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AgentLeaf for consumers launched- thumbs up or thumbs down?

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Currently in beta in the San Francisco area, AgentLeaf takes a unique approach to helping home buyers and home sellers to connect with a real estate professional. AgentLeaf says they reveal “top local real estate agents using real, objective data from the MLS” and don’t charge agents to be listed.

Matthew Holder, CEO of AgentLeaf has an air of mystery about him because they are still in beta, but below is our interview with him that gives you an insight into how the site works. We’d like to know in comments what you think about the site.

What was the inspiration for Agent Leaf?

“The inspiration behind Agentleaf is the need to improve the public perception of the real estate industry. We want to cooperate with consumers and agents – helping consumers find the right agent on a hyper-local level and help agents leverage their personal brands online.
Through Agentleaf, we want to:

  • Give the consumer more tools to make an informed decision – and save a little money while they’re at it
  • Improve the standards of professionalism in the industry
  • Restructure the way new agents come into and grow within the industry
  • Help agents and brokers improve their business – whether it’s with their existing company or giving them more freedom to go out on their own”

How does the 15% rebate work?

“We cooperate with consumers and agents to provide a commission rebate. The rebate is provided exclusively by Agentleaf to customers who use our site to find and work with a cooperating agent. We enable consumers to be enthusiastic about finding their agent and, therefore, provide agents with consumers who are excited to work with them. It’s a win-win.”

What is the Realtor’s role in AgentLeaf?

“Agentleaf is here to improve the business of professional agents by increasing consumer awareness. With the influx of online brokerages beating down the door of the traditional agent, Agentleaf enables Realtors to fight back by showcasing local expertise and experience to consumers. Realtors will have a chance to showcase their value proposition, increase their personal brand, and legitimize their standing within the local real estate community.”

Holder kept his plans for the future close to the vest, so we cannot confirm the next cities in queue, but we are interested to know what the real estate community thinks of MLS data and a rebate combining to form AgentLeaf. We welcome your comments below.

AG is not affiliated with AgentLeaf.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Anonymous User via Facebook

    March 1, 2011 at 7:14 am

    My first thoughts upon reading this: Here we go again, more phone calls with the “We have buyers…” sales pitch. I also wonder how they will use MLS data to find buyers agents when many buyers agents (like myself) very rarely represent sellers, and therefore wouldn’t have any MLS data available on them.

    • matthew holder

      March 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

      No calls about ‘we have buyers’ unless we actually have one for you…or a seller for that matter. Either way, we do basic qualification of the leads before sending them your way and you don’t pay anything unless you close the deal.

  2. Bruce Lemieux

    March 1, 2011 at 9:32 am

    At last! This is exactly what RE needs to “Improve the standards of professionalism in the industry” and “restructure the way new agents come into and grow within the industry”. A website where agents can add a profile and get internet buyer leads with a 15+% referral.

    It’s such a revolutionary idea, I’m having trouble getting my head around the implications to our industry. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?

  3. Matt Holder via Facebook

    March 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

    No sales pitch since you don’t have to pay anything to get leads unless they end up using you to buy or sell a home. We take on the risk and you reap the benefits.

    Great questions and thanks for the feedback

  4. Bruce Lemieux

    March 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Matt, all snark aside, I just don’t see a business here. Here’s some of the challenges I think you’ll have:

    1. Get Buyers and Sellers. You are just like every other agent and RE web site in this regard – how do you connect with buyers and sellers? How do you market your services and cut through the considerable noise so buyers/sellers know you exist. Just having a website with ratings isn’t enough. Good luck winning the SEO game.

    2. Sell Buyers/Sellers on Your Value Proposition. It looks like you have two: 1. get 15% back, 2. see agent ratings based on MLS data. Why go with you when Redfin gives me an agent and gives up to 1/2 commission back? So maybe the 15% back isn’t as important as finding a successful agent. Your beta site just has rankings with no explaination or backup. In San Francisco, Mike Hirner is #1 and Gina W. Tse is #2. What does this mean? What’s #5 mean? As a consumer, you aren’t telling me anything. Click ‘next’.

    3. Connect with Agents. If you are giving 15% to buyers/sellers, I assume you are looking for 20-25% from Agents (assuming your goal isn’t to start a charity). Do you have any idea how many calls agents get from companies who have “a qualified buyer/seller in your area?” We all get *tons* of these calls. And we all hate them. If Mike and Gina do any business (which they should since the are #1 and #2), they won’t take your call. I try not to be rude, but I don’t go past one sentence with these guys. Don’t underestimate how hard it will be to hand-off a referral to a decent agent.

    If you really want to build a business promoting the best agents, then do just that. Find the 50 best agents in your target market, and then *you* profile them. Tell us why they are so great. Tell us customer stories of how these awesome agents actually added value to a purchase or sell. Do that *first*, and then contact the agent and see if they would be willing to take a referral for new business. If you did that with me (assuming I made the top 50), then I’ll take your call.

    Also – make sure you actually profile the best agents. If the foundation of your business model really is to “improve the standards of professionalism in the industry”, then do it. If your business is based simply on creating a referral network, then you shouldn’t waste your time.

    Good luck with the business.

    • Matt Holder

      March 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Bruce.

      Thanks for your comments. I think you make very valid and important points, which i have addressed below. I think your feedback is great and there is much more in store that will go well beyond the current site.

      1. That is an issue we are aware of and are prepared for.

      2. You can join the site to see any agent’s sales stats for the past two years. The site is in beta and as such it is a work in progress – we are tackling those issues as we speak. Our goal is to give consumers a combination of choice and savings.

      3. If you don’t want to work with people who have specifically chosen to work with you than that’s your choice. There’s no harm in getting a lead in your email and added to your sales funnel – we’re here to help you get clients who excited to work with you…not clog your sales funnel.

  5. Christa Borellini

    March 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I think it sounds great. Don’t pay unless it closes. Can’t wait till it comes to San Diego! Let me know Matt!

    • Matt Holder

      March 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Christa.

      Follow us on twitter, @agentleaf, for our latest updates and where we plan to launch next.

  6. Mike O'Hara

    March 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Hello Matt. I have not seen the beta site. You provide MLS closing stats, but do you ALSO include withdrawn and expired info? There are plenty of agents that are great at marketing themselves which leads to many listings. If I am a consumer, I would also want to know how many listings have been unsuccessful. This is especially important with the many short sale charlatans that are out there throwing 30 or 40 short sales against the wall in a year, when inevitably only a half dozen actually close. To me, this is a very important distinction.

    • Matt Holder

      March 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

      Hi Mike.

      I absolutely agree. If you join our beta, you can see we include a sales conversion rate for the listing side, which reflects that metric. Our goal is transparency and increased efficiency – so you can see agents who ‘throw [a bunch of] short sales against the wall’ but have a low conversion rate v. agents with maybe fewer listings but a higher conversion rate.

  7. Pingback: If you could see any real estate agent's sales stats and how they ranked compared to all other local agents, would that knowledge impact who you chose to help you buy or sell a home? - Quora

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

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The promotional angle

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Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

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It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

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Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

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While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

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One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

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It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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