The real estate world was turned on its end by emerging technologies in of the last decade. The digital revolution forced real estate agents to radically change their strategies and businesses accordingly. Today, another paradigm shift is taking place because of the coronavirus pandemic effects on the economy, and on the ways people are reacting as well. Because of Covid-19, the need to employ real estate tech is even greater than ever before. To gain some insight into future practices, we contacted Ned Stringham, who's the CEO of the top real estate SaaS solution for brokerages, Inside Real Estate.
Ned is a well-respected business strategist, entrepreneur, and technology investor who founded Impact Partners, a management consulting firm in Australia. An MBA graduate of Harvard Business School, Ned also co-founded SBI Group, a digital marketing and technology consulting firm, which was acquired by Aquantive where Ned joined the board of directors. Ned joined Inside Real Estate, as a partner in 2012 and helps shape the vision and strategic direction of the company.
RealtyBizNews: There has never been a time when solid leads were more important or agents. How big of a priority is this for your company?
Ned Stringham: Lead generation is a big part of our DNA as a company. Over the years we've generated 200M + leads for real estate professionals and we track the conversion of those leads down to .001%. We've learned a lot through that process about what really moves the needle for our customers. Two principles remain a key part of our philosophy:1. Agents should be empowered with multiple ways to generate new business. At any given point, agents either have more time or money. We've developed the only platform in the real estate industry that allows agents to effectively build their pipeline at no cost - using built-in tools like landing pages, squeeze pages, video marketing, etc. When agents don't have the time to invest, they can turn on powerful paid solutions like CORE PropertyBoost which leverage an agent's listings, automatically creating targeted Facebook ads that generate high quality leads without agents having to lift a finger.
2. The quality of a lead is only as good as the follow up it receives. Regardless of how an agent generates new leads, if they don't have a proven system to consistently follow up, nurture, and engage those potential customers - they won't be successful. We've developed kvCORE to help agents not only cultivate new opportunities but to do the heavy lifting when it comes to followup and engagement, ensuring every opportunity is capitalized on.
RealtyBizNews: Can you tell us a little about how your platform can help agents convert leads into sales?
Ned Stringham: Timely, consistent, value-based follow up are critical to converting leads today. But in reality, agents are extremely busy. They are juggling the needs of current clients and can't always step away from an active deal to chase down a new lead. To help agents maximize their time, the kvCORE Platform leverages AI to verify leads and create a predictive score, prompting agents to engage personally when a lead is ready while the system incubates and nurtures those that are not. Simply put, kvCORE allows agents to focus on what they do best, while the technology works behind the scenes on their behalf.
RealtyBizNews: We know the kvCORE Platform leverages AI and behavioral automation to give your clients an advantage. Can you help our readers understand better how this facet of your product works?
Ned Stringham: Consumers today are accustomed to modern, tech-enabled experiences like they receive when shopping on Amazon or ordering an Uber. These expectations don't end when it comes to buying or selling a home. The real estate industry, however, has lagged behind when it comes to technology. We recognized this gap when we developed kvCORE and pioneered the concept of behavioral automation in real estate. Behavioral automation works by tracking consumer behavior and then delivering more tailored, relevant experiences and follow up - automatically. For example, if a new lead visits your website, kvCORE is tracking and analyzing their actions: what homes they are looking at, the price range and area, as well the style of home. kvCORE will send a text message to the lead on your behalf, with a link to additional homes that look and feel similar. The platform will then set up a search alert that continuously evolves based on your lead's behavior. When that lead saves a home as a favorite, they'll appear on your mobile dialer app to receive a phone call or video message from you that day. This all happens automatically, delivering a highly relevant, value based experience to the consumer that drives, on average, 5-10X higher engagement than other platforms.
RealtyBizNews: We see your solutions as a holistic platform and services. Is this a fair term to use to describe what you offer?
Ned Stringham: Absolutely. We recognized that the real estate industry had been operating in silos, with dozens of disjointed tools that don't talk to one other. This fragmented approach creates a frustrating experience for both consumers and real estate practitioners. It also eats away at productivity and already thin profit margins. Our vision is to help brokerages, teams and agents create a complete tech ecosystem - empowering each user with the tools they need to succeed and the flexibility to make the platform their own. One of the ways we do this is through our Marketplace. Every kvCORE customer has access to a built-in Marketplace complete with premium add-on solutions and vetted 3rd party integrations. This allows customers to customize and configure their kvCORE experience to their specific needs. For brokerages, this ensures each of their agents and teams gets exactly the platform they need for their unique way of doing business, without ever leaving the brokerage's ecosystem. This drives massive efficiency and cost savings as well as lasting brand loyalty.
RealtyBizNews: In the post-pandemic world, in what areas do you see technology solutions like those you provide making the biggest difference?
Ned Stringham: s Covid-19 hit, we saw real estate practitioners pivoting quickly to meet the changing needs of their customers. The circumstances forced more rapid adoption of technology than we've ever seen before in real estate. For many brokerages, teams and agents this also meant closely evaluating expenses and ROI. For example, pre Covid-19, the average brokerage was paying for 12 or more different technology tools at a cost of over $67 per agent, per month. Smart, forward-thinking brokerage firms saw this as an opportunity to consolidate and streamline. Brokerages who transitioned from multiple, disjointed point solutions, to a powerful all-in-one platform like kvCORE have saved, on average, 35% on their overall tech costs. We expect these kinds of moves will pay dividends for brokerages well into the future.
Because of Covid-19, real estate professionals have an even more pressing need to adopt the most efficient, cost-effective, and effective technology tools in order to succeed. Leveraging solutions like those provided by Inside Real Estate will help brokers and agents deploy not only artificial intelligence (AI) solutions but systems and strategies that evolve. And this is my key takeaway where Stringham's company is concerned. Companies that can shift on the run, and that can evolve quickly, are the only ones that will thrive in the post-COVID world. What is needed is a holistic approach designed to change dynamically with the shifting real estate industry landscape. Being competitive tomorrow will be all about flexibility.