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- When faced with transitioning a large number of agents to a paperless system, give them options such as one-on-one training sessions and working with a paperless coordinator.
- Adopt a core business philosophy designed to put agents first. “Quality Living, Embracing Change, and Serving Others” brought success to RE/MAX of Reading. They stick to those values in the face of every business decision.
RE/MAX of Reading is the enviable home to one hundred and thirty of the nation’s most productive agents.
In 2013, the RE/MAX Corporation recognized RE/MAX of Reading for the Most Closed Transactions by any Single RE/MAX Office. It is frequent accomplishments like these and the ultimate efficiency with which this company runs its operations that have made it a model for other businesses to follow.
But the story of this company’s overnight success begins three decades ago.
The Year is 1980
Interest rates have soared to a mind-boggling 21.5% from an already staggering 10%. The real-estate market has all but ground down to a halt. Things are not looking up.
It’s under these grave circumstances that the young Jack Fry, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX of Reading, suddenly finds himself. His new company has just opened its doors for the first time with three associates and one staff member who now face a market headed toward depression. But the company is armed with a core philosophy of putting their agents first, and over the years, solidifies its mission:
Quality Living, Embracing Change, and Serving Others
Guided by that mission, Jack and his young company forge ahead. Recognizing the big challenges that lie ahead, he brings in additional management, maturity, and soon begins to capture more and more market share. Slowly but surely, the company establishes a sustainable and trustworthy business and is able to thrive against the odds — embracing change several times along the way.
Today this resilient company has grown to more than 130 agents that live and breathe success.
2011: Time to Say Goodbye to Paper
Time to embrace change once again
In 2011, like most real estate offices at the time, RE/MAX of Reading was still operating as a good old “paper-based” office — printing, scanning, and filing its way into thousands of dollars in office and labor expenses every month. With 130 agents and counting, supporting them and providing them with a highly productive environment became harder and harder for Jack and his newly appointed Operations Manager: Tavia Ritter.
The paper-based operation had served them well so far but it had clearly gotten to the point where it threatened their ability to stay true to their mission of Quality Living, Embracing Change & Serving Others.
The Leadership Team at RE/MAX of Reading recognized that the time had come for them to adapt to a changing environment once again. They needed to take full advantage of the advances in internet-based technologies and turn their office paperless. Furthermore, their ideal paperless system would need to significantly and measurably boost their agents’ and admins’ efficiency, convenience, and productivity.
Thus began the hunt for the perfect system.
Discovering the Right Paperless Solution
The team began painstakingly researching paperless transaction management systems including DotLoop, ZipVault, and several others.
Then the team discovered Paperless Pipeline, promptly bringing to a happy end their 6-month long quest for the right system.
Pipeline’s simplicity and ease-of-use had made it the clear winner.
In Tavia’s own words:
This system is easy to use. It's understandable. It's not 15 clicks to do anything and it just does transactions...That's why we have 100% of our agents using this system today.
Switching Gears From What To How
Helping Every Single Agent Embrace Paperless Pipeline
The company had found the right solution in Paperless Pipeline but now the Leadership Team faced a new challenge.
How do you train 130+ agents to not only effectively utilize but also wholeheartedly embrace an entirely new technology and new process?
Like many real-estate offices, RE/MAX of Reading's average agent is in their mid-50s. While several of their agents were already at the forward edge of technology, many were predictably resistant to any change to their process. As expected, the first group embraced the move to the new paperless solution happily. It’s the second group that called for a creative solution that could overcome their qualms.
In order to get every single agent aboard the Paperless Pipeline train, RE/MAX of Reading offered two options to agents:
- One-on-one training sessions
- A Paperless Pipeline Coordinator
Why One-On-One Training and not Group Training?
We learned really quickly that doing this in a group session is not the way to go, at all. We had questions from every angle that you could ever imagine. Being able to sit down one on one with every agent and answer their questions and show them their personalized attention, that was crucial!
When you're driving some place and you're in the passenger seat , you have no idea how you got there. But if you drive you remember the directions better. So we had the agents put in their own transactions and sat there with them and went through it.
Why offer a Pipeline Coordinator to Agents?
The company recognized that achieving 100% agent adoption of Paperless Pipeline was not only critical to their business success, but was also key to achieving 100% agent satisfaction.
Despite any resistance they might face, it was obvious that to function efficiently and productively as a large and growing business, their new paperless process was a must for every agent to buy into. And Paperless Pipeline was as simple, user-friendly, and effective a system as they could wish for.
Our business is retention and recruiting. We all know that. At a broker level that's our business. The transactions are unbelievably important but that's not what we're making money on, that's not how we survive as a business.
So for the less tech-savvy agents, the company offers a dedicated Pipeline Coordinator. The process works like this:
Agents can drop their listing paperwork literally into a basket on their Coordinator's desk, and she'll scan it all into the paperless system for them. Once it’s in the system, the agent can access it right from their own computer or mobile device, send documents off to third parties, and upload or email additional documents into the system whenever they need to.
And for those that create their own transactions and send in their own documents, the Coordinator is their backup.
Tavia likes to explain it this way:
The Pipeline Coordinator is there when, after settlement, I have to run because my kid's got a soccer game. ‘Can you just scan this in for me so I can get paid?’ ‘You bet! We've got you covered!’
Back to the Future
Today, RE/MAX of Reading continues to build a winning company culture focused on generating high quality business for each one of their agents.
With its 100% agent adoption, Paperless Pipeline continues to be a crucial partner in this ever-evolving company’s daily progress and long-term success.
I still have people who initially balked that we were going “to the cloud” with their transactions that now sing the praises of Pipeline.
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