(Above, L to R) Carlo Siracusa, President, Residential Brokerage, Weichert, Realtors®; James Weichert, Jr., Vice Chairman, Weichert Companies; Bill Scavone, President, Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.; and Denise Smith, President of Real Estate Services, Weichert Companies (Credit: AJ Canaria of Inside Real Estate)
How Weichert Is Supercharging Its Engine for the Future
National real estate powerhouse, New Jersey-based Weichert, Realtors® has a long history of innovating to grow…50 years to be exact. Founded as a single office by Jim Weichert in 1969, Weichert now encompasses 500 residential real estate offices across the country. With the recent launch of its brand-new technology ecosystem—myWeichert, powered by kvCORE—the firm has upped its value proposition for the more than 13,000 company and affiliated sales associates it serves. According to Weichert, the platform—developed in partnership with Inside Real Estate—will enable agents to build even stronger businesses with robust lead-gen tools, as well as AI and behavioral-driven marketing strategies.
For a company that’s been succeeding for 50 years, change is nothing new. That’s why the shifts taking place in real estate over the past decade don’t rattle Weichert. These market changes motivate Weichert to stay laser-focused on being “all in”—recruiting the best agents, then giving them the very best tools.
Designed to be a next-generation, integrated technology ecosystem, myWeichert, powered by kvCORE, provides Weichert agents with a custom suite of mobile apps and tools that facilitate multi-channel lead generation, relationship-building through its CRM and automated marketing, social media engagement, and more.
Weichert’s latest technology investment is in line with the company’s “best of both worlds” approach of supporting its agents by combining innovative tools with high-touch coaching based on real-world experience.
“myWeichert will help improve the productivity of our agents by giving them the power to automate their entire business. It also helps our branch managers better support agents with training and guidance,” says Denise Smith, president of Real Estate Services, Weichert Companies. “For Weichert sales associates and affiliated agents, it is a one-stop, Weichert-only marketplace where they can access all the systems needed to manage their business.”
Enlisting the Experts
Despite a long history of developing products and systems in-house, Weichert opted for an outside partner and chose Inside Real Estate and its flagship platform, kvCORE, to power myWeichert.
“We’ve been looking at various technology solutions for years, but there was never anything out there that could solve what we needed,” says Bill Scavone, president of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. “We’ve been hearing what technology people are using and what their frustrations are. We’d also hear about who’s highly thought of in the industry. We had three different groups within our family of companies working on this decision and they all came up with the same conclusion: Inside Real Estate.”
Weichert needed a proven technology that was agile enough to integrate existing proprietary technologies and support a large enterprise deployment. In order to meet its unique requirements, Weichert worked closely with Inside Real Estate’s seasoned leadership team to develop a proven and scalable technology solution that was fully customized to integrate Weichert’s unique brand offerings, including the Weichert Way Selling System and Weichert Tools.
“President of Inside Real Estate Joe Skousen and his team really know real estate, and really connected with us,” says Scavone. “People buy people before a product or service. We bought their people—they’re very attentive and very helpful. They’ve been very collaborative in customizing the product for us. This is not an off-the-shelf solution.”
Achieving Greater Goals
While the primary objective of myWeichert is to help agents do more business more efficiently, the benefits for Weichert are far-reaching.
“We’re giving them a smart CRM that ensures 5-10 times higher engagement. They’ll know when clients are engaging with a listing on their website or looking at a market report, and, more importantly, the system will supercharge their ability to connect with those clients via automated emails and texts,” declares Scavone. “It’s like handing them the keys to a Ferrari.
“On the franchise side, we expect to have more brokers look to join us because this platform will save them a lot of money and provide them with a powerful solution to grow their business. It will also help our brokers and managers recruit and retain. They’ve always had a great value proposition to work with, but this is a game changer, and our franchise owners are ecstatic about it because it’s the solution they need,” explains Scavone.
And according to Scavone, it won’t stop there. myWeichert is designed to be a launching pad for additional enhancements and innovations, which will help Weichert chart its path for the future.
“Weichert has been around for 50 years and we plan on being around another 50,” says Scavone. “Every time we need to innovate, we innovate and thrive. We were the disruptor when we opened our first office, and when we started our open house system. With this investment in technology, we will play that role again. We will continue to expand when we find the right companies to affiliate with, and offer them our many tools, systems and training…all under one roof.”
Innovating Then and Now
An early innovator in online lead generation, today, Weichert.com is one of the most successful lead generation platforms in the country.
“When I started with the company years ago, we’d had the lead-gen piece for a few years,” says Carlo Siracusa, president, Residential Brokerage, Weichert Realtors®. “We were there before the online aggregators and our goal was to enhance the consumer experience. We use Weichert.com to generate leads, but the beauty is in the customer interaction. We get people into the hands of an associate and talking with them live within minutes. Lead generation is more about the customer experience than the lead.”
In a time when many agents, teams and even brokers have become dependent on a singular source for leads, like the portals, myWeichert empowers users to diversify their sources of new business. With beautiful, easy-to-use Landing Pages, IDX Squeeze Pages, Smart Numbers and other advertising solutions, agents and teams can generate leads independently, in just minutes—regardless of their budget.
“Being able to offer a system like myWeichert to agents is game-changing for them. It’s also game-changing for me, as a broker who’s recruiting agents, for getting people in the door. For agents, it’s about getting those extra leads from myWeichert, which they’re able to generate on their own, as well as the company leads that Weichert provides. It’s pretty magnificent,” says Kim Smith, broker/owner of Weichert, Realtors® – Team Metro, based in Hickory, N.C.
While there’s been an influx of competition in the lead-gen arena over the years, unless it’s “done the right way,” no amount of leads will make an agent successful, says Siracusa.
“It’s great to have leads coming in, but if you don’t have a process and system in place for following up, it doesn’t matter,” he explains. “The myWeichert platform, powered by kvCORE, puts unbelievable artificial intelligence and behavioral automation in our hands to help our associates do their job and follow up with leads—and it’s all automated. Our associates are already good at building relationships, and this now gives them a streamlined, easier approach. It helps associates engage with more consumers, at exactly the right time.”
Coming from Weichert’s early days in lead generation, to the most cutting-edge tools for engaging with new customers, myWeichert is right in line with the company’s long history of innovative adaptation.
Another Weichert innovation is the company’s touted open house program, which is delivered system-wide and began when Jim Weichert got his first listing in 1969 and strategically placed open house signs in a way never seen before.
“We love it when people say ‘open houses don’t work,'” says Scavone. “They haven’t tried it our way, which is based on time-tested results. Our open houses allow us to offer great branding and meet a lot of potential customers in person, which leads to more listings. There’s no better way to meet someone…a tweet or an email can’t shake someone’s hand.”
With the myWeichert platform, Weichert’s agents can create even more face-to-face relationships with a fully integrated, custom mobile Open House App that captures contact info on-site and immediately starts follow-up dialogue. “We want our technology to help us engage more people, and the myWeichert open house application helps us do that. We’re not using technology to get away from the customer—we’re using it to get closer to the customer,” adds Scavone.
Pioneering Integrated Services
Empowering its agents with the best tools has been a consistent focus for Weichert. “We’ve always taken care of our agents and franchise owners by giving them the tools to succeed, so they can deliver legendary customer service. That’s the Weichert advantage,” says company founder Jim Weichert.
This philosophy is what led to Weichert’s pioneering efforts in the one-stop shopping movement. “In the world we’re in today, where everyone is busier than ever, people are looking to have it all done for them,” explains Siracusa. “Offering everything they need saves the consumer time, energy and stress.”
Weichert has been offering integrated real estate services to customers for many years now. “Jim [Weichert] recognized early on that simplifying the customer journey is key to repeat business, so he brought the most important real estate services—real estate, mortgage, title and insurance—together, all under one roof and laid the foundation for the Weichert Family of Companies,” says Siracusa.
He also stressed that the mandate doesn’t just apply to consumers, but to franchisees and Weichert sales associates, as well. From technology and training to marketing and prospecting, Weichert is focused on giving agents everything they need so they can go out and deliver on the Weichert pledge of “legendary customer experience.”
myWeichert Debuts to Rave Reviews
At press time, myWeichert’s early adopters were already weighing in with positive feedback:
“myWeichert, powered by kvCORE, is a one-stop hub for an agent’s personal business. It handles the organizational side of their business as well as the lead generation side, so it truly is a one-stop hub for their entire business. I think it will have a tremendous impact on our office productivity because: No. 1, it will keep agents more organized with all of their information for their business in one place; and No. 2, if they use this platform properly as it’s intended, it will help them generate more business so that they can again have more productivity. So it’s not just organizing the productivity they already have, but also generating more productivity.” – Brenda Elliott, Broker/Owner, Weichert, Realtors® – The Space Place
“I think this system will absolutely help us stand out from the competition. The system’s different prospecting tools and the automated interaction, along with the lead-capture process, has been received very well by our clients. And I think this all will help show that our agents and office are extremely responsive, even though it may be automated.” – Edna Sexton, Broker-in-Charge, Weichert, Realtors® – Triangle
“In our industry, we talk about follow-up, follow-up, follow-up and then follow-up some more. And that’s probably what our industry lacks—the ability for salespeople in their busy day to actually follow up and do the things they’re supposed to do to satisfy their customers. myWeichert not only gives them the tools to follow up, but it will also do some of the follow-up for them. There’s also an accountability factor to the platform, which is awesome.” – Jared Garcia, Manager, Weichert, Realtors® – Performance Homes
Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at email@example.com.