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5 Ways Showing Management Boosts Agent Productivity and Home Sales

Author:  Anonymous
Date:  08 May 2017

By Kelly J. Phelan, RE Technology Content Editor

Agents could face a flood of showing appointments in the months ahead, if recent history is any guide. In 2016, showings increased 22 percent over the previous year, according to Showings.com. In some markets, showing volume grew by an astonishing 41 percent! Agents significantly increase income by improving productivity and the number of transactions closed per year by efficiently managing showing activity.

The busy spring and summer selling season is just now gearing up and MLSs are uniquely poised to help their members deal with the deluge of appointments coming their way. MLSs already employ an array of tools that promote member efficiency and productivity, but today we're going to examine a topic that directly helps agents oversee their sales opportunities ― showing appointment management. Successful real estate professionals who are meeting and exceeding their yearly sales goals have two things in common—assistants and systems. Top agents are multiplying their efforts and increasing their output through people and technology.

For an expert's perspective, we talked to Centralized Showing Service (CSS), a showing management system that serves 200,000+ REALTORS® nationwide. They shared five ways to help MLSs boost their members' productivity and overall sales.

1. MLS integration reduces time spent switching between apps
Showing management products are typically among the highest rated applications in MLS subscriber surveys. Part of this reason is because of ease of use. Integration with the MLS and implementation of single sign-on (SSO) means that agents don't have to leave the MLS to schedule or manage appointments on their listings. Agents can simply click the showing icons next to listings from a property search in the MLS database to schedule appointments as seen in this screenshot of CSS integration in (ACTRIS) Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service’s Matrix system:

Most showing products offer options for MLS integration. CSS, for example, integrates with CoreLogic systems, Black Knight's Paragon and Flexmls, and offers a dashboard that agents can use to manage their showings from within the MLS system:

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“By integrating CSS Scheduler in the MLS, we’ve provided our members the necessary tools to book showings online, manage opportunities and shorten their sales cycle,” says Beate Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Palm Coast REALTOR® Association.

2. Shortens the sales cycle
Manually scheduling appointments is a time intensive activity. First, an interested buyer contacts their agent, who calls the listing agent to book an appointment, who asks their seller to confirm the showing and then responds to the buyer's agent, who contacts their client. If all the parties can't agree on an appointment time, this process repeats.

CSS minimizes scheduling time by either partially digitizing this process or by transferring the work to a contact center. Dedicated CSS representatives at multiple contact centers act as virtual assistants to agents, handling showing request calls, making confirmations, editing showing instructions and fielding last minute showing changes with details like alarm codes, lockbox info and more. CSS closes 97 percent of all showing requests, greatly reducing the burden on agents while increasing the speed and likelihood of a sale.

CSS contact centers are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and offer a dedicated local showing number for each MLS.

3. Adapts to the agent's preferred style of working
Not all agents may be interested in an online-only product for scheduling showings. Because the real estate industry values excellent personal service, some agents need the immediate response provided by the personal touch of well-trained customer service representatives (CSRs). When evaluating appointment management offerings, look for a scheduling service that offers agents multiple ways to manage showings that include customer service with online and mobile functionality. This increases adoption of the service, as well as ease of use, and essentially adapts to an agent's work style, rather than forcing the agent to adapt to a product.

Here are four ways that agents schedule showings with CSS. You can use these methods as a guide when deciding which appointment service is best for your membership:

  • A phone call to a contact center (CSS)
  • Through the MLS system
  • From a website; in CSS' case, Showings.com
  • A mobile app

For further flexibility, look for a solution that offers multiple ways for sellers to approve showings. As an example, let's take a look at the options CSS offers:

  • Live phone call (CSS)
  • Email notification (automated from Showings.com)
  • Text message notification (automated from Showings.com)
  • Online website (Showings.com)
  • (CSS) mobile app
  • With CSS’s "InstaCall," an automated phone service

4. Reduces the burden on brokerages
A showing service enables brokers to let go of time-intensive tasks that decrease efficiency and derail the company from a productive path. By removing the responsibility of scheduling appointments from office staff, brokers can either reduce their personnel or shift their focus to revenue generating opportunities.

"We have literally freed one and one half people from setting showings and doing feedback. I could not be more pleased," says CSS user Mike Watkins, Broker/Owner of Mike Watkins Real Estate Group in Greenwood, Ind. "Our office manager has been freed up to do a lot of one-on-one personal touch things she could not get accomplished before because she was setting showings and calling for feedback.”

CSS estimates that using a showing service reduces incoming calls to a brokerage's front desk by 65 percent. By streamlining the office workflow, agents no longer spend time playing phone tag chasing showing approvals and hunting for feedback. They can pursue more productive and profitable activities. Now agents can focus on marketing themselves with online content to attract new clients, explore more lead generation activities and expand their networking to gather more referrals and acquire more listings.

A scheduling service gives brokers insight into where and when their agents are showing properties. This knowledge increases agent safety and all the data related to showings can be analyzed in reports. CSS offers detailed reports at the office, agent and listing level, opening up opportunities to identify agent performance. Real-time market insights gained from reviewing statistical showing reports on Showings.com enable brokers and owners to predict where the market is headed seasonally.

5. Soliciting and managing feedback from buyers
When a home isn't selling, it can be difficult for agents to initiate a conversation with sellers concerning the underlying issues — whether that's pricing or curb appeal. Manually collecting and sharing feedback has always been challenging without a convenient automated system in place. As an additional feature of the Showings.com platform, feedback requests are delivered to buyer’s agents as emails following an appointment, allowing listing agents to easily collect feedback and share reports online with their sellers. Seller’s agents can develop their own feedback surveys for each individual listing or choose from standard survey templates.

It’s quick and easy for showing agents to reply to automated feedback email reminders. CSS also prompts agents to complete feedback requests from their CSS dashboard in order to increase the likelihood of a response:

As feedback on an individual listing comes in, listing agents access compiled feedback reports on Showings.com. This gives agents usable data on the appeal, strengths and weaknesses of a listing that they can then share with their seller. Feedback reports give listing agents a starting point for discussions with their clients, who may react emotionally to perceived criticism of their home.

Learn More
If you'd like to learn more about how associations and MLSs can leverage scheduling services, see our case study on how Fayetteville’s Longleaf Pine REALTORS® use CSS. If you're attending the NAR REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, stop by booth #310 to learn more about CSS.

Comments:
  • Broker
    Tanda Stringfellow
    26.07.2017 09:18
    Could you give me information on the cost associated with enrolling with CSS?
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