You don’t have to be a computer programmer anymore.
You don’t have to have a staff of 5 or more.
You don’t have to be afraid of tech anymore.
Don’t do it for me, don’t do it for your job security, and don’t do it because you can.
Do it for your member. They are what matter and if you can’t be relevant they will jump ship and go elsewhere.
If you are a REALTOR® Association Executive, president or future of your association…
- What can you do to remain relevant?
- What can you do to retain membership?
- What can you do that members will take action?
As a result of reading this article you will:
- Feel more confident in future decisions you make.
- Know which options to delegate to staff or virtual assistants.
- Do more with less money, time and resources.
It’s easy for me to say what you can do. Instead I want you to hear from the Top Dogs at their association and what they are doing to remain relevant.
These REALTOR® Association execs have these things in common:
- They have an open mind about future best practices
- They measure results and can hold others accountable.
- They have the membership as a whole in mind when making decisions
Here is what they are saying…
Note: There are so many great examples that I couldn’t possibly get them all in one post. If your association is doing something out of the ordinary to help members please add a comment at the end to talk about what you are doing. The more we share the more we learn from one another.
Mark Epstein, Executive Vice President of Tri-Counties Association of REALTORS® and Vice President of rPartner for Pacific West Association of REALTORS®.
The most valuable technology that I have implemented for my association to-date has to be WordPress. This incredible tool enables me to communicate with my members in a comprehensive format. For example, I released a new program to my members and posted a WordPress link on Facebook. I also tweeted it and the result was well over 200 people readers in just one day. I don’t think that I can get the same response from email anymore.
So can WordPress make your association money? Of course it can! We have just started our networking partners program. This is a sponsorship that we offer our affiliates so that they can also take part in our online communications. They will provide short industry news updates, and we will eventually categorize them by affiliate types as we gain additional posts.
WordPress will also save your association money as you will no longer need to pay website hosting and managing fees because Word Press is FREE if you host with WordPress. Should you decide to go with an alternative provider, such as GoDaddy, then costs are as low as 5.99 a month.
Word Press has an unbelievably easy platform. I set ours up on a Saturday morning. Check it out at www.tricospotlight.com or www.theypn.com.
This is for sure the most effective, efficient, and inexpensive new way to communicate to your members!
Terry Penza, Association Executive of NorthShore Barrington Association of REALTORS®
I have been fascinated with science fiction movies my entire life and have always wanted the pad they all have in Star Trek! It doesn’t take much to see all the advantages of electronic devices. I was born to be an early adopter.
Just starting with word processing in the 1980’s saved hundred hours since most of association communication are repeats with some changes. I do not miss white out! Each new progress into technology opens more doors and advantages. Today the excitement is in the apps – simple, free or cheap and delivers just that one thing you want instead of a huge software that is expensive and use of just a small part of that program – think Outlook.
I would have to say GoToMeeting has provided the most for the brokers, at least lately. They enjoy the ability to participate in a meeting without the necessity to coming to the location. The ability to be somewhere virtually without having to be their physically has provided us with a great way to communicate.
Our iPhone app has the most potential and those who use it like it a lot and want more. Email is still our most effective way of communicating when we convey a concise message.
Staff knowledge as a resource for ALL technology questions and ability to repair.
My personal favorite at the moment is Sign My Pad. It is so easy to fill out forms, sign and email that I usually go to my iPad for forms instead of the desktop. It is also great for agents to have a way to fill in NSBAR 100+ forms with Sign My Pad. NO need to expensive DocuSign.
The ability to now show the ipad screen while training or instructing is opening another door.
We are always just one app away from changing how to do a job or function so keeping up to date can be a challenge. NSBAR is starting an iPad club. We once had a monthly computer club that died off but we will generate a new platform with the Ipad. To get into the door for free you have to tell us about your favorite app that helps them make money in real estate.
At NSBAR we don’t just have a line item on the budget for technology. It is immersed in all line items.
Bob Hale, Chief Executive Officer at the Houston Association of REALTORS
Bob has put together an arsenal of membership tools that help the members grow. In the last two years his team has reinvented their communication channel HARconnect which gets over 4,000 hits per week and YouTube channel which has over 130,000 views. He continues to add new tools to the mix each month which are mobile friendly.
Byron Bogaard, Chief Executive Officer at Central Valley Association of REALTORS®
My cell phone (Verizon iPhone 4) also known as a “smart phone” has made me much more efficient, while providing the highest value for my association. The more I learn the better I become. Coming in a close 2nd place would be my iPad.
My smart phone allows me to connect with a specific person, a huge audience, a specific group, or multiple segments all while I am in one place or on the go. It also helps me with tasks; keep track of them, who is doing what, where we are at in the process, receipts, and much more. This in turn keeps things running smoothly, drives down cost, and saves time. I also use this device to take or make pictures, listen to music, track my workout, and edit my grocery list. Being on top of it allows me freedom.
As I type, I am using my other hand looking at my apps and folders setup for work. It blows my mind to think of how much I can do with this device and I love it!
I am able to video an interview with someone like the NAR President, post it to the Association’s Facebook page long with our website all from my phone while at the latest National Association meetings in DC or Chicago. This allows my leadership and staff to be engaged in what’s going on and simultaneously gives the average member on the street a glimpse into the latest happenings. My smart phone allows me to connect to members, potential members, other AOR staff/leadership, the public, media, government and more.
As an exec I am constantly on the go, so by using my phone I can bring the members along with me, thus allowing them to understand the choices and information that is coming at the industry and association. It also allows for a higher level of transparency with the members and I believe a higher level of ownership for the Association volunteer leaders.
Carol S. Van Gorp, RCE, CAE, CIPS, ePro, Chief Executive Officer, The Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches
The REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches with around 8,200 members, is located in the largest county in Florida. It easily takes over an hour and a half to drive from one end to the other! We have two office locations that are about 45 minutes apart and both are brand new and feature downsized classrooms. In analyzing our use of space to plan for our new facilities, we found that we rarely filled over 75 seats in our old auditoriums and were paying a lot for unused capacity. To combat this and to save square footage, we downsized the classrooms and installed a video conferencing system, called LifeSize, in both of our new locations.
It ties the auditoriums together so that an instructor can be in one location, teach to a live audience while having students in the other location at the same time. It’s the closest thing to cloning a popular instructor! It makes it so much more convenient for our members to be able to choose the location that is nearest them. Additionally, our conference rooms are tied together so that committee meetings can be held simultaneously. On an average, this ability saves at least an hour of time for each of our volunteer leaders each time they attend a meeting.
Have you cut back on the number of classes you offer because it is hard to fill the seats? The REALTORS® Association of St. Lucie is about 60 miles from us and is testing the equipment right now so that they can tie in and share our education programs. One instructor and three classrooms (or more) solves this problem handily.
Mark Allen, RCE, CIPS, CRS, Chief Executive Officer, Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®
The Thing is an interactive market analytics tool designed to give REALTORS® instant access to nearly any view of the local housing market imaginable, all within an immersive, elegant, easy-to-use interface. With The Thing there are no complicated drop-down lists, no lengthy search menus, no complicated analytic charts and no long wait times for results.
In less than three clicks and three seconds, a REALTOR® is able to create charts that illustrate things like average days on market of condominiums in a specific neighborhood, months supply of inventory of foreclosures at a certain price point in a specific geographic area, pending sales of single family detached lakeshore homes in a specific area or the median sales price of three bedroom short sales in a specific city.
As Claire Killen, broker at Emerald Real Estate stated, “The Thing is a powerful tool that enables me to tell the story of my client’s real estate market at a very local and detailed level.”
The tool was developed by 10K Research and Marketing, a division of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. MAAR was frustrated with the limitations and clunkyness of other MLS-market statistics products available on the market and set out to make their own in a simpler, more human-scaled vision. Since its completion, the tool has been sold to several other MLSs nationally, including MRED in Chicago and NTREIS in Dallas.
10K works with partners to tell the story of their real estate market in a localized, elegant and easy-to-understand way with powerful tools to own the discussion of real estate in their own backyards. MLS data is utilized to bring accurate and timely housing trends to light for an unparalleled perspective on local housing activity identified with the partner’s brand.
10K Research and Marketing, a division of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®, is a growing technology company in the real estate space that partners with REALTOR® associations, MLS organizations, brokers and other real estate companies to create visually compelling, statistically accurate research reports, interactive tools and infographics.
Rohn Goldstein, CEO at South metro Denver REALTOR Association
It is not just one thing. In today’s tech world one thing touches only a small part of membership.
We use Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Camtasia for presentations, YouTube channel for videos, e-blasts directly to members, and our own video studio to push out messages in a more active and personal way. We combine these tech classes to teach those skills and more advanced tech-networking events to share apps, and software. In addition to that we are using Google more and more for communication in targeted groups.
It takes all of that and 100 more things to be effective for us.
I will presenting at National Association of REALTORS convention communication directors meeting November 12th in Anaheim California where I will be introducing my new book, “It’s Either Now or Never”. Here is an assessment that communication directors can use to hold staff and leaders accountable which is one of 15 which will be shared during the meeting.