South Carolina team lines itself up for continued growth by leveraging powerhouse tech platform, kvCORE, by Inside Real Estate
Despite only being a team for a year, the Top Charleston Agents Real Estate Team with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolina Sun Real Estate in Charleston, S.C., is in the top 2 percent in the country in total GCI and is the No. 1 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices team in the local market.
Michael Smith leads the team of 13 agents (and growing).
With many years of varied business experience under his belt, Smith knew that when he entered his real estate career, he had to build it the same way he would build a traditional business. “If you don’t go into real estate with the attitude that you are building a company, you will likely struggle,” says Smith. “Building companies, building infrastructure, finding the best ways to do things and using the best technologies are the foundation of my business, and also the things I teach my team members,” he adds.
“My first year in real estate, I realized right away what I wanted the business to look like,” says Smith, who hired a closing coordinator right out of the gate before bringing on a brand-new agent to help with showings and inspections so that he could focus his time on working with clients and getting sales written up.
With this combination, Smith did $10 million in sales his second year out and $16 million his third year before deciding it was time to build a team and teach what had been successful for him.
A big part of growing his business has been tied to the technology, systems and tools he provides to his team members. At the foundation is kvCORE, the all-in-one platform from Inside Real Estate, which was recently awarded the top real estate platform provider in G2’s Top 100 Software Companies. “The automation, lead gen tools, lead nurturing capabilities and accountability features give my team a huge advantage,” explains Smith.
“I checked out 10 different platforms, and kvCORE was by far the best,” says Smith. “As a team leader, it’s difficult to find solutions that are designed to function as a team would function. Accountability is a huge deal, and kvCORE gives me the ability to log in everyday and see who’s been on the site, who hasn’t shown up for a few days, who is following up and who isn’t. This gives me the opportunity to reach out to my agents to help keep them on track before they drop off.”
Cassie Grant, director of sales for the team, joined Smith at the beginning of her real estate career and followed his guidance to quickly become a top producer in their market. Grant is now a crucial part of the team’s training and growth, and relies on their technology platform, kvCORE, to keep the team operating at its fullest potential.
“I love that kvCORE has so many ways for us to generate reports on our team performance and KPIs, which are critical for us to understand where to put our marketing dollars,” says Grant. “Our team is very structured, and we have a very specific way that we require all new leads to be handled, and being able to look at this information at a glance in kvCORE makes it incredibly easy for us to manage our team effectively.”
Grant also leverages the automated agent accountability settings in the platform, which are unique to kvCORE. “The accountability settings let me monitor how each agent follows up with leads,” says Grant. “Our team works as a unit, so if someone isn’t able to handle a lead or a showing or an open house, our team is set up so that we have the support of every team member to help push that along. Being able to see how many phone calls they’ve made and how they’ve followed up with their leads is so valuable when I meet with them each week. I can also see if someone is a little stronger with open houses vs. leads coming from our kvCORE-generated Google click leads,” adds Grant. “I love being able to see the lead sources and who’s better with which type of lead, as it helps us place the right leads in the right hands so that we get the best performance.”
Grant can also route leads to her team based on their specialties or geographic preferences. “I have some agents that are luxury certified, so we point those price points to them, and other agents that are focused on specific areas in our market.”
The one thing Smith feels is most important to his agents? “It all boils down to leads,” says Smith. “Their biggest struggle seems to be where to find hot leads, but every lead is hot. In a site like kvCORE, people are coming online, registering their name, phone number and email before they start looking at houses or property. I don’t know how much more I could tee someone up,” says Smith, who helps his agents understand that everyone is a potential client. “It’s what you do with it, how you nurture it, how you take it from informational to getting them to know, like and trust you so that they want to use you as their agent.”
“I love that kvCORE is so intuitive. If I have somebody that I put in my sphere and they come back on and start looking at homes, kvCORE will put them in the active category, communicate directly with them and then notify me,” explains Grant. “It talks directly to my clients. I’ve had clients that came into town that I’ve never talked to or met, but they thought that because of my intuitive responses from kvCORE that I was always looking at my account, yet I had no idea who they were. It’s a huge feature,” she adds.
Grant also explains that the system helps reactivate leads that haven’t been on their site for a while. “The alerts help put the bright and shiny object in front of the client so that they want to click on it and come back to our site. Then the automated nurture kicks in again and makes us look like we are on top of it so that when we reach out with a personal touch, the client feels like they know us, and is appreciative of our attentiveness. It helps us look like we are on top of everything at all times,” says Grant.
Behind the scenes, kvCORE is capturing important information on every lead, including the homes they are viewing and the characteristics of the home, thanks to image recognition run on every property image across the MLS. “As an agent, when you make that phone call, that moment may be the only shot you get, so being able to speak specifically on what their interests are by seeing the properties they have looked at is a critical piece when it comes to providing value,” says Smith. “The platform kvCORE provides, in my opinion, is second to none.
“kvCORE has been fundamental to not only our lead gen, but also, our ability to nurture leads and our sphere and turn them into solid relationships,” notes Smith. “We love the ease of use and how quickly we can capture a customer out in the field. I could be sitting at a ballgame and turn to the guy next to me and ask for his address and send a quick report on the value of his home. And just like that, I’ve captured a potential seller,” adds Smith. “I can then follow-up with a multi-channel campaign that includes mailers, Facebook and Google ads, in addition to offering an exclusive list of properties that meet their criteria.”
The team also uses mobile dialers on a daily basis to generate and nurture leads. They have a two-pronged approach, and use the kvCORE mobile dialer for calling specific lists or active leads, and Mojo Dialer for reaching out to their extensive 27k database. “Our agents love that both of these dialers are so intuitive and easy to use,” says Grant. “The kvCORE mobile dialer ensures that our agents can easily call through their priority leads each day and add notes from those calls that load instantly into kvCORE.”
The platform also helps this Charleston team attract new customers. For instance, Smith likes to run carousel ads with high-definition photos on Facebook, which come connected to a form that people fill out. Once completed, the lead gets imported into kvCORE, which kicks off a sophisticated nurture campaign, and the lead is passed to an agent. Grant also makes sure that everyone on the team takes advantage of the huge lead gen opportunity with the landing pages and squeeze pages that come with kvCORE. “Our team is very heavily focused on these because of their overall effectiveness, and it’s an extremely cost-effective approach to lead gen. We make sure to train all of our agents on how to use these tools, and they are all pretty hooked on them,” says Grant.
Both Grant and Smith weigh in on the impact kvCORE has had on their recruiting, as well. “When we are recruiting people, we sit them down with kvCORE on the screen and show them the software and how it works,” says Grant. “If we put kvCORE in front of somebody and they see how the system works, there is nothing else like it out there. Equally impressive is the level of support and training provided, which not only makes a huge difference, but also sets kvCORE apart from everyone else. Everyone says, ‘Oh my gosh, does this really actually work? And I’m like yes, it totally works,’ and I can speak to it and show proof of it working. It makes newer agents feel more comfortable, while the seasoned agents that come in are amazed and ready to go.”
One more big advantage has been tied to cost savings. “Our agents come from brokerages where they have had to pay for systems like this on their own, so it’s a major selling point for us to be able to offer kvCORE to them if they are part of our team,” says Grant. “The cost savings is a big factor in their success. They all recognize the enormous value they are receiving in the technology, systems and training we offer as a team.”
Another feature that has played into recruiting is the personal database privacy provided within kvCORE. “A lot of people are scared to put their sphere into systems like this because of the fear of losing their leads if they were to leave the team,” says Grant. “We’ve been able to promise them that we can pull those out if they were to leave, which provides our agents comfort and security in knowing that their database and contacts are private and secure.”
“Providing kvCORE to agents is central to my recruiting efforts,” says Smith. “Agents quickly see the value they are getting with the combination of technology, tools, systems and training.”
What sets this team apart from the rest? “We have a structure with leads, and also, a better technology platform than most of our competitors,” says Grant. “That being said, we focus on our team, their personality types and the areas in which they’re best. A lot of teams just plug and play the same structure for every single agent, and I don’t believe that works well,” adds Grant, who goes on to explain how they do DISC profiles for every agent that joins the team to better handle their personalities, as well as how to nurture them and hold them accountable.
“There is a ton of competition in our area, and in order to be on top and be the best, you have to have processes in place, a good technology platform that is intuitive and keeps multiple things going at the same time, while also being efficient. And that’s what kvCORE has done for us.”
With their “secret sauce” for building a successful team, Grant and Smith have big plans for growth.
“We want to expand to different areas, and the goal is to scale each team the same way and replicate what we are doing now,” concludes Grant.
For more information, please visit www.insiderealestate.com.
Keith Loria is a contributing writer for RISMedia.