By Tiana Baur
Chatbots and new tech are barreling towards the industry. Everything is moving to a cloud environment. And now, Compass is coming for your market share.
The CEO of Compass, Robert Reffkin, recently announced a 2020 by 2020 plan to the company. What does that mean, you ask? A plan to expand into 10 new markets in the U.S. by 2020, and to grab 20 percent of the market share in the 20 largest U.S. cities. Casual, right? The cities they’re expanding to are: Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
Compass has now raised a whopping $325 million in capital and their success feels imminent, especially since they’re already the #4 largest brokerage in NYC, #3 in DC, and #2 in Cambridge. Not only that, but their agent count is up 500% over the past two years, now at 2,000 agents and gaining more traction every day. They have the capital to buy agents with massive signing bonuses and the funds to invest in an entirely new CRM and targeted marketing tools designed just for their agents. By the end of this year, they are projected to do 16,000 transactions, $14 billion in sales volume and $350 million in revenue, annually.
An obvious question is: Will they have a durable and lasting impact? What happens to aggressive brokerages, such as Compass, when the value proposition of a big signing bonus isn’t attractive enough for agents to make the move? Meaning, what if their culture doesn’t align with what an agent wants out of their brokerage? Pockets are deep, but might never be deep enough for the many that love the brokerage they currently call home.
In the shadow of Compass’s other recent announcement that they’re also considering an IPO, lies a sad-looking Redfin, whose stock dropped over 5% that day. The waters are rough out there right now and it’s obvious many brokerages won’t make it out of the impending storm. The reality is, few are safe. Fewer are “too big to fail.” When tech and industry are changing at such a rapid rate, it’s impossible to predict the future of winners and losers. Whether Compass is successful or becomes another Redfin, remains to be seen.
Looking to future-proof your brokerage for these massive industry changes? This is a good starting point. An open platform allows your brokerage to combat the massive technology budget Compass has with your very own unique suite of tools, in an affordable way. 2018 is right around the corner – start it off on the right foot.
By Tiana Baur
We recently added another best-in-class tool to the Moxi Cloud! CallAction instantly responds, engages, and tracks all inbound leads for agents. With CallAction, agents never have to miss another call or email lead ever again.
CallAction is the only marketing automation service that can be used with your offline or online lead generation efforts to respond to inquiries from phone calls, emails and texts. Their powerful integrations bridge the gap between agents’ top of the funnel lead generation and their existing lead nurturing CRM systems for increased productivity.
Here is how it works:
Answer every call
Agents no longer need to worry about rushing to the phone or nervously watching a call come in during a meeting they can’t step out of. With CallAction, agents can ensure they keep ALL of their inbound leads engaged with automated responses through SMS and email.
Building agent databases
Every inbound call is saved to a secure cloud-hosted database and appended in real-time with caller information aggregated from the world’s largest consumer profile databases. It is also passed into Moxi Engage, so the leads go directly into their sales flow. From there, they can nurture the lead and show their new prospect why they are the best in the business.
Track every inbound call
Agents can instantly create a local or toll-free phone number for each of their marketing channels to automatically track every inbound call that is seamlessly routed to their phone.
“50% of buyers choose the vendor or service that responds first, according to the InsideSales.com 2014 Lead Response Report,” mentioned Mike McHenry, VP of Channels and Partnerships at MoxiWorks. “In a perfect world, every call is answered right away, the first time a lead calls an agent. But with CallAction, all missed calls are automatically responded to with CallAction’s SMS responses to guarantee the lead stays engaged. All the responses are fully customizable so the agent can keep their own voice and style.”
We’re super excited to have this company in the Moxi Cloud! When we say we only let the best-in-class tools and services into the Moxi Cloud, we mean it.
For more information on CallAction, visit callaction.co.
By Andrew Eberting
Fact: The average person is exposed to as many as 5,000 ads per day (Source: Media Dynamics, Inc.). The ability to cut through the noise and compete for people’s attention is growing more precious with each passing minute.
Blanket, unimaginative marketing efforts like sending out a yearly calendar isn’t enough nowadays and likely isn’t moving the needle or making your brand standout as a real estate agent. Alternatively, to put it another way: marketing like this today is the equivalent of the old Publishers Clearing House mailers or getting yet another invite to Play Candy Crush – people tune it out.
If you are still marketing like this today, then you are losing potential clients and money with each calendar you send out. Utilize these three techniques to revamp your marketing and start branding yourself as someone potential prospects will want to work with vs. wanting to avoid.
Personalizing your marketing is the new Marketing 101, or, as it is more commonly referred to, one-to-one marketing. Simply speaking, each marketing touch you put out to the market should have a personal or targeted element to it.
With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the standard for where many of us go to catch up with news, friends, and share moments of our lives. Placing online advertisements on Facebook then only makes sense, as this is where all the eyeballs are.
Let’s say you won a new listing (yay!) and you want to promote this to people in your area. By creating a new listing advertisement for your client via Facebook, you can promote your new listing to people using criteria like:
- Geographic radius
- Age range
Why this is important: 93% of buying decisions are now influenced by Social Media.
(Source: Erik Qualman, Socialnomics)
These things can help to optimize your Facebook ad and get it in front of the types of individuals who are most likely to be interested in your new listing. This helps you spend your marketing dollars more effectively while making your client happy. Moxi Works now offers a native Facebook tool to help you jumpstart your marketing efforts; you can check it out here.
Direct Mail That Actually Works
Remember that calendar of yours I mentioned earlier? Well, it isn’t personable. However, as we head towards the holiday season, this is the perfect opportunity to share something personable from you to your past clients. Run down to Kinkos and put your favorite cookie, pie or other holiday dessert recipe onto a set of postcards along with a small description of why it is your favorite. It is okay to pull the curtain back a little bit, sincerity and authenticity go a long way. Mailing something like this out to clients is more memorable and thoughtful than a calendar ever will be.
Bonus tip: If you really want to make a lasting impression, measure out some of the dry ingredients in the recipe, put them in mailable bags or packaging, and also include that with the recipe card.
Confession: I am grossly addicted to Nextdoor, a social media network specific to the neighborhood you live. I have been able to network with people in my immediate and surrounding neighborhoods to find folks that are great gardeners, woodworkers, mechanics, and the list goes on. I cannot begin to quantify the number of posts from my neighbors asking for recommendations on a landscaper, painter, real estate agent, or someone else that can help them with something monetarily associated with the upkeep or value of their home. Whether it is the office or the neighborhood, every group needs a go-to person that specializes in something – why can’t the real estate pro in your neighborhood be you?
When it comes to one-to-one marketing, these tips, and techniques only scratch the surface, there is so much more out there that you can do.
Want to know how you can take your one-to-one marketing efforts even further? Check out this article from our August edition of Mile 62 magazine for more personalized marketing strategies that you can implement in your own market.
By Andrew Eberting
Fact: 70% of U.S. organizations are now utilizing cloud technology to run at least one application of their businesses. The growth of cloud technology adoption is on the rise as the business benefits have proven to be worth their weight in gold regarding profitability and efficiency standards.
Gone are the days of investing heavily in never ending hardware, and with good reason. The infrastructure of old limited growth of organizations in several key areas that we all have come to demand from our “on-the-go” lifestyles. Vendors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft Azure are the leaders in cloud computing space that run backend of many of businesses today. While each company offers their own competitive advantages for cloud technology, they all offer standardized benefits regardless of industry, size, or sophistication.
Like being able to get an email or watch Netflix on your phone, tablet, or watch from nearly anywhere in the world? Enter the cloud. The ability to get anything at any time while anywhere regardless of device used is by far the most tangible benefit each of us utilize of cloud computing each day.
Remember AOL CDs? Well, gone are the days of needing a new disc to update applications or programs in order to have the most current version for your business operations. The Cloud provides scalability at lightning speed to meet your brokerage’s everchanging needs. This gives you the power to keep yours happy with the latest and greatest tools while sunsetting those that have fallen out of favor.
With the burden of data transfer, storage, and throughput now shifted online, the need for fixed computing servers or other hardware and the demand of routinely updating them drastically decreases the technology costs required to stay competitive.
Another advantage of the cloud is capitalizing on the nonstop landscape of data safety and encryption advances. Along the same lines of affordability, cloud-based utilization by organizations keeps them in stride with how to best protect their digital currency – their data – vs. being landlocked to onsite systems that require dedicated personnel bandwidth to oversee and maintain a high level of both technical hardware operating efficiency but also protection of those systems.
With so many benefits it can be naive to think that migrating to cloud is an easy task to administer. The Cloud just like anything else can be challenging to get right unless the correct systems are in place to connect everything together.
Open Platform to the Rescue – Cloud Migration
Like clockwork every year heading into the holiday season, it seems like the amount of lights and other powered decorations we need to plug into a power strip seems to grow. Enter Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or, simply put, an open platform.
Think of all your different brokerage data sources, vendor apps, etc. as all those holiday lights, inflatable snow globes, and everything else you put up in front of the house each year. An open platform, or, brokerage “power strip”, enables you to plug all of those different things together into one common place so that they all work together at the same time. The Moxi Cloud is that power strip.
As an open platform, the Moxi Cloud empowers brokerages to capitalize on the many benefits of the cloud in one common place without all the headache of hooking everything up by itself with no ability to get everything working together. Quite the opposite, utilizing our open platform permits you to turn on and off parts of those “decorations” or swap them out for something else entirely if you feel like it. Your brokerage, your business, your way.
Want to learn more about how an open platform can save you money while also growing your profits? Click here to watch the video.
By Tiana Baur
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!
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.
We have a new company to add to our best-in-class tools and services list! This time, the goal in mind is to help agents retain more of their hard-earned cash. QuickBooks Self-Employed puts the power back into the independent contractor’s pockets!
QuickBooks Self-Employed helps freelancers and independent contractors stay prepped for tax time––from separating business and personal expenses, to identifying Schedule C deductions. York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works said, “Moxi Works is all about helping brokerages and their agents make their business more profitable. Intuits QuickBooks Self-Employed is proven to save agents thousands of dollars on taxes, so this partnership will put a lot of money back into agents’ pockets.”
According to Intuit, 77% of all real estate agents don’t feel extremely confident about managing their finances. Today, agents are burdened by a variety of pain points, such as:
- Taxes: Quarterly and annual tax obligations
- Time: It’s the only thing agent’s control, and they want to save as much of it as possible, while using it wisely
- Thought Leaders: Agents are becoming more digitally savvy & are looking for brokers who are just as updated
- Cash flow: Inconsistent income but consistent expenses
- Visibility: Agents want an easy solution to know how much they really made after each sale
- Growth: Agents straddle the line between consumer & small business
QuickBooks Self-Employed includes a variety of exciting and extremely useful features, including Money Insights, Mileage Tracker, Receipt Snap, and Auto Expense. Here’s what they look like:
Money insights organizes accounts to show the agent’s income and expenses. This connects all accounts to organize the agent’s business finances in one place. QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically tracks and categorizes transactions as they come in. Agents can instantly see a complete picture of their business finances so they can plan for what’s next.
Mileage tracker automatically tracks mileage and allows users easy categorization — creating an increase in potential mileage deductions. Agents’ mileage will be automatically tracked and trips can be categorized as business or personal with a swipe. QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically tracks their mileage whenever they begin driving. Every mile they log increases their potential yearly mileage deductions.
Receipt snap allows users to snap a photo of a receipt from the Self-Employed mobile phone app and automatically create a transaction with the receipt attached. If a transaction already exists, receipt snap will automatically attach the receipt to the transaction. Receipt data is auto-extracted and an expense transaction is created for the user. No more sifting through piles of receipts!
Auto-categorization learns how agents runs their business, recommends categories, and allows users to accept transactions with a swipe. Agents can download all of their expenses, and with a swipe can accept them into their books. QuickBooks Self-Employed learns from past actions and automatically recommends categories. Transactions are organized based on IRS categories to save users extra work.
As it stands, 50% of agents save their receipts or use a spreadsheet to track expenses, leading to manual errors and loss of deductions as well as savings. We all know an agent that saves receipts in an old shoe box. The most shocking statistic is that 16% don’t track their expenses at all.
QuickBooks Self-Employed aims to eliminate these pain points, allowing agents to run their finances properly, while saving them precious time and money. Want to try it out? Click here.
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.