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February 12, 2019

Need a Proven Way to Protect Your Brokerage Against Disruptors?

Are you tired of reading about the billions of dollars being invested to convert many of the real estate industry’s brokerages and franchises? Are you wondering how you are going to compete to recruit and retain agents and without killing your own bottom line?

This article first appeared as a Case Study, at the WAV Group, the original article can be viewed here

Protect Your Brokerage

This case study highlights a meaningful way that Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty is leveraging their own historical data to do just that. REALOGY recently placed Bryson Koehler, CTO of Equifax, one of the most well-respected data companies in the world, on its Board of Directors.

Robert Reffkin, CEO of Compass told the industry’s 75 largest brokers at the NAR Fall 2018 Conference in Orlando that insights derived from analyzing listing data are key to his company’s recruiting success and technology superiority. Zillow now has a team of more than 100 data scientists and hiring 46 more as we speak! Zillow goes so far on their AI blog to say that Zillow IS data!

So, what do all of these companies know that most brokerages don’t?  All of these well-financed, progressive organizations recognize the recruiting, marketing and profitability-driving power that real estate data can deliver. Effective methods for dissecting real estate information can help unlock previously unrecognized business secrets and marketing advantages.

According to a Forbes article, Dresner Advisory Services’ 9th Annual Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Study credits the use of Business Intelligence as contributing in significant ways to help organizations:

  1. Make Better Decisions

  2. Improve Operational Efficiencies

  3. Grow Revenues

  4. Increase Competitive Advantage

  5. Enhance Customer Service

  6. Compliance/Risk Management

The True Value of Real Estate Data

So, what is the value of real estate data in practical terms?   How can brokers gain insights about their business and help their agents more effectively target customers to prospect? Bottom line, how can a brokerage leverage its data to increase profitability by reducing agent attrition, improving agent productivity and driving operational efficiencies?

Historically, true business analytics were just not possible. Brokers, especially those with mortgage, title, insurance and other affiliate businesses, understand they are sitting on a treasure trove of customer information, sales history, market analytics and agent performance information. Historically, though, this data has been housed in data silos within each business unit. Brokers could be working with the same client selling them a home and providing them a mortgage without even knowing it.

David Gumpper, President of WAV Group Business Intelligence and Technology in his article entitled “Today’s Online Business Intelligence” tells us:
“Several of my latest projects had me sitting in C-level meetings discussing marketing activities. Questions asked by the CEO or President of the company were: 

  1. How do we know if our digital strategies are meeting the business objectives and goals?

  2. Do we know what efforts are NOT contributing or delivering profits to the company?

  3. Where are consumers coming from and are they satisfied?

  4. How profitable are the digital assets in meeting the business objectives and goals?

These Questions can be Answered Now

With emerging Business Intelligence tools, brokers can gain actionable insights about the ways to increase the “lifetime value” of their customer base by managing customer records across business units. If a brokerage can effectively cross-promote all of their services to increase the depth of engagement with their clients, they can significantly improve their mortgage and title conversion rates. If a brokerage can help an agent secure referrals from the extended family of a former client, for example, agents will increase their repeat and referral business and increase their productivity.

Business Intelligence tools can help brokers deliver guidance to help their agents generate profitable new business without the need to buy expensive leads from third-party sites. Brokers supporting their agent’s business success in meaningful and measurable ways will have a better chance of retaining their top producers.

What if a brokerage could analyze 20 years of transactions and help their agents target which past clients to go after and when? How about if a brokerage found an easy way for an agent to keep track of the important details about clients – home purchase date, number/age of children, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, financing approach and even simple things like the client’s interests. What if a brokerage could host events and invite ONLY the clients that have demonstrated interest in that activity, for example?    

What if your in-house lender could identify likely refinancers/movers and work the relationship with the client together with the REALTOR®?

The smarter, targeted and more effective sales advice a brokerage can provide, the more likely they are to retain an agent.  Agents SAY they move brokerages because of a change in commission split, but we know intuitively that there is more to agent retention than simply providing them a larger split. They have to feel like the brokerage really cares about them and wants to see them succeed. Brokerages need to drive home their value proposition in meaningful and tangible ways. Business Intelligence is really a way to deliver meaningful value to agents.

Business Intelligence to Maximize Brokerage Profitability

As discussed above, brokers, especially those with multiple business units including mortgage, title, insurance and others have millions of records about historical client behavior, market performance and company performance. The problem is brokers struggle to harness the power of this data to help them run a more profitable business. Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty created their own data warehouse to help them leverage all of this important data history.

They quickly realized that the company did not have the depth of resources or expertise in Business Intelligence to effectively leverage the depth of data they collected for the past 20 years. They sought a technology partner to help them deploy a property-centric effort to help their agents be THE most prepared to prospect the RIGHT clients and to consistently win listing presentations by providing the most insightful market analysis possible.

Susan Poli and Jason Miller of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty turned to TRIBUS to help the company build a new Data Center of Excellence. Here’s what they told us about their path to compete effectively with Disruptors and large brokerages’ data efforts:

"We were looking to improve the way we handle our own data. We spoke to Eric Stegemann, Chief Strategist and Katie Ragusa, Vice President Product Development from TRIBUS who are fantastic and we realized right from the beginning that they understood our needs. If we were going to build a new data analysis center of excellence, we had to partner with TRIBUS. They understood our business model and had a very good grasp of the technology involved."
"We want to be able to look at our inventory of properties and find potential matches in our customer database. We also want to examine our customer database and predict when they might need us again as an example. Once we have a multitude of datasets combined in an easy to access way, we can pose all kinds of questions to help our agents be more efficient and effective at generating new business."

"We are sitting on a ton of data and we don’t know how to sift through and analyze and make good use of it. That’s why we’re building a relational database that helps us turn our property history and customer data into workable intelligence our agents can use."

Here’s a Typical Scenario

An agent has a client they haven’t kept up with them that well. With the tools we’re building, they will be able to see all their past conversations with the client and pull up all the listings they have looked like, almost like a call center, before they even start a conversation. They will be able see that they worked with them 8 years ago. The system can include notes about the children, property history, financing history etc. It will give our agents a very clear picture of the situation so their conversations will be much more personal and targeted.

Business Intelligence Applied to Brokerage

Business Intelligence tools are now emerging that will help brokers get a much more strategic look at their success triggers as well. Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty explains their vision about how they are going to use Business Intelligence to increase profitability.

“We anticipate that our Business Intelligence tools will also be able to help us better understand how to maximize the profitability of each of our offices by sharing best practices.

If we can create historical data about how long it takes our agents to earn a decent wage, the relationship of training to business success, usage of technology tools related to closing deals and company compensation and incentive systems relative to agent transaction volume, we can create a much more effective method for creating productive, satisfied agents. A system that will help us accomplish that is worth its weight in gold.

Anybody can hire a real estate agent. We want to be the company that is the best at creating productive and profitable agents.”

Leveraging the Power of Business Intelligence without Spending Millions

Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty was looking for a company that had a depth of proven expertise in ingesting huge data sets and finding simple and actionable ways for Brokers to ask the data “questions.”  For example, “Is there any correlation between the number of training classes an agent attends and their productivity increases?  “If so, what training courses seem to be the most effective in helping agents to succeed?”  With the right technology partner, brokers can ask their data endless questions to find out the best ways to drive up productivity and ultimately profitability.

According to a Forbes article from Bernard Marr, the role of Business Intelligence in recruiting is burgeoning as well.

Here’s another example. Why is my Main Street office more profitable than my Ventura Blvd office?  The data can examine the profile of agents, average price points, use of the company Client Relationship Management system, training sessions offered, usage of company’s business planning tools, and paint a picture of the best ways to improve profitability in each office.

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty chose TRIBUS as their Business Intelligence partner because of its depth of strengths managing and housing MLS data, consumer, transaction and roster data in a data warehouse. They believe that TRIBUS is a data management company that delivers websites, not a website provider that dabbles in data management. While data management is not a very sexy topic, in our view, expertise in merging data from several MLSs, evaluating 20 years or more of historical data or rolling up historical data when a brokerage purchases another brokerage is a critical skill.

Here’s what Jason and Susan said:

“We looked inside and outside of the industry for a data management partner that could help us live the dream of helping our agents be more successful by leveraging our 20 years of transaction history. TRIBUS’ depth of character as it relates to data management puts them in a league of their own. They really don’t have any significant competitors that can rival their ability to manage real estate data for us. These strengths translate to really fast launches of the tools we want to provide to our agents to help them be more successful.”

Finding the RIGHT Partner to Deliver Actionable Business Intelligence

Finding the right partner to deliver on the promise of actionable greatness of Business Intelligence can be very difficult. Many companies talk a good game but don’t have the data management skills to pull it off.

Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty chose TRIBUS as their Business Intelligence partner because of its depth of strengths managing not just MLS data but all of the brokerage’s data and houses it in a data warehouse. TRIBUS’ Source product is a full data warehouse that tracks MLS, internal listing data (such as buyer / seller names, phone number, email address, loan information and more), roster information (including information on agents that have yet left as well as prospective recruits), agent productivity, lead information, and more.

WAV Group is highly engaged with the Real Estate Standards Organization. We know which tech companies have immersed themselves in RESO with the sole purpose of making it easier for brokers to expand into new markets more quickly and get websites up and running in days, not weeks or months.  You can look here to check if your technology supplier has taken the time to immerse themselves in RESO and become certified so that you can fully leverage standardized data in your business.

You can also read case stories from selected tech companies like, TRIBUS, and MyTheo to see how the smart companies are helping you to innovate with standardized information.

If you need help defining your business intelligence strategy or would like to better understand the ways that effective historical data analysis can improve profitability in your brokerage, David Gumpper, WAV Group’s President of Business Intelligence and Technology is here to help at david@-

If you would like to learn more about TRIBUS’ Business Intelligence solutions you can reach out to
Jeff Harris, VP of Business Development, at or call 312.957.8846 x1.

Additional Resources

If you would like to learn more about the power of Business Intelligence in brokers, here are some additional resources you can turn to:

RESO/TRIBUS Case Study: How RESO is Sparking Broker Success: Supporting Broker Expansion, Efficiency and Productivity - by Marilyn Wilson, Managing Partner, WAV Group

Increase Agent Productivity and Profitability

Business Intelligence Tools Investment for 2019

Real Estate Brokerage Data Warehouse 

About the Author

Marilyn Wilson is Managing Partner at WAV Group Consulting. She is passionate about helping the real estate industry continue to evolve and grow by taking advantage of the latest technologies and tools, including all of the opportunities provided by the Real Estate Standards Organization.

WAV Group is a trusted strategic advisor to the industry’s largest and most progressive brokerages, MLSs, and technology companies. She can be reached at

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