View From the Top
Today RE/MAX Plus is one of the largest offices in the country by transaction volume. It’s also a Top 100 RE/MAX brokerage and is home to nearly 100 top-producing agents supported by a high-caliber team of admins.
The most interesting success stories start amidst serious adversity. RE/MAX Plus’s climb to the top could not have begun at a worse time.
2007: The Housing Market is on the Brink of Collapse
RE/MAX Plus opened its doors in 2007 when the real estate market was facing incredible challenges. A pronounced increase in foreclosure rates throughout the country was steadily leading up to a crisis. Despite the adverse market conditions, eight brokers banded together to form this small company.
Their plan for success? Create a company that is built around customer service, always putting its agents first, and fostering an environment where years of knowledge gets shared freely and openly.
That plan worked incredibly well and this fledgling company was able to flourish at a time when the entire industry had come down crumbling.
Growing Pains and the Need for Change
The NY-based office started with a team of just 12 agents including 8 brokers. By the end of their first year in business, the company's roster had increased to a whopping 50 agents. In two more years, they had attracted 30 more agents and were expanding fast. Even though this accelerated growth brought much needed sustainability to the company, the success didn't come without growing pains.
Charity Clancy, the company's Director of Operations, started realizing the imminent need for change. The time had come to meet those growing pains head on.
We had reached a point transaction-wise where we had doubled or tripled from the two previous years and we were falling behind in the filing process and we weren't properly tracking the paperwork that was received asking our agents for items multiple times because no one could find it. So we were looking for a solution where we could accommodate the agents and make them a little bit happier and a little more organized.
Buried in Paper
Charity’s team found themselves submerged in a never-ending deluge of paperwork every day. They soon realized that being a paper-based company was keeping them from scaling higher.
You have files all over the place. You're running out of room to store them. Nobody knows where anything is. All I can say is that all of the roads led back to a paperless solution.
The Hunt For a Paperless Solution
During a trip to an industry convention Charity and her team started researching several paperless products, such as Lone Wolf, but soon discovered that they all seemed to be missing the right set of features to match their fast-paced office. They didn’t want to waste time and money settling on multiple products to suit their needs.
They needed a single easy-to-use, yet comprehensive solution backed by top-notch customer service.
Enter Paperless Pipeline
After examining several paperless transaction management systems, Charity's team discovered that Paperless Pipeline was able to perfectly meet their high expectations.
We felt that Paperless Pipeline had great reviews, great customer feedback and everything that we needed seemed to be available. Anytime we have a question or recommendation we contact support and we have an answer immediately.
Simplicity, Mobility, and 24/7 Access
Charity felt confident that Paperless Pipeline would turn out to be a successful solution for their company because it is simple enough for every agent to adopt and use.
Going paperless meant full transparency and 24/7 access to transaction information for all of RE/MAX Plus’s agents and admins — a luxury they had never enjoyed before.
Thanks to the mobility offered by Paperless Pipeline, agents no longer needed to waste time looking over a staff's shoulder at the office.
Becoming a Paper-Free Office
There's no time like the present
Why did Charity’s company make the switch from paper-based to paperless immediately, even though it was during the busiest time of the year?
We identified the need and we implemented it probably at the busiest time of the year so everyone thought we were nuts. I just feel like they would have been buried under mountains and mountains of paperwork that they never could have kept up with.
Ensuring 100% Agent Adoption of the new Paperless System
Like most offices converting to a new technology, Charity needed to overcome one final hurdle: getting all agents to embrace and effectively use the new system.
With Terri Granger, a broker/owner at RE/MAX Plus by her side, the two began implementing Paperless Pipeline across the company as quickly and painlessly as possible. Their implementation plan consisted of two steps:
Implementation Step #1: Enlist Tech-Savvy Agents
Paperless Pipeline's easy-to-use interface and productivity features were just what RE/MAX Plus's technologically adept agents needed to take their performance to the next level.
You have a portion of the agents who welcome technology with open arms and the feedback was, ' This is incredible. I wish you had have done it sooner. This is a great idea. I love being able to have everything right there. I love being able to see everything and have a digital copy '.
Implementation Step #2: Assist Agents Resistant to New Technology
As expected, not all agents were open to switching from the familiar paper-based process to a fully paperless operation. Charity and Terri approached these agents individually, and patiently coached them with the aid of Paperless Pipeline’s training manual customized to fit their office’s workflow.
After transitioning to Paperless Pipeline, 100% of RE/MAX Plus’s agents have been experiencing improvements in their daily workflow and have voiced their satisfaction time and again.
Every day everyone is like, ' I love this. ' We think of new ways to use it.
The Paperless Success Story Continues
Since the implementation of Paperless Pipeline, RE/MAX Plus’s business has continued to boom. Even with her 16 years of experience in the real estate industry, Charity says she is learning something new every day.
I feel like I'm finding my way. Reinventing things. Reinventing the process.
Paperless Pipeline has even removed the need for an additional full time employee.
Paperless Pipeline eliminates the need for at least one full time person. If we didn't have Pipeline , to run effectively, we'd need at least one or more full time employees, so that saves us about $2,000-$2,500/month. And even the benefits that don't have a monetary amount attached to them: the efficiency, transparency and other non-tangible benefits are huge!
Charity’s Tips on Going Paperless
Adopting new software in a large, fast-paced company is always challenging and often overwhelming. Charity shares her experience and tips on making this process easier.
Tip #1: Anytime is a Good Time to go Paperless
Charity’s office went paperless at the busiest time of the year with amazing success.
Had we not done it in April, I feel that the staff morale would have decreased significantly and we would have had an increase in errors.
Tip #2: Make a Plan of Attack
Charity and Terri hired a temporary employee to get all of their paper-based files into the new system.
You really want to have an organized plan, much as we did with hiring an outside individual to come in temporarily. We knew that we would contract this individual for a six week period. That's how long we gave ourselves. If you are a little over staffed or it's a slower time of year, you can definitely pull from your current resources, but consider pulling in a temporary individual to do that work for you so that you don't interrupt your regular every day work flow.
Tip #3: Develop a Timeline
Our whole plan was we gave it about six weeks. We had approximately three to four hundred just active pendings -- then probably approximately 100 or so listings at the time. That was just the files that were sitting in there that had already been processed with the old paper process. We told that individual that this is what we need to accomplish, so this is what we need you to do in this six to eight week period.
Tip #4: Choose a Cut-Off Date
We chose a cut off date. We said, ' Anything as of this date, if it hasn't been closed and paid out and it's still pending, we're going to enter it into Paperless '. We were no longer going to accept the paper form. It was only to be electronic.
With an open-minded approach and the willingness to adopt a paperless solution, it’s no surprise that this supercharged office continues to climb it’s way to the top.
Reviewing what we've been through in the past year gets me kind of excited just thinking about where we were a year ago and the strides that we've made. I'm pretty excited about where we are today.