Dawn Perry, Senior Vice President of Cross Brand Strategic Marketing at Realogy Holdings Corp, shares insights on real estate marketing and how agents are thriving in 2021.

The Data Driven Real Estate Podcast #35 – Real Estate Marketing with Dawn Perry, Realogy #DDRE35

Written by:
Aaron Norris
Written on:
February 25, 2021

Dawn Perry is Senior Vice President of Cross Brand Strategic Marketing at Realogy Holdings Corp. She leads cross-brand marketing initiatives for Realogy including the integration of marketing, communication, brand advertising, and other strategic partnerships across the Realogy family of brands. This week, Dawn shares details on how one of the world's largest real estate brands is investing in marketing and technology, how consumers are driving the conversation around ibuying and bridge programs, and how agents in 2021 are staying in front of their hyperlocal clients to grow business.

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Show Topics

00:00​ The Data Driven Real Estate Podcast Welcomes Dawn Perry, Senior Vice President of Cross Brand Strategic Marketing at Realogy

01:52​ What is Realogy?

03:13​ How Realogy's multiple brands connect with consumers?

06:58​ How does an agent stay connected with a buyer after the close to nurture that relationship?

09:45​ Realogy's investment in technology and Productivity Hub

15:35​ What data does Realogy leverage to help brands and brokers?

17:47​ Realogy's ibuyer program, RealSure, and other consumer-driven trends

25:17​ Where are real estate leads coming from in 2021

37:13​ Team trends in real estate

39:59​ What does it take to be a successful individual agent?

42:33​ How did COVID change the buyer's journey and needs?

46:25​ Three rebrands and how agents and consumers are reacting

51:40​ What should agents stop doing and start doing in 2021.

Show Transcript

Aaron Norris  0:05  

Welcome back to the Data Driven Real Estate Podcast the podcast for real estate professionals dedicated to driving business using data. I'm Aaron Norris along with Sean O'Toole with PropertyRadar, and this is Episode 35. This week we have Dawn Perry, she is Senior Vice President of Cross Brand Strategic Marketing at Realogy. There, she is in charge of cross-brand initiatives for marketing, communication, brand advertising and strategic partner, partnerships for Realogy and its family of brands. This week, we talked about Realogy and the investments it's making in communications and technology to support those brands, and the agents and brokers that work for them. We talked about their iBuyer program RealSure, and how they're leveraging it to help consumers with their buy sell side of transactions. And finally, what it means to be a hyperlocal agent and 2021 that much more, don't miss this week's episode. Dawn, thank you so much for joining us today on the show. And first question, What keeps you excited about real estate now that you've been with the Realogy brands for over a decade?

Dawn Perry  1:05  

Well, Aaron, first, thanks for having me on, Sean. It's great to be with you guys today. And I'm thrilled to participate in this podcast. What keeps me excited, like I've been with Realogy for almost coming on 11 years in March and, ten years of that was with the ERA brand more, more recently, leading the marketing department. And what I love about real estate, and particularly, you know, this year, things are always changing. Some people walk away from change, I embrace, I really do like the diversity of what we do every day. But at its core, we're really trying to help homebuyers and sellers either move on to their next dream home or buy their first dream home. So, we have been completely innovative over the last decade, but even hyperfocused over the last five years. And I like the diversity of what we do.

Aaron Norris  1:52  

Some might not appreciate sort of the parent relationship with the brands and then the broker agent. Can you talk a little bit about Realogy? And then how they relate to the brands?

Dawn Perry  2:03  

Of course, of course, yeah, you know, Realogy is not well known as a parent company. And we don't purposely go out and extol the virtues of Realogy outwardly, because we are a brand first company. So, we have six brands that are extremely important and each and unique in their own way. And there is great benefit to that for both brokers as they affiliate for agents that are affiliated with those brokers and consumers. And I always say, you know, I've managed many portfolios of brands over the years, whether it was a scholastic or even an Avis budget, I have two competing car rental companies, it's the same car. So, to you know, to diversify and figure out what brand is appropriate, there's a different feeling and a different value and benefit you get with working with each. And so, there is a great opportunity to provide choice to our customers and a choice to our brokers and agents in terms of affiliation, but Realogy between its size, and its scale really allows us to create synergistic opportunities across the organization to drive even more value. So, we're here to be complimentary to use the data that we have at our, at our fingertips to drive insights, and even more effectiveness and value to our brokers and agents.

Aaron Norris  3:13  

You said the magic word 'Data'. What is it? What does that look like? How does having multiple brands? What does that mean from the consumer standpoint, as you're trying to get them to choose? Does one really aimed at different demographics, or what does that look like?

Dawn Perry  3:29  

Well, so I think there's a NARS, NAR statistic, National Association of Realtors statistic that says, I think the combined is 36% of your customers say that would you that they would work with you again, right? So, it's repeat and referral business. That's where they get most of business. Actually the numbers 90% say they would but less than 10% wouldn't because they forget who you are. So, the data and it, look, it's how many years between transactions?

Sean O'Toole  3:55  

Right.

Dawn Perry  3:55  

I re- I remember my first real estate agent. This is my first home and she's retired to Florida somewhere Bonnie, Bonnie Ellingwood, and she was fabulous. She was a Coldwell Banker agent. But you know, now 20 years later, I'm in this house, if I'm thinking to move, you know, if I knew she was in business, I probably would reach out to her, but you have to stay connected to your customers. So, really what each brand is trying to do in their own unique way, is really close that value circle the lifecycle of a real estate transaction, and providing even more value after the fact. So, we use our data to understand what are the customer needs, what should we be offering to them to keep them engaged and active? And also, what value do they have once they own the home? You know, so, each brand has their own offering in terms of how to stay connected, or the resources we can provide to keep track of your, your mortgage paperwork and all of the warranties that you have on your house. So, each brand has a different way of staying connected and really refining and keeping connected in that lifecycle.

Sean O'Toole  4:56  

Is Realogy. Did they, I mean I think some of these brands have been through acquisition and stuff. So, you could say what it's just a holding company of related brands. But is there is something a little more methodical to it like, you know, this brand appeals to agents have this kind of persona or profile or to buyers and sellers have a particular profile? Is there a lot that happens there have a kind of differentiating the brands based on personas?

Dawn Perry  5:29  

So, yes, but it happens at the brand level. So, we are, as you had mentioned, right, we so a holding company, but we act as an operating company. So, we are sharing insights data across the organization for the greater good, and the strength of this organization, and providing it to the brand so they can enhance their value of prop. So, if you think about it this way, Century 21 talks about the going the exceptional experiences going the extra mile and the era is about providing choice and collaboration. And if you think about Better Homes and Gardens, it's a lifestyle brand, Sotheby's luxury, right. So, they all have their own place in the sun, but they serve all customers, there's a Sotherby's agent, that's also helping the everyday first-time buyer with an average median price home. And that's as it should be, really, because it's a local business. And it's based on relationships. So, we would never pigeonhole anybody into any particular brand. We don't force anything, we provide the choice. And there's the right broker, agent and brand for everybody. I mean, I strongly believe there is a tremendous value to affiliation. And I understand why, when I was at ERA, part of what our value prop was, was to decide that we know that you have this local expertise and brand value in your market. And so, they offer a concept still called Powered by ERA , so that you can keep that equity that you had in your marketplace. But you are now fueled by your age, and even further so by religion, if that makes sense.

Sean O'Toole  6:57  

Okay, okay.

Aaron Norris  6:58  

As what the consumer wants from an agent after closing changed in the last decade?

Dawn Perry  7:06  

After closing, so...

Aaron Norris  7:08  

I'm thinking about the time, the length of ownership that seems to be growing. So, it's safe to say that people are owning their home longer from the data that I've seen. So, you know, what can agents provide after to manage those relationships besides sending, 'I can sell your home'.

Dawn Perry  7:24  

Or, you know, calendar magnets and things like that, that we've been doing for years? Yes, we do recipe cards that, hey, look, I've I've worked with some agents that have such a sphere of influence and such expertise in their market, that they have no problem garnering a higher commission rate, because of what they do. And they also still do, you know, recipe cards and things like that it stays connected, it works for them. And that's what's come to be expected in that marketplace. However, we also have to provide an opportunity for the now connected consumer, right, we're all connected, and whether that means how we reach them in marketing, or how we service them after the transaction. It's all very important. So, we talked a little bit about that lifecycle before, so I've. The brands are actively trying to fill a void maybe of that post transaction, and how we can you know, not sell anything, not say that I want to be your agent for the next time around, that would get pretty tiresome and tedious over time. But really explaining to them here are some of the things you should think about in the lifecycle of your home. And, and they do touch points. So, they might have a follow up program, which sends postcards every month or emails that say, 'Hey, you know, it's time to service your HVAC' or whatever it might be. So ,they're really trying to enhance that value and still be as they always are the local expert, and the expert in the real estate transaction, right? So, there's great value of staying connected to those consumers.

Sean O'Toole  8:48  

Some brands that have told the, sorry Aaron, uh. You know, uh with Compass in particular has told this story about you know, kind of tech first and how it kind of changes everything. And then with the iBuyers like Opendoor, really investing so much in fleets of PhD folks trying to figure out who's going to put their house up for sale and so much kind of data-driven marketing emphasis you know. What's Realogy's his take on that? And, you know, kind of across the brand's you know, I certainly have my own, but I would love to hear, you know, boy, this is a business you guys have been in forever. You're really good at it. And now you've got these upstarts that are kind of making a lot of promises and, and getting huge valuations.

Aaron Norris  9:42  

And don't have to be profitable for years.

Dawn Perry  9:45  

Yes, so, I won't go into all of that. But I will say that look, first competition and choice in the marketplace is good. And I think when we have new entries into the marketplace, it helps us all be better, right? So, that we are all thinking creative And thinking differently, look, you know, Realogy, and specifically the brands, we are real estate first. We have tremendous investment in technology we want to provide, you know, we had just launched or discussed last year, something called a Productivity Hub. So, the Productivity Hub is really designed to be an open ecosystem that can deliver on the connectivity to different platforms and tools, some we build ourselves. So, we have a great product that we're introducing called Leeds engine, which really helps setting really quality business rules for our brokers so that they can manage their leads appropriately, as well as tracking and engagement with social media and being able to, you know, generate leads, as well as manage the leads. So, that's homegrown. But we also in that same infrastructure we're talking about, we have a partner with Tiger pistol, and we have a product called social ad engine that allows an agent to do custom marketing. Now, it's fueled by our data and our expertise. So, we are providing great insights. So, it's easy for them to do a Facebook campaign, it's as easy as picking a campaign based on your brand, or the product that you'd like to offer, like a revitalized if you're at CB and then just plugging it and go. And it's it's fueled by best practices that we've learned across the organization. So that productivity hub is a great connector of things, as I said, that are homegrown, but more to come we it's an open architecture, we're excited, because that allows us to connect you to state of the art tools and services, but at the same time provide you really quality product that gets you your business done and make your brokers and agents more productive.

Sean O'Toole  11:32  

So, big investments in technology, I mean, Realogy has been known for that for a long time, big investments in technology, it's got to hurt a little see these other guys make investments and get huge valuations when they're doing, you know, kind of the same things. But how, how important is that tech stack to an agent in making a decision? Or is it still do you feel, still feel it's more of a relationship business.

Dawn Perry  11:59  

So, I feel that the tech stack, so we'll just we'll call it what it is. Let's start with web CRM, right transaction management. Those are almost table stakes at this point. You know, I remember, you know, again, been in the business ten years, that was when barely any agents did social media, they didn't have Facebook pages, I remember one of the first things I did at ERA was stand up, kind of like a Sprout Social, allowing them to get content directly from brands, they knew what to post, right. So, we've evolved quite a bit in the last ten years, right. So, with that, though, I mean, I think you have to have that it's how the brand differentiates how they deliver it. What is the, you know, so everybody needs a website, but the way that it is administered by CB, and Better Homes and Garden is very different, and how they plug their consumers into it. So, the other thing I would love to share is that at Realogy, we have a centralized, really robust and effective learning department. So, it's a Learning Center of Excellence. So, it's not just good enough, you guys know where you can plug in every new shiny tool there is. But if the agents don't understand how to use it, the value of it and don't use it, what was the benefit? Right, I can provide it free of charge. But if you never use it, you'll never be receiving the value of it. So, we really focus on not only just launching things, but also driving adoption and effectiveness with it so that we can drive productivity because really at the core, we want the agents to be more productive.

Sean O'Toole  13:21  

Sounds like your leads engines getting at that too. I saw a stat that something like you know, less than 1% of leads turn into transactions. I mean, I think it's even worse than that, right? Because there's so many folks now selling leads and generating leads and actually turning those into transactions. I don't know. Did you see the recent SNL skit on Zillow?

Dawn Perry  13:46  

I did. Yes.

Sean O'Toole  13:49  

That's going to generate just a few leads of folks that are just bored and want somebody to talk to?

Dawn Perry  13:56  

Yes, yes. It's interesting, I think, you know, it varies. Um, when I first started at ERA, I was actually running their leads management program. And we did seminars, quarterly seminars for brokers. Some of them were still using, like the back of an envelope and an Excel spreadsheet to track their leads. And, and we had, at the time as lead router, it's still part of our infrastructure in terms of managing business rules and things like that. And what we used to say to them is that it is the leads are only as good as how you nurture them, right? So, I think as an industry, we haven't been really good about understanding the long cycle of a lead. So, I could generate a lead that you know, it takes, could take 18 months could take a year, it could take two years to turn. I always tell this story. My daughter is 18 going on 19, she has been communicating with real estate agents in Manhattan, Aaron, okay, she wants, she wants an apartment in Manhattan. So, she keeps sending me these links of "Hey, so and so agent at Sotheby's is sending me this listing". It's 4 million. Okay, get a job first. Let's finish college. And then We'll get into that. But you know, so that's a really long lead. Like, I hope that agent keeps in contact with her because eventually she's going to want something, and she's going to need an agent. So, it when I say that is because it's important to track the whole lifecycle that will eventually convert at some point in the future.

Aaron Norris  15:18  

Conversion is, it's more difficult, the longer the lifecycle tracking conversion is really tricky. And you being in that little lead gen space training agents that sometimes they don't want to worry about a technology stack, they just, they want to close deals.

Dawn Perry  15:33  

Yes.

Aaron Norris  15:35  

From where you're sitting at the Realogy perspective, what data are you looking at be like that agents terrible, that broker does not learning the training. I mean, are you guys looking at that and saying, we gotta, we're gonna have to have a one on one with this company.

Dawn Perry  15:49  

Well, so you know, everybody's independently owned and operated, and their agents are, you know, affiliated with that brokerage. So, yes, we are looking at the data, we do report back to the, at the brand level, what is the overall effectiveness of an agent? You know, what's their productivity overall? And we look at trends across the organization. And we also share that with brokers, right. So, many, you know, unfortunately, or fortunately, right, we have a lot of brokers that are still selling and working in the business while they're working on the business. And when that's happening, they may not spend enough time on, you know, looking at the key stats, how does this agent compared to the MLS? How does, how have they, how has the productivity gone up or down over the last three years, we share that insight back to them through our service network of professionals, so that they can understand where there might be some opportunity for either a one on one conversation to move things forward or move someone out, you know, or to fill a gap that they might need. We have a tool called iProspect. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but it is connected to Teradata- another, another tool, so that a broker can effectively look at the marketplace and see how their agents are performing. But they also can look at it holistically to see okay, in my, in my area served, is there a like is there a zip code that I'm not serving for some reason? It's probably because you don't have an agent that goes out that far, there's an opportunity to grow that way. And we provide coaching and resources back to the training so that they understand where they should focus, like we all want the top performers, those are what we do, and we don't, like if you talk to a broker, the top performers but they're hard to manage, and, and all those things. But that that's not true, they have their own way of doing business as you talked about. So, with that, and they're very successful and productive, and we like them. But sometimes, when you're trying to recruit, you probably want to focus on the next, you know, desfile down to understand where you can really improve, like the benefit of joining any brokerage is to grow your business and to grow the brokerage. So, we do help them with data in that respect.

Aaron Norris  17:47  

Training. Okay. Um, iBuyers, you have been looking, launching your own iBuyer program you've had around for a while it's come back, can you share any insights on how consumers are responding to it? Is this a needed facet of the business that you've starting to include?

Dawn Perry  18:07  

So, it's actually a longer story than that, Aaron. So, at ERA, we had something called Sellers Security Plan. Sellers Security Plan has been around for 40 years.

Sean O'Toole  18:16  

Long time.

Dawn Perry  18:17  

Yup, the premise of that was, "if we can't sell your home, we'll buy it". And that still to this day, is the tagline for that program. Now, that is offered in conjunction with our RealSure product that we do with Home Partners of America. And that if you happen to listen to the investor call or anything today, Ryan brought it up on the call this morning. It is a fantastic program, what, what it's great for is for consumer we can go in and right now it's in 11 markets, we hope to have it open in 20 by mid year. And so we have an aggressive launch strategy, it was a little bit on hiatus during COVID. Because for all the reasons that we know, right, and then additionally, it provides a choice to a customer. So, if it's in a market that we serve, an agent can go into a customer on a listing appointment and say, you know, Aaron, I have, I can give you an offer on your home today through the RealSure product. And I'd like to get you started in that. But you know what I would prefer we'll do that and then I want to market your home because I am sure that if we market it and you follow these steps, you know if you're CB it's listing concierge, if you're one of the other brands, we have all these great marketing programs. If I market your home appropriately, it will sell probably faster and for more money but you have this backstop you have this offer in your in your pocket. And so, while we talk about it as an iBuyer, it's really not that what it is, is designed to get the best value in price and meet the needs of the customer. And there's another facet of that too, that helps them with moving. So, for example, if they get a third party offer and they want to take that there's an opportunity, excuse me to hold the offer. There we go. Oh, glad I brought a bottle a glass of water up here.

Sean O'Toole  19:56  

Yeah.

Dawn Perry  19:56  

So, they have the opportunity to hold that offer for another 45 days while they try to get to the closing, right, if something falls through, they still have that as a backstop. But even more importantly, they can move on their own timeframe, because the second part of this is allowing them to rent back their home if they wanted to, to stay in it for a little longer as they work to close or find their dream home. But it also provides them the opportunity to have a guaranteed offer when they try to make an offer on their next home. So, really, it provides flexibility and insurance. So, while we, it's, it's always been lumped in with iBuyers, it's not really that at its core, neither was sell a security plan. It really was designed to market your home appropriately so that it sells for the best price for the consumer, which is what we're all about.

Aaron Norris  20:36  

How are agents responding as you're rolling out in these markets? Are they excited?

Dawn Perry  20:41  

They are they like to have the opportunity for the choice, you know, if I'm, if I'm a listing agent, it gives me one more tool in the toolbox, if you will, to try to gain that listing, which is definitely helpful. But you asked before and I didn't answer, I apologize. Like how is it being received by consumers? Look, it's, it's fairly easy to sell a house right now. So, while it's appreciated, and it's valued, and people are using it, and I forgot the stat that was quoted this morning, because Home Partners of America are, they're buying houses at a rate as part of their core program. So, it's not like it's not being used. But now it's pretty easy to sell your home people are getting multiple offers. So, I don't know if you saw there was something on the news the other day where there was a line of traffic down for an open house, it was like three blocks long. I am fascinated by that. But you know, good for sellers. So, it's not as necessary right now that it will be in a changing market.

Sean O'Toole  21:31  

Have you guys looked at the other side of the equation much yet. Because, you know, as you mentioned, it's pretty easy to sell, it's actually really hard to buy right now. And it's really hard to buy if you still own a house, and you still need a place to live until your new place closes. And it feels to me like that's the hard part of the equation. And I just bought a second home. And but you know, the gal who sold us the home can't start her buyers journey until our escrow closes. Because she can't, you know, juggle both at the same time. So, she's having to move out and rent. And then she gets to start her journey. And it's awfully disruptive. And it seems to me like, you know, iBuyers is almost You know, they're focused on the seller, but not the buyer. And where are the buyer programs? And when are they coming?

Yeah, well, you're absolutely right. But RealSure does help you with that, right? Because when you get the offer from RealSure, you can get a whole value statement. So, in effect, it helps you make you know, it helps you move faster towards your buying your home. But you're absolutely right. In this particular market, it is difficult. You would say up to this point, everything we provide, even the advertising we do is directed at buyers. But in this type of market, it's really trying to find them their dream home. And so, I always rely back on, you know, your expertise of your agents, really good agents know where the homes are, and they know how to get you into your dream home. And that's why agents are more important than ever in today's market.

Aaron Norris  23:04  

Is there a lot of pressure on the brands to focus on off-market real estate, because demand is so high and buyers are having such a hard time, especially first-time buyers?

Sean O'Toole  23:14  

Well, Aaron, I don't know that I have enough information to comment on that particular aspect of it. And so, you know, I don't have much to share on that particularly, but we can certainly circle back with what we know about it.

Aaron Norris  23:25  

Sure. You know, I just I'm thinking about the rentals that I've owned and the amount of times it's only happened twice where I had a realtor reach out and say I have a buyer that absolutely loves this area. If you know anybody looking to sell please call me, I, were, they're ready to go qualified. And it's only happened twice in the last decade. And I, it's always surprises me. So, as the value proposition for realtors are, is forced to change because of technology. So, just curious if off-market real estate is one of those things that you know, Realogy or the brands are really helping agents get better at.

Sean O'Toole  23:59  

I mean to be fair, agents are good at that because they, every listing is an off-market deal that they brought that seller to market, right?

So, it's interesting that you put it just that way, Aaron, and it reminded me last week I got some random, random thing dropped in my in my mailbox out front, like actual handwritten note that said, 'Hey, you know, we have some people that are interested in your neighborhood'. It was like, it was really, it was legit not a postcard. And you know, and it was kind of covert and cagey. So, it was a it was a real- It was not a branded real estate. It was just a real estate agent didn't even really use whatever, you know, brokerage name they have. And like 'Well, I'm a little off put by this' and I'm in the industry. But I think look, I remember you know when we've gone through this before real estate, as you all know, it's cyclical and we'll you know, we'll have our ups and downs. You know, where we struggle as a brand when I was an ERA was making sure agents stayed engaged with what the core business builders are for real estate, right. You have to continue to farm you have to get, so because the cycle will go like this, and you will need access to a larger sphere of influence. So, while we talk about those of our off market listings, I think that's, you know, it's an interesting phenomenon. So, anecdotally, I can tell you it's definitely happening, but I don't know any, you know, real research behind it.

Aaron Norris  25:17  

What is the data, data say as far as where leads are coming from on the seller side, how agents are connecting with sellers.

Sean O'Toole  25:25  

So, leads on the seller side generally come from consumer, it's basically the referral repeat business in many cases, right. And so, and just like everything else, it's unfortunate or not that people normally use the first broker that came and give the listing appointment. So, it's important to make some headway that way. That's why programs like RealSure, CB offers RealVitalize, which is I don't know if you're familiar with that program. But that program is basically fix it up for nothing upfront, right. So, you get the opportunity to a certain extent to paint the house, renovate the house, do some basic upkeep and upgrades that will drive a higher price for your house, and then you pay it back in escrow. So, there's no money out of pocket upfront. So, there's opportunity with those programs. And that's what you know, Realogy and each of its brands try to bring to its brokers and agents to try to get their foot in the door to make that headway. And from that standpoint, listing leads are really tough. So, I oversee marketing for RealSure and RealVitalize, so I'm their in house marketing liaison for the product teams there. And we've done some paid media, particularly around RealSure to make sure that we're building awareness, it's fairly new. And as we open up new markets, we want to support that, as well as RealVitalize, in terms of really trying to, trying listing leads is not easy. And when you're doing it with a program that people don't know what that is. So, we are constantly evolving and emulating, analyzing the data to make sure that we are providing the most marketing effectiveness for the dollars that we spend. And I'll be honest, I'm not sure we cracked the code yet. But we're still working through it.

Now, it's tough. I think everybody's in that situation. Are there particular data sets that, you know, you don't have now on that front that you'd like to have that you think could make that easier for you?

So, it's interesting you had or maybe Aaron mentioned before about data insights in terms of getting leads, right. So, if you think about it, we have a lot of data, we should be able to model that data to understand when people are likely to transact again. So, how long are you in a home before you are thinking about moving and it's not necessarily dictated as many times it is about a lifestyle change, right? You become an empty nester, you're looking for a second home, or you're upset, upsizing right like that, or moving from one a different locale, a lot of people doing that right now. But I think the overall where we could be more effective, and we are starting to do this, it at Realogy is really, and I know ERA also has something that they're doing as well, looking at the data of a whole lifecycle to kind of model who's, who's likely to convert and targeting messaging, messages to them in that respect.

Yeah, we've seen an awful lot of it, efforts, I mean, to some degree, you know, Opendoor and Offerpad and those guys are all touting that, as their teams of PhDs are, what they're working on. Smartzip raised a lot of money, and, you know, basically failed and went off to die. And on that, on that front, and if you really think about the data that's out there, you think about, I always like to ask everybody, if you think about the last time you decided to move, right? Did it have any correlation to any of the things that are available in data, like the number of days that you own the house, when you last refinanced? And it usually doesn't it's usually like you're visited somewhere a family situation change that there, we really don't have access and probably shouldn't have access to data on like, these kind of more deep internal things. So, I for one, don't believe we're likely to see a propensity to sell model that's that terribly accurate.

Dawn Perry  29:10  

That accurate?

Yeah. It's interesting in so I grew up in data marketing, believe it or not, and I went, you know, my first job at a college I worked for People Magazine, and every magazine, Time Inc, People, Sports Illustrated, and then the calendar and Time Year In Review, and all those things. We were all basically fighting for the same list. And so, back then we spent a lot of time modeling the data to make sure we could understand who would be more likely to pick one offer and over another and spend their their hard earned dollars on one thing or another. Now, many times they spent them on many things. So, that was good for everybody. But because you had to back up every marketing activity with the value that it brought to the organization, and that's how they dictated whether you got access to the name. You know, that is an interesting way of thinking about marketing. And I think the brands are doing the same thing, right. They're really trying to find a way to drive the most effective marketing, and leads to their brokers and agents so that they are likely to convert. But you're right. I mean, in terms of a model overall, but who's open to move I like I think the agents are watching Facebook. I mean, it's, you know, in some things, there's, it's fairly creepy, like, you don't want to be too invasive. But even back then we had overlays of data back in people we overlaid with certain, you know, sociographic and psychographic lifestyle things that allowed us to make a shot at what they were doing. And I think that's the best we can do. But I agree with you.

Sean O'Toole  30:34  

Yeah.

Dawn Perry  30:34  

Sure. It's gonna be super accurate.

Sean O'Toole  30:36  

Certainly narrow the pool down to ones more likely. And I think that's, that's probably the best you can do. And if you can combine that with good messaging around that particular group, because it's definitely different groups of people, and having the right messaging makes a lot of sense. I'm down that path just a little further. The he- are you seeing the advertising costs, you know, the cost of, you know, marketing to add a listing? It seems like with all this new competition and stuff, that's, that's the big winners here are, you know, Facebook, Google, you know, the ad platforms. Like we're each, everybody's kind of upping the spend for each new, new customer? Are you seeing that as well?

Dawn Perry  31:26  

Yes, yes. You know, it's, I struggle with the whole process and I'll tell you why. Because it's cheaper as it gets to do the marketing, the more people don't pay attention to whether it's effective or not. So, it costs nothing to send an email, almost nothing, right? You're buying an email platform, whatever. So, 'Hey, let's hit everybody with all these emails'. And we never know if they're opened or read or anything like that. Same thing with social, like, I'll boost a post in Facebook, and just hope for the best. And, you know, look, I'm gonna go back to that stat I said earlier, which is like, you know, it's the combination of 17. And I don't remember, but the repeat and referral business, like if agents continue to nurture their sphere, and instead of thinking about advertising, thinking about engaging, that's going to generate that business for them. And those are, you know, look, repeat, and referral business convert at a significantly higher percent than those internet leads that we're driving to them. Now, again, Internet has a long tail normally takes well over a year for some of those to convert. And sometimes, at that point, the agent stopped tracking them. So, there is value. But I don't think it's it says, I don't think it says paid attention to as it should be.

Sean O'Toole  32:35  

We had a guest from IBM, I don't remember her name, because I'm terrible with names, you know, that, you know, in direct mail, and it used to be, you know, you needed at least three touchpoints. And she said, what was it now 17 or 50, or something ridiculous.

Aaron Norris  32:48  

Depending on who you talk to you 23 to 73? I've heard it all over the map.

Sean O'Toole  32:51  

And, you know, and so, I think, you know, we see that a lot with agents who send out one postcard and expect to get listings. And, you know, when you think it's 17, or 20, to 70, touchpoints, it really speaks to that kind of ongoing, you know, drip, and long nurture time. Do you think that's something agents are mentally, you know, prepared for and understand at this point?

Dawn Perry  33:21  

Well, I don't know, if they're mentally prepared, I think if they are aligned with a decent real estate brand, and you know, I'm talking holistically now, right, many of them offer opportunities to help systematically do that engagement after the fact, right. But the really good agents are the ones that can come up with creative ways to continue to engage their network, I think one of the questions you had posed to me was, you know, some creative ways that agents are engaging with marketing. There is an agent in South Carolina that I know very well that did this whole like, man on the street series with local restaurants and bars. And he would go out and interview them and talk to them about and really trying to drive awareness of what they offer and the and demonstrate the uniqueness and flavor, I think it was Charleston, which is a beautiful town to start with, right. So, it brought the marriage of the local community to the real estate expert. They had this little podcast webinar they used to do. And he's extended that to a variety of other things, but really trying to show that, here's why you'd want to live in Charleston, here's what I know about it. And here's how I can help you find the home that you need in Charleston. So, it's really unique ways to stay engaged with their sphere. And that really builds a following. And drives engagement. There was another agent in Texas that used to do they did a Facebook page was 365 things to do and might be Austin 365 things to do in Austin. So, every day there was a fun thing about, but that was a real estate agent and really, you know, so it was sponsored by you know, Dawn Perry and it kept, but it kept the whole universe exciting, engaging for the local community. So, it stayed top of mine, but it also allowed people that were traveling in to find great and fun things to do and also be connected part of the sphere of influence. So, there's, there's creative ways to stay engaged.

Sean O'Toole  35:05  

That's a good one too, because I'm sure the community engaged with suggesting items that should be on there too. And so, that's a great way to create engagement. It sure, it sure is a time to shine for those folks that have that kind of outward extroverted personality, and, you know, are good at, on good on camera and, you know, don't have a radio face. And, you know, are you seeing anything similar for the maybe the folks that are a little more introverted, or other approaches that don't quite require that big, you know, outward show?

Dawn Perry  35:49  

Well, so yes. So, there is a lot of, we have a quite a few courses that I know across Realogy they offer and some of them are based on just, just say something, pick up your phone and say something, I'm standing in front of 123 Main Street, which is in the heart of X, Y, and Z. And I'd love to give the opportunity to show it to you. That's it, that's all you needed, right. And then you could post it. So, really trying to get them into that comfort zone, but some will never get there. Look, let's be honest, you know, and there's no reason they should, if that's not their comfort, that's going to come off as very inauthentic and fake. And they are really good at what they do. And we need to either supplement that, that's a great opportunity for growing your agent base. If I'm a broker, I pair that really seasoned broker with someone who's tech savvy, and has a social savviness that they could help grow both their businesses, right, it gives us an opportunity in that respect. I know as teams have evolved, there's generally somebody on the team that's more savvy than something somebody else. So, look, I in the whole scheme of things, authenticity is the key. And no one's going to work with someone who doesn't present themselves in a real and honest way. And this is the biggest transaction you do in your life. So, you want to work with someone that is real. So, if while we encourage it, we encourage them to have that face and be a presence. If they're not comfortable, we find alternate solutions for them.

Sean O'Toole  37:13  

That's great. You mentioned teams, teams are just happening and seem to be growing and bigger thing every year. Is that something you're seeing across your brands and how important you think that is for the future of real estate?

Dawn Perry  37:28  

So, it's a it's an interesting question, I don't want to have the data in front of me, we have had a significant growth in teams over the last probably five or six years. I know it was certainly happening when I was at ERA, and really trying to service. Look, there's a branding implication here, if you think about it, right. So, you have I'll use Century 21 as a brand, right? It's you have Century 21 as a brand and then you have Century 21, Dawn, Perry is the broker and then you have each agent has their own personality, then you put on a team, generally, there's a team name. So, like they used to call me the brand police at ERA, because that's what I did. And like you could see some of these signs that are put together, which are following the business rules and 50%, the broker and then you've got the team name and the writer and the footer, there was a lot going on there. So, from a marketing standpoint, it's not the best, most cohesive message. But it's important for brokers to provide a solution that puts everybody's best foot forward. Right? So, sometimes that team name like I know, in this area, there's quite a few teams that have a huge following, and I know them more than I know the broker, does that matter to the broker? Not if the business is coming in, right? So, it's really trying to find a way to nurture and keep your teams happy, while keeping your business and you're in your own brand recognition, front and center.

Sean O'Toole  38:46  

Do you see an increasingly difficult future for the individual agent when they're competing with more and more with these teams?

Dawn Perry  38:57  

Not necessarily, Sean, to be honest with you, you know, we have some it's funny, like I we get the awards every year, we look at the production of our agents. And it's because real estate is so local I, there's times when I've had to check the number like it can't possibly be that a single individual sold hundreds of houses, right. But if you're in a market where it's a lower price point, and the volume is there, and it's significant, they can absolutely do that. So, there's times where I'm like, 'You're sure that's not a team of people?' But a very successful agent can can sell just as well, if not more than some of these teams, where the teams really help provide value is kind of that divide and conquer, right? There's an opportunity to like we talked about before, some are better than others at other things. So, the strength of the team comes from the shared knowledge across of it, across it, they might have an admin that helps them with all of their listings in the MLS. So, there's great opportunity, but I think there's still a lot of listings to be won and a lot of homes to be sold at the individual level.

Aaron Norris  39:59  

New agents coming on board, do you recommend that they start with a category? Whether it be demographic or an area? Like what's the fastest way to success for an individual new agent?

Dawn Perry  40:09  

So, that's a really good question. And I'll pivot and say it depends. Like I, so, when I started with Realogy, like a decade ago, we already talked about, I took real estate course, because I came from publishing, I came from car, you know, car rental and franchising, and I didn't have a ton of experience about what the day to day experience was for broker an agent. So, I took the I took a real estate course I got licensed in the end, were referral license. And I will tell you, honestly, an upfront I finished that class, I had no idea how to sell real estate, right? So, it is specifically based on the, the legality of real estate, right, so I know what I'm supposed to do, but how I would ever get a lead or how I would ever write a contract, no idea whatsoever. So, we always encourage new agents, first, find a quality broker that you are comfortable with, right? Because if you don't like the culture, culture is everything you won't grow and develop. And then make sure that you're educating yourself and taking the training classes, the biggest thing we encourage them to do is try to build that sphere. Many of the brands have a program, it's a new agent program, designed to get them a listing within, I think it's three months, right? So, it is just like, you know, we've been doing this since the beginning of time, right, the number of calls, you make results, the number of appointments, the number of appointments skims the limit listings, and it really is teaching them how to sell not only to a customer but themselves and the value of an agent that I find that's the hardest thing for new agents to learn is how do I justify the commission I'm asking for, and it can't, in the, they have this urge to discount. And we do not encourage that at all. In fact, you can sometimes ask for a premium, because what you do is an expertise. And so there was an agent that I knew in Alabama, and she used to say 'I go in right away and say, you know, you could pay I think for her, I want to say it was 4%. My fee is 4% or 2% on the other side. And if you choose me, I'm going to do this, this and this for you. You're welcome to you know, get less service if you went to so and so down the street or so down the street. But I provide a premium service and a premium product, I have this expertise in this mini home sold in the last 12 months'. You know, so she doesn't ever apologize for what she's, what she's offering. And I think all agents should take that, take a page from that playbook.

Aaron Norris  42:33  

I'm most excited about the iBuyer merged with the brokerage, the local brokerage because I do believe real estate is very local. And having that local expertise is so important where some of these proptech companies, they don't even have offices where they're doing these ibuying programs. So, I am very fascinated in the next 24 months to watch as the iBuyer gets rolled out a little bit more, pain points for the buyer perspectives as they're coming in. Do you, has their journey changed because of COVID? And how they're finding places to live and the expectations?

Dawn Perry  43:07  

Yeah, I certainly, of course, you know, in some states real estate was essential. And so transactions fairly went on without disruption that they could close the transaction. At Realogy, we've found ways to do you know, virtual signings and other things we've had drive by, you know, contract negotiations. So, we have find out one thing I will tell you, you know, look COVID has done something for real estate that we haven't been able to do really well in the last decade is accelerate the path to innovation for all of this paperless transaction stuff that we didn't do before. But there is a desire and a need for all of us to do it moving forward. And if that is what the customers are asking for, they want a simpler process, they want the ability to do it on their time, you know, they won't be able to do it from their phone to the extent that we can. So, that has really advanced innovation, I think, in real estate for the last year. So, you know, some one positive outcome to where we all are. But I think from a buyer standpoint, they really you know, they're looking for choice. They're looking for the expertise in terms of what's valuable in the home that they're buying. And that's changed. And I look, it'll be interesting. Aaron talked about 12 months from now in terms of iBuyers I want to see what the needs, what the trends are from a customer standpoint, because we're already seeing trends in that they're looking for two offices. They like my house is not anywhere near high speed internet, in any stretch of the imagination. So, I'm managing two different Wi-Fis at the moment. But there is an opportunity in the future bigger backyards, more outdoor space. So, you're gonna see different trends than we have now whether that'll remain and whether people will back into the cities and I think that will happen in the future because people still prefer and from it all. There are many reasons to live in cities, but I do think we're gonna see a different, a different cycle of behavior for the next couple years.

Sean O'Toole  45:08  

And just on, the Realogy's a company themselves are you guys made announcement of whether you're going to expect people to return, you know on the corporate side to return to the office or is it permanent work from home for here, or some mix, or having undecided?

Dawn Perry  45:22  

Well, it depends on how, we have decided it depends on how you look at what you're talking about from the corporate, right. So CB is company-owned, and many of much of its offices are company-owned, and they're still own it either operating and people going into the office with all of the protocols safety, mass everything, our real estate, the one that you can see behind me, it's not in the lobby, as you know. But that way that's open, and we're allowed to go in and it will be used as almost like an event and learning space. So, when a brand would like to present itself to a prospect to demonstrate the benefits of affiliation, they might bring them to the Madison office to experience what they have for the brands. So, we're, we're currently converting some of it to this really engaging space, so that the that really showcases the brands. So, there are people working in that building, but for the rest of us, we're pretty much remote. So, we have the opportunity to work from home and, and you know, will that change year from now? Hard to say. But for now, this is where we are.

Sean O'Toole  46:22  

Yeah, good.

Aaron Norris  46:25  

Sean and I were at an event with Nick Bailey when he was part of Zillow. And he went on to Century 21. And I, I was in awe and in love with the Century 21 rebrand, and sitting where you are at an ERA at the time, did it go as expected? And did it have the response that you were hoping for from the consumer perspective? Did they like it? Has it made a difference?

Dawn Perry  46:45  

Well, so there's several facets to that. I've been through three rebrands while I've been at Realogy, one was my own at ERA. And that was 18 months of, of, of engagement across the network. And it went really well. Century 21 did theirs next. And then CB, I think all of them did phenomenally well at bringing the brand into this century, right. So, it's really hard. You guys know, when you have a brand like CB it's 100 years old, and you've got Century 21 who's, people still think of the gold jacket. It is hard to innovate that but I think they did a fantastic job pushed it just enough. Their brokers and agents are loving it, you know. And you can normally gauge that by how fast the yard sides change. Right? So, if people look, they have to put money behind that.

Sean O'Toole  47:32  

They have to buy them.

Dawn Perry  47:33  

Real estate agents. Right. So, with that in mind, if you start seeing and like I see Century 21 all over the place. Now they've pretty much converted everything right CB quickly, there's a yard sign across the street right now that has the new CB branding on it. They have really embraced it. From a consumer standpoint, however, I don't think there's, I look, I don't know that it's done any difference. C 21 has been a legacy brand. It is a tremendous brand recognition, so does CB. So, from that standpoint, I think people are happy. And it's almost, yeah, I'm glad that the CB brand is still around, and it still can offer me the service. And I'm happy for the next chapter as well. But I think it really means a lot to brokers and agents in terms of what they brand themselves with, because that's part of their pride.

Sean O'Toole  48:17  

That does seem so they were well done and not controversial, like some others. Symbology and whatever.

Dawn Perry  48:26  

Poor GM, I don't know, GM like they had all kinds of problems recently. I like I thought it was or GE thought it was okay. But so they pushed it too far.

Sean O'Toole  48:34  

Yeah.

Aaron Norris  48:35  

What's the, the, NAR logo change where they made like the 3d cube? And you're like, wow!

Dawn Perry  48:40  

yes.

Aaron Norris  48:41  

Got all this pushback. Yeah. I don't think people appreciate what it takes to rebrand. And people are in love with brands, and they've got the jackets and like, 'Oh, new logo!'

Dawn Perry  48:50  

Yes.

So, it's, I have a funny story about that. So, in ERA we have blue jackets.

Sean O'Toole  48:55  

Yup.

Dawn Perry  48:55  

And so, this navy jacket for years and years. And we have this broker who is you know, one of our advisory council been in the brand, he's now, he's, uh, his son now runs the company. And so you know, it's a son of a broker, right, the son or whatever. So, they have a legacy with the array, probably over a 20 year tenure. And he had a blue jacket that had he was a huge Bama fan. So, he had all the logos of Alabama inside. And so that was always his, you know, claim to fame. And when we re imaged we bought that man a jacket, and we had a branded with the stuff inside. Look, I will tell you what, Realogy in general allows its brands to be is really independent in how they execute on their goals. So, with that, what ERA did and then we shared information across the organization of how the launch and the rebrand went it was a phased approach. It was based on communication. That was not, it was not 'Hey, we're doing it tomorrow'. Here's the plan. Here's how we're going to work the plan, here is how it impacts you. Here's how we can support you, and then really tried to drive engagement and get the brokers and agents included in the conversation. Because when there's buy in, in that respect, it all goes over easier. So, I think we've really done a phenomenal job, the Marketing Leaders at Realogy right now that the brand leaders are phenomenal, and they really understand and differentiate their brands for the brokers and agents, which is extremely important. So, I think they do a great job.

Aaron Norris  50:22  

Aren't afraid to try anything new. You did the turnkey with Amazon. I know it didn't work out exactly as you expected. And then, you know, last year, the AARP, I've been very fascinated to see the partnerships and relationships that Realogy has pushed over the last few years. What's coming next?

Dawn Perry  50:41  

Well, you know, I wish I had some news to share. But of course, I wouldn't be able to do that anyway. And you all know that, but I will tell you that you mentioned AARP. And that would be a whole other segment if you wanted to have it. But the Realogy leads team is, is really hyper-focused on driving quality leads through the network, AARP was a phenomenal launch for us, they are a great partner. And we are doing some great cross-branded marketing with them. And we've seen some, some, some good leads come through that program. And we're excited about where that's taking to, taking us to the next round, we really were hyper-focused on driving leads into the network.

Sean O'Toole  51:16  

I thought very highly of AARP until I started getting my AARP cards before I even turned 50. And then I wasn't so happy with them.

Aaron Norris  51:24  

How rude.

Dawn Perry  51:25  

Apparently anyone could join AARP. I didn't know that either. And I also was getting them. And but there's some great value in that program. And they do some great insights and research that they share across the organization, which are really helpful, so.

Aaron Norris  51:40  

One of, one of the reasons I was excited about interviewing you is the, you did an ERA presentation on, on branding and marketing, and you really focused on that hyperlocal professional, what would, what would you like to see agents stop, stop doing and start doing in 2021.

Dawn Perry  51:59  

So, what I would like them to stop doing is chasing every shiny new thing, right? I want them to, and not everyone does that. But you know, we're all looking for something to make our life easier, or simplify, you know, or more systematic. And one of the things I always share with them is they and this is something that I think you had seen in that in that, that talk I did was that you have to focus on one goal, one wildly important goal that is meaningful to you. And that's not my phrase that's from 4 Disciplines of exec- Execution. It's a Sean Covey, there are several authors on it, it's a fantastic book, everybody should read it. Because what that says is, you know, if you focus on too many goals, you'll never succeed in reaching any of them, right? So, you can have refinement to a goal, right. But if if, as an agent, your goal is to do four more transactions, or ten more transactions this year, well, there are key activities you need to do to get there much like we talked about before, certain amount of call, certain amount of you know, leads, and then converting that certain amount of listing appointments. So, those are the activities, you need to provide a systematic way of doing measuring them as lead measures so that when you get to the lag measure of did I did I sell for more homes this year, at the end of the year, you're like, you're not going, Oh, my I'm surprised that I didn't get to that, you know that there's key measures. And if you're doing those measures, the lag measure is going to come. So, it really is focusing on what's important. And I'll be honest with you, they need to think about it. Is it really more business? Is it more quality time with friends and family because some of our agents work nonstop. And there's, there's that balance that you know now for all of us too probably right, you're working more probably since your virtual than you do when you used to go to an office in some cases. So, really taking that time to not only invest in themselves, but invest in their business and what they can do to grow and develop and what their, look, I'll be honest, there's other things they should think about, like what's their exit plan. You know, we, we focus a lot of Realogy, about leadership development, we have this program called Ascend, and it's a cross-brand initiative. And we bring in brokers up and coming brokers within the network. And the basic premise of this program is leading self, leading others, and leading organizations. And the idea is understanding what drives you so that you can then lead and drive others. And it's a really fantastic program. Again, we could do a whole session on that one. And you can have brokers come in and talk to you that have been through it. But that is also data-driven, right, because they're not only looking at, you know, they do the introspective analysis, but they're looking at their business and are key drivers. And they're trying to figure out what that wildly important goal is that will move your business forward.

Aaron Norris  54:46  

Any technology that you wish, realtors would spend a little bit more time learning to help automate and grow in 2021?

Dawn Perry  54:55  

I wish they would. So, we talked about this before about technology overall, right? We can give them new tools, they're only as good as if they use them. So, you know, if they have a CRM, and they probably they likely all do in some way, shape or form, even if it's a modest CRM, understand back to my, what are the key activities that you should do all the time. And even if it is just oh, my god log in and see where things stand? Or really investigate how, you know, look at your measures, see how people are engaged. If you're on Facebook, and you're just posting stuff, please engage with those folks. Please reply to them. You know, ask them questions, get feedback, because that's engagement, just posting a new picture of something, it's not really going to move their business forward. So, it's focused on what matters spend a little bit more time on, you know, I have a long legacy of CRM, back when CRM wasn't a tool, it wasn't a database, it was actual, you know, how the right message to the right people at the right time. And I think if they look at their data and their CRM and look at their sphere of influence, and how they're connecting with them, they really will drive significant productivity in the book of business.

Sean O'Toole  56:01  

Having the CRM doesn't give them business, using the CRM to make 20 calls a day to do reach outs, that, that works. And can the CRM make doing those things a little easier? Yes. Will do it for you? No.

Dawn Perry  56:16  

Exactly, exactly.

Aaron Norris  56:18  

There's only so much Dawn can do for you today.

Dawn Perry  56:22  

As much as I try. I try.

Aaron Norris  56:26  

Anything, you're really excited about 2021 that we haven't covered?

Dawn Perry  56:30  

Well, you know, I'm excited for 2021 just to start, right. Are, we all like I'm ready to turn the page and move forward? Yep. But I will say I think there's a tremendous amount of positive change coming in our industry, I think there's great opportunity for consumers to really benefit from it. And I'm excited for what's to come in. And I look, I like the idea of technology and innovation. I like the idea of the competition in this space. And I think it's gonna make us all better. You know, what's that? I think it's a, it's a John F. Kennedy, the rising tide raises all boats that I think it's true in our industry, I think, you know, we get talking back about the sn- SNL thing, we tend to get a bad wrap. We, there, this industry is, has phenomenal experts with great insight that really help consumers find their dream home and I really, you know, they deserve the credit and everything that's due to them.

Sean O'Toole  57:21  

Okay. Great note to wrap it up on.

Aaron Norris  57:23  

Absolutely. Dawn, thank you so much for your time. It's a lot of fun.

Sean O'Toole  57:27  

Oh, you're welcome. I was great chatting with you. Thank you for having me on.

Aaron Norris  57:30  

Thank you for listening to the Data Driven Real Estate Podcast, you can find show notes and links to some of the resources mentioned in the show at datadrivenrealestate.com. Click that join the community, and you'll be forwarded to the PropertyRadar community where you can ask questions about the current show and even see upcoming guests and ask questions there. We'd love to engage with you in the community. So check it out. Please don't forget to like, favorite, subscribe and share on your favorite platform where you're listening to the show. It helps us out a great deal. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next week.

Written by:
Aaron Norris
Written on:
February 25, 2021