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Op/Ed

Brokers and agents are losing time, money by sitting back and waiting on data standards to change

Most practitioners don’t recognize that they play a role in improving data standards which means reclaimed time and money. Let’s address how this can change.

Woman on cellphone representing qualifying leads.

Facebook is worth 277 billion dollars, with 2015 advertising revenue hitting 4.3 billion dollars. Billion. That doesn’t make much sense, does it? Why is Facebook worth so much? In no small part, it is because of the data on you that they collect and can leverage.

Data is a valuable asset, and one that brokers and agents are letting fall to the ground to spoil. Data about clients, website and app visitors and users, how those users interact with the sites and apps, and other information about leads should be incredibly valuable to brokers and agents.

Business intelligence can be gleaned from it. Amazing customer experience can be created out of it. And all sorts of products should be growing up around that data to add value for brokers and agents.

How you’re losing out

But brokers and agents aren’t getting the value out of their data because that data sits in individual product silos when available at all, inaccessible as data to others.

Why? Because brokers and agents haven’t done the work – or applied the pressure on software vendors to do the work – to create and adopt data standards.

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To make this real for my readers, I’ll provide some examples of some of the types of benefits that should be available:

  • When a consumer goes from Zillow to the broker or agent website or app, they should be able to bring their preferences, saved searches and favorites with them. This would be a great user experience for consumers.
  • Likewise, when the agent wants to set up a prospecting search in the MLS, they should be able to leverage everything the consumer has already set up online on other sites. This would save agents time, and make the transition to MLS prospecting search much better for consumers too.
  • With information about how consumers and clients interact with websites available, apps could be built to analyze that behavior to let agents know what kind of contact may be immediately needed. Even knowing that a buyer is telling you they have $30,000 for a down payment but is filling in $20,000 in the website calculator could be useful.

Traditionally, the industry sits back and waits

There are all sorts of data – client collaboration, lead management, transaction management, and more that could benefit from data standards – enabling all sorts of great new applications. Not to mention, no longer would brokers and agents be stuck using a product they don’t like because that’s where their data resides and it’s hard to switch and start over.

To date, brokers and agents have sat back and waited for the MLS to develop data standards – which the MLS has, but mostly just to solve the MLS’s problems.

Brokers and agents need to realize that they have a business interest in data standards too.

I’ve written some additional articles that get a bit more technical but provide additional insight into this problem:

A few brokers are just starting to get involved in the real estate standards efforts at the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), but haven’t yet begun to push for any strategic initiatives. It’s time for brokers and agents to step up and get involved, or pressure their software providers to get involved, and free up the data that can be so valuable to their business.

#DataMoney

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Written By

Matt Cohen has been with Clareity Consulting for over 17 years, consulting for many of the real estate industry’s top Associations, MLSs, franchises, large brokerages and technology companies. Many clients look to Matt for help with system selection and negotiation. Technology providers look to Matt for assistance with product planning, software design, quality assurance, usability, and information security assessments. Matt has spoken at many industry events, has been published as an author in Stefan Swanepoel’s “Trends” report and many other publications, and has been honored by Inman News, being listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders.

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