WAV Group was very fortunate to spend time with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers (Metro Brokers) Chief Operating Officer, Craig McClelland to learn about their role out of the highly touted Zap platform. The Zap platform is the strategic technology brokerage solution developed by ZapLabs (formerly ZipRealty) that is being rolled out to all of the REALOGY® Franchise Group brands, ergo 250,000 real estate professionals.
WAV Group was surprised by the Metro Brokers announcement that they were launching Zap this early in the roll out. Metro Brokers is a huge Atlanta, GA brokerage firm with 1930 agents and 25 offices, making them the largest Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise by agent count. They are also a high volume company processing 7800 transactions a year (100% DotLoop), which ranks them just outside of the top 50 brokers in America, and second among BGHRE firms behind Gary Greene. Aside from size, Metro Brokers owns a technology company. The leadership of the firm own a company called Brytecore, a broker technology platform that includes the broker website, agent websites, and back office solutions. Brytecore is a very advanced solution that we have reviewed as a game changer for large firms.
Some of the keys that influenced the decision to go with Zap have to do with Metro Brokers Platinum status as a Principle broker in the Cartus network. Realogy CEO Richard Smith is keenly focused on making Zap particularly successful for relocation, and a common platform for servicing clients is an important element of delivering a high quality, uniform service. Metro Brokers is on track to close over 1500 relocation transactions a year, a significant percentage of their total volume. McClelland opines that Zap is WAY better than lead router, “referral and online leads need incubation, and Zap is outstanding for that.”
As you can see from the screen shot below, Metro Brokers was actually a perfect place for Zap to have a successful roll out. Metro Brokers has created a center of excellence around agent communication and training. This is the home screen where agents log into Metro Brokers. You can see the enormous commitment to Zap awareness, education, and training.
Every brokerage firm can take a cue from this intranet. It’s visually awesome and content rich. All of the important tools are a link away – email, documents, DotLoop, Agent website, etc. The phenomenal feature is the cadence of publishing information to the agents. Look at the publish dates and headlines of the stories that they push to their agents each and every day. There are some announcements, but a lot of the stories are highly useful training reminders that develop agents. This quality of support and engagement, combined with their technical acumen allowed them to plug in the Zap Onboarding Strategy to an infrastructure and engagement with agents that pre-existed. They did not start from scratch.
The time line for rolling out Zap started in July. Metro Brokers worked with the Zap Deployment Team to create all of the training and FAQs for the launch. Before agents could take a class, they had to watch 11 videos about Zap and pass quizzes that showed their progress. The only incentive was to get accepted into the class. Since July, over 600 agents have been through the Zap training. A lot of the training materials are in the Be Better University, a learning management system offered by BHGRE. McClelland had high praise for the Learning Guide supplied by ZapLabs and gave the overall training program a B+, which is pretty good for a brokerage operating at this level of sophistication.
McClelland shared the onboarding plan that they use for Zap.
Lets Take a Look at Zap
McClelland gave us a tour of the Zap platform.
The opening dashboard is what you would expect. The dashboard focuses on task management and follow ups like all good CRM solutions. I really like the training and product news feed on the right hand side. The left hand rail is used for navigation and includes Contacts, Business, Manage, Reports (coming), ZapStore, Quick Link s and Support. Notice the guy in the lower right hand corner? That is Colin, a real human being that works with all BHGRE brokers to stay connected to the agents when they are online, and help them through any rough points. Great customer support!
A cornerstone of the Zap platform is the ZapScore – a client rating algorithm that emphasizes customers that are hot prospects.
When agents select their contacts button, they are able to sort customers by the ZapScore to focus their attention. McClelland indicates that it takes a few data points before the ZapScore really kicks in to be effective, but the agents love it and feel that it has a lot of value to them.
Another killer feature of the Zap platform includes the follow up features that are material to every good CRM platform. They include phone scripts, email scripts, and campaigns. The scripts are already loaded into Zap, but the broker and/or agent have the ability to add/edit as they like. Of course, the lead management section notifies the agent by text message and phone call when a new inquiry arrives.
The Zap Store is the place of great opportunity for the REALOGY franchise group. This is the technology store where REALOGY aligns with multiple vendors and gives the brokerage the ability to integrate and promote those recourses to their agents.
The Zap Store is developing, and is still in Beta. But as you can see from this short sampling, there are already a number of great applications that you can plug into Zap including ZapLeads, Zillow, xpressdocs, and the Innovator Award winning Cloud CMA.
The agent website is tied into Zap beautifully. It is always fun to include the mention of an agent website in an article because they get a pile of traffic. Visit Ed Short’s website here.
They are nicely designed, responsive to all browsers, and provide agents with the freedom to select background images that match the market that they target. They are IDX websites, not Virtual Office Websites. The Brokerage has the ability to associate multiple MLSs to the search and to narrow the service areas and lead coverage areas to Zip Codes that are appropriate. The agent also can leverage vanity URLs to drive additional traffic or redirect current traffic to the site.
Below the fold of the home page the agent’s listings are featured along with the areas they serve, their experience, and their personalized videos. There is a nice balance between providing content curating flexibility to the agent without overstepping the elegant and clean layout.
Zap is pretty new, so it is not fair to complain about the short comings of the application too much. Overall, McClelland says they hit the bulls eye on delivering a great solution to cover the needs of 80 percent of what agents need.
- Would like to see support for Single Sign On
- Would like to see bulk upload for contacts
- Would like to see active sync with agent contacts on iPhone and Android
- Would like more control over the ability to add local vendors to Zap Store
About Victor Lund
Victor Lund is the founding partner with WAV Group, a decades old consulting firm in the residential real estate industry. Their firm provides strategic guidance to the top 500 real estate firms in America, along with the top Franchise Organizations. They also provide strategic planning to the Multiple Listing Services in the top 50 MSAs. Additionally, WAV Group is the consultant of record for Project Upstream, Broker Public Portal, and the firm supports the Real Estate Standards organization. These projects are delivering internal disruption that this improving the health of the residential real estate industry. They have been the driver of these projects since inception two years ago.
Additionally, WAV Group has a large strategic research team that delivers business intelligence to the industry and to the capital markets by benchmarking the effectiveness of strategies across large firms, and a survey team that listens to the attitudes of real estate brokers, real estate agents, and consumers.
WAV Group understands the strategic inflection points in real estate ahead of any other firm.
About Craig McClelland
McClelland joined BHGRE Metro Brokers in 2008 as the Director of Strategic Growth, and helped merge and acquire more than a dozen companies and their agents into BHGRE Metro Brokers. He has also played a key role in bringing new business lines, opportunities and revenue streams to the company.
“Craig has been crucial to navigating the company through the worst real estate market on record,” said President and CEO Kevin Levent. “As the real estate industry continues to gain momentum, he will be instrumental in helping BHGRE Metro
Brokers grow and succeed.”
Previously, McClelland owned and operated a successful real estate company – SimplySold Real Estate – for more than five years. Over the course of his ownership, McClelland expanded the business to 23 offices and more than 1,100 agents in 10 states. Prior to joining BHGRE Metro Brokers, McClelland sold the company.
Founded in 1979 with just one office and a handful of sales associates, Metro Brokers is the largest Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate franchise in the world offering a wide range of real estate services including residential and commercial sales; business brokerage; corporate relocation; new home sales and marketing; pre- and post-license training; and insurance, mortgage and title/closing services.