Good real estate technology ultimately has one goal and that is to help grow your business! Too often brokers and agents get wowed by some cool feature without considering whether it will truly add to the bottom line. Internally, we ask that question all the time, namely, “Will these features and upgrades help our clients grow their business!”
Our platform is a Lead-to-Close platform and the first step is to generate leads. Our dedicated team apply updates regularly to our websites that improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking, increase traffic and generate more leads! We are continually breaking new records in this area. Today, we average close to 60,000 leads per month across our suite of international sites. That is close to 84 leads a minute or 1.4 leads a second. Most of these leads are automatically entered into our iList CRM so they can be followed-up with and nurtured to help families find new homes and sellers get the best price in the shortest amount of time. And these are just the leads we can track. On top of this we have leads being generated by Referrals, WhatsApp integrations and phone calls and emails. This is being accomplished across 60+ countries in 40 languages and countless currencies.
So what’s the secret sauce? Truth is, it’s experience! It’s all about years of work in multiple countries and having great technology but I’d have to say our experience is the biggest difference. In North America there are lots of decent real estate systems and you can find happy clients using any of the good ones. When you look outside of North America, however, everything changes. MLS doesn’t exist except in a few small areas. There is little continuity in broker systems as you go country to country and the rules for real estate transactions differ dramatically in each country. Listings are often non-exclusive and there is nothing to compare with NAR in other countries so that means less regulation and less oversight. Many countries don’t even require agents and brokers to be licensed, so in some ways it’s still like the wild west.
On top of this lack of structure internationally, there is huge complexity, created not only by the obvious issues of language and currency but also by customs, culture and the way real estate transactions are managed in each country. There really isn’t a lot of consistency, which means any vendor needs to master way more than simply translating a North American software program and expecting it to work in another country. These challenges also extend beyond the technology itself to support, training and basic business protocol, so as I mentioned, the experience we have gained over 20 years is a huge factor in our success!
When it comes to SEO and lead generation this becomes even more important. In North America there are many companies that do a decent job with SEO and other online marketing channels, but internationally it is a real challenge caused first by the language and secondly by the culture. Nobody gives you a manual on how to succeed in lead generation. Even with a full knowledge of SEO there still needs to be a full understanding of the local nuances needed to apply it to each specific country, culture and language, something we have been doing for many years now. Our system is designed to first generate leads and then provide the tools to nurture those leads into satisfied customers and these tools and our approach have to be tailored for every country we work in, now over 60 and 40+ languages.
The final step is adoption! Remember, that technology is only as good as the people using it so doing great SEO and technology is only the first step. We need to make sure our clients have lead-to-close tools with the understanding of how to use these tools in their day to day operations. If we give them leads without follow-up tools and training, we’ve only done half of the job! That is why we are totally committed to training and support, it’s part of the whole package to make technology successful.
Your International Checklist!
If your company or franchise is looking for international real estate technology our recommendation is to start by asking the following questions about the vendors and products you review:
- How long has the company been providing international services?
- How long has the company being considered been working in a specific country?
- Does the company have experience in multiple countries?
- How many countries does it provide services in?
- How many languages does it provide today? Make sure it is not just a “Google translation” but rather a full language system, with a backend manager for all languages
- Does it handle right left languages as well as left to right languages today?
- Can the company demonstrate a solid, local support system?
- Does the company provide regular product upgrades?
- In talking with the company, do they demonstrate a clear understanding of the real estate rules, customs and culture in the countries you are serving?
International real estate is wildly different from North America real estate and the technology demands are equally demanding and different. Do your homework and make sure whichever vendor you choose, for your international technology, understands not just your company or franchise but also the local real estate rules and culture and how to succeed in areas such as SEO and lead generation.