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Apr 13 / bschwartz

Real estate heavy-hitters talk tech in Orlando

Real estate heavy-hitters talk tech in Orlando

In late March, VHT took a trip to sunny Orlando to participate in the annual conference hosted by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, one of the most highly respected groups of brokers in the United States.  The network is comprised of independent real estate brokerages from across the nation and has a membership roster that reads like the “Who’s Who” of real estate, with 15 of the top 25 real estate companies in the U.S.

The event brought together some of the premier names in real estate to trade insights and talk about the dynamic industry landscape –  including nearly 1,000 top real estate brokers, managers, relocation professionals and industry experts from the U.S. and over a dozen countries around the world.

It was no surprise that technology, digital marketing and listing aggregators were hot topics.

It was VHT’s eighth year at the conference and this year, VHT Chairman Brian Balduf was invited to speak at a session on lead management, while VHT CEO Alex Zoghlin shared his perspective on how the broker-agent value proposition has been impacted by the Internet and changing home buyer behavior.

As the industry begins to bounce back from its economic woes, brokers are recognizing just how much technology has changed how home buyers behave, how they search for properties, the kind of information sources they utilize, and ultimately who they choose to represent them. We know that consumers start the buying process on the web rather than by contacting a real estate professional. But who’s responsible for finding these online buyers and capturing their business? Agents or brokers?

We believe it’s time for brokers to rethink both their marketing priorities and their value proposition to agents. Brokers need to reassert themselves on the Internet and aim their marketing resources at capturing these online consumers early in the buying process, before competitors do. They must refocus their value proposition to lead-hungry agents by providing them with plenty of potential buyers so they can close more sales.

The more prospective clients a brokerage can bring to its sales agents, the less money they’ll spend buying leads from third parties, the more transactions the company will close, the more clients it will have and more loyal its agents will be. Read more about this in VHT’s white paper entitled How the New Buyer Lifecycle is Impacting the Broker-Agent Relationship.

Speaking of white papers and the Orlando conference, here’s how a recent article from the WAV Group summarized brokers’ message during a session about listing syndication: brokers are offended by tactics of many online publishers.  Two brokers who quit sharing their listings report that publishers reacted by mailing postcards to sellers with active listings, urging them to ask their agent or broker to reconsider.  According to the WAV Group article, Fixing Online Advertising Woes, online publishers “have proven they are willing to act in ways that are far below out industry’s standards of ethics.”

Stay tuned as the conversation continues.