Growing your company can often be a formulaic endeavor, requiring that several crucial components come into play. Read on for top tips for growth by Ron Mintz and Cathy Spencer of Bay Sotheby’s International Realty in Danville, Calif.
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Bay Sotheby’s International Realty
In our November 2014 issue, we asked how you were going to prepare for change. At the time, you were opening a new office in Danville, Calif. You were also changing your name to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty and implementing a new lead system utilizing FiveStreet and Top Producer. That’s a lot at the end of the year. How much of this has occurred?
We’ve completed almost everything we set out to do. The only remaining item is the final implementation of FiveStreet. Our agents are going through the training now for the launch within the next week or so (at press time). Everything else has been completed.
Were you able to recruit new agents to staff it? What was your value proposition and approach in attracting new talent?
While all of these changes are still fresh, we’re in the process of implementing our recruiting strategy and demonstrating to potential recruits that we have the tools, services, training and support to help them become successful or take their business to the next level.
Why did you change the name of your company? How does Sotheby’s play into your branding and your public image and perception?
Operating under two different names under the Sotheby’s umbrella was affecting our ability to achieve the marketshare that we desire. While we had the marketshare, perception was that we were smaller than we actually were. Creating one company name extends our reach into all of the markets we serve, allowing us to show our strength and give our agents the marketshare recognition they deserve.
We’ve been hearing good things about FiveStreet—some speak about the capacity of being able to react to leads faster with better data on the inbound lead—others speak about strong capabilities in lead distribution. Now that you have it up and running, does the performance live up to the expectations you had?
We’re still in the training phase and have not launched companywide; however, we’re optimistic that this service will allow our agents to respond to leads quicker and be more effective to the individual requesting information.
Let’s talk about the dynamics of lead conversion. I imagine you could simply invest more and “buy more leads.” Does it make more sense to focus on conversion, and how does that play out financially?
It’s been our experience that a majority of the leads that you can purchase for large sums of money end up being bogus. With a lead aggregating tool, we’re following up more efficiently with people who’ve already expressed an interest in a property or area that we serve. We believe it’s a better use of our resources to work with leads that we generate, rather than leads from unreliable or unknown sources.
Are there challenges to get agents to use your new system? What motivates them to change their behavior?
As with any newly introduced technology, there’s a learning curve, and it takes time for all users to become comfortable with the system. By now, our agents have become comfortable with how the tools work, and our early adopters are sharing successes, encouraging those who may be leery of the tool to use it, learn it and incorporate it into their routine.
Can you use this specifically as part of your value proposition when recruiting?
Absolutely! This is a tool that we’re proud to provide to our agents, and it’s still unique to our organization.
Has this helped you retain your better agents? Are they also doing better?
We’re hearing success stories and have received nothing but positive feedback from our agents who are very happy that we’ve purchased this for their use.
How does this help someone considering listing their home with your organization?
By incorporating both FiveStreet and Top Producer into our toolbox, we’re able to capitalize on the worldwide marketing of our clients’ homes and respond to inquiries within seconds, providing a valued service to the client that may be untapped by other companies. We know that lead requests have an extremely short shelf life, and by utilizing FiveStreet in conjunction with Top Producer, we cut our response time to seconds in the hopes of capturing the interested party, rather than losing them. This is a huge win for our clients.
What’s next for you?
We’re focused on our strategic growth initiative in all of the markets we’re in, which is why we implemented Top Producer. It’s time for us to show why Bay Sotheby’s is the best decision a buyer or seller can make when looking for an agent to help with their real estate needs, in addition to being the company of choice for an agent’s real estate career.