Jennie Franklin knew her brokerage needed a way to help agents improve transaction speed, increase efficiency in day-to-day operations, and decrease the cost and problems associated with paper processes.
“We already had a paperless solution in place that wasn’t working very well for us,” said Franklin, Director of Operations for RE/MAX Ability Plus in Indianapolis. “We were constantly being backlogged because there was still a lot of paperwork being turned in by the agent. We needed something much more functional.”
DocuSign’s eSignature and Transaction Room capabilities were precisely what the brokerage was looking for.
At the time RE/MAX Ability Plus made the switch, Franklin had already been using DocuSign for five years. She knew that once the brokerage’s 150 agents saw everything DocuSign could help them do they’d quickly understand the benefits.
“I have a goal of one-hundred percent adoption of DocuSign in the office because I feel so strongly about it being such a great tool,” Franklin said. “As agents start to see it, they say, ‘I need to get on board with this.’”
As with any new program, and a sales force the size of RE/MAX Ability Plus, the key to success was a carefully planned rollout strategy. That meant talking to agents and finding out precisely what they needed the platform to do – and then delivering a system that met those needs.
“Before we rolled it out to the agents, we wanted to fully understand how we needed to set up the program and how we wanted to change our procedures internally.”
After consulting with her team, Franklin decided the best path would be to train office staff, office managers and the managing brokers first to create a core group who could support agents and offer help along the way.
Once the core group was on board, Franklin focused on a set of agents in the organization who were known to be the most tech savvy. These agents quickly saw how DocuSign could significantly benefit their business and helped generate excitement throughout the brokerage before training began for the rest of the teams and individual agents.
“Our office culture is technologically based. Usually our agents really like when we bring them new technology,” Franklin said. “I wanted to create a positive buzz for DocuSign in the office. I wanted to hear agents talking about it in a positive way.”
Franklin knew some agents might be hesitant to change the way they’ve been doing business. However, DocuSign’s ease of use and some one-on-one training quickly won over skeptics.
“When they see that it’s really an easy product to use, they come along pretty quickly,” Franklin said. “I always pitch it as, ‘this is going to be the program that is going to keep you organized and really help you as you are going through a transaction and when you’re finished.’ Our feedback has been extremely positive.”
RE/MAX Ability Plus agents are required to use DocuSign Transaction Rooms, though the decision to use the eSignature portion is left up to them.
“We told agents that they don’t have to use the eSignature piece, but they have to turn in all paperwork to the office via the Transaction Room portal.”
Part of the thought process involved with requiring the use of DocuSign Transaction Rooms was to avoid agents reverting back to the systems and procedures they had used in the past simply because it was more familiar. Franklin had seen issues come up in the past when agents within her organization were using more than one system to complete the same task. Internal processes were slowed considerably.
“Agents would think, ‘Well, I’m just going to log in to the old system because I know how to navigate it,’” Franklin said “Eventually the old system goes away and then they still don’t know how to use the new system at all.
“When [agents] come through the DocuSign Transaction Room training, we tell them they must put all new listings into Transaction Rooms moving forward,” Franklin said. “I didn’t want to be sitting here six months from now and not have 100 percent agent adoption. The only effective way to do that is to make it a requirement to use Transaction Rooms. Everyone has been really positive about it.”
Once the agents and teams understand how to use every part of DocuSign, Franklin said a majority choose to adopt DocuSign in its full capacity.
The entire training and deployment process for RE/MAX Ability Plus took 90 days from start to finish, according to Franklin. She has also set up training videos, and many of the agents have chosen to take the in-house training more than once.
Now, a few months after the roll out, Franklin said agents continue to be very happy with DocuSign. It’s clear that the functionality DocuSign provides is invaluable, she said, and that sooner rather than later, consumers will come to expect it from their real estate agents.
“The average home buyer is 35 years old. I do think we’re going to start seeing consumers asking for DocuSign,” Franklin said. “Particularly as you’re dealing with busy buyers and sellers or out-of-town clients.
“As busy as we are, there’s no way we’d be as organized if we weren’t using DocuSign. It’s such a great productivity tool for brokerages and agents.”
Rollout Road Map
Jennie Franklin’s approach to introducing the new technology in her Indiana office included these 6 steps, which could help your office’s adoption rate as well.
- Talk to your agents
Make sure you know what their business needs are, and how the new platform addresses them.
- Build internal procedures
Understand how the new system will be used in your office. Write out the internal process before training begins.
- Start with key stakeholders
Train office staff and managers first, because agents will go to them with questions. Make sure they’re ready to be a resource.
- Reach out to influencers
You know who your go-to folks are. Demo the platform to the office’s influential agents and get them on board. If they like what they see, they’ll help create a buzz.
- Require consistency
Simplify your process by making the new technology your standard system. When agents have multiple options, they often stick with the familiar (and less effective) standby.
- Provide resources
Through training videos, online guides or special classes, make sure your agents have ample opportunity to get the help they need while learning.
Want to find out how the RE/MAX & DocuSign Strategic Alliance can help your brokerage? Visit the Broker Q&A here.