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Brand Built on Leads and Technology

Giese_PeterIn the following interview, Peter Giese, co-founder and president of United Real Estate in Dallas, Texas, discusses the advantages of the brand, lead sources, technology and more.

Years in Real Estate: 27
Number of Offices: 74

Six years ago, United Real Estate was a new and unknown brand. What are some of the challenges associated with entering the market as an unknown?
Many of our competitors believe the biggest challenge in opening a new real estate company is in gaining consumer recognition; however, the real challenge is in convincing productive real estate agents to trust that your new brand will help them be more successful. Experienced agents have established a brand and have a customer base that will continue to do business with them regardless of what brokerage they work for. It’s our job at United Real Estate to provide a brokerage product and targeted messaging that gives the agent the certainty they need to make the change to United Real Estate.

What can you offer a broker who is hesitant to leave behind the systems, tools and partners they currently have?
We offer brokerage companies a platform with a unique sales proposition that allows them to rapidly grow their agent count and transaction count, while at the same time reducing their technology and training expense by becoming their technology resource and training partner. If they want to grow a large real estate office in their market, we offer them the blueprint to build that modern brokerage.

Can you give some examples of this kind of technology partnership? Who have you brought into your plan?
We’ve brought realtor.com® into our plan and, specifically, the FiveStreet platform, as it solves a couple of challenges that agents and brokers both have. Realtor.com helps many of our offices provide leads for their agents. While lead generation is a marketing function, lead conversion is a sales function. The sales function requires that the consumer is contacted immediately by a well-trained, professional real estate agent. FiveStreet allows our offices to deliver the leads to the most qualified agent, and allows that agent to contact the consumer immediately. Our offices can track the leads, and realtor.com provides training to ensure our agents have the sales skills to convert the leads. This helps our offices provide full service to our agents, which, combined with our franchise-specific offering, gives our offices a large advantage over our competition in recruiting productive agents.

Since technology is an important piece of the puzzle, how do you get your offices and agents fully immersed and optimized for a technology shift?
All of our offices operate on the same technology platform from office websites, agent websites, CRM, and a paperless environment. This allows us to not just educate, but also share meaningful stories of success. The internet changed everything, and that change wasn’t about its marketing opportunities. The real power is in using the technology associated with the internet to build one-on-one relationships between the consumer and United Real Estate agents.

Is there a training component to it?
We train every week with live webinars, as well as in our offices, and we have an extensive library of recorded technology training sessions that are available to our agents 24/7.

Do you bring your technology partners into your formal training?
We do bring our technology partners into our broker and agent training. As the leader of United Real Estate, it’s my responsibility to introduce the team to the tools that can assist their business, regardless of whether it’s our product or a partner.

How does technology integrate with your recruiting and retention plans?
There’s always been a technology disconnect between agents and consumers, with the consumer being ahead of the curve. We’re a very successful recruiting company because we provide the agent with easy-to-use technology that allows them to effectively market and communicate to customers. Realtor.com provides additional special training opportunities and products that aid us in developing agents. If agents are growing, we can retain them.

How can a new agent leverage this to get enough momentum?
As soon as an agent joins us, we set them up with an MLS-integrated website branded to their unique URL, and a CRM system that positions them as a trusted advisor. When this is combined with our United JumpStart training program, coaching and accountability programs, we’re able to help them create business right away. With our 100-percent commission plan, they’re also equipped to invest in building their business after each closing. In certain markets, we’re also able to help them generate immediate business through realtor.com.

Are you still growing?
Since we launched the company, we’ve grown every month in agent count. We increased our commitment to growing our franchise network, and this year hired five franchise sales directors to more rapidly expand our network. We’ll add 36 new franchise locations by the end of 2017.

What does the future look like?
The overall real estate industry will continue to experience a shortage of affordable housing. We as a company need to provide our agents with what they need to stand out from the competition. Many agents are busy, but being busy isn’t necessarily productive. We’re focused on delivering full service to our brokers and agents, while having a modern, 100-percent commission program available to agents. This will allow us to continue to work toward our goal of establishing large real estate offices in urban and suburban markets with populations over 50,000. By embracing technology and continuing to build a more efficient brokerage model, the future looks very bright for the United Real Estate network.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/brokerwin.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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