Barry Plant CEO Mike McCarthy told REB technology is becoming increasingly important in real estate, which is why the group spent the last two years revamping its entire platform.
“We now have a platform that is far more flexible, working off a data warehouse where we can provide flexibility to our franchisees and their salespeople in terms of the CRM systems they use, for example,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Instead of being locked in with or recommending one particular CRM, we now have a platform where they can basically choose their CRM and that will integrate with our back-end systems, which we need as a franchisor of course, and enable us to do marketing for them on their behalf if they elect for us to do that,” he said.
“Our system will accommodate most of, if not all the CRM systems out there. We think that is the way of the future. You’ve got to have flexibility as a franchisor and perhaps even as an employer at an office level.”
Mr McCarthy said agents all have different CRMs they are more comfortable with and used to. “If we told them to use a particular CRM system, it would limit us and frustrate them,” he said.
“We’ve moved right away from that and given them complete flexibility. By feeding that back into a data warehouse with their consent and their customer’s consent, we can do broader marketing for them and build a longer term relationship with our clients.”
However, Mr McCarthy warned that agents shouldn’t get lazy and view technology as a replacement for face-to-face contact. “This is a face-to-face business and you can’t have that via digital marketing,” he said.
"We have a very large training program and run 20-odd different modules for sales and the same amount for property management. “People will list their home with you if they like and trust you. If they don’t like you and can’t trust you, then they aren’t going to list their home with you, no matter how many EDMs you send them.” However, he added that technology allows agents to be more effective in their face-to-face relationships with clients.