While we were trying to figure out what to do for Networking Night during the 2012 Leading RE Conference in Orlando, the first thought I had was "well, Disney is in Orlando" but then I remembered that the last time I was in Orlando for a conference, I was overloaded with Mickey and Minnie. The next thought I had was Shamu but we did not have enough money in the budget to bring in a tank big enough to hold an orca.... Then I realized that I was going to Florida in March and that means Major League Baseball Spring Training - we settled on a baseball theme for our booth but why stop there? Onboard was also asked to provide some information during the Product Blitz session about what we do and how we help the industry improve how they service their customers, so it seemed like a natural fit for us to carry over our baseball spring training theme to my presentation.
I only had five minutes to tell a room full of partners, clients and prospects what Onboard does and believe me, five minutes is nowhere near enough time to convey the full scope of what we do; rather than trying to pack a ton of information into my limited time, I decided to show who I was and make people want to talk to me about Onboard later that night during Networking Night and baseball was a way to do just that.
When I am not at Onboard, one of my favorite things to do is watch baseball. My friends and I even feel as though Opening Day should be a national holiday (my friend Peretz feels so strongly that he doesn't work or go to the bank or Post Office on this day every year). I play fantasy baseball, follow the game closely and go to as many games as possible. I also enjoy playing softball and two years ago, I started a softball team with some friends. When I started the team, I knew it would be a lot of work to keep everything organized and to make sure we remained competitive while we all had as much fun as possible but I had no idea how much work was involved. We happened to be not only competitive in our league but we are actually very good; in four seasons we have made it to the championship game four times and won the league once. (Our official record is 67 wins and 11 losses.)
One of the biggest challenges we have faced is our batting order; it is constantly changing because of people not being able to play due to injuries and scheduling and we needed to be more diligent while keeping statistics to justify who bats where in the order. We try to keep a scorebook but it is hard when there it keeps getting passed from player to player while on the bench and then the analysis of each players' stats is difficult when things are not organized. This season we have decided to keep everything organized electronically through an iPad app that automatically aggregates a season worth of statistics in an easy to use way - we have added technology to make us more efficient and productive throughout the season. One of the features that was most attractive is the ability to email the entire team their stats to see how they need to improve and in what areas they should focus during practice. The addition of technology and the analytics has been very well received by the entire team.
Technology Makes Simple Games Better
Managing a softball team is not unlike managing Real Estate Agents and part of a Broker's job is to make sure their agents are productive and profitable; being able to provide them with the best tools, analytics, exposure of listings and quality leads and doing all of that can be a large challenge for most. Technology, though, can help with all of it.
For over ten years, Onboard been the leader in providing neighborhood information that helps bring visitors to websites, convert those visitors into quality leads and eventually turn those leads into more closings. While we have become a major part of Brokerage websites, we have found that the average Real Estate Agent has not been able to implement our solutions due to the time, cost and effort that goes into building a comprehensive website and they have turned to their Brokers for help. We created our Profit+ program with the goal of getting our tools into the hands of our agents as well as their Brokers.
Much like the minds behind the scorekeeping application I now use to help make our softball team more productive, we are now partnering with Brokers to help their agents sell more property by offering affordable solutions that are easy to implement that are available for purchase directly from the agents' broker. In addition to getting neighborhood information onto agent websites, we are also in the process of building a suite of products for Brokers to utilize our new Listings 360 platform, previously only available for the MLS market, which will help get the most complete and detailed information about listing activity possible into an agents hands. Just like the response from my teammates, the response from Brokers and Agents has been overwhelmingly positive; these new programs can help solve problems surrounding the Real Estate Industry. We are constantly hearing that lowered profits and retaining agents are the two biggest issues a broker can face - we can help.
Whether you are managing a softball team or a large pool of real estate agents, putting the right technical tools in place is the most effective way of staying organized and successful.
Image Credit: Josh Hallett on Flickr.com