Take in real stories from NAR members about how they have saved time, money, and gained an edge through NAR REALTOR Benefits®.
ReferralExchange Helps REALTOR® Expand Business
The following scenario shows how one REALTOR® leveraged ReferralExchange's program.
Tom Brown says his secret sauce to success is jumping on leads and responding to them quickly — often within five minutes of a prospect's initial call.
But with about 300 leads a month—many from realtor.com® and Facebook ads—flowing in, achieving that time frame is challenging and time-consuming.
To find a better approach, Brown, broker/owner, Tom Brown Real Estate of Santa Maria, Calif., started working with ReferralExchange, a lead verification service that uses proprietary scrubbing technology to determine which leads are real and ready to transact.
Through ReferralExchange’s LIVE (Lead Information Verification Engine) service, licensed real estate agents act as an extension of the agent’s brand to help qualify leads that agents provide. This service confirms contact data, nurtures prospects, and then transfers live leads who are ready to take the next step in the home buying process.
As a member of the National Association REALTORS®, Brown tapped NAR REALTOR Benefits® to receive exclusive savings on services offered by ReferralExchange.
Playing to His Strengths
In the past, Brown scrubbed leads himself before referring them to his team of one inside and three outside salespeople. For him, ReferralExchange is a relief. Brown describes himself as a people person and believes his strength is developing rapport and relationships with prospects. His reasoning: Why not leave those nitty-gritty processes to licensed real estate specialists?
"ReferralExchange sifts through all the questions — income, residency, credit, and ability to come up with a down payment — for me," Brown comments. He views ReferralExchange as having a team of licensed specialists working on his behalf and allowing him to spend his time doing what he does best — making human connections.
Once a lead is transferred to him, Brown relies on his own script and strategy to further determine a prospect's needs, timing, and motivation. Because of ReferralExchange's upfront work, Brown knows he's talking with serious candidates, and he's able to start his client relationships further along in the process.
"I like that ReferralExchange is working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and calls me with live transfers—leads who are ready, willing, and qualified to buy," he comments. That's important because Brown believes he'd lose credibility with his sales staff if somebody didn't thoroughly vet prospects.
In one case, ReferralExchange noted that a prospect had unique mortgage needs. Because Brown had that information in advance, he was better prepared for the call and already had a lender in mind to service the buyer's unique circumstances.
Time for Building Business
The relationship with ReferralExchange has strengthened Brown's expected bottom line. From the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter in 2020, he expects the number of closings to nearly double, and he says that ReferralExchange has contributed to that spike.
But his satisfaction with ReferralExchange goes beyond just the new business.
"It has given me time to work on my business, instead of constantly working in the business," he says. By handing off some of the time-intensive administrative tasks, Brown has been able to develop and nurture a company culture, something he never had time to do.
He also devotes more time to generating leads and to recruiting and training. "I'm very happy about the money I pay ReferralExchange," comments Brown. "It's well spent."
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Liberty Mutual Insurance
When was the last time you reviewed your insurance coverage? If you're like most people, it probably has been a while.
One in three Americans has never shopped for better homeowners or car insurance policies, according to Policygenius, a site that helps consumers learn about insurance and compare rates. The top reasons include people thinking that reviewing their insurance will take too much time and paperwork and that they won’t qualify for better coverage or rates.
But Liberty Mutual Insurance, a longstanding partner with NAR REALTOR Benefits®, has developed an exclusive program for REALTORS® to save on their auto, home, and renters insurance. To date, the company has helped thousands of REALTORS® save money when insuring their most valuable assets.
In addition to special discounted savings for NAR members and flexible plan options, Liberty Mutual also offers several other benefits like convenient payment options and 24-hour claims assistance.
Another unique perk: The Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance Referral Program™.
The program allows you to extend the same auto insurance savings and benefits that you enjoy to your clients. Available in 40 states, it helps you to distinguish yourself in your market and add value to your client relationship.
Scenario 1: Passing Savings to Clients
Jason Terry, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Crossroads Properties in Fairlawn, Ohio, opted to participate in the Liberty Mutual Auto Referral Program. One goal was to determine whether special insurance discounts could help his real estate clients.
He’s been referring his clients to Melissa Bullock, lead sales representative with Liberty Mutual Insurance, Westlake, Ohio, since 2018. Here are some benefits he’s seen:
Savings for all: Everybody wants the best price on their insurance. Terry’s clients have been very open to working with Liberty Mutual insurance agents and have been pleased with the discounts they’ve received, Terry has found. “That experience makes getting my clients interested in learning more about options available to them easier,” he says.
Referral bonus: Terry has made more than 20 referrals in the last year, and nearly all of them ended up buying insurance. Many told Terry that they opted for Liberty Mutual because it offered the best rates on quality coverage.
Helping clients: Finding ways to save money can be critical especially in Terry’s market, where clients must pre-pay the first year of their homeowners insurance. So once the client’s offer has been accepted, they are seeking ways to ensure closing costs are available. Terry credits Liberty Mutual for helping clients reduce expenses to cover closing costs. One reason is because of Liberty Mutual’s competitive rates.
“Sometimes there may be a $200 to $300 difference between Liberty and other companies, but it’s just enough savings to make our deal happen,” says Terry.
Scenario 2: Leveraging NAR Savings
At the start of the year, Ellen, a REALTOR® in Chicago, took her financial planner’s advice seriously and examined every personal and business expense to find ways to cut spending. Being in her 50s, she’s concerned about retirement and wants to do everything possible to boost her long-term savings.
She did the usual things like eliminating unused subscription services, reducing dining out, and finding savings at home through energy efficiency upgrades. But she’d never taken a close look at her insurance costs – a big budget item, given how much she drives for work. She figured that shopping for insurance would be a hassle and didn’t think she’d really find that much savings.
She’d seen Liberty Mutual’s clever TV commercials, but it hadn’t occurred to her to check out the company’s options. Then a colleague mentioned the great rates she’d found through NAR's REALTOR Benefits®.
Once Ellen called Liberty Mutual, she discovered that as a REALTOR®, she could save on both her car and condo insurance. She also learned more about the Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance Referral Program™, which lets her collect a referral fee when she extends to clients the same auto insurance savings and benefits that she receives. Thanks to the referral fees and the savings on her insurance premiums, Ellen has been able to put extra money into her IRA, which makes her confident that she’ll retire with a bigger cash cushion.
Scenario 3: Agent Spotlight, Triple Win
Melissa Bullock, lead sales representative with Liberty Mutual Insurance, Westlake, Ohio, became a preferred provider with a local real estate firm. She began working with RE/MAX Crossroads Properties agents, helping them save on their own insurance and extending those benefits to their clients through the Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance Referral Program™.
In one instance, Bullock was able to help one of those referred clients cut her auto insurance costs and provide better coverage. In addition, by offering her a multi-policy discount, Bullock helped her find extra cash that she was able to bring to the closing table and make purchasing a home a reality.
Jason Terry, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Crossroads Properties, Fairlawn, Ohio, appreciates that Liberty Mutual watches out for him and his fellow RE/MAX agents.
“I feel great when I can educate someone about auto coverage and provide great service and help them save and provide better coverage,” Bullock comments.
Terry considers the relationship with Liberty Mutual something of a win-win. His clients get the best auto insurance rates and agents receive referral bonuses. It’s a positive outcome for both sides!
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Member's TeleHealth: The Doctor Is In 24/7
When you’re managing a successful, busy real estate business, who has time to run to the doctor for minor ailments?
NAR is continuously looking to provide unique member benefits that are helpful and valuable to members. Members TeleHealth is just one example–it’s a telemedicine plan that provides an efficient, cost-effective way to address non-emergency medical conditions from wherever you happen to be. This service lets you access MDLIVE, a network of over 2,300 U.S. state-licensed and board-certified physicians, accessible 24/7/365 by phone, smartphone app, web chat, or email.
Such services have become appealing alternatives to traditional in-person doctor’s appointments or urgent care visits, and NAR members receive special benefits including a group discounted monthly rate.
“Telemedicine is perhaps the most rapidly evolving area in health care. About 15 million Americans receive some form of remote medical care every year,” says the Washington Post.
It’s no surprise
“People’s expectations have changed, and they want convenience and speed in all aspects of their lives, including their healthcare,” says Shannon Kennedy, president of SASid. “This is an innovative option for those who need trustworthy health advice and flexibility and affordability and through NAR, REALTORS® receive special member benefits on the service.”
Subscribers who have used MDLIVE describe it as helpful, effective, and even revolutionary.
One REALTOR® using the NAR plan noted how welcome the medical advice was during a family vacation. Another frequent flyer knew she was contagious and wanted to consult with a doctor without leaving her hotel room.
The following examples represent potential scenarios members might experience, and the help that MDLIVE can provide.
Scenario 1: Convenience, Immediate Relief
Lila*, a mother of three, got a call that her son Brandon had another earache.
A broker open house, a closing, and a listing presentation were on the calendar, but she faced wrangling a last-minute doctor’s appointment and reorganizing her day around the doctor’s schedule.
It’s hard to find last-minute babysitters, and Lila worried about having to bring along her other kids and exposing the whole family to germs at the doctor’s office. MDLIVE was the perfect solution. The doctor considered Brandon’s history and symptoms and called in the right prescription**.
Scenario 2: On-Demand Care
Joe had scheduled back-to-back showings for out-of-town clients who only had a weekend to decide whether a luxury condo lifestyle was right for them.
Then his severe allergies flared up. Joe was pretty sure he just needed a stronger prescription, but his doctor’s office was closed for the weekend, and there was simply no time to get to immediate care.
He hustled down to the lobby between showings and connected with an MDLIVE doctor who helped Joe get an updated treatment plan right away so he could get through the afternoon and finish up with his clients.
Scenario 3: Rural Challenges
Long driving distances in rural areas can make reaching medical facilities especially challenging.
It was a joy for Jill to show off Maine’s scenery and hike wooded trails and the shoreline with clients looking for the ideal vacation home. As she was driving back to the office, she started to develop hives and swelling, and a painful rash began to spread. She didn’t know what had caused it, or how severe it might become.
By the time she got home, driving 20 miles to a doctor was impossible and the offices were closed. But at 9 p.m. an MDLIVE doctor took a look at the rash, confirmed that it was poison ivy, outlined over-the-counter remedies, and told her what to do if her symptoms got worse.
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* All names have been changed to protect health privacy
** MDLIVE does not guarantee that a prescription will be written. MDLIVE does not prescribe DEA controlled substances, non-therapeutic drugs and certain other drugs which may be harmful because of their potential for abuse.
SentriLock: Northern Virginia AOR
Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® is an association whose mission is to "Elevate REALTOR® success by delivering exceptional value, driving innovation and impacting the industry.''
In 2009, Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® was dissatisfied with their current lockbox provider as well as the customer service they were receiving when facing technical issues. Paige Audet, the director of membership, recently sat down with SentriLock to discuss how and why they converted to SentriLock.
In 2009, Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® started using SentriLock. As a dissatisfied user of another lockbox provider, Paige's association started looking into other options. One key pain point NVAR faced was response time when calling in for service. In the interview, Paige commented, "With the SentriLock system customer service calls were answered within seconds rather than minutes or hours."
Paige states that her staff "likes the ease at which they can contact the service department." Another key difference with SentriLock are the multiple access methods. Paige adds that "with the app you don't have to worry if you have your card, you just pull out your phone and you can get into your lockbox with your clients."
At a Glance
Customer: Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®.
Problem: Dissatisfied experience with current provider # of lockboxes deployed: 48,367.
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Victor Insurance Managers: Voicemail Vindication
Commercial real estate agent Dana Smith was hired by Justin Brown to list his commercial building. Days after the listing was posted, she received a contract offer to purchase the property. When Dana contacted Justin to discuss the terms of the offer, he told her he was very busy with another business transaction and would give her authorization to sign the offer on his behalf as long as the purchase price would net him $500,000.1
After she examined the offer and determined the seller’s profit would be in excess of $500,000, she signed the contract on Justin’s behalf and forwarded it the buyer. Dana was not aware that a longtime tenant of the building, ABC Consulting, was also interested in purchasing the property and had a first right of refusal clause in their lease. When the owner of ABC Consulting was made aware of the sale, he immediately offered to purchase the commercial building at the same terms as the other buyer.2 Justin, however, claimed the tenant’s only right was that they be notified of any offer to purchase the property within 10 days. Justin then claimed Dana had no right to sign the contract offer on his behalf. As a result, both potential buyers rescinded their offers. Justin sued Dana for breach of brokerage agreement, negligence and attorney’s fees.
Fortunately, Dana saved a voicemail from Justin where he verbally gave her permission to sign the contract offer on his behalf. Had Dana not had this evidence, the cost of the claim could have been in the six figure range.
The claim was dismissed; however, there was still a cost involved in defending her claim. Dana’s E&O insurance company ultimately paid out $25,000 to cover attorney’s expenses.
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Risk Factor #1: Dana did not have written permission from her client to sign a contract on his behalf. A good risk management practice would be to have the client provide written instructions when granting a real estate professional authorization to sign contracts on the client’s behalf.
Risk Factor #2: Dana was not aware of the details of the lease between Justin and ABC Consulting. When taking on a listing, an agent should know all the details of any current occupancy of a property including lease terms. Dana should have reviewed all current leases to determine the impact on the listing and sale of the property.
DocuSign: Holly Brink
Mrs. Holly Brink leaves paperwork and administration to DocuSign so she can focus on what really matters: her clients.
Mrs. Holly Brink has been a real estate professional for almost a decade – first in property management, then as a buyer’s agent, and now reestablishing herself in a new state. She is proud to be a professional real estate agent and takes the protection of her clients very seriously. Holly understands that a new home is most likely one of the largest purchases of her client’s life and takes great care to keep their best interests at heart.
Real estate transactions can be complicated and stressful for the buyer, so Holly considers it her responsibility to make the process as smooth and transparent as possible. The key to doing all this while providing great customer service is preparation, experience and using the right tools.
For Holly, that tool is DocuSign because, “DocuSign makes life a lot easier.”
DocuSign is an important partner and daily tool for Holly because as a real estate agent, her goal is to “save clients time and money,” and “DocuSign certainly does that on a daily basis.”
The DocuSign eSignature product allows Holly to close deals quickly which ensures her clients get the homes of their dreams.
She explains, “Good homes go quickly so we need to be ready to roll at any time when the right one pops up. It is important to be aggressive and get offers in right away.” DocuSign eSignature and templates make this really easy. By preparing a template ahead of time, “I can have the whole offer done before we even walk out of the house, either from a laptop or mobile device.”
DocuSign makes it so easy to do business remotely because Holly can sign documents from anywhere, and she no longer needs to drive around town to collect signatures. Because of this, DocuSign is saving her money every month on gas, office supplies, and paper.
Although other eSignature solutions may appear to provide similar benefits, it is important to have a reliable solution that will be a trusted partner in providing a fast and seamless transaction and customer experience. There were times when Holly would encounter other eSignature solutions, but she would always rather use DocuSign because nothing else is “quite as user friendly or robust in functionality.”
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