Diverse Solutions takes the experience and know-how of its employees and creates a new type of company
By Stephanie Andre
RISMEDIA, March 16, 2007-Borne out of a desire to create better ways to market agents and brokers on the Web, industry newcomer Diverse Solutions is making its mark. Here, founder and CEO Justin LaJoie talks about the company's creation and philosophy, and why listening to their clients is the key to their business.
Real Estate magazine: Briefly describe how Diverse Solutions came to be.
Justin LaJoie: We created Diverse Solutions two years ago to meet the demands agents and brokers had to better market themselves on the Internet. Everyone here has a family member in real estate or was somehow involved in real estate for more than five years. We felt that with our collective knowledge, we could create a suite of products that was far superior to anything else out there.
RE: What is your background in the real estate space?
JL: Prior to founding Diverse Solutions, I was director of software engineering for Advanced Access. When I first joined their team, they only had 3,000 clients. During my time there, they saw their client base grow tenfold to more than 30,000 clients. Because of my critical involvement in their company, I always had my hand on the pulse of the industry and really figured out exactly what real estate professionals were looking for. When I decided to go off on my own, I knew of so many ways that I could improve on what both they and all of their competitors had to offer.
RE: Please explain more about what your company has set out to do.
JL: Quite simply, we want to make our products as incredibly intuitive as possible for brokers and agents while maintaining a great deal of flexibility for those who need it. We're not just about providing a Web site for agents or a lead-management tool for brokers; we want to become their total Internet marketing solution. Why go to five different companies with five different customer support departments for everything you need when you can just go to one that excels in all areas? Not only can we provide Realtors with a phenomenal Web site, but we can also give them our state-of-the-art IDX solution, our powerful e-mail marketing solution, our Web site marketing packages so they can be found in the search engines, and our Web site-to-cell phone instant messaging technology, and we do it all better and for just as much money, if not less in some cases, than anyone else.
RE: Can you talk about your company's customer service and how it differs from your competitors?
JL: With customer service, we can provide exactly what our clients need. Whereas most other companies have created products that require a great deal of training and support, the ease-of-use of our products allows us to focus more specifically on each of our clients' unique needs. We're able to completely skip the hassle of having our clients dial into a large call center and get a different customer support rep every time they call in. Instead, we offer a dedicated account executive with a direct phone number and e-mail address to every one of our clients. We've found that our clients love this because they can go on a first-name basis and skip having to explain every single time what their skill levels are, what they like, what they don't like, and what their ultimate objectives are.
RE: Can you tell us a little more about each of your products and what goes into making them?
JL: Let me start by saying that we really pour everything we have into our products. Before we develop anything, we sit down and talk with a large number of power brokers and agents about what they want to get out of our products. We then take those requests to our incredibly talented development team, at which point the framework goes up and we begin to lay everything out for other agents and brokers to test and provide feedback.
We don't really like wasting time creating products that are too confusing to use and may or may not even be useful in the end. We like to be proud of everything we make.
Although we have a demand for all of our products, our flagship product is still our AgentCast Pro Web sites. While there are plenty of companies that can provide real estate professionals with a canned Web site, our niche has always been to provide Web sites that are absolutely stunning, contain well-written and useful content, and rank very well in the search engines. With AgentCast Pro, we were able to fill the void our competitors had left open.
Our Web site marketing packages go hand-in-hand with AgentCast Pro. Having a Web site that comes up at the top of the search engines is more important today than ever before. We put a lot of time and effort into our marketing solutions, and judging from the large number of quality leads that these packages generate for our clients, we know that they work well.
Our newest product is dsSearchAgent-our interactive, mapping IDX solution. Since we launched it, we've had a great demand to incorporate a tremendous number of MLSs into it.
We also offer a number of products that are teeming with possibilities for both agents and brokers. Our dsAgentChat instant-messaging technology has been a huge hit ever since it garnered national attention in a number of real estate periodicals. Our AgentReach e-mail marketing program has helped agents connect with their clients with power and ease, and our lead-management portion of AgentReach has allowed brokers to manage their agents' relationships with their leads by observing their e-mails and correspondence back and forth.
RE: What are Diverse Solutions' goals for this year?
JL: Our short-term goal is simply to cater to the direct needs of as many clients as we can. We do that by really listening to them and then coming up with solutions for their needs. In fact, all of our products have a feedback form built right into them to solicit feature requests, and everyone who suggests a feature can expect a direct response. Sometimes we can implement the feature right away and sometimes the features have to wait a little bit. But either way, we never rest when it comes to improving our products.
In the long term, we're going to develop more relationships with the local associations and MLSs themselves. We've found that every association and MLS we've worked directly with so far has really wanted our products in the hands of their members. RE