Real Estate Bookings CEO Greg McCutcheon joins host Tim Neary to discuss how his deep background in software engineering combined with his passion for property to create the backbone of his company.
Greg reveals the initiatives the platforms offer, including digital assistance, marketing as well as connecting with leads in real time. He also discusses how his products are specifically designed to help agents save time and grow revenue.
You will also find out:
- How to use multiple channels to grow your business
- How to add value to a property campaign and get more listings and sales
- How you can increase your earnings from these strategies
Tune in now to hear all this and much, much more in this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents!
Announcer: The top 100 agents are the best of the best, listing and selling more than any other agent in Australia. These are the practises, actions, and beliefs of the most successful agents in Australian real estate. Raw, honest, and completely uncut.
Tim Neary: How's everyone? It's Tim Neary here. I am Editor of Real Estate Business and host of the Secrets of the Top 100 Agents podcast. Thanks for tuning in. Special guest on the show today, it's Greg McCutcheon, CEO of Real Estate Bookings, who offer a range of product designs to help agents save time and grow revenue. Hello Greg and welcome to the show.
Greg McCutcheon: Hi Tim. Thanks for having me.
Tim Neary: You're very welcome. Now, before we get started, I believe that you're a keen surfer, so I just wanted to know, where's your local spot?
Greg McCutcheon: Ah yeah, well I come from Geelong, down on the Surf Coast, down the bottom of Victoria. My favourite beaches down there is Jan Juc, Torquay, and Bells Beach, when it's not too crowded. But coming into summer, I'm looking forward to going out for a paddle a bit more often.
Tim Neary: Nice one, nice one. I believe the water's quite cold down there.
Greg McCutcheon: It is cold, but that's what we have wetsuits for, but in summer it warms up a bit, thank goodness.
Tim Neary: Nice work. Now, you have a deep background in IT and software engineering, and you say that your real passion along with catching the waves, is property, and that's what led you to start up Real Estate Bookings six years ago. What was the gap that you saw and how did you fill it?
Greg McCutcheon: The gap I saw really was the experience of buyers and tenants when they enquire online on properties. I've got really a customer or user experience background in technology, so we felt there was a real gap there in the delay associated with responding to inquiries, and probably nurturing those valuable clients through their property lifecycle.
Tim Neary: And research out suggests these days that people want a response within an hour. What is your branded response to that 24/7 nature of the industry?
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah. The Californian Realtors Association has some really great research there around the online consumer wanting a response within an hour. Yet, the agent often doesn't get back to the buyer there for maybe two or three days. We felt that noting that, we feel that an online inquiry response that's intelligent, highly branded, and also personalised to the agent adds value to the process and also helps nurture that valuable client through the property campaign.
Tim Neary: It's fair to say that that brand focused offices is really the sweet spot for you.
Greg McCutcheon: Definitely right. We found a strong uptake in our product set from inner city boutiques and I guess those offices located across Australia that really want to consolidate and have a really strong brand statement at the point of entry into their business when someone inquires online at 10:00 at night.
Tim Neary: Yeah, yeah. We started off by saying that the product is designed to help agents save time and grow revenue. Both of those things are important to them. How does that time saving element work?
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, fantastic. The time saving's really important. We see a lot of online inquiries now coming through what we call digital peak hour, 7:00 p.m. at night through to say 11:00 p.m. at night. We can provide an instant response, but also with our integration with CRMs in the industry, can also upload that inquiry into the CRM.
We find that one inquiry, potentially it's a quick time saving of maybe 5 to 10 minutes per inquiry, and also because it's all personalised, the buyer or the tenant often replies back, and the agent has got more of a qualified lead the next day to follow-up and have a more deeper conversation. It's like we've moved the lead a little bit forward for the agent to have a more enriched conversation with them.
Tim Neary: You mentioned a little bit earlier that 10:00 at night. Now, we know that this business doesn't keep office hours. It doesn't just happen, either, that they get a response at 10:00. There's a lot of smarts that go behind that. Talk us a little bit through us.
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, definitely. At 10:00 at night, what we do is we scan the inquiries and try and provide an intelligent response that adds value to the customer journey. We'll scan the inquiries using artificial intelligence around looking for whether they've asked a question around price or contract, or just a general inquiry. Are they an investor or a home owner?
What we're aimed about is providing a strong branded response that adds value, but also is customised for the office and the agent, as well.
Tim Neary: This tool, it's essentially a help you tool for real estate agents. Typically as agents grow in the business and become more productive, they might take on some help, they might take on a PA. Could this be a substitute for that process?
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, definitely. We've had clients that have weighed up whether they need to invest $60,000 in salaries for personal assistants, yet they decide to take our platform straight up for probably annualised fee of $3500. It actually helps automate what is quite a manual function.
Tim Neary: We were talking a little off air and you were saying there were some I guess well known agents and certainly agents that we've had on the Top 100 podcast that are using the product and they've actually had some good experiences around it.
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, definitely. There's some really high profile offices and agents using our platform. Matthew Scafidi who's now the Real Estate Institute of Victoria Salesperson of the Year. Robert Pignataro from Strathfield Partners here in Sydney, and if I look at the REB Top 100 Agents, I think in the top 10, four of those agents are using our software.
Tim Neary: And typically Greg, and both of those gents that you mentioned are well known on the show. We've had them on the podcast and imparted a lot of knowledge of what they do and how they do their business to us, and to others that listen to the show. But typically, how in their business process would they implement this product?
Greg McCutcheon: What they really focus on is that brand and that ideal customer experience. That's why they're so good at what they do. They utilise our platform as part of their end-to-end buyer process, and they acknowledge and understand that they can't be on the PC or the computer or the phone 24/7 and they need that extra level of service. What we're providing is a service level opportunity for these agents to grow their brand with their most valuable customers that are coming into the business.
Tim Neary: Because it comes back to what you were saying earlier, is that the research is showing, and we understand that, don't we? That people want a response. They don't just want a response, but they want it quickly these days, and with the technology that's available, if you're not there, then you're going to be losing out. That's kind of where you fit in.
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, that's right. It enables the agents to stand out and provide a ... Part of brand is also service, so we provide that service level guarantee, if you like. The beauty of our platform and the flexibility we have is we customise our inquiry response and provide that intelligence so it's not like an autoresponder back in 1990's. This is actually an intelligent, strongly branded engagement with a customer, that's aimed at driving them further and deeper into the campaign with that particular business.
Tim Neary: I really like the way that you put that, that this isn't just something that's come out of the 1990s. You developed this, you started the business six years ago, and I would imagine that it's just a continuous improvement as it goes on through the iterations.
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, our approach in our business is digital starts at the point of inquiry, and the R&D that we've been doing over the last six years is just continuing on. Digitally continually evolves and we've got some really exciting initiatives coming out, and we just see the platform growing and growing as it's taken up across the country.
Tim Neary: And talking about the growing and evolving of the platform, you've got a new product or maybe it's not new. It's the REBconnect. Tell us a little bit about that. What is that, and how does it work?
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, fantastic. REBconnect, we're really excited about, as a digital product for our clients. I guess we're really strong in the digital space in real estate. We've got strong IP, we help our clients with digital strategies and email marketing techniques, and services as well. But with REBconnect, it's really a way of enabling the agent to connect with their leads from say a database into Facebook, so we can in real time, connect those inquiries into Facebook accounts, which enables the agent to continue their brand into that social media platform and provide targeted advertising of maybe their new listings coming up.
REBconnect enables the agent to target those buyers that are in the area, looking at a certain price range, and really provide a targeted offering into Facebook, to generate more inquiries via that channel. Recently we, with Channel 9, "The Block" this year, we used the REBconnect platform for three of the properties in The Block, and got some amazing results. I think one of the campaigns we did generated 1200 clicks through to the client's website, and generated genuine inquiries and interest in that particular property.
Tim Neary: I mean, I think what we know about real estate, it comes up on the Top 100 show all the time, is that it's highly competitive. It's becoming more and more tech focused, and that it's 24/7. It's a no end sleep, and it just sounds like having a chat to you today that your product touches each one of those points and keeps the agent on the front foot.
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, exactly. It's about maintaining a digital conversation and using multiple channels. Not relying on email and SMS but continuing out there into the social platform. Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook. We're pretty excited with how things are moving into 2018.
Tim Neary: Mate, thanks very much for coming in and sharing your insights with us and bringing your product to us here. It certainly is going to be a great step forward in the marketplace for agents to have on their side, and it's been a real pleasure having you in the studio. Thank you very much.
Greg McCutcheon: Yeah, thank you, Tim. And to all the listeners, wishing you all a great Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Tim Neary: Fantastic. Thank you, Greg.
Greg McCutcheon: Cheers. Thank you.
Tim Neary: Remember to follow us on all the social media stuff. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. You can follow me, too, on Twitter, @TimothyJNeary, if you want to do that. If you've enjoyed today's show, please leave us a five star review on iTunes. It's the very best way for new listeners to find us and for them to hear the great content that we are putting out. As always, RealEstateBusiness.com.au is where you'll find us. There's plenty of stories there across the whole of real estate in Australia and on my guest today, Greg McCutcheon. Thanks again for tuning in and we'll see you next week. Goodbye.