Our open platform, the Moxi Cloud, is very excited to welcome AskAvenue to the team! AskAvenue is a mobile chat tool that integrates with agent’s websites, leveraging the power of one-on-one communication. AskAvenue lets agents engage with online visitors and chat with them directly from their Apple or Android phone, in real-time.
Agents can capture the attention of online visitors by proactively contacting them with real-time online chat invites and respond conveniently from their mobile phones.
Chat with and qualify prospects in real-time. Agents now can talk to their prospects live about their unique buying and selling needs, providing a higher grade of customer service.
Connect, Converse, Convert
AskAvenue helps agents convert more of their website visitors to leads and receive exclusive chat requests from their very own listings. Leads then go directly into their Moxi Engage account, providing efficient integration. From there, leads go into the agent’s pipeline and agents are prompted to continue the lead conversion process.
“The AskAvenue chat tool gives agents the ability to follow up with visitors on their website right away. We live in a mobile world and potential homebuyers expect answers in real-time. AskAvenue allows agents to accomplish this,”
said Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships ay Moxi Works.
Adding the AskAvenue chat tool to the Moxi Cloud was a no brainer. Now agents can provide better, more meaningful communication to their prospects! Find out more about AskAvenue and their chat tool here.
By the way – the Moxi Cloud has almost 40 tools and services on it now! Check out more here.
2017 has brought a lot of change and disruption to the real estate industry; some good, others upsetting at the very least. In the spring, Zillow announced Instant Offers, allowing homeowners to potentially cut out the agent. This is one of many efforts to remove real estate agents from the transaction, but client satisfaction may say otherwise.
What is Instant Offers?
Instant Offers connects homeowners with investors, helping them receive multiple offers based on their “home details and comparative sales.” All the homeowner has to do is answer some questions, submit some photos, and pick an offer from a verified investor. They then schedule a free home inspection and close on the date they choose. It’s that simple.
What this means for agents
For obvious reasons, Instant Offers can seem very attractive to homeowners. There is little to no work needed and they get to do it all on their own schedule. Plus, they don’t have to pay any fees to an agent.
What these homeowners don’t take into account, is having someone they can depend on, call when they need help or advice, and trust what’s going to happen with the transaction. Given that Instant Offers is new, many homeowners will shy away from it because of fear of the unknown. Because we’re humans, right? We want security. We want to know the largest transactions of our entire life are going to go smoothly.
How agents and brokerages can combat this
People don’t buy luxury cars just for the car. They buy them because they also get incredible service and are never left stranded on the road, waiting for a tow truck they had to call themselves. They buy them for the unreal customer service, knowing they are in good hands. Real estate agents are that person for homeowners and homebuyers everywhere. You provide comfort, and most importantly, are someone to depend on.
Stay true to your clients. Your clients will choose you over Zillow again and again if you’ve earned their trust and confidence as their advisor. They know you, they’ve transacted with you, they want you to handle the transaction for them. Earn your client’s trust to get and keep their repeat and referral business.
Although the real estate world is turning to tech for just about everything, there is something to be said about the human element, which Instant Offers doesn’t provide. Never doubt your importance when it comes to couples, families, and loved ones going through a major transition in their lives.
We firmly believe brokerages and agents play a vital in real estate. Moxi Works helps agents be more productive, while making brokerages more profitable. Find out more at moxiworks.com.
You need to determine where chatbots fit within your business. That’s right, not “if” but “where.” Eighty percent of businesses already use or plan to use chatbots by 2020, according to a survey by Oracle. Some are even predicting that chatbots will be the new way for companies to monetize the mobile experience, where smartphone apps are losing steam. It may sound intimidating, but like it or not, chatbots are the new must-have thing for businesses in all industries to keep up with changing technology. Is this the case for the real estate world as well? We dug a little deeper and here’s what we found.
First things first: What is a chatbot?
“A chatbot is a computer program that maintains a conversation with a user in natural language, understands the intent of the user, and sends a response based on business rules and data of the organization,” as defined by Chatbots Magazine. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a chat function backed by AI (artificial intelligence). Typically, a person would interact with a chatbot through an online messenger such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, text messaging, or a website, and AI is embedded in the messenger to hold the conversation. Currently, customer service and online shopping are common applications for chatbots.
The rise of artificial intelligence
One example of the rising popularity of AI for the everyday American is AI through voice enablement, which has become common and readily available through devices such as the Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Google Home. In 2017, 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month, as reported by eMarketer. This trend goes beyond home automation, as companies across industries from banking to consumer products have AI solutions in the works. Americans have gained familiarity with the task-oriented format of voice enablement devices such as Amazon’s Echo. What chatbots accomplish is creating a more conversational transaction leveraging AI.
We’re claiming 2018 as the year of the bot for several reasons, including the changing expectations of consumers, investment in AI, and consumer familiarity with online messaging. Consumers are now comfortable using messaging services – texting for daily communications, Facebook Messanger for social purposes, and Slack at work, to name a few. On the other hand, AI is becoming more accessible and familiar for the average person. When you marry the two, you get chatbots.
Look out, real estate
51% of people expect a business to be available 24/7, according to Venture Beat. You better believe a process as stressful as buying or selling a home is no exception. Chatbots are breaking communication barriers between companies and consumers. There are countless applications for chatbots in the real estate world. Think about having a chatbot answering all of the basic introductory questions from a new lead, then handing the lead off to the agent when they’re ready. Imagine a chatbot that takes over the frustrating back-and-forth that inevitably happens when agents attempt to schedule a meeting. Communication is a dominant piece to the home sale process and chatbots are making their way in to deliver on consumer expectations, save agents time, and smooth brokerage business process.
In addition, the platform is already there. Facebook is the core of digital marketing in the real estate world, and Facebook happens to be one of the key players in the chatbot space. Industry players will be attentive to what path Facebook is paving and likely follow suit.
The future of brokerage technology
As companies continue to implement chatbots over the next year, they’ll become even more commonplace. Their powerfulness to brokerages, agents, and consumers is highly relevant to the current needs of the industry. For example, chatbots are particularly relevant for mobile users as messaging is key to mobile device use. Agents are always on-the-go, which means chatbots could fit into their existing workflow well. As we make our way into 2018, we’ll see a growing divide in productivity, agent retention, and profitability between the brokerages that have embraced chatbots and those that have not.
So, how can brokerages prepare for the rise of chatbots? The key is remaining agile. If you put technology in place that has the potential to integrate with innovations such as chatbots, you’re in a much better position to remain competitive. It all stems from data. Artificial intelligence, and, more specifically, chatbots, run on data. When you own your data and partner with companies that help you manage your data, you gain the opportunity to shift with the industry, adopting new technologies such as chatbots.
Chatbots become even more powerful when they’re integrated with an organization’s other systems. When technologies share data across a company, that brokerage benefits from high efficiency and data accuracy. This is familiar territory for us at Moxi Works as our Moxi Cloud open platform is designed to integrate technologies across an entire brokerage – it’s the ecosystem where all of your tech tools live and share data.
Moxi Works is in talks with chatbot providers regarding their application in the real estate industry. Why? Because we want to stay ahead of the game so we can serve not only as a technology provider, but also as a consultant to our brokerage partners. At the end of the day, we want to make our client brokerages be more profitable, which means taking part in technology movements such as chatbots.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE October 9, 2017 – Seattle, WA – The Moxi Cloud Open Platform has just added another service provider: Moving Offers, powered by MooveGuru. MooveGuru connects consumers to the marketer they need, when they need it.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE Moxi Works has added MooveGuru’s Moving Offers coupon service to its cloud open platform, the company recently announced. Moving Offers delivers exclusive discounts to movers for move-related goods and services in a timeframe that they are mostly like to make a purchase.
The Moxi Cloud officially has a new service provider! Moving Offers powered by MooveGuru. MooveGuru connects consumers to the marketer they need, when they need it. What’s that mean though?
Moving Offers powered by MooveGuru have been developed with a proprietary program designed to deliver exclusive discounts to movers for goods in a timeframe that they are mostly like to make a purchase. Fun fact: This was sparked by a study done at the University of Colorado in 2008.
Once the transaction of a home sale is entered into Moxi Cloud, Moving Offers becomes available. When activated through the Moxi Cloud checklist, Moving Offers sends automated discounts based on exactly what they’ll need in that specific phase of their move. For example, Moving Offers will provide a coupon for a junk removal service when the homeowners are getting ready to pack and move. Or when they client is all moved into their next place, but everything is in boxes, they deliver a coupon for pizza. Genius, right?
Brian Friemel, President of MooveGuru said, “We are very excited to partner with a great company like Moxi Works. Moxi Cloud is the industry leader in real estate technology integration. Their commitment to brokerage automation and customer engagement makes Moxi Works a perfect match for MooveGuru.”
When the Moving Offers are sent to an agent’s clients, they are notified of it within their Moxi Engage CRM and are able to see the progress of their client’s move. When the client receives the discounts, they are branded from the agent and their brokerage, not MooveGuru. This allows agents to continue their relationships post-sale, offering value coming branded from the consumer’s trusted advisor.
Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships at Moxi Works said, “Moving Offers powered by MooveGuru are genius. It allows agents to maintain their relationship with their clients far beyond the sale of the home, cementing their role as the trusted advisor. It’s one more way agents can prove their value and get more repeat and referral business.”
We love Moving Offers and we know all of the hungry, packed up families out there will as well. Find out more at mooveguru.com.
Welcome to the Moxi Cloud, MooveGuru!
Every single tax deduction you are or are not allowed to take is impossible to know without a helping hand. If you aren’t utilizing an accounting or tax management system, it means you’re losing a lot of money. And by a lot we mean thousands of dollars that could be in your pocket instead. Avoid overpaying on your quarterly and year end taxes with these tips:
1. Mileage – over $7,000 in deductions
You drive a lot, spending your days driving between properties, appointments and shuttling your clients. Sometimes you probably feel like a glorified Uber driver. How do you determine whether to go with the standard mileage deduction or track all your auto-related expenses?
For those who drive more than 10,000 miles per year, the IRS requires you to keep a detailed log in order to claim this deduction. It needs to include date, time, mileage and purpose of the trip. Do you use an app to track all of this? Even if the answer is yes, there’s a better app out there. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a tool that helps users track an average of $7,393 in mileage deductions per year. It automatically captures everything you need with the click of a button.
2. Meals and fun – save over $4,000 a year
You can deduct meals as a business expense in two forms: 1.) When you are travelling on business and 2.) When you are dining with clients or with other professionals for the purpose of conducting business or generating referral business. With these, you’re allowed to deduct 50 percent of your total expense, which includes tax plus tip for the meal.
Many agents save receipts in boxes and haphazardly enter them into spreadsheets or give them to an accountant later, but this leads to loss of money. QBSE streamlines this process. Simply snap a photo of your receipt with your QBSE smartphone app to digitally store it with your transactions. This process helps users save an average of $4,340 per year.
3. Marketing and ad spend
Online and social media advertising costs are quickly becoming a big part of agent spend. Agents are expected to do more for their listings than they ever have before and they need the tools to effectively do it. Did you know that production costs like writing and design fees are also deductible? This includes website design and hosting fees, search engine marketing, pay per click advertising, video production, and any other IT-related costs.
4. Home office or space
Do you have a home office or a dedicated space to work? If you do, you’re eligible for a home office deduction, even if you also have office space at your broker’s office — unless you’re deducting desk fees already.
5. Desk Fees
Your desk fees are deductible regardless of your brokerage. With QBSE, whenever you pay that desk fee, you can set a rule to automatically categorize this expense. This however is only an option if you aren’t already doing the home office deduction.
6. Big purchases
Stationary, photocopies, and any other consumables needed to run your business are deductible. The ones you need to make sure you deduct are the big ones: laptops, phones, furniture, copiers, etc.
7. Fees, Licenses, etc.
Annual fees are common costs of doing business and are deductible. In real estate, that means your state license renewal, professional memberships, and MLS dues. Also, you can deduct real estate taxes necessary for your business, but not self-employment taxes.
8. Education and travel
Given rapid industry change, continuing education is imperative. It’s also a requirement in most states. If you need to travel to attend an event or meet with a coach, make sure to track all the information correctly to ensure that you’re compliant with the IRS. One way to do that is by linking your banking accounts with QBSE. As soon as you incur an expense associated with travel, tap a button to categorize it in one of the IRS approved categories.
9. Tools and services
Any software needed to run your business is fully deductible, including subscription services. Products such as QuickBooks Self-Employed not only help you automatically track your expenses and mileage, but may be fully deducted as well.
Get started with QBSE today and start saving bundles of cash!
Moxi Works recently conducted a case study on our popular presentation and CMA product. Why? Well, we were curious to see how agents performed when they used the product vs. how they performed when they didn’t. To do this, we chose Windermere Real Estate agents in Western Washington as the sample for the case study. There are roughly 2,700 Windermere agents in the Western Washington region. We looked at their agent activity for the 2016 calendar year and found some seriously insane results. But before we reveal them, you deserve some background info first.
Who is Windermere?
Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents in 11 Western states. Founded in 1972, Windermere has been family owned and operated since. They are based in Seattle, Washington and are heavily involved in the communities their offices are in. You can learn more about Windermere and what they’re all about here.
What is Moxi Present?
Moxi Present is a tool that allows agents to easily create seller, buyer, and open house presentations. They are MLS-connected, updated to the minute and every property can be shown with the actual driving commute time to any location. This presentation and CMA tool also allows agents to include video and other rich media right into their presentation and enables agents to create listing flyers in a snap.
What did we find out?
Seller agents who used Moxi Present averaged 6.4 sales in the 2016 year, while those that didn’t only averaged 4.17 sales, meaning that seller agents using Moxi Present had 53% more listing sales.
Buyer agents that used Moxi Present averaged 5.71 sales, while those who didn’t averaged 4.30 sales, helping those that took advantage of the tool average 34% more buyer-side transactions.
When adding those numbers up, that’s 12.08 sides for agents who used Moxi Present and only 8.42 for those who did not. Windermere agents who used Moxi Present enjoyed 43% MORE business in 2016! We probably don’t need to point out the fact that this is a huge change to an agent’s bottom line.
As you can probably guess, we were elated when we figured out the results. We are founded on the goal to make agents more productive and brokerages more profitable. The numbers from this case study speak for themselves. Agents that use Moxi Present, a tool their brokerage provides for them, do more business than those that don’t.
Keller Williams recently announced that they have a one-billion-dollar budget to set aside for their technology. You read that correctly, a BILLION. The idea that a smaller brokerage could be able to invest that kind of money to create and maintain their own technology is absurd. Not every brokerage is a Keller Williams and we bet that billion they’re investing in their technology is just the beginning. How does any other brokerage compete with that? You can’t, not at this level of investment. However, you don’t have to sit back and let them bring you to a slow and painful death either.
What is the Keller Cloud?
The Keller Cloud is a fully-integrated cloud solution. That means it is a single platform for agents to run their entire business. Like most brokerages, they felt their agents were getting fatigue from constantly having to switch tools, so they took matters into their own hands. The Keller Cloud integrates all of their tools, CRM, lead generation, transaction management, etc. streamlining work for their agents. They have truly made technology their number one investment. If you’re curious or terrified (which you should be) or both, you can find out more about the Keller Cloud here.
Recruiting & Market Share
If you’ve been following Keller Williams at all lately then you also know they are growing their agent count like crazy by focusing a lot of their efforts on recruiting. In fact, we encourage you to look at the market share in your area. Chances are they have more than the last time you looked. Like a quiet cougar sneaking up on their prey. It’s really quite impressive what they’ve accomplished and the moves they continue to make in our industry. They get it, they embrace technology and change, and are better for it.
How you survive and thrive – open platform integration
So, how do you compete with this? How do you compete with their level of investment and their striking growth rate? Easy. You can future-proof your brokerage with an open platform.
The Moxi Cloud, for instance, is also a fully-integrated solution that can be modified to fit your unique brokerage, all for a much smaller price. The Moxi Cloud open platform keeps all your tools in one place, including data from 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. Your CRM, lead generation, transaction management, literally everything.
There is so much change in our industry and the rate at which change occurs is only going to speed up. It’s the open platform integration that gives a brokerage business the flexibility to evolve and live on. Brokerages that ignore it or choose to go a traditional route won’t survive beyond 2020. Let the technology geeks handle the technology, stay competitive, and don’t let the Keller Cloud kill you.
It’s quite simple really, embrace the change and become stronger for it, or drown in a sea of tech-savvy brokerages.
Redfin recently rolled out an initiative to drop their listing fees, significantly undercutting the average listing fee. The company tested the strategy in major markets, such as Washington D.C., Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego and, not surprisingly, saw a substantial increase in business. In many of these markets, the typical listing fees are around 2.5 percent, yet Redfin has lowered their fee to 1 or 1.5 percent. Redfin has claimed that their listing count has grown in every market where they’ve dropped their listing fee.
The new low-fee strategy is spreading into residential real estate, which is leaving many brokerages concerned about how they’ll compete. Lower listing fees will put pressure on your pricing, which is painful in an industry with already dwindling margins.
The pricing conversation
The first step is to coach your agents on how to handle the pricing conversation. While a low listing fee will, in theory, save the seller a decent chunk of change, in reality, it’s important for any consumer to look at the whole picture when making a decision. When agents educate their client, buyers and sellers better understand exactly what these low listing fees mean for them, and how they can shop around to ensure they get the experience they’re looking for.
Provide support to your office managers in coaching agents throughout your brokerage to have these conversations, putting your brokerages’ value proposition front and center, regardless of a high or low listing fee.
Focus on the sphere
An agent’s sphere of influence is their key to success in such a competitive market.
If the competitive factor is listing fees, get your agents to rely less on new, unfamiliar leads. Why? Those leads are more likely to shop based on price, whereas those leads who already have a relationship with your brokerage are more likely to shop based on familiarity and trust. When agents focus on maintaining their sphere of influence to encourage repeat and referral business, they no longer face the direct competition that they would with paid leads.
All Moxi Works tools are built to accompany a sphere selling methodology. We’ve seen that when agents have productivity tools that align with their sales goals and methodology, they find long-term success. If contacts are nurtured and relationships are upheld, the decision is no longer about a one percent listing fee difference – it’s about trust and professionalism.
There’s no doubt that Redfin will continue to find success due to their unique low fees, however, that doesn’t mean that price cutting is the only strategy. Work with your managers and agents to ensure they’re armed with the tools they need to remain competitive.