In the following interview, John Brauer, the Managing Broker of Windermere Real Estate in Missoula, Mont., offers insight on recruiting, finding quality leads, and bettering your business.
Region served: Bitterroot, Missoula, Lake and Ravalli Counties
Years in real estate: 25
Number of offices: 2
Number of agents: 39
You moved away from using realtor.com®, but have since renewed the relationship. Tell us why.
Back in the spring, our Showcase Offering with realtor.com® expired. We thought we’d take the opportunity to see if not working with realtor.com® really did make a difference in the number of leads coming through the door. We found out that realtor.com® really is a good lead source and that it was time to pick it up again—and this time, with a little more steam.
Are you aware of realtor.com®’s rebranding campaign, including the new television spots with Elizabeth Banks? How have these changes been perceived by your agents?
Sometimes in Montana, you feel like you’re on an island. But realtor.com®’ s national branding, messaging and brand pillaring since the News Corp acquisition are very evident here. We’re seeing the ads a lot and REALTORS® are really excited and happy to see so much exposure for the REALTOR® brand. The quality of the messaging and the top-of-mind awareness being created as a result of realtor.com®’ s campaign is really helping agents. They’re thrilled with the increased exposure and they’re benefitting from it.
Now that you are working with realtor.com® again, what has the impact been? Can you point to a financial or perceived value return on your investment?
The measurement that we are tracking is the increase in activity that we’ve seen to our mobile devices and to our website. In general, we’re seeing so much more lead activity than we saw before and a lot of that has to do with FiveStreet; it’s got the agents more attentive to their day-to-day business. I’m excited by the fact that the agents are so much more engaged now than they were before—these leads are being claimed.
What makes FiveStreet so effective?
The “Random 10” functionality. When a lead is not claimed by the listing agent in the first five minutes of it coming in, it goes out to 10 other random agents. However, that has not happened more than a few times. Agents are so engaged in the program that they’re responding to the lead within five minutes. Form a brokerage standpoint, it’s wonderful. I know for a fact that we were losing a great deal of leads before adopting this program. Now we’re confident that we’re losing very few.
Are these better quality leads?
It’s very difficult to determine the quality of a lead prior to claiming it, but I think conversion is way better as a result of the speed of responding to the lead. Even in Missoula, Mont., we’re in a society that expects instant gratification. When somebody is responded to professionally and immediately, it makes all the difference in the world.
What role will your success with realtor.com® and FiveStreet play in your recruiting efforts?
I haven’t had an opportunity to pitch this to recruits yet, but it’s at the top of my list. We’re always looking at ways to set ourselves apart as a brokerage and this is a great way to do so.
How would you characterize the team you’ve dealt with at Move? How do they effectively partner with brokers?
We have recently forged a relationship with Richard McDonald, who has been phenomenal. He’s been very communicative, very attentive and very responsive to our questions and needs. We’ve had great training sessions and very good explanations of the intricacies of the programs. Before, the relationship was not so good—now, we’re so impressed.
Would you recommend Move, Inc. as a business partner to other brokerages?
Absolutely. Leading up to the News Corp acquisition, there were so many players involved in this space, I was starting to feel like Move and realtor.com® were maybe not the best options for us. And now I have honestly done a complete change. Their support of the REALTOR® is the biggest deciding factor for us. Do we want to saddle up with a company that really doesn’t have the REALTOR®’ s best interest at heart? Do we want to go down those other paths? We’ve gone from disappointment and frustration to being completely satisfied and optimistic, which is a big credit to everyone at Move.
For more information, visit marketing.realtor.com/advocate.