Who's Steering? You or Your Technology?


Do You Like Software Developers Defining Your Business Processes?

How many times in your business or personal life have you installed a new piece of software and realized after doing so, that to use it, you were going to have to make some process changes.  In other words, whether it was budgeting software, contact management or lead management software,  you realized after the purchase that to use it successfully you were going to have to ADAPT AND CONFORM to the thinking process of the designers and engineers that created the software.

From my experience, in over 30 years of selling and building software products I know it happens all the time.  In fact, for many of my selling years my job was to convince potential buyers that the off-the-shelf product we had created at whatever company I was working for at the time, was not only the best product but that they should change their business processes and do things the way our software dictated.  I'm sure you have experienced this.

Off-the-Shelf Products Can Make Sense - Sometimes!

The reality is off-the-shelf products make sense in many instances.  Real Estate Webmasters have off the shelf products and they are great.  The advantage of these products is number one, price!  When a software developer can create and resell a product over and over they can afford to put the price at a lower level.  The more units they sell they higher their profit margin for that particular product.  If the product is a good fit for you this is a win-win scenario.

All of us use off-the-shelf products happily every day.  I buy apps all the time for different things and I have to adapt my thinking to use them because more often than not, the approach they take to solving a problem may be a little different from what I would have done if I created the product.  But that's OK, becauseI know when I buy the product that is what I am getting and that it can't be customized.  Also, most of us are going to be price driven so we are willing to make some sacrifices in many areas.   Where this concept falls down though is when you are talking about the top tier companies, teams and agents.  For these high achievers off the shelf products just don't work for one simple reason.  These high achievers have reached their level of success by doing something different from the competition.  The last thing they want to do now is to install some software that is going to give them the exact same thing their competition has.  This is also why I love what we do at Real Estate Webmasters. We understand, if you want to serve the best and make them happy, you need to be able to let them create software that ADAPTS AND CONFORMS to their business processes, not the other way around.

Technology Is Not a Do-It-Yourself Process!

Would you recommend people sell their home themselves?  Of course, not!  You'd tell them to use a professional because in the end, the money spent make sense.   I'm a pretty good handyman and I actually love doing projects when I have the time around the house but when it comes to doing big projects I know it's time to call the pros.  I don't have the resources, training or tools to step up to a real job that requires a definite time line and one that, if not done correctly or on time, is going to have a major impact on my life.  The same is true with technology yet many large companies today still maintain a significant development staff.   Having worked in the technology world my whole professional life I can confidently say that, while you can do this, it is more expensive and less effective than hiring professionals that do this full time.  Think about it.  How can any company whose real focus is real estate hope to have a development company that is (1) going to be as good as a professional development company, (2) keep their development staff up to date on the  latest and greatest every year, and (3) do it as affordably?  The answer is - they can't!  If you have this situation today give us a call and we can show you an easy way to trim your budget with better results.

It's Why There are So Many Consultants!

The dilemma I just described is really the reason there are so many consultants in every industry.  There are times every company needs highly specialized skills to help them get over a particular hurdle.  Hiring a consultant allows them to address this and to solve the problem.  While they will pay that consultant, like a technology company, more per hour while they are on that project than they would an in-house employee, when the job is done the costs end!  The same is true when working with a company like Real Estate Webmasters.  When one of our clients wants to create a new gizmo in our base software we spec it, provide an estimate and build it.  They pay for it.  But then they stop paying for it.    They leverage the expertise of our full time technology team when and if they want to use them to address their custom requirements.  They pay for it, yes, but when it is done they stop paying for that customization unlike those that maintain full time development teams.

Enterprise Model Can Balance Your Billing

We also have Enterprise options today at REW, where larger companies can pay a low per agent fee per month that includes an ongoing development provision.  Companies using this model understand that technology is a utility today that they simply have to have and have to keep upgraded.  Using this Enterprise approach lets them maintain an even budget without big spikes every time they need to upgrade their website or to add a new market report.  

Do You Buy All of Your Clothes at a Department Store?

I can guarantee you, that most of the top performers I know in the real estate industry, whether they are owners of companies, franchises, team leaders or top agents, do not buy all of their wardrobe from a department store.  But that is what happens when you buy a product from a company that provides an "off the shelf" product without the option of continual customization. Department stores, like off the shelf products are all about defining the "average" product that the general masses will embrace.  The fit may not be perfect and you may see the same shirt or dress everywhere you go but the price is right and you can get everything in one place, right?  Now, if you are a high achiever and top performer, think about what you are wearing right now.  Did you buy your watch at the same place you bought your shoes?  Your belt?  Your ties?  Your jeans?  Your skirt or blouse? Your coat?  More than likely you have many different places you go because you want the best of whatever you buy, for your tastes.  This don't always mean it has to be the most expensive but you most likely are very particular about what you buy.  The same should be true for technology!

We Don't Need to be the Best at Everything

One of the things that was really important to me when I was considering joining REW was the fact that they played nice with other vendors.  We would love to be everything for everyone but we realize clearly this isn't possible.  We have to pick our battles and focus on what we do, and do it better than anyone else.  Then, because we also believe in providing an end-to-end solution for our customers that means we need to make it easy for them to got those other services they need like e-Signature (DocuSign) and videos (BombBomb), etc. from vendors that we consider the gold stand in those categories.  But make no mistake, if a client wants to work with a vendor that isn't on our partner list they can absolutely do it.  We have an open API and will do whatever we can to allow them to integrate at whatever level they want and are willing to develop.  The key is having a vendor that doesn't cringe when you suggest such a thing.  Technology should do what you want it to do. Technology should not be forcing you to do things one way and one way only.

Enterprise Companies and Elite Teams and Agents Need More

If you are a regional franchise, large independent, top team or high achieving agent you deserve and can afford to have software work the way you want it to. It costs more than off the shelf software, but you didn't get to where you are today without investing in what makes you unique to your customers.  In the end it is very affordable and it pays for itself over and over.  We have many examples of customers that are generating over 1000% ROI on their technology investment with us!  They get it!  They understand they need to invest in technology on an ongoing basis whether it is SEO and PPC or customizing their solutions and they are happy to do it because it drives their bottom line.  Let us work with you to create a technology plan that takes you to the next level that doesn't have you offering the same tools and look as your competition.

Free Enterprise Consulting

Feel free to contact me anytime to learn more.  We provide free consulting for our Enterprise clients and I would be happy to help you understand what we offer and to come up with a solution that is right for you.  You can reach me by email at audet@realestatewebmasters.com or by phone at 716-839-4628.

Michael Audet
Vice President, Business Development
Real Estate Webmasters
94 Harper Rd
Snyder, NY 1426
(716) 839-4628


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Steven Mullen

After reading your article on this subject it made us really take a long look at our approach with technology for our real estate business.

Thanks for the info!


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