How to Be an Innovative Agent in the Age of iBuyers

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Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

Blockbuster, Toys R’ Us, Blackberry, Amazon, Netflix: What do those names mean to you?

You may see Amazon and Netflix as innovative companies that make life easier for consumers. They’ve also evolved over time. Remember when we rented Netflix DVDs through the mail before they offered streaming? Amazon started as an online bookstore. Today, the retailer spoils us by selling everything under the sun with one-day delivery (now including groceries). I know some of you cannot remember the last time you physically went to a store because I sure don’t. I’m thankful for both companies’ continued innovation.

Conversely, you may recognize Blockbuster, Blackberry, and Toys R’ Us as “too little, too late” to the innovation party. Can that happen to real estate agents and traditional brokerage firms? Honestly, we should be too busy focused on innovating to worry about extinction. Fearing the future can actually stymie our continued existence and growth more than simply focusing on taking better care of our clients.

So, in an iBuyer (“i” standing for instant, not internet, y’all) world, how can we take better care of our valued buyers and sellers while there’s a growing need for speed? I am glad you asked! Let’s pull back the curtain on two companies and learn what they’re doing to help agents put customers’ needs and wants first.

1. An In-House Innovator

Since the summer, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) Metro Brokers in the Atlanta area has been fusing their well-known name with the individual personalized service offered by traditional real estate agents and the instant, guaranteed offers of the iBuyer models, which is relevant to clients when fast cash matters more than losing equity. Examples of needing money quickly include medical bills, divorce, job transitions/lose, custody battles, and other issues that result in significant life changes. And if a client is embarrassed, they may not readily divulge the issues they’re facing, making the anonymity of an online website that provides an instant offer very attractive.

Knowing these customer dynamics, Craig McClelland, vice-president and COO of BHGRE Metro Brokers, decided:

…to become an iBuyer aggregator. We have tools and resources to educate the consumer on how selling to Zillow, OpenDoor, or OfferPad would look. (We) have a CMA tool for the agent and a submission platform. Once submitted by the agent, my staff generate(s) the offers for my agents. Agents present the offer to the seller, keeping the agent in control. We started two months ago and have generated over 500 offers. We now automatically generate offers on every listing that qualifies for an offer. #GiveTheCustomerService!

Did you catch that McClelland said “keeping the agent in control”? That’s it! Make no mistake—it’s not about controlling people (no cults here). It’s about ensuring our voices are not muted, especially when outside marketing efforts are trying to appeal to the emotions of sellers while also potentially undermining the sage wisdom real estate professionals bring to the table. We are the Yodas of real estate and we should absolutely stay in front of this conversation.

Let’s take a peek inside BHGRE Metro Brokers’ marketing of its Instant Move program:

Materials for sellers.

Materials for agents.

Materials for agents.

Well, that is easy! Is your firm doing something similar? You may need to ask to find out because there are several firms that see the “writing on the wall” and are making money moves to provide an edge for you.

2. An External Innovator

If you have confirmed your firm has not yet embraced iBuying, then there are external tools that can supplement the great resources you use at your current firm. One such site is the recently launched OfferBarn.com.

OfferBarn is self-described as:

A concierge service available to real estate agents at any brokerage that helps them obtain offers for their clients’ homes from the iBuyers that work with agents. In today’s market, iBuyers are giving sellers many new choices. In order to stay relevant and truly represent their clients, agents need to acknowledge all of the options that are available to their sellers. That’s why we built OfferBarn — to help agents gather that information, build relationships, and give their clients all the options to consider in one convenient, simple place. Everyone wins. Most clients still choose to list their homes, but many of them are investigating iBuyer options before making that decision.

Notice OfferBarn said, “…many of them are investigating iBuyer options.” To make this more real for you, 40% of sellers in the Phoenix market (which is where iBuying was birthed five years ago) seek out and opt for iBuyer quotes. I repeat—in five years of iBuying being in a market, 40% of sellers WANT at least a quote from iBuyers. That is huge in terms of lead generation and being the information gatekeepers. Do not fixate on the stat that less than 7% of closed transactions include an iBuyer company because that number does not reflect referrals from them to their partner agents (again, notice who is keeping the information) nor the realty firms that have embraced the iBuyer model or something similar with guaranteed offers.

OfferBarn’s leadership–experienced real estate pros Doug Adams, Scott Martineau, and Lisa Rakestraw–hopes to help keep agents in this lead funnel that has an obvious growing demand. And if you are in any market outside of Phoenix where this trend is even newer, you truly have an opportunity to be a frontrunner in gaining market share. Translation: this equals leads, leads, and more leads.

Adams of OfferBarn explained, “As agents, we took our initial frustrations at the iBuyer trend and have channeled it into a product that we think will truly help agents stay relevant, better serve their clients, and generate more business.”

Adams summarized OfferBarn’s key differentiator, “Designed by experienced agents for all agents to use.” Don’t miss that: iBuying FOR agents BY agents. Game CHANGED!

Curious about OfferBarn? Since this is one of my newest favorite things, and ’tis the season for giving, in my Oprah voice I proclaim: “You get two weeks, and you get two weeks…you all get two weeks!” Get a complimentary two-week trial simply by signing up at OfferBarn.com. Plus, use the promo code DRLEE1119 and get 50% off your first month through December 21, 2019. As always, no kickbacks to me—just the satisfaction of knowing you are winning. And if you try it out, please comment below or message me and share how it is helping you.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or by visiting LearnWithDrLee.com. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the five-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

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  1. Pingback: How to Be an Innovative Agent in the Age of iBuyers - South Carolina REALTORS

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