into the field, you want them equipped with the best, most updated branded collateral. Everyone in your organization should be talking the same talk, which means they should all be using the standardized version of your materials.
Keep one master version of all of your brand assets in one, central place. This library is an easily accessed hub for your agents to find whatever they need, whenever they need it. Set the necessary permissions for each document, ensuring the right people within your brokerage see the right info and can easily find what they need.
A brokerage intranet is the hub of it all, the central place where agents go for anything branded.
It’s where all managers and agents can find branded materials, see company updates, receive messages from brokerage leadership, and locate HR documents when necessary. It ensures your agents have access to the most updated, standard version of everything they need. Moxi Hub is the brokerage intranet that holds your agent roster, enables agents and staff to easily search for documents, presentations, and more, and hosts your document library as well as all of the tools and services available to your organization.
Having a central library of brand assets is a step in the right direction when it comes to standardizing your brokerage materials. Your leadership and marketing teams now have an effective way to provide your agents and staff with exactly what they need, and have a way in which to communicate it all. Not to mention, rebrands and brand updates become increasingly easier when leveraging a brokerage intranet. Updating your collateral in an effort to standardize materials becomes painless and simple.
We’re happy to announce another service that has been added to our open platform ecosystem! MoveEasy is a comprehensive moving concierge service offered to clients directly from your website while saving you valuable time on researching post transaction tasks for them. Basically, MoveEasy does all the legwork while the agent can focus on creating happy memories for their client.
York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works said, “We’re delighted to have MoveEasy on the Moxi Cloud. They provide a unique solution to a common problem in the industry. It’s not an agent productivity app, but rather, a great app for agents to extend to their sphere of influence – keeping the agent in-flow and valued.”
How It Works
1. Help organize the move. Clients can organize their move with a personalized moving dashboard, assign tasks, and get weekly email reminders, with your branding included!
2. Assist in completing moving tasks. From updating utilities and changing their address, to finding storage options and shipping their car. They manage this all in the same place!
3. Connect them with your favorite vendors. Add all your preferred cleaners, painters, and other vendors that you know will get the job done. Clients can find them easily without having to call you. Everything is accessible from the unique dashboard.
4. Stay on top of your client’s mind throughout the entire move. With the entire service branded for you, it’s easy to stay top of mind, even after the transaction has closed.
Moxi Engage CRM Integration
MoveEasy is integrated into the Moxi Engage CRM. When a transaction moves from active to pending, MoveEasy pulls all the necessary details from Moxi Engage into the MoveEasy dashboard. The client can access the dashboard and keep up to date with everything going on and organize schedules for tasks. Everything done on the dashboard is sent back to Moxi Engage, within the activity section.
While the client can access everything on the MoveEasy dashboard, the agent can access everything they need right in their CRM.
Venkatesh Ganapathy, CEO of MoveEasy said, “We are extremely excited to be part of the Moxi Cloud. With so many different tools available for the real estate agents to help their clients, they have to constantly keep learning different systems. Our integration allows agents to continue using Moxi Engage CRM as they normally would, while MoveEasy operates in the background, guiding their clients through the stressful moving process.”
Discover more from MoveEasy and how it can keep your agents consistently top of mind, while saving them precious time when they need it most, by clicking here.
At Moxi Works, we pride ourselves on providing the only true open platform the real estate industry has seen thus far, and having an impeccable platform integration system to go with it. We do this by providing these five key factors in our open platform, the Moxi Cloud:
All of these pieces of data and platform integrations work together, effortlessly, in one place. Our open API is the reason we’ve grown to include over 30 integrated tools and services this year and had seamless platform integration for each. Among these 30 partners are companies like DocuSign, Imprev Marketing, Loop & Tie, Offrs, Move Easy, Spacio, and many more. As an open platform provider, we strive to partner with leading companies to offer our clients a suite of best-in-class tools and services. Platform integrations range from single-sign-on (SSO) to data sharing and everything in-between. Brokerages and their agents benefit from a consistent, robust technology ecosystem and a streamlined, efficient workflow.
Spacio Launches to Major Broker in Two Days with Our Platform Integration
Curious about what it’s like to work with our team or what it would look like for your company? Spacio, for instance, was able to effortlessly and quickly take advantage of our platform integration with the Moxi Cloud, and deliver swiftly to their large brokerage client. What used to take many, many days, only took a short time and didn’t require any extra software development. We asked Melissa Kwan over at Spacio what her experience has been like working with Moxi Works – check out the video below to see what she had to say.
The Moxi Cloud is able to perform smooth platform integrations by having the data available in the cloud. This is what makes it all possible. We don’t pretend to be amazing at everything. We let our brokerages choose the best tools and services out there for their brokerage and integrate them into our platform. We want the power to stay in the brokerages hands, allowing them to curate the tools and services they think are best for their own agents. Every brokerage is unique and because of it, each needs a unique solution.
Interested in partnering with Moxi Works? Reach out to us!
The pivot heard around the real estate world
When news broke of Upstream’s strategy pivot, we all stopped to see how they shifted because this not only has implications for brokerages, but for the industry as a whole. For many, Upstream’s movement represented brokers taking back control. This pivot means the power stays in the hands of the MLS.
What Happened With Upstream?
The original plan was for Upstream to stick themselves before the MLS organizations, granting brokerages much wanted control where they hadn’t before. Now instead of trying to get brokers to input listings with Upstream first, they will have brokers input listings into their MLS, and later can push said listing through a dashboard to Upstream if/when the broker chooses to. It’s not just a pivot, they flipped a 180 and it has major implications.
York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works, weighed in on the topic and said, “The point of Upstream was for brokerages to get control of their data. We were fans of the idea of upstream. If we had a magic wand and Upstream existed, then our team wouldn’t be spending their time chasing MLSs around, we would just be writing to the Upstream API and be done with it. The problem they were solving for the software companies and brokerages was a fantastic idea. We understand why they had to pivot – trying to change agent behavior at the MLS level is a huge challenge.”
There has to be a better way, right? We’re here to say: There is.
Moxi offers an alternative that gives more control to brokers. But before we explain how, we need to back up and look at the original goal of Upstream.
To give you some perspective, “The idea behind Upstream is to give brokerages the ability to store and distribute any information they deal with, not just listings. This includes information related to salespeople, employees, customers or clients, vendors, accounting and historical property data.” This is from a 2015 Inman article. They didn’t just set out to fix the control of property data, they set out to fix the brokerage control of all data.
So, what’s the alternative? The next best thing are open platforms like the Moxi Cloud. The end result for brokerages in our case, is the same. The brokerages data is all in one place and all the tool and services integrations can get to it. It’s a power strip where brokerages can plug and unplug all the best-in-class tools and services they want, while remaining in control of all their data.
Baur added, “There is good news to all of this, and that is that the Moxi Cloud open platform does what Upstream promised today, allowing property data, brokerage data, agent data, and consumer data, to be used and updated by more than 30 industry leading tools and services. Until the time Upstream or something like it exists, this is the best brokerage solution.”
The most common question we get is: “What if we commit to the Moxi Cloud and then Upstream happens… then what?” The answer is simple. We have already cultivated these tools and services, we would simply take the Upstream feed into our services and everything would work the same. It’s not the Moxi Cloud or Upstream, it’s the Moxi Cloud AND Upstream.
Our goal, why we do what we do, is all in order to strengthen a brokerage and give them control of their destiny. “The desire for brokers to have more control won’t go away and it will probably be filled by MLSs, brokers, and platforms like Moxi Works, that already build tools that give brokers that control,” said Cass Herrin, Director of Data Services at Moxi Works. “We will continue to focus on tools that give brokers control over their own listings.”
Baur added, “Brokers funded Upstream with the goal of gaining control of their data. While that’s been diluted by this pivot, brokers must realize that the vendor community and the open platform Moxi Works provides, aka the Moxi Cloud, has already solved this problem.”
Learn about the open platform and how it can benefit your brokerage here.
A glance at the Moxi Works Open Platform:
The real estate industry is evolving – don’t get left in the dust
By York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works
Platforms are new to our industry and unfortunately, they’re wildly misunderstood. It doesn’t help brokerages realize the intricacies of them when the term “platform” is being thrown around so heavily. Right now it’s the buzz word dujoure and many of these “platforms” don’t offer or do what they should. There are five core components that a platform should have and offer, which I’ll explain below.
The reality is, you don’t need a transaction platform or a marketing platform, you need a brokerage platform where all of your tools and services such as transaction management and marketing plug in and exchange data.
The importance of picking a platform that is driven by the right company for your brokerage cannot be ignored because you’re going to have to live with this thing for a long time. If you don’t pick the right one, it’s likely that you’re going to have problems in the future and changing platforms is no walk in the park. It’s like switching from Android to iPhone or vice versa – not a trivial change.
The five core components that the platform needs to have and offer are:
1. Property data
2. Brokerage and agent data
3. Consumer data
4. Integration with the cloud environment with Microsoft and Google
5. An API allowing other companies to integrate
A proper platform has a variety of benefits. The first is that it significantly increases the choices of tools and services that a brokerage has and significantly decreases the amount of effort that the brokerage has to put into configuring, supporting, and managing those tools.
The second benefit is the ability of the real estate software industry to innovate at a much quicker pace given that brokerages don’t have to reinvent the wheel since the platform already provides many of the basic services that applications need.
Types of Platforms
Up until now I’ve explained what a platform is, but not that there are different kinds. There are closed platforms and open platforms, and one has many more benefits than the other. The philosophy of an open platform is that it offers the best tools and services throughout its ecosystem and isn’t limited to the tools and services built in house. Here are some definitions:
Open Platform: Has an open API that allows brokerages to plug and play tools and services from multiple vendors, including multiple vendors per category (such as marketing, transaction management, etc.), as they see fit.
Closed Platform: Brokerages are required to take the tools and services from one vendor and a very short list of partners, limiting choice and flexibility.
Think of an open platform as a power strip that lets you plug and play the tools and services you want, and unplug the ones you choose to exchange for new, better ones. Basically, an open platform allows a brokerage to select all of the best tools out there, have them work together, and can change tools at will – hassle free.
If you remember, the great innovation of Windows was when you were able to switch from an HP to and Epson printer and everything magically worked after installing the new printer driver. You didn’t have to do anything to Word, you just hit the print button. It’s that flexibility and integration that you get when having a platform.
Like Microsoft, we don’t pretend to be amazing at everything. We let our brokerages choose the best tools and services out there for their brokerage and integrate them into our platform; our own flavor of Windows. We want the power to stay in the brokerages hands, allowing them to curate the tools and services they think are best for their own agents. Every brokerage is unique and because of it, each needs a unique solution.
What’s an Ecosystem?
There are many ways to describe an ecosystem, but for this application within our industry, this is how I choose to explain it:
“An ecosystem is a collection of complimentary applications all working together, sharing data, that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.”
Any computer you’ve ever used in the modern age has its own ecosystem. Whether it’s that Epson printer you’re using or the many applications you go through in a day like Skype, QuickBooks, or Adobe, everything works together as soon as you install it. If you don’t like an application, you delete it and get another one. It’s as simple as that; that’s plug and play.
Here’s what a platform’s ecosystem should look like:
Why a Brokerage Should Care
If you think that you can ignore or take your sweet time figuring out what a platform is and what it means to your business – think again.
Look what Keller Williams is doing with the Keller Cloud, for example. Should you care about it? Absolutely – we’re excited that they’re enabling data exchange between their tools to make agents lives easier. What this means to you is that you’re going to have to provide a compelling answer when one of your agents is considering moving to Keller Williams, or you’re trying to recruit talent from them. It is absolutely pertinent that you have an answer for what your brokerage platform is when retaining and recruiting agents.
While we’re fans of the integration the the Keller Cloud is creating, it’s still not a truly open platform. Why? Because Keller Williams corporate is still deciding which tools and services will be allowed to plug-in. An easy way to spot the difference, is if it doesn’t have the five characteristics I mentioned above, it’s not an open platform.
The bottom line is, having an open platform and ecosystem of applications that run on it is the key to agent productivity and retention. Traditional brokerages with old school technology are losing agents to brokerages that have not only embraced tech, but have also invested in it. Investing in a platform will allow your brokerage to look to the future without anxiety holding you back, as long as you pick the right one.
Find out more about brokerage platforms and how they work by visiting this page.