On this episode of The Byron Lazine Podcast, Tom Toole and I sit down with Andrew Flachner to talk about his early start in the real estate industry, his experience as an entrepreneur, and how he developed RealScout.
His persistence paid off in high school when he approached a top broker for a job as his buyer specialist. Eventually the broker agreed to make him part of the team. He also convinced Andrew to go to university and get a degree in Finance and Real Estate Development.
From there, Andrew continued his entrepreneurial pursuits and started businesses in the online dating space with DuoDater, which sold to the former Match.com CEO. He also launched a healthy food vending machine business in California.
But real estate just kept calling him back.
Three Steps to Creating a New Company
So, what are steps 1, 2, and 3 to creating a new company? For Andrew, step one revolves around customer development methodology.
“You don’t have the answer for your startup. You don’t have the answer for what your business will be; your customers do.”
Step two is building prototypes and getting feedback from potential customers. The more feedback the better because you can continue to build on and refine your prototype with your customer in mind.
Step three is iterating – which is, essentially, repeating step two in the continued development of your product or service.
In the case of RealScout, this starts with taking feedback from one-on-one conversations and from the customer service line, logging and categorizing it, and using it as votes for specific features and changes.
Focus on the Middle (of the Funnel)
Many agents are laser-focused on the top of their funnel – optimizing their website, dialing in their lead generation strategy, online advertising, etc.
The biggest pain point Andrew and RealScout are trying to solve for their customers, and particularly for aged leads, goes right to the middle of the funnel.
“We all know that agents are not keeping up with clients or past clients or sphere of influence or stale leads the way they should. That’s gonna be the highest ROI for your marketing dollars.”
Providing Value While You’re Sleeping
Andrew believes there is a nurture component that can be automated. But as soon as you see a certain level of intent expressed by your sphere of influence, it’s going to take that personal touch. And no technology can replace that.
He mentioned Follow Up Boss as an example of a great tool that helps agents identify who in their pipeline deserves attention and when. RealScout integrates with Follow Up Boss to offer that functionality to their customers.
The key to successfully implementing some automation is to maintain a certain level of nurture for your sphere of influence and then double down when someone expresses interest. For this to happen consistently, you need to have systems in place.
Post-Its and CRMs
Speaking of systems, what do you say to an agent who uses Post-It Notes and says they can’t wrap their head around a CRM?
“If that works for them, that’s great. [But], if you want 15% growth year after year for a period of time, you’re gonna have to have a better system than just writing on a piece of paper.”
Tom added, “There are agents saying, ‘We don’t need your systems, we don’t need tech, we’ve been doing this forever…'” And that raises the question of how many agents will actually use a CRM if their brokerage invests in one.
Andrew would ask brokers what percentage of their agents care about a CRM. If less than 10% will actually use one, it’s probably not worth it.
The RealScout Pitch
Here’s Andrew’s official pitch:
“RealScout has developed a best-in-class product that helps agents and clients collaborate around the home search. And we do that better than anyone because we’ve focused on that for the past 10 years – and it’s really been our sole focus for the last 10 years. So, if you want to keep tabs on what your clients are searching for, how their tastes are changing, to understand who to prioritize, you’re gonna see a lift in your business, because when you captivate your sphere of influence with that technology, you are going to close more transactions with them.”
Watch the full episode for more.
Sisu increases brokerage & team annual volume by 107% and agent annual volume by 28%.