There’s no question that real estate brokerages face fierce competition across the industry. RealTrends recently spoke with Stuart Sim, Head of Industry Development at Chime Technologies, about technology solutions that brokers should prioritize to set themselves apart from the competition.
HousingWire: What are some of the current challenges for brokerages looking to accelerate their profit growth?
Stuart Sim: The real estate industry, like many, has faced several unique challenges over the past three years fueling an unprecedented competitive landscape. Not only are brokerages struggling to compete with industry behemoths to capture leads and increase business, they are also competing to attract and retain top-producing agents to support growth goals. Strategic broker-owners know that recruiting is an essential daily activity and in order to integrate effectively, they need the tools to automate the process and manage and nurture the candidate pipeline. Meanwhile, new financial models, iBuyers and Power Buyers add a new level of complexity to market competition making it increasingly important for brokerage owners to plan ahead and focus on where and how they will capture new business and attract top producing agents.
Geography also presents a challenge for brokerages with some markets down 60-70%. To be successful, brokerage owners need to take a deep dive into their unique market demographics to build a sustainable business plan. In particular, brokerages should lean into marketing automations – from a powerful website, a strong social media presence and content-driven email/sms messages – to help build and maintain a strong local brand.
I believe we are facing a difficult two years ahead. Brokerage owners should take heed and put a strategic business plan in place today – underpinned by technology – to build brand awareness, capture market share, and attract talented agents to effectively support and accelerate business growth. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in being left behind in the wake of savvy competitors.
HW: When it comes to technology solutions, what should brokers prioritize? Where should they start?
SS: Historically, the real estate industry has struggled to leverage technology effectively. Low adoption rates, lack of trust, and shifting priorities have been significant barriers to growth. While many owners have a vision of how technology will support their business at the onset, they often lack the infrastructure and training resources needed to sustain usage. As a result, agents revert back to bad time consuming habits, stunting business growth and stalling agent productivity. Brokers have also often piecemealed a tech platform together to address critical business processes. This siloed approach requires that agents be trained on disparate tech solutions, leading to frustration and inevitably lack of use. With this in mind, real estate tech has evolved with a number of integrated platforms available, expressly designed to support the unique needs of agents, teams, and enterprises alike. Strategic brokerage owners should identify and implement an integrated, comprehensive platform designed to support critical business functions and grow with the business. By consolidating on a single platform, owners will eliminate the challenges of the past, streamline training, automate mundane and time consuming processes, and free agents to focus on revenue generating activities.
Taking it a step further, a sales acceleration platform with built in AI capabilities will also exponentially help identify, nurture, and convert leads more quickly and efficiently to fuel increased business. With a powerful platform in place to streamline daily activities, you are in a better position to attract and retain top producing agents and automate essential marketing functions to help your business stand out from the competition and keep you top of mind among the audiences that matter most.
HW: How can brokerage leaders encourage tech adoption among agents?
SS: Training is essential to the success of tech adoption among agents across the board. Without dedicating the time and resources to help familiarize agents with the technology you’ve invested in, failure is inevitable. From the start, brokerage owners should provide agents seamless access to training resources, content, and support to ensure they not only understand how to best leverage the tools at their fingertips, but how to extend use over time. Partnering with a tech provider that can offer a robust library of tools, content, and dedicated support staff to help you do this is essential.
It is also incumbent among brokerage owners to help educate agents on the value technology can bring to the individual agent. Emphasize the role of your tech tools in helping to increase conversion rates, automate lead generation and nurturing, and simplify marketing automations and outreach efforts. Take the time to showcase how by investing time upfront in learning the tools they’ve been handed, agents will benefit from more time in the day to focus on what they do best – servicing clients. Leadership is essential in evangelizing the power of technology to help overcome legacy agent adoption hurdles.
Many times, agents are also hesitant to hand over their valued database to a company-wide CRM for fear of jeopardizing the precious leads they’ve worked so hard to secure over the years. When it comes down to it, all agents are really independent business owners that value every dollar they spend on marketing or lead generation. When they are successful, they hope to maintain that client long term and avoid having a competitor reach out to their customer base. This is especially important as an alarming only 4% of consumers use the same agent twice. By helping agents understand the value of leveraging an innovative CRM for example, brokerage owners and their tech partners help to mitigate legacy trust issues and instead help agents focus on positive ROI.
HW: How does Chime’s Enterprise Platform help brokers grow business?
SS: Chime is a market leader because we understand the unique needs of the real estate industry and are adept at delivering innovative solutions with this audience in mind – and have been since day one. Recognizing the challenges facing brokerages today, we recently launched Chime Enterprise. Our new platform was expressly developed to support the complex organizational structure of most brokerages, combining our award-winning CRM and best of breed marketing automations with significant customizable features such as a flexible account structure, top down lead routing capabilities, and white label options. Unlike anything else on the market today, Chime Enterprise also includes an Active Recruiting Module to identify, manage, and nurture candidates through the hiring process. Combined, our Enterprise platform addresses the mounting challenges facing brokerage owners in a fiere competitive landscape. Key features of the platform include:
- Top-down Routing Capabilities to Optimize Leads – Pre-set rules assigned to leads help streamline ownership, better track where leads originate, and expedite lead engagement. With a single instance of leads reflected in the platform, brokerage owners are empowered to optimize lead generation and distribution and improve profitability.
- White Label Options to Build Brand Awareness – With easy to use, built-in capabilities to customize features including email, domain name, log-in page, dashboard, and marketplace, among others, customers are empowered to fully brand the platform without the need for additional IT support. Featuring a centralized library of Smart Plans, marketing collateral, and email templates, the Enterprise platform also ensures all agents have seamless access to a consistent set of tools to support a cohesive marketing strategy and ensure consistency across teams, offices, and locations.
- Active Recruiting to Build High Performing Team – Purpose-built to streamline and automate the arduous recruitment process and support essential business growth, Chime Active Recruiting makes it easier for brokerage owners to successfully manage a healthy pipeline of qualified candidates. Featuring seamless integration with local MLS databases, agents can drill down and gain a granular view of potential candidates based on key areas of interest and add to a dedicated Watchlist for ongoing nurturing. Later this year, we plan to add dedicated Smart Plans to automate recruiting campaigns and candidate pipeline communications and will look to integrate with top recruiting tools to further extend the module’s capabilities.
I believe that the real estate industry will remain strong for the foreseeable future as there is an incredible opportunity to build wealth through real estate transactions and ownership. We may see new ways of transacting through iBuyers, Power buyers, or even Cryptocurrency and tokenized Real Estate, but as a technology leader we will continue to provide the most innovative and useful tools on the market, dedicated to helping the real estate community succeed long term.
For more information on how Chime’s Enterprise Platform helps brokers grow business, visit chime.me