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The Online Advantage: Empowering REALTORS® with First-Class Engagement Tools

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By Maria Patterson

Coach REALTORS® Operations Chief L.P. Finn knows a good thing when he sees it. That’s why signing on with Trulia some six years ago was a logical decision.

“We were one of Trulia’s first partners in the tri-state area,” recalls Finn, whose Long Island, N.Y.-based, family-run brokerage is comprised of more than 600 brokers and sales associates in 19 offices. “I felt that the product Trulia was delivering offered consumers a different experience online, and I believed that buyers would gravitate to the site. The mapping was different and the listing details for agents were different; and the way Trulia was serving up the data was different than what was being offered by the traditional portals at that time.”

From that point on, says Finn, Trulia has provided Coach REALTORS® with powerful engagement tools—such as Trulia Voices, launched in 2007, and the Trulia Accelerate program, launched earlier this year—that help facilitate critical relationship-building between Coach’s agents and their clients and prospects.

“With Trulia Voices, Trulia was the first to jump in and create direct interaction between real estate professionals and consumers online in a very transparent way,” explains Finn. “This empowered agents to have a conversation online with buyers and sellers and let other buyers and sellers profit from those ideas.”

Staying true to its mission to partner with brokers and empower agents, Trulia launched the Trulia Accelerate program in July of this year. The program was designed to help brokers increase their branding and marketshare, along with their recruiting and retention efforts, by offering a customized package of products and services intended to “accelerate” the productivity of their agents.

Broker partners in the Accelerate program benefit from free resources, including premium branded profiles for their agents on Trulia’s Find An Agent directory, a custom agent training curriculum focused on connecting and converting online leads, and valuable marketing and advertising products that help brokers build their brand with consumers and connect their agents with transaction ready consumers. At press time, Trulia Accelerate had welcomed over 20 broker partners into the program. Once again, Finn was an early adopter.

“There are zillions of listings on Trulia.com—25,000-30,000 from my MLS alone,” Finn explains, “but the consumer wants to do business with brands they know. With the Accelerate program, our brand is being put right in front of consumers. The Accelerate program makes it easy for buyers to contact and engage with our agents through the premium profiles. If it’s difficult for a consumer to get in touch with an agent or broker, they won’t take the extra step—they’ll just move on to the next agent. It has to be the path of least resistance. Being part of the Accelerate program has increased our leads and inquiries.”

Being a partner in the Trulia Accelerate program also serves as an important recruiting and retention tool for Finn, who provides the program’s tools to his agents at no cost. “We passed on the costs involved to our sellers as part of our value proposition,” explains Finn. “This is a big recruiting and retention tool for us. Agents aren’t investing their own money in online marketing, so their income automatically increases. And they’re getting a product they can’t get elsewhere.”

Trulia also creates tremendous value for Coach’s current and would-be agents by taking on the bulk of the implementation and offering consistent and ongoing training. “Trulia works with our entire company to take the burden off the brokerage,” Finn explains. “They take the agent’s data, images and contact information from the MLS and load it to Trulia.com to create the Premium Profiles. This saves the brokerage an important step. They then reach out to our agents with online training to show them how to use the product to generate business.”

And Finn sees direct results from Trulia’s training efforts. “When we have the training, agents engage and start using the tools, and then see an immediate increase in inquiries. The product does work and does drive more online views to a listing,” says Finn.

Accelerate program aside, Trulia has brought important value to Finn and his agents throughout the relationship, from the transparency offered through the metrics it provides on all of Coach’s listings, to the top-notch mobile tools it brought to market ahead of the curve.

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