Lessons remembered—learn from leaders where tomorrow’s opportunities and threats lie.
“To compete today, you must have a commitment to a high level of service to your staff and your agents. Further, having a strong technology platform is a must,” says Matt Widdows, CEO and founder of HomeSmart. Based in Phoenix, Ariz., with franchises in 19 states and around 11,000 agents, HomeSmart has grown steadily since its founding nearly 16 years ago.
After many years in a successful software sales career in other industries, Widdows saw an opportunity to focus on building a business that brought both a lower-cost alternative for real estate sales associates, yet aimed for high quality in the office environment and a state-of-the-art technology platform where agents and staff could transact their business. “At the heart of what we built is a cloud-based technology system that can do it all. Also, we provide centralized reception, transaction management, compliance systems and support, all at a low cost.”
Low Cost and High Service
Widdows says that just being low cost is not enough. “To grow consistently, you must have an agent services mentality that focuses on a high-quality service deliver. From my view, it doesn’t matter what your cost structure looks like, but it does matter that you can take care of your agents. And, if the service platform provides a superior experience, their customers will notice and become comfortable with that platform as well,” he says.
According to Widdows, “We think that our platform will become a reason consumers want to do business with our agents.” He added that, of course, having great agents is the first step in this process but when you can also back them with an easier way to do business then everyone benefits.
One of the largest challenges Widdow’s business faces is the non-stop investment in his firm’s tech platform. “There is no stopping place for investing in your platform,” he says. “It’s a never-ending process of continual refinement and improvement especially when you’re designing all of it yourself.”
In the end, this constant improvement and investment is well worth it when profits and efficiencies increase.