Real estate is not a business of luck. In the following interview, RE/MAX INTEGRA’s Director of Technology Graeme Canivet offers insight on making the most of online opportunities and cracking the lead conversion code.
Director of Technology
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
You recently implemented FiveStreet as a pilot program for RE/MAX INTEGRA. What were you striving to solve?
There were a number of factors on the radar, not all of which had to do with lead conversion, but that was certainly a big factor. We had an existing product that was truly becoming a Frankenstein, and while it served us really well over the years, we realized that as we’re continuing to make things more sophisticated, agents needed something simpler. So we decided to pull the Band-Aid off the functionality we had in the past and provide our agents with a simple, mobile-friendly platform that would go beyond serving just RE/MAX leads by consolidating any lead that comes into the company in one place. It was also important that we adopt a product that would solve the underlying problem of how we deal with incoming business. Not only did it have to be a game changer, but we had to be able to prove to our agents that it would ultimately bring them more business.
What has changed in the way leads are handled that helps you close on more of your online opportunities?
The biggest change is the fact that each and every lead that comes into the company is being pulled into one place. From there, manual and technological processes can be applied so that leads are followed up with in a timely manner. FiveStreet has a sophisticated auto-response feature that gets back to clients within the first few minutes of receiving a lead while working behind the scenes to warm up the lead by getting it to the right agent. The ability to warm up leads will help our agents close more business, an important factor in a day and age when the faster you respond to online leads, the more likely you are to turn the lead into real business.
How does this fit into the rest of your technology set?
We’ve made several additions to the RE/MAX Launchpad Productivity Suite—a one-stop shop for all the best tools in real estate—over the past several years. And we’re excited that FiveStreet is now a key product within the RE/MAX toolset as we work toward catapulting our agents’ productivity to the next level. In order to achieve this goal, we need to provide our agents with the tools that’ll help them with the lifecycle of the client from lead to close.
Have you had any early wins in which sales associates earned business with FiveStreet?
Based on the success of our pilot program that concluded in August, we made the decision to purchase FiveStreet for the 16,500 agents within the firm. While we’re in the middle of rolling it out, we’ve seen several overnight successes throughout the pilot, the most notable being the auto-response feature. No matter what time of day or night a lead came in, the lead was being followed up with immediately, which went a long way toward communicating that the agent was serious about winning their business. In addition, through social channels such as Facebook, agents could see that those involved in the pilot program were closing business because of the quick response time. The fact that all the information an agent needs to provide a good first experience is being aggregated in one spot will help them earn business.
Many consider it challenging to introduce a technology standard in the entrepreneurial environment of real estate, where agents at times resist a broker’s recommended solution. How is the adoption going?
While we’re still in the beginning phases of implementation, we had great success with adoption when we introduced the pilot program. In fact, we brought on 100 individuals—brokers and agents alike—and 60 of them stayed on board the entire time. FiveStreet isn’t another app that agents need to figure out. If you can email and text, you can use FiveStreet.
In general, was implementation complicated?
The most complicated thing so far is the change management from the system our brokers and agents have been using. The pilot program was a great jumping-off point that we can use to show agents the success rate of those who were involved from the beginning.
It seems you have raised the standard in response time. Are your sales associates seeing this as a challenge or an opportunity?
Agents definitely see it as an opportunity, one that technology solves for them so that they don’t have to change their behavior. We’re not asking them to double-enter information; we’re simply providing them with a system that integrates and complements what they’re already doing. Responding to leads in a timely manner is a huge challenge for agents who spend a majority of their time out of the office with clients. FiveStreet bridges the gap so that they can get the best of both worlds.
How would you describe the coordination effort involved in bringing FiveStreet and Move into your organization? Did you get the support you needed?
The team at Move has been fantastic. Not only do they have the resources, acumen and desire to help us, we’ve had multiple project managers, product owners, tech providers and account managers working with us. We were provided hands-on training and webinars throughout the process, and the team was instrumental in helping us understand and work through any transition pains.
For more information, please visit www.marketing.realtor.com/broker.