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Mobile apps are playing a bigger role in the real estate industry than ever before. Typically, real estate related apps are catered to buyer and seller clients to make their transactions a little easier. But agents can benefit from apps as well, especially the newest arrival into the networking world, Bizz—an offshoot of the popular dating app, Bumble.

Started by Whitney Wolfe Herd after she left Tinder and started Bumble, Bizz was created when dating app users voiced their demand for easy networking. What makes Bumble stand apart from other dating apps is its feminist focus that allows only women to make the first move. And now with Bizz, networking is taking on the same spin. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 63 percent of all association members are female. A networking tool that caters predominantly to the female gender could be a boon to the real estate industry.

But how does this differ from popular networking site, LinkedIn? That’s simple: Bumble Bizz gives users the opportunity to network or get mentoring from local users at a moment’s notice. Wolfe Herd reiterates that Bizz is strictly a networking and mentoring app and not a job search app like LinkedIn. And while many brokerages provide in-house training to their agents, there’s something to be said about having a face-to-face conversation with a fellow professional to discuss what’s working well for their business and what’s not.

Here’s how it works:

  • Users must download the app and select networking
  • The app will add professionals based on users’ location
  • Users can state their networking goals in a short bio
  • Users must swipe right to connect with an individual
  • Women must start the chat within 24 hours or the match expires
  • Men can’t send the first message

And herein lies the app’s biggest challenge: there are currently no filters to show only professionals within a specific industry. Since LinkedIn has such advanced search capabilities when it comes to looking for industry professionals, Bizz will have to update this glitch in order to make the app truly successful.

But Bizz is still in the early stages of adoption, having just launched last month, and has time to expand and become an innovative way to network. Real estate agents may want to add this free app to their toolbox regardless of the unavailable filters as networking is beneficial even outside of the industry. Here’s how agents can use the app to network, increase referrals and become more successful.

Build a referral network.
Right now, finding fellow real estate agents to build a referral network can be problematic because of the absent filters. But if a large majority of agents start using the app, they could match with others in their state or nearby locations with a swift swipe. It’s a great way to connect in a casual setting and build relationships with agents that can take on referred clients. The inability to work in a specific location should not translate to losing out on that business completely.

And by connecting with professionals in other industries, agents can use this opportunity to expand their client base. Cementing themselves as that person’s source for real estate-related information can create a steady stream of incoming referral business from friends and family. Even if that individual is already in touch with an agent, they should reach out to cast their net wide and meet as many people as possible.

Look for mentorship opportunities.
Most successful agents say that the learning never stops, no matter how many homes they sell. Bizz gives agents the opportunity to counsel each other. And while mentoring can be a way of giving back to the real estate community, this is also a great way of forming strong referral relationships that keep the cash flowing.

But agents shouldn’t discount the advice of out-of-industry individuals. Just because they are successful in a different business does not mean their advice is less useful. Success comes in a variety of forms. Something as simple as a specific work routine or a set of values can spark success in a business.

Learn about surrounding market trends.
While it’s most important that agents are knowledgeable about the market in which they work, it’s also valuable to know what’s happening in the surrounding areas. It can be very time-consuming to check sold statistics and comparables in areas outside their immediate market, and so having a simple conversation with an agent that works in those areas can be very enlightening. Trends that may be taking place just a couple of towns over, may make their way to the agent’s market in the near future. Being prepared for those changes is the best thing agents can do for their business.

Discuss business tools.
In addition to in-house services they may already be using, it could be helpful to learn about other business tools. They can learn from others who use different marketing, database and lead generation services, and could implement new tools to boost their own business. The right combination of tech won’t become apparent until they try out various products. They might find that dialers don’t work well for them, but a third-party contact database is more intuitive than what they’re currently using. Many times, if they get referred by another agent, companies will offer discounts to use their services, or at least provide trial periods.

And agents should take all tech into consideration. There are a variety of applications that can be used regardless of the type of business being run. Apps that streamline processes will save agents time, giving them more opportunities to be out at listing or buyer appointments and making sales. Agents should consider the systems others incorporate into their business, even if not strictly for real estate.

While Bumble Bizz stands out for its focus on women and its quick connections through swiping, there are other networking apps out there that might also be beneficial.

  • Happening: iPhone application that displays upcoming professional events in nearby locations
  • Shapr: Mobile application that matches up individuals who want to build professional relationships.
  • Vivastream: A social channel for networking professionals using expertise tags to find individuals with common interests

Agents will have to keep in mind, however, that these may offer less networking opportunities than Bumble, which already had a strong reputation as one of the most popular dating apps and therefore a larger user base. But only time will tell if Bizz will become the new way to network.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

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