Brokers are facing new challenges in today’s economy. Traditional firms have often focused on advertising or co-op advertising as a primary benefit to agents who join their firms. The new broker model is different. Brokers are turning more and more toward training agents and the offering of technology services that are vital to the success of real estate professionals today. When brokers look at implementing technology services today, they face pricing challenges from vendors who are slow to understand the broker’s business model. Companies who offer CMA products charge monthly fees per agent rather than bulk service fees – making that key technology a challenge for brokers to offer as an agent benefit.
A short list of technology services that should be provided by all brokers to their agents includes the following:
- Robust broker website with lead distribution and management
- Listing Syndication to third party consumer websites like Trulia, Zillow, REALTOR.com, Yahoo, Cyberhomes and AOL
- Co-branded agent websites with IDX and lead generation
- Virtual Tours on every listing with quality photography
- Yard sign services up and down with direct response mobile property information
- Uniform listing presentation materials that articulate seller services and agent experience
- Uniform CMA
For brokers to offer these services, they need access to bulk pricing that is cost effective and reflects the fixed costs of the vendor offering servicesKeller Williams was perhaps the first franchise to offer bulk services across their enterprise for agent websites. This has not been confirmed, but various articles found on the web indicate that Keller Williams agents have access to an agent website for $10 per month for a KW co-branded website with IDX and lead generation (skip the crappy free IDX solution with no lead generation)
Listing Syndication is offered by Threewide for free if adopted by the broker’s MLS.
Many virtual tour companies offer all you can eat tours which are dynamically generated from MLS data. This corner of the industry has led the way in bulk pricing and understands the needs of the broker.
Listing Presentation materials and consistency in articulating the broker’s value to a seller is a matter of taste. Many companies do an excellent job at this. We encourage brokers to require their agents to sit with their manager before a listing presentation, review the materials with the manager and even practice their presentation. This hands on approach has been successful in increasing closing rates with brokers WAV Group has consulted.
CMA – oh the pain! These pricing models are usually price per agent per month – and in many cases exceed the cost of MLS fees. It is time for a change. $20 per month per agent is absurd. $8 per CMA is absurd. MLS vendors typically charge less than $3 per agent per month – some as low as $1.50 per agent per month. Surely CMA can be competitive with that.
By the way…. a broker client of ours is searching for 100 co-branded agent websites, virtual tours on every listing, CMA in bulk price, and a text to mobile solution. They have 200 agents spread across two MLSs, 300 listings, and close about 700-800 transactions per year. If you are a technology vendor who understands the broker business model and are offering fixed rate bulk pricing – contact me.