Photo courtesy Ashley Campbell
It’s pretty simple when you think about it. People like to do business with people they know, like and trust. The evidence for this is everywhere. People ask their friends for referrals for everything from baby sitters to gardeners to real estate agents.
They do it to avoid risk. If a service provider has a good reputation, then they’ll likely provide good service to others. They do it to save time. Getting to know people takes time and energy. They do it to spend time with enjoyable people. If you need to spend time with someone, you might as well do it with people you can relate to. This is how people operate and it is very powerful.
The Relationship Method is Hugely Profitable
For the last 40 years Windermere Real Estate has built a very large and thriving business by guiding their agents to focus on repeat and referral business. Their agents build relationships with people who know, like and trust them. Their agents are trusted advisors who maintain long term relationships with people. This sphere centric formula works exceedingly well. In Windermere’s original core market, Western Washington, nearly one out of every four transactions involves a Windermere agent. Their proven success has driven huge growth in the brokerage which now numbers 7,000 agents across 10 Western states.
Over time, Windermere has grown with and evolved technology to match up to and enhance their agent’s efforts. It includes a comprehensive integration of the entire brokerage and numerous agent tools.
In 2013 we began offering one of those tools, TouchCMA, to agents and other brokerages across the country. We did this as a separate company, not owned by Windermere Real Estate. Progressive brokerages gobbled it up. It helps agents be true consultants with their clients and it wins agents more listings. The success we saw with TouchCMA got us to thinking about the rest of our technology. We studied the market and discovered several surprising things not being done at other brokerages.
A Lack of Focus on Long-term Relationships
Despite the hugely powerful concept of repeat and referral business, brokerages and their agents are often focused on new business. They know they need to stay in contact with people, but somehow don’t manage to do it well. The next transaction consumes their attention. That new lead needs some information or the inspector just called with something needing immediate attention. They day gets filled chasing tasks and pretty soon the agent has lost contact with the people who know like and trust them.
This forces the agent to reach out for even more new leads just to stay even in their business. It’s a vicious cycle. It stresses out agents and brokerages are left constantly fighting agent churn. Because the brokerages and their agents are clamoring for new leads, not surprisingly, solution providers focus their attention on new leads.
The existing CRM systems integrate leads from numerous providers such as Zillow and brokerage web sites. Some brokerages have built extensive departments focused on lead qualification and routing. Simply put, everyone was focused on processing new leads and not paying much attention to repeat and referral business. Sure, most CRM systems can keep a contact and their information for a long period of time, but they don’t have any methodology for how to interact with contacts over time. They are laser focused on the short term process of the transaction and not the long term process of the relationship.
We knew the relationship mattered and yet nobody was focused on it. This inspired us. We had technology based on a methodology every agent needed. We had technology centered on what mattered.
A Lack of Integration
We also saw owners not integrating their brokerage with their agents very effectively. Surprisingly, only 16% of brokerages even have an intranet. This causes inefficiency and inconsistent branding. We saw brokerages not integrating agent tools. This causes inefficiency and a wide variety of consumer experiences.
We knew our system was better. We’d been running a fully integrated brokerage for many years and it was dominating in the marketplace. With this knowledge we decided the market needed a better solution. Brokerages needed a comprehensive solution. Agents needed technology that supported the winning methodology. Consumers needed to stay in contact with the agents they know like and trust. This is why we did Moxi Works.