Coldwell Banker Helps Agents Win an Unfair-Share of the Real
By Paige Tepping
The original real
estate disruptor, Coldwell Banker entered the market with an innovation that
fundamentally changed the industry and has been leading the charge ever
since. “The brand itself has a 110-year
heritage of innovation, which has demonstrated various meanings over
the lifespan of the brand,” says Charlie Young, president and
CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “We’ve always been able to point to
tangible, factual elements in the history of innovation.” The brand’s consistent strive for innovation
is rooted in serving consumers’ needs and shaping their experience, as well as
driving the success of their real estate agents. And that’s just what Coldwell
Banker has done. In fact, their steadfast commitment to keeping their ear to
the ground while being on the leading edge of emerging shifts and trends,
paired with their network of savvy agents and brokers, has positioned them to
be even stronger today—and well into the future. Here, take a closer look at
how the brand is fostering connections with its network, its customers and the
real estate community by using—and even creating—technology to remain relevant
and innovative in today’s world.
Technology Reigns Supreme
With so many people
bringing innovation to the marketplace, now is not the time to sit back.
“We’re in an era where the bright, shiny object gets a lot of attention—and there’s
a high expectation for newness in the marketplace,” says Young, who points
to the brand’s proprietary CBx application as one of the most significant—yet
underestimated—platforms that makes up the brand’s technology suite. An
exclusive app for Coldwell Banker agents, CBx uses the power of big data to
help agents improve their marketing with easy-to understand profiles of potential
buyers and maps that highlight areas where that buyer is most
likely currently living.
With a built-in AVM
component, CBx also includes a function to show how a listing should be
priced and why, backing up an agent’s professional price opinion with concrete,
“Whomever came up with
CBx is a genius,” says Anthony Colantuono, a REALTOR® associate
with Coldwell Banker Hunter Realty in Northeast Ohio, who credits the
platform with winning him an unfair share of listings in his marketplace. “It’s
unreal how accurate it is when it comes to determining a listing price for a
specific property,” he adds.
CBx, the brainchild of
Coldwell Banker CMO Sean Blankenship, ensures movement patterns are
turned into insights that predict the most likely zip code a buyer will come
from, making targeted marketing much easier for agents and placing the
application in a league of its own. “Not only can I gain insight into the
average age of prospective buyers in the area, but I can also see the top areas in
which they’re searching, as well as searches initiated within a certain timeframe,”
says Colantuono, all of which can be shared with sellers to help them better
understand where buyers are coming from.
CBx is humanizing big
data. The display makes it easy to discuss trends and their impact on home
price with clients, and it makes it easier for agents to tailor marketing plans
to the types of buyers they need.
“It’s the best thing
Coldwell Banker has done in a long time,” says Colantuono of the CBx
application, which is also a boon when it comes to recruiting. “The minute people see the
technology we use, they want it.”
An avid technology
user, Colantuono has been taking advantage of everything CBx has to offer since
the day it was introduced. “It’s my unfair competitive advantage, as it’s a
tool no one else has. From the information it provides in one central location,
its ease of use and its interactive capabilities, CBx is truly a game changer.”
Solidifying Success in the Smart Home Space
Turning heads even
further is the brand’s smart home initiative, a project that’s been underway for the
past three years, and an integral piece of the network’s technology suite.
“It’s exciting when
you can move something this big in the direction that we have so that everyone
is excited and unified,” says Sean Blankenship, creator of the smart home
program. “When it came to smart
homes, it felt like there was a lot of movement happening in the
space, and no one in the industry was putting a stake in the ground,” adds
Blankenship, who rallied the troops to hit the ground running by laying a foundation
upon which to build through both consumer- and agent-based research. “We saw
right away that this was a real groundswell movement taking place.
And in looking at the research, we had an obligation to our network—and the
industry at large—to take a leadership role.”
By the time 2016
rolled around, Coldwell Banker had made significant advancements on the
smart home front, the most critical of which involved working with CNET, an
established technology brand, to put a definition around what qualifies
as a smart home.
From there, the
network joined CEDIA, the global trade association for the home technology
market, to develop a smart home agent education curriculum, becoming
the first real estate brand to provide exclusive education for its agents on
smart home technology. Educated agents can help buyers and sellers accurately
identify smart homes and the impact the technology can have on the sale.
Launched in May 2016, more than 4,000 agents have already completed the course.
According to Bob
Burns, president of Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, REALTORS® in West Des
Moines, Iowa, the two-day course provides a solid overview as to what
smart home technology is, what it means, and how agents can take advantage of
it within their career. “But most importantly, the Coldwell Banker smart home
initiative allows sales associates to differentiate themselves through
having knowledge about emerging trends in the home that other brokers haven’t
grasped or participated in,” says Burns, who points to climate control and
security as the two smart home features that are in high demand among buyers in
his local market.
Following on the heels
of the agent curriculum, Coldwell Banker introduced the highly anticipated
Smart Home Staging Kit in August 2016, a product that provides clients
everything they need to set their home apart by incorporating smart home features
Solidifying their spot
in the smart home space, Coldwell Banker has become the sponsor of the CES
Smart Home Marketplace—an honor they’ve held for the past two years. In addition to the
progress being made on the smart home front at the brand level, real estate
professionals affiliated with Coldwell Banker are also getting recognition thanks to
their smart home knowledge and connections.
Burns’ local broadcast
interviews are one prime example. “I make an appearance on a local
morning news show a couple times a year to demonstrate the
features of a few pieces of smart home technology,” says Burns. “It’s a great
way to educate the public in regard to the options out there, as well as the
advantages they’ll see as a homeowner if they take the time to install smart home
technology within their property.”
A World-Class Experience from Top to Bottom
Raising the bar even
higher, CB Zap—a Realogy-wide program—allows brokers and agents to
understand, anticipate and serve their clients’ needs. “CB Zap is all about providing
the consumer a world-class experience by giving agents and brokers the backend
tools they need to better market to buyers we’re experiencing today,”
says Young, who goes on to explain that 30 percent of the network’s agents are
on the platform and active on a regular basis—a number that’s continuing to
grow every day.
As part of the second
beta group, Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty in Kitty Hawk, N.C., has been up and
running with CB Zap since July 2015.
“With Zap, agents get
a website, a fully-functional CRM and a mobile app for both themselves and
the consumer, all of which play a large part in benefitting today’s buyer,” says
Pam Smith, vice president of Sales and Relocation at Coldwell Banker
Seaside Realty. While all of the company’s leads are routed through the CB Zap
site, as soon as a lead is entered into the system, the agent can send a
welcome email, providing access to the MLS the company belongs to.
“From there, the
consumer has the opportunity to not only search for properties they
thought they were looking for, but they can also see exactly what the agent is
seeing in the MLS,” says Smith.
The web-based platform
also includes consumer insights and predictive analytics, providing a
Zap Score to each and every site visitor, allowing the agent to know how
ready a client is to make a move.
Agents using CB Zap
can even learn about consumers’ behaviors and interests by getting automated notifications
regarding research activity, enabling them to quickly track and
communicate with interested clients through the platform.
“What I love about the
CB Zap platform is that it’s a fabulous agent benefit that adds a lot to our
value proposition that we can offer to an agent,” says Smith.
While CB Zap is
constantly evolving to keep up with the needs of real estate professionals and the
clients they serve, Smith believes the Zap team’s attentive nature is a
key component to the platform’s overall success. “They listen and I truly
believe that’s the success of CB Zap.”
Pushing the Pace of Innovation
With no plans to slow
down in sight, the team at Coldwell Banker is most excited about
continuing to tell their story, while remaining steadfast in their commitment to
maintaining their leadership position in the smart home and technology sectors.
“When I look at what
Coldwell Banker has to offer, at the strength of the network and where
we’re present around the country, the brand and how it’s been a consistent
backstop for quality in the market, in addition to what we have planned relative
to our technology platform, we’re going to continue having a strong story
to tell over the next couple of years,” says Young.
A major part of that
story will play out on the agent level as real estate professionals like
Colantuono continue to think outside the box and push the pace of innovation
Never one to rest on
his laurels, Colantuono is always looking for ways to differentiate himself
from the competition. In fact, after attending a session about virtual reality
(VR) at a recent Coldwell Banker Generation Blue conference, Colantuono
organized the industry’s first-ever VR open house.
“The event, which was
held at a restaurant 20 miles away from the property, provided real estate
professionals the opportunity to see a listing up close without ever stepping
foot in the home,” says Colantuono, who believes that virtual reality is
changing the way we see real estate. “It was amazing,” he says of the event, which
drew 70-plus agents in a three-hour timeframe.
Playing off the
success of Colantuono’s virtual open house, Coldwell Banker will be hosting VR week on
its blog and social channels this month.
A true differentiator
in the real estate space, Coldwell Banker has unveiled a set of digital platforms
that work together to raise the value of an affiliated agent, while raising the
consumer experience from one of finding their ideal home to one where their ideal
home is served up to them.
more information, please register below.
Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas
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