Kylie Davis: (00:02)
Welcome to the PropTech podcast. It's Kylie Davis here and I'm delighted to be your host as we explore the brave new world where technology and real estate collide. I passionately believe we need to create and grow a sense of community between the innovators and real estate agents and sharing our stories is a great way to do that. The aim of each episode is to introduce listeners to a PropTech innovator who is pushing the boundaries of what's possible and to explore the issues and challenges raised by the tech and how they create amazing property experiences.
Kylie Davis: (00:32)
So my guest in this episode is Zoe Pointon, CEO of OpenAgent. OpenAgent began eight years ago selling leads to agents on a transaction by transaction basis and taking a clip of the commission. But now they've grown and matured to become a sophisticated big data business that is partnering with select agencies to manage lead qualification, to give both agents and consumers a better real estate experience. And they've also pivoted their charging model. They're a great example of a PropTech business that has started out with a revolutionary idea, successfully scaled, grown, and now pivoted. Moving from being an industry outsider to a trusted data partner that can help agents grow their business, save time, and deliver better services to consumers. So Zoe Pointon, welcome to the show.
Zoe Pointon: (01:21)
Hi Kylie, thanks for having me. It's great to be here.
Kylie Davis: (01:24)
It's our pleasure. So Zoe, who is Open Agent and what's the problem you solve? Because we always start with an elevated pitch on the show.
Zoe Pointon: (01:31)
Okay. So for consumers, OpenAgent is a specialist website and consumer service team providing advice and agent comparisons to homeowners looking to sell. For agents, OpenAgent is the largest lead referral company in Australia, partnering with the top agents in the country to provide highly qualified leads to them. And under the hood, we're specialists in big data and behaviour analytics with the vision of making it easier for people to buy and sell and making it easier for agents to serve their customers.
Kylie Davis: (02:03)
Cool. So you guys were almost one of the first PropTech startups. So one of the first high profile PropTech startups. Tell us a little bit about the company and when you started and who's involved.
Zoe Pointon: (02:16)
Yeah. So we started the company back in 2012. That was myself and my co-founder, Mata Higuera. The two of us knew each other from our days back at McKinsey and we didn't have any real estate experience or any technology experience. You might say we were very, very green in terms of what we're undertaking. But we thought that it was a big opportunity to help people with the process of selling their home, [inaudible 00:02:47] and making phone calls to people. So calling people who were thinking about selling and calling agents and seeing whether or not there was an opportunity there.
Zoe Pointon: (02:58)
Nearly eight years down the line, things have escalated quite a bit. And we've now got quite a big team in Alexandria and Sydney. Around about 80 people work for Open Agent these days. We've raised around $25 million from the investment community and that includes Reinventure, CoolGrow and Westpac and even the ex CEO of CoreLogic, Graham Mirabito. So a lot of people have come on board and I guess, we've been able to convince them that we can add value to this industry and play a part in how this industry evolves. So very exciting. But it's been a long journey. It still feels very much like a startup even though we're nearly eight years old now.
Kylie Davis: (03:45)
Wow. So what gave you the idea, what made you think that real estate agents needed help with leads or that the consumers needed help with introductions?
Zoe Pointon: (03:55)
Yeah, the very, very first thing was a consumer focused lens. So the problem that we saw was there were too many people who were complaining about their experiences with real estate agents. And it was that simple for us, we were saying to ourselves, well hang on a second, this is the biggest transaction of people's lives [inaudible 00:04:18] and we know that some people have incredibly good experiences and some people have incredibly bad experiences. How can this be?
Zoe Pointon: (04:28)
And how can it be that in 2012 TripAdvisor was very big back then. There were a lot of different industries that were being transformed by technology and yet real estate was not. And so we said, well hang on a second, why hasn't technology helped the consumer solve this problem? And it was that simple. And the business model of helping agents get leads really came from trying to solve that consumer need.
Kylie Davis: (05:01)
So do you think that OpenAgent exists because of this legacy that agents have done a terrible job of establishing trust with sellers?
Zoe Pointon: (05:08)
Look, perhaps I thought that in 2012. What I think now is that the world has evolved a lot and actually too much is being asked of the modern day agent. So the more I learned about the industry over the last seven or eight years, I realised typically agents or principals are small business entrepreneurs themselves trying to do an awful lot of things. And in an service industry where your time is the most important asset that you have, trying to do everything is not a great idea.
Zoe Pointon: (05:50)
At Open Agent what we have is a team of specialists who are incredibly focused on their individual part of the process. And I think that OpenAgent has evolved and been successful because we're able to lend that scale and that expertise to agents in a win-win way, not a win-lose kind of a way. I know there's a lot of criticism out there saying, agents should be able to do it all. I actually really disagree with that. I think what agents need to do is become smarter about the parts of the transaction where they really do add value and there's plenty of that and not try to do the parts of the transaction where they don't add so much value and others can do it better. If I was to summarise it, I really, how I talk to my team about it is I say our job is to get the right agent into the living room in front of the homeowner at the right time. And the agent's job is really to win the listing from there.
Kylie Davis: (06:45)
Yeah. And so I guess what you guys are doing is almost giving agency option to outsource to an expert on lead sourcing so that they can basically convert from there?
Zoe Pointon: (07:00)
That's 100% right. I think, what we've become very good at is dealing with thousands and hundreds of thousands of individual people and interactions on websites and phone calls and really what we want the agent to do is to take something that's already highly qualified and ready to go and then do a really brilliant job at serving that homeowner with their need, which is selling the house.
Kylie Davis: (07:25)
Cool. So because leads and big data and all of this stuff is really hot right now, everyone's talking about it and identifying leads. So how does the lead generation process work at OpenAgent? Step us through that kind of funnel of what you guys do?
Zoe Pointon: (07:42)
Yeah, for sure. So when somebody is ready to go, what typically happens is they come online to our website, they'll answer some questions about themselves and their selling situation. So how long until you're thinking about selling, what's your reason for selling and so on. And in about 30% of cases we'll provide that information online and the customer will feel confident about going ahead and contacting an agent directly through the website. But the other 70% look at the information and then they get a phone call from our team. And our team actually does the help and the qualification over the phone.
Zoe Pointon: (08:26)
So we have the only specialist call centre focused on real estate in the country or real estate lead gen in the country. And so that team basically takes every month around about 15,000 leads and qualifies that down to lead being somebody who's saying that they want to sell but giving us their details, but we only send about 2000 of those onto agents. So it's highly qualified and has as a consequence much higher chance of listing. And if we just kind of send every single online lead we got through to agents. So the qualification process is pretty, I'd say we are on the side of sending fewer rather than more because what we want to have is both our consumer customers as well as our agent customers have a really good experience from the moment that we send them together.
Zoe Pointon: (09:21)
So if we haven't qualified the customer well enough, then neither the customer nor the agent's going to have a good experience. If we have, then magic happens and agents get what they want and consumers get what they want. So that's why we qualify it. And in many cases, if we can't help them today, they make it into our database and we nurture them with content marketing and things like that. And it can take many months or many years of nurturing and phone calls and follow up before the time is right to actually make that introduction and pass them on to the agent.
Kylie Davis: (09:57)
But I guess you guys are keeping in touch with them and just supporting them the whole way through their thinking rather than only contacting them at the end when they're ready to go.
Zoe Pointon: (10:08)
That's right. That's right. I mean, some come to us right when they're ready to go and they know they're ready to go and we pass them straight on, but in lots and lots of cases it's been much more complicated than that.
Kylie Davis: (10:20)
Let's just pause there for a moment and hear a quick word from our sponsors.
Speaker 1: (10:24)
If your business is growing quickly, you need to scale your team. Beepo is an Australian outsourcing company that specialises in helping real estate and technology businesses to grow. Outsourcing is not just about bringing on staff with a lower cost base, Beepo recruits and manages staff based in the Philippines who will become full time members of your team. They will help you identify this key skill sets, the employment history and other attributes that you need from your employees and match your requirements with the right staff. Beepo will also help you to break down your structure, job descriptions, task management, and to understand how having a virtual team fits into your organisation.
Speaker 1: (11:05)
Done properly, outsourcing can help you understand the internal processes of your business, drive your efficiency, and provide you with a roadmap for growth. So talk to Beepo and scale your business for success.
Kylie Davis: (11:18)
The question I've got Zoe, is why do they go to the Open Agent website rather than going to a local agent's website?
Zoe Pointon: (11:27)
Look, I think if you look outside of the industry of real estate, it's extremely common for consumers to want to seek information that is about providers before they interact with those providers. So whether that's to get reviews before they order dinner or book a holiday, the same is true about a real estate agent. I think it's no longer good enough for a consumer to just know that you exist because you've had a shopfront in main street for 20 years, they actually want to know why they should talk to you.
Zoe Pointon: (12:05)
And at OpenAgent what we can do is we can talk to thousands of transactions that we're a part of every year across the country and we know what good looks like. And the fact that we keep relationships with a number of agents and we hold those agents accountable to a certain level of service is important to consumers. They want that kind of independent advice. I guess it's just the digitization of the old recommendation that used to ask your friends and family and now there's a specialist company that you can ask and that's all it is.
Kylie Davis: (12:37)
Cool. And I guess you guys are investing heavily in making sure your content's coming up to the surface when people are typing in questions about real estate or questions about who to look for.
Zoe Pointon: (12:49)
Yep. And this is the thing I don't think you can expect an agent to be a brilliant seller of real estate helping buyers and sellers with lots and lots of transactions and at the same time go back and focus on how to be a fantastic digital marketer, doing ad words themselves, SEO themselves, social themselves, content themselves, something's going to give. My view is that if you try to do too many things, chances are you're going to do them all badly. I think it's much better for everybody to focus on the things that they do really, really well and that they're passionate about doing and give the other things to somebody else who's specialist and very passionate about doing that.
Zoe Pointon: (13:32)
It's kind of no different to deciding to buy technology externally and saying, you know what, I'm not that great at building tech, so I'm going to buy somebody else's tech. I think it's kind of similar, which is to say, actually there's someone else who's gotten very good at digital marketing and gotten very good at lead gen and lead qualification and that high-volume management of potential opportunities and turning those into real opportunities. Perhaps I can lean on that team rather than trying to do all of that...
Zoe Pointon: (14:03)
... opportunities. Perhaps I can lean on that team rather than trying to do all of that myself.
Kylie Davis: (14:06)
We've talked on the show previously about the idea of app stacking. I guess this is kind of almost service stacking in a way in creating your own suite of services that you want and making sure you've got specialists working in each of those service areas.
Zoe Pointon: (14:22)
Yeah, definitely. Again, if you look outside of the real estate industry, it's very common to have like a presales team. The reality is that there's different skills involved. If you take technology as an example, there would often be a presales team who were worried about finding prospective opportunities, qualifying those opportunities, and figuring out the right time to send in the specialist who would then go in there with a solution. I think that that's pretty similar to our relationship with our agent partners. We do the high volume stuff, we find out when the opportunity is absolutely right, we find out as much as we can about what the customer's needs are, pass that onto the agent so that they're in a great position to go in there and provide their specialist advice at the right moment in time.
Kylie Davis: (15:14)
Cool. Look, what are the trends that are driving lead generation at the moment?
Zoe Pointon: (15:23)
As I said, I think for consumers it's about having more transparency and an independent kind of take on the world. Why should I engage with any particular service or offering out there, that they're looking online for that information. I think that's a trend that's not going away. For agents, I think it's about efficiency. I really believe the most important asset any agent has is their time and their relationships. I think what we can do is help an agency develop more relationships and better relationships through applying our skills to their business. The traditional OpenAgent business is providing new relationships into the agency where they didn't have a relationship before or a very, very cold relationship. We say, look, this homeowner is ready to go. You need to call that person.
Zoe Pointon: (16:18)
We're also evolving our business to help agencies make their prospecting activity much more efficient, like helping them with the things that we know about big data and behaviour analytics and applying that to their data. Those are the ways that we can help an agent strive to become more efficient in their own business I suppose.
Kylie Davis: (16:41)
Cool. With the move of RealEstate.com into the lead space, it's kind of opened up this Pandora's box of discussion again around should agents be paying for leads? Isn't that cannibalising the industry? What are your thoughts on that?
Zoe Pointon: (17:00)
I think we want our customers to feel like working with OpenAgent is a win-win, not a win-lose equation. We don't work with everybody and that's okay with us. We feel that the right partners will see value in the work that we do and be willing to pay for it. Working with OpenAgent is a substitution for other things that you would have to either be spending your time on or spending your money on. Spending on marketing, spending on an internal lead generation team, hiring an additional assistant and so on and so on.
Zoe Pointon: (17:38)
There are agents who are now even saying, "Hey, look, I now trust you guys so much and I've been working so much with you that my assistants left and actually is there more you can do for me? Because I think that you're going to do it better and I'm not going to have to manage it, and it's a huge weight off my shoulders." I think for us, it's not that you're paying for leads, it's that you're paying for a service and to displace other things. Hopefully the things that we do are more effective and efficient and helping you grow your business more effectively than those other things you were doing before.
Zoe Pointon: (18:19)
In the case of REA, I mean, I think honestly that one, they're just trying to like push prices up one way or another. That one is different and I think they're going about it very differently as well and trying to tie it to listing volumes. That's not a strategy that I would feel comfortable with if I was a principal. I know a lot of people are, but that's principals to take up with REA, not with me.
Kylie Davis: (18:50)
Yeah. Yeah. You guys are changing your charging model too or expanding your charging model. Talk to us about how that's now working.
Zoe Pointon: (19:01)
Yeah. We took a pretty critical look at what was driving success both for our consumers. What sort of situation would lead to a consumer being really, really happy with our service? Also for agents. So what we realised was that when we had a better, deeper relationship with an agency, we were delivering a much better experience all around. So consumers were getting called faster. They were happier. They were, as a result, choosing that agent. The win rate was really high. Agents on the flip side were feeling, "Hey, I win half the things that OpenAgent sends me or more. This is amazing. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Like send me more, send me more."
Zoe Pointon: (19:55)
At the other end of the spectrum, we had agents who we weren't engaging with very often who didn't really know how to work or really differentiate between our leads and other leads which were far less qualified. As a result, we weren't really trading the leads at the same level of care that we would like or that other agents were. They were losing a lot of leads. We had a hard think about that and we said, "What do we really exist to do?" It's to make life easier for people.
Zoe Pointon: (20:23)
It was very obvious at that point what we should do is lean in more to a smaller group of agents and really focus on moving from let's not just be transactional, let's really think about how can we make our agent customers win in their territories? Can we send them more leads? Can we provide them with a customer success team who's really focused on making sure that they know how to win? Can we give them notifications if they've dropped the ball on a lead? Can we give them a portal for a principal, they can compare the results of the different members of their team and actually manage that activity more effectively? And so on and so on.
Zoe Pointon: (21:02)
We started down that path sort of mid last year, late last year, and it's been super successful. We pulled the programme premium and basically what that means is we work with an agency much more deeply. We give them a customer success rep who's there to help them win, and we actually guarantee them a volume of listing opportunities. That has really worked. The quid pro quo there is that the agency pays us a subscription rather than on success. We're on the hook to deliver the volume, but basically the agency is on the hook to win the deals that we send. For agents who are doing all the things that we know work, it's no problem and they're better off on the programme. That's something that we've been doing. It's been really successful. We've even noticed [inaudible 00:22:02] by coming onto the programme, they win even more deals. We're pretty convinced that this is the future for OpenAgent.
Kylie Davis: (22:12)
So just to confirm, the name of the new programme is called Premiere and it's about moving away from charging a proportion of the commission and moving towards a subscription model for agents that you guys have got a good relationship with?
Zoe Pointon: (22:28)
Kylie Davis: (22:29)
Yep. Because OpenAgent sees so many transactions, you've got a really good idea as a business or a really good understanding as a company as to what good behaviour from a real estate agent looks like. Do you want to tell us about some of the findings from the behaviours report that you did?
Zoe Pointon: (22:52)
Yeah, for sure. What we noticed, as I said, was some behaviours led to much better win rates on our leads. We sent so many leads that we could see that those behaviours were the differentiating factor. What the report found was that by calling, well first of all, absolutely every lead that we send, the difference between [inaudible 00:23:22] is quite strikingly small. It might be the middle performer calls sort of eight or nine out of 10 whereas the top performer calls 10 and the middle performer calls within say a few hours, whereas the top performer calls within 90 minutes and so on and so on.
Zoe Pointon: (23:40)
We really wanted to get that message out there that it's about doing a lot of very small things very, very consistently and very, very well and very, very professionally. We put all of the findings into a report, which we're sort of distributing at the moment and getting some great feedback on. We're excited about the report particularly because it just shines a light on what good looks like and it provides us a benchmark to then say, "Hey, this is what we should be doing as an industry." And for a principal to look at it and say, "Okay, so how's my team compared to that? What could I do to win more leads?" Whether they're OpenAgent leads or leads that come from somewhere else.
Kylie Davis: (24:22)
Cool. What we'll do is we'll include the link to that report in the show notes. So if anyone wants to download the report, it's called the Behaviours of Top Performing Agents, and we'll include that link in the notes. Zoe, what do you think real estate's going to look like in five years time? Where do you see the role of the agent changing? How is it going to change what OpenAgent is doing?
Zoe Pointon: (24:48)
I think that we're still quite early in the evolution of technology really changing the way that the real estate transaction is going to happen. I think for a number of really good reasons, it's taking longer than in some other industries, but no industry can stand in the way of technology bringing in better customer experiences to the front. I think it is going to change. I think it's an inevitable change. I think what will happen is what we'll see is actually fewer real estate agencies out there, but those agencies will be doing things quite differently. I think they will be outsourcing quite a bit of the work that they do that is not core and becoming excellent and more and more dominant in providing the services that add a lot of value. Those are the in-person services of dealing with sellers and dealing with buyers and maintaining good relationships with homeowners in the area.
Zoe Pointon: (25:58)
I think none of that is going to go away, but what you'll see is a lot of the busy work that agents are currently trying to do just be done better elsewhere, be done through technology, be done through outsourcing. That's not just lead gen. I think there's a lot of different processes within an agency that an agency is not set up to be the best at. I think what we'll see is just an improvement in customer service as a result, an improvement in productivity as a result, but a change in the way that the typical agency looks.
Kylie Davis: (26:34)
Do you think agencies are going to be bigger or smaller? Do you think they're going to be... Are we going to the rise of the mega agency or is this kind of cottage industry of seller principle? Do you see that still surviving?
Zoe Pointon: (26:50)
I think they'll stay relatively small because there's a certain size of an agency that just works or size of a team that just works. We've experienced this ourselves at OA. As you become bigger and bigger and bigger, the management challenge becomes more. There's just communicating to people, making sure everyone's doing things the same way, making sure that function is talking to that function. All those things become harder. I like small teams, but I think that those small teams, the real change is going to be the number of transactions you're able to do per person, I think could double or triple in five or 10 years, honestly.
Kylie Davis: (27:28)
Zoe Pointon: (27:30)
The reason why is because those people will be relying on a different set of services supporting them and they'll just be focused on the parts of the transaction, which frankly they want to be doing, which is talking to people and selling property and doing deals. Not sitting on the phone making hundreds of phone calls or doing a lot of data entry or trying to do digital marketing in their marginal five minutes on the way to work. All those kinds of things.
Kylie Davis: (27:56)
Let's just pause there for a moment and hear a quick word from our sponsors.
Kylie Davis: (28:01)
As a real estate agent, you know, you need to be doing-
Kylie Davis: (28:03)
[inaudible 00:00:28:00]. As a real estate agent, you know you need to be doing more content marketing, but creating posts for social media, creating videos and reports is hard work, lots of hard work, and it takes time, so that's why you need HomePrezzo.
Kylie Davis: (28:16)
If you're a typical agent posting one or two social media posts a week, HomePrezzo can save you between 75 to 100 hours a year. How many more properties could you sell if you had that time back? HomePrezzo can help you create engaging informative videos about how the property market in your local suburb is performing. Plus it makes creating suburb reports, rental videos for landlords and social media infographics an absolute piece of cake. If you can type in a suburb or type an address, you can create a Prezzo using HomePrezzo in just a few minutes.
Kylie Davis: (28:50)
Listeners to the PropTech podcast receive a 14 day free trial. Now that's twice as long as the normal free trial. So go to homeprezzo.com.au, and click the signup button and use the code PropTech to get your extended free trial, or click the link in our show notes.
Kylie Davis: (29:09)
So, look, every time we've spoken I'm always really impressed about how both you and Marta can sort of bust out the numbers around what the industry is doing in terms of leads and volumes and transactions. So what I'd really love to get from you now is just a quick kind of overview on the numbers that OpenAgent looks at. Because you talked before about sort of 15,000 leads a month coming through your system, but you only hand on sort of 2000, and we know that there's what? About 300 ... I'm trying to remember my CoreLogic numbers, 350,000 transactions or something a year, or round about that.
Zoe Pointon: (29:48)
Yeah, I think the super long term average is around about 450,000 per year. It's probably less in the last 12 to 18 months, I'd say.
Kylie Davis: (29:59)
It's being a bit sadder?
Zoe Pointon: (30:01)
Kylie Davis: (30:03)
What proportion of those sales or leads do you guys say through your system?
Zoe Pointon: (30:11)
So we see around about 5% of the things that ultimately come to the market have come through OpenAgent and been working with us. Those are just the ones I can track. So we have many more. So last 12 months we had around 5 million sessions on the website, which is obviously a lot more than the number of people who are actually selling. So a lot of people are going on OpenAgent and reading our information and interacting with us through that. Then kind of out of that, you see around about 180,000 people come on and say, "Hey, I'm thinking about selling in the next six months", so that would be qualifying as a lead. Yet we only pass on kind of between 20 and 30,000 of those onto real estate agents. Of those, around about 60% will go on and list.
Zoe Pointon: (31:09)
So if you get a lead from OpenAgent, you really should treat it like gold because it's got a 60% chance of listing in the near future. You need to really give that person the time and energy that they deserve. It's reasonably rare for us to send somebody through to you who's not going to list, which of course is a differentiator compared to our competition, but also a problem, right? Because it's hard for agents to tell the difference unless they have a lot of experience with our leads, they know. But yeah, so a reasonable chunk of the market. I would say, if I was to hazard a guess, I reckon around about 10% of the market is coming and using our assets in some way, shape or form. But it's quite hard to track absolutely everyone unless they engage more deeply with us.
Kylie Davis: (32:00)
So the advice that you give to agents around using a lead referral partner would be to what? Understand their process, understand the quality of the leads that they're giving you and what else would you recommend?
Zoe Pointon: (32:15)
I think that's really important. If somebody is sending you leads that aren't qualified, then effectively you have to do the work that I do right now in my call centre, which is make hundreds of phone calls for a potential appraisal or a potential listing. In that case, you should treat those leads in a certain way and process them in way that's most efficient and effective for yourself. However, if you are dealing with OpenAgent and we're really the only ones sending highly qualified leads at the moment, but if there was someone else, it's call fast. Fast makes a huge difference and the consumer is expecting on demand these days. If you think about how it feels when you order an Uber and then they're two minutes away, that's how the consumer feels when they talk to us, and then two minutes later a real estate agent calls and is answering their questions then and there.
Zoe Pointon: (33:13)
Those agents who do that, who are super successful with our leads, what they do is they would almost step out of any meeting at all to make the quick phone call. Even if they're not ready, they would touch base with that consumer straight away, make sure that the consumer knows that they care, that they're thinking about solving their needs and set up that next step then and there. So the faster you can call and making sure you call and actually speak to absolutely every single person, you're kind of 80% of the way there. You'll get yourself into the lounge room and from there you can shine in the way that you normally would.
Kylie Davis: (33:50)
Yeah. That early call really does set you up for a trusting relationship, doesn't it? Or to that trust with your seller?
Zoe Pointon: (34:00)
Absolutely. I think the consumer thinks, "Wow, this person called me. I only just asked to be connected and now they're calling me already. They're going to really look after me and really look after any potential buyers of my property in the same professional way."
Kylie Davis: (34:16)
I guess the flip side of that too is that if it takes you sort of a day to also to get back to someone, they're going to think the opposite. That, "Oh God, it took them that long to get back to me if I'm a lead, what would they be like-"
Zoe Pointon: (34:29)
How long is it going to take if I'm a buyer?
Kylie Davis: (34:32)
Yeah, that's great. So what does that future hold for OpenAgent?
Zoe Pointon: (34:37)
So we started last year making the moves towards deeper relationships with agents with the rollout of our [inaudible 00:34:48] programme and we'll keep rolling that out over the next six months or so. What that enables for us is to do more things for those agent partners. So I mentioned before briefly, but the next big product that we have is one that allows an agency to take advantage of the skills that we've built to do better out of their contact database. So we've built a technology platform that uses data and behaviour analytics to surface really warm opportunities for the agent to call, and we're having tremendous success with that product. We can also boost that product because we have all that data in the OpenAgent business.
Zoe Pointon: (35:36)
So we were talking before about how much the market do you see? Some of it we're not able to pass onto agents, but we're able to look in your database and say, "Hang on a second, this person has been really active on the OpenAgent website", and our data team tells us that they're high chance of listing in the next six months. Perhaps you should give that person a call. So we're able to leverage our own data to supercharge that product and not making any promises for the first half of the year, but I think what you'll see over the next 12 to 18, 24 months is we'll be making our call centre available as well.
Zoe Pointon: (36:14)
So agents will be able to tap into our expertise and making a high volume of calls, qualifying those leads and passing them on to the agent as well. So pretty excited about bringing all of that to industry. It feels like quite a pivotal moment where we moved from being simply a lead by lead provider with 6,000 agents out there to really truly being a partner with our agent customers and helping them in many more ways and really adding value in helping them grow their business. I think that that's very exciting.
Kylie Davis: (36:51)
So it does sound really exciting. So moving away from just a transaction to a partnership and then being able to provide some really valuable tools and services that agents can plug into to grow their businesses.
Zoe Pointon: (37:09)
That's exactly right. Yeah, you've got it. I think we're not even sure how far we can extend that, although we're continually surprised at the number of things we can do for agents and agents are now asking us to do even though we're not ready. So I think there's plenty, plenty, plenty to do and it's great to be building on those capabilities that we've been working so hard to build over the last seven years. So very, very exciting to be able to use those in different ways and add value in different ways.
Kylie Davis: (37:44)
Fantastic. Well, look, Zoe, thank you so much for your time today. It's been great to hear about OpenAgent and how you're progressing and changing over time.
Zoe Pointon: (37:55)
Thanks so much for having me, Kylie. It's wonderful to chat to you.
Kylie Davis: (37:59)
So that was Zoe Pointon, CEO of OpenAgent. I'm full of respect and admiration for Zoe and Marta and what they have achieved at OpenAgent. They've moved from a business that was completely focused on consumers and improving the experience that sellers had finding an agent to becoming an extremely sophisticated business that specialises in big data and behavioural analytics to provide lead qualification services to agents. The end result is a company that's able to improve the experience for both consumers, while also making life easier and less stressful for agents and that's a real win-win for us as an industry.
Kylie Davis: (38:33)
Now in the interest of transparency, I do do a bit of work with OpenAgent and I have been super impressed with the quality of their data and the rigour that they have around their processes, their skills in digital marketing, which are quite unsurpassed, and the way that they do their lead qualification, the enthusiasm of their team and the way that they develop their technology, which is super smart and quite beautiful to watch.
Kylie Davis: (38:56)
I was privileged to write the behaviours of top performing agents report for them and the insights in that report are really valuable to anyone working in this industry. To my knowledge, it's the first time that there's ever been quantifiable data around what best practise looks like in real estate. So if you want to grab a copy of that report, there is a link in our show notes.
Kylie Davis: (39:17)
So now if you've enjoyed this episode of the PropTech podcast, we would love you to tell your friends and drop me a line via email, LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page. You can follow this podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and now on Apple iTunes. So I'd like to thank my audio support Charlie Hollands and the very fabulous Jill Escudero and our sponsors Beepo, making outsourcing easy, and HomePrezzo turning your data into amazing marketing content. So thanks, everyone. Until next week, keep on prop teching.