RE/MAX Northern Illinois takes their network digital: Learn their tricks
Casey Reagan is Chief Technology Officer for RE/MAX Northern Illinois, a franchisor. He supports 75 brokerages with a total of 2296 agents—currently generating a total volume of $9 billion in sales – so brokers in the Northern Illinois network can focus on recruiting, retention and sales.
The RE/MAX credo is “You’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself.” And Reagan takes that credo seriously, building out a technology strategy that supports brokerages and enables their success.
In fact, a significant part of Reagan’s responsibility involves solidifying RE/MAX Northern Illinois’ competitive advantage, to attract talented agents and keep them from straying. That means providing the most comprehensive and turnkey technology system possible. If Reagan does his job right, every brokerage can leverage industry-leading tools – running like a well-oiled machine and bringing new agents into the fold.
Reagan’s message to brokers is simple: You don’t have to be the guru, but you must know the business proposition. In other words, brokers need to clearly show agents how their technology can accelerate their business and in turn agents will go the extra mile to learn something new.
Enter the switch to electronic signature and digital documents. It promises great leaps in productivity and profitability, but the readjustment period can initially make brokers, agents and transaction coordinators uncomfortable.
The key to maximizing the adoption of a digital solution was a clear identification of the problem it solved. “There was a convergence of two issues,” states Reagan. “The first was the Consumer Wave: Agents needed a paperless transaction platform for client collaboration. The second was Office Efficiency: Brokerages needed to modernize their back offices, to keep pace and be competitive.”
What was needed was a solution that met both criteria. Brokers would leverage it for central storage and compliance management capabilities, but agents would also proactively adopt it into their workflow . DocuSign just happened to be such a solution.
When introducing new solutions like DocuSign to his network, Reagan likes to follow this straightforward formula:
- Talk to your crew. Build your support network around the initiative. Order a pizza and bring people into the office for an event! You’ll be bringing them along this journey, so share challenges, what your dream solution looks like, and possible real-life solutions.
- Interview multiple solution providers. See as many solution providers as you can, using a checklist to track how they measure up to your needs—and, if possible, include members from your team in those discussions.
- Select a partner, not just a solution provider. Look beyond just the solution itself. Find a technology provider who can partner with you to achieve mutual success.
- Set up and test. First, define roles and responsibilities and outline processes and procedures. Keep it simple. Overly complicated and detailed process definition creates unease and resistance. Start with a basic process then, beta test. Build your group of validators, test and iterate until you have a set of back-office processes that work. When taking brokerages paperless, Reagan enjoyed a particularly high adoption rate with this approach. Tips and tricks including setting up templates, signing order, task lists, and more, are detailed in the webinar.
- Launch and promote. Building excitement and awareness is key. Videos, blogs, emails, and PR helped raise awareness while launch events were critical to bring the network together. For the launch, Reagan held at least two per day with between 50–100 agents at each event.
- Migrate systems with a set deadline. Reagan moves cautiously, expecting an always-predictable degree of resistance—but sticking to a firm deadline is key to pushing adoption.
- Support and train. A one-page support info sheet that direct brokerages to the appropriate help line has been a simple but effective tool for Reagan. Additionally holding training and webinars with the solution provider help grease the wheels for successful onboarding. However, Reagan still stays involved, constantly taking in feedback on any larger issues that may arise.
- Rinse and repeat . Determine the next problem to be fixed or optimized and repeat the formula. “Fail faster and better” as successful technology companies do, and keep going until you get it right.
For more tips and stories on making a successful transition to digital transaction management, listen to Reagan himself right now in the on-demand webinar.