Conversion Monster in the Press

Inman News:

Plotting the Path Forward

How I Connect Now: Ro Malik, Troy Palmquist, Dan Noma Jr., Amy Somerville, JP Piccinini

Five members of the Inman community share their tactics for success during this time

By Inman | May 22, 2020

After 25 years, Inman Connect is coming to you. Get ready for the top industry leaders plotting the path forward, new business ideas and opportunities, networking like you’ve never imagined it and tons of exciting new magic, all straight to you. It’s all part of an epic new Inman experience, Inman Connect Now, June 2-4, 2020. 

In advance of Connect Now, we’ve asked many well-known members of the Inman community for their insights on how they are working and keeping their businesses moving forward in this time — in other words, How They Connect Now. Here are three responses.

Ro Malik

CEO and Co-Founder, Conversion Monster 

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now?

All of our employees are working remotely, and we continue to engage with them through Zoom video calls for meetings and Slack on a daily/hourly basis. I definitely have more interaction now with all of the staff over Slack since we’ve been working remotely.

How do you find new business in a time like this?

It’s definitely been much more difficult, but we rolled out some amazing sales promotions in order to inject revenue into the business. We are sharing success stories that agents are having with our service. There are plenty of agents who are doubling down on their lead generation efforts and closing business. I also run a top producing real estate team in Chicago, so we’re seeing the market has slowed down, but there are still plenty of people who need to buy and sell. We are focusing the lion share of our efforts on those with a need to move. Since I have my finger on the pulse of the market, we share information that is timely and proof that you can still be successful in this market

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team?

We are running fun sales contests with our ISAs on Slack. We’re running team competitions and individual competitions with various daily prizes, such as a small cash bonus, gift cards, pair of Nike running shoes, etc. We also partnered with a local craft brewery in town. We gave the team a choice to pick from a bunch of different six-pack options, and the craft brewery is going to deliver to all of our employees’ houses this coming Friday, and we’re going to have a virtual happy hour together. They are so incredibly excited. We’ve actually been setting conversion records during this time. We are beating and matching goals from when everyone was in the office together. It really is amazing.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time? 

Gary Keller. Mainly his book “Shift.” I didn’t read it 10 years ago when it first came out, but the vast majority of the book is still relevant today.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year?

I follow Mike DelPrete, and I think his sentiment is correct based on what has transpired with real estate markets in other countries. It’s going to look like a v-shaped recovery, but it’s not going to really get better until the third or maybe fourth quarter. My caveat to this sentiment is that it’s dependent on PPP loans getting into the hands of the small businesses before it’s too late. Plus it depends on when the country is going to actually reopen.

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

I have read Inman News for years because of all the forward-thinking and cutting-edge articles. Inman articles also provide applicable and practical content that you can immediately apply to your real estate business. It’s literally the only real estate news source that I pay for because it’s chock-full of invaluable content on a daily basis. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to speak on the main stage at ICNY 2020 and contribute some knowledge back to the same community that has provided me with so much over the years.

Troy Palmquist

Founder, The Address Real Estate

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now? 

Although we’ve always emphasized our unique brand and marketing strategies, we are doubling down on the relational aspect of our service. We have provided our agents with value-added promotional content to share with their spheres in order to encourage communication.

How do you find new business in a time like this? 

For us, everything is focused on staying connected with clients, colleagues and leads. While we can’t have people come in for a cup of coffee at our coffee bar, we can share a virtual cup of coffee with them and facilitate their real estate goals through virtual tours and enhanced technology platforms.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team? 

We have stayed focused on what we can do rather than what we can’t, and that makes a difference for all of us. Our Zoom book club has allowed us to learn while staying connected. We are now expanding it and reaching out to other agents in our area in order to bring in even more voices and perspectives.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time? 

Obviously, the medical professionals and the first responders, as well as all of the people who are out there keeping things running. In addition, I really admire the nonprofits and local businesses that have pivoted and figured out not only what they need to do to survive, but also how to help others during this unprecedented time.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year?

I anticipate a quick recovery once stay-at-home orders are lifted. There is still a lot of interest, and we have had a steady flow of new listings with multiple offers, virtual showings on existing listings, and closings going through more or less on schedule.

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

Inman has offered me a platform to share my service-oriented philosophy with agents all over the world, both as a speaker and as a contributor. In addition, I have benefitted by being part of a like-minded community of professionals who are always focused on up-to-date strategies and best professional practices.

Dan Noma Jr.

Designated Broker, Venture REI; Founder, iReal Estate Pro

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now? 

Cutting costs, being patient and managing consumer expectations.

How do you find new business in a time like this? 

We provide data and options to our customers, so they know what to do when the time is right.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team? 

Weekly meetings, I send them gifts to their houses, small stuff just so they know we are in this together.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time?

Mike DelPrete.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year? 

Optimistic but realistic and feel like we are only starting to feel the pain here.

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

Inman has been a great place for us to focus our marketing efforts, voice our thoughts and learn from peers. I find the information valuable, as I’m not being sold anything.

Amy Somerville

Senior Vice President, Professional Development & Engagement, RE/MAX

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now?

Daily videos, live webinars, technology training and Facebook Live leadership coaching, streamed to the entire industry.

How do you find new business in a time like this? 

Connecting with people and developing/deepening relationships with video.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team? 

Begin each day with gratitude. Focus only on the things you can control. Stay visible, available, structured and productive. Provide value through innovation.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time? 

RE/MAX leadership, brokers and agents inspire me every day. Industry coaches giving their time and energy without expecting anything in return has been incredible.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year?

Real estate will lead us out of this challenging time. People are ready to buy and sell. Let’s provide an exceptional experience!

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

Thank you for keeping us updated on industry happenings through this time.

JP Piccinini

CEO, Vesuvius Holdings (parent company of JPAR); Founder, JPAR

What’s the biggest change in the way you’re managing your business now? 

Adapting the workforce to work from home and keep social aspect and relational aspect of real estate intact.

How do you find new business in a time like this?

Puts on pants in the morning. Makes coffee. Starts emailing, texting, calling.

How do you keep morale up, for you personally, and for your team? 

Socially stay connected, celebrate all the successes, look to the future, and keep a positive outlook.

Who in the community has impressed you or helped you most during this time? 

Our local political lobbyist for NAR/TAR. He’s done an amazing job ensuring real estate is essential.

What’s your outlook for the rest of this year? 

Very bullish. A tremendous interest this summer for several reasons.

Can you share a few words about how Inman has helped you grow your business, in bull or bear times? 

Daily headlines challenge me to want to be in the news and follow other leaders in their execution and ideas.

Inman Connect Now connects virtually June 2-4, 2020. The digital event offers standout speakers, incredible networking opportunities, and the chance to forge business breakthroughs and build new relationships to last a lifetime. 

Lab Coat Agents Webinar:

Command Your Conversion: Digital Experience

This webinar was hosted by the co-founders of Lab Coat Agents and Command Your Conversion, the fastest growing KW Command Group on Facebook. It's all about how top agents are leveraging KW Command, and you'll learn strategies and best practices and how it's helping us grow our businesses.

Ro Malik on Market Overdrive:

3-2-1 Marketing plan

The MOD Squad had industry expert, Ro Malik, from Chicago Homes 360! Learn about his “3-2-1 Marketing plan” which can set your property apart from the rest! Ro is dedicated to ensuring his clients have the best selling experience. Customer service and originality are key to his success.

Networking Event:

Keller Williams Family Reunion 2020

The Keller Williams Family Reunion 2020 was a Members-Only event full of networking, training, and inspiration featuring presentations from KW Executives, KWYP members, and influential KW agents.

Sponsored Networking Event:

Lead with Kindness

Conversion Monster was the Proud Sponsor for the Lead with Kindness event during Valentine's Day 2020 in Dallas. Kicking-off Keller Williams Family Reunion "Lead with Kindness" proved to be the best event to connect with like-minded agents and grow your referral database.

Inman News:

Lead management fuels discussion at ICNY

‘What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get improved’

BY CRAIG C. ROWE | January 30, 2020

RE/MAX Select President, Conversion Monster Founder and Boomtown executive come together to share best practices and concerns about agent accountability to provide leads.

Leads are big business in real estate that cost agents money at acquisition, through nurture and into conversion.

At Inman Connect New YorkRo Malik of Conversion Monster and team leader of Chicago Homes 360, BoomTown’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Shannon Williams, and RE/MAX Select President Rob Lyszczarz, discussed how the industry finds, manages and makes a return on their lead purchases.

Malik stressed that without systems and processes in place to ensure follow-up, agents won’t be successful. It was a sentiment that seemed to ring true throughout the panel.

Shannon Williams of Boomtown

But Lyszczarz stressed that speed-to-lead varies per agent and that team leaders and brokers need to find ways to improve the quality of engagement between leads and customers, something he uses BoomTown to help do.

Williams agreed.

“It’s not just the quality of the lead, it’s the quality of the conversation and the human element that really makes a difference,” she said to the ICNY crowd.

Moderator Wendy Forsythe, an industry consultant and coach, drew a line in the sand when it comes to agents and speed-to-lead, telling the panel that they’re not good at it, prompting the stage to recall their own struggles with following up.

“I needed a solution for myself,” Malik said. “I was an agent for 10 years and saw that conversion was getting that much more difficult as each year passed. Plus, you’re outside of the office all the time, how realistic is it to follow-up right away? The lead should go elsewhere first, to an ISA to be scrubbed.”

Ro Malik of Conversion Monster and Chicago Homes 360

“I think if you have that quality first engagement, you also need to have the hand-off between the first person and the agent be of equal value,” Lyszczarz said. “If there’s no synergy between parties, the consumer experience is reduced.”

As an executive in one of the industry’s most recognized lead capture and nurture tools, Williams stressed that relationships matter most, and that whatever service you use to scrub or handle initial follow-up it has to be an extension of your brand.

While Malik has found his agents average between eight and 14 months to convert, Lyszczarz warned that assuming an average time can lead to missed opportunities.

“Sometimes leads enter a pipeline late, but close within a month,” he said. In other words, not all leads are the same, and follow-up tactics have to adjust.

Robert Lyszczarz, President RE/MAX Select

The group also shared with the ICNY audience a few of the mistakes they see agents make in the lead game. All agreed that it comes down to apathy and the thinking that if one lead is missed, the next one will make up for it.

Malik said he’s seen too many agents believe that when they’re provided leads, it’s OK to not follow up on today’s because three more are coming tomorrow.

“It’s hard for them to calculate the price of that lost opportunity,” he said.

“Mistakes I’ve made is assuming that a good agent is also proficient at working online leads,” Lyszczarz said. “If you love what you do and your agents, you need to hold them accountable. What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved, you owe it to your agents to hold them accountable.”

Inman Connect 2020:

Cold Leads Vs. Hot Leads

RE/MAX Select President, Conversion Monster Founder and Boomtown executive come together to share best practices and concerns about agent accountability to provided leads.

New Developments:

Conversion Monster Purchases New Building Downtown

Buffalo-based Conversion Monster prepares to ‘snap the hockey stick’ after winning industry recognition 

BY Dan Miner  | December 14, 2019

Leaders of Buffalo-based Conversion Monster headed to Las Vegas this week for the futuRE conference, hosted by Keller Williams, hoping to make some good connections and tell its story.

The company ended up taking home top honors among 30 startups at an invitation-only pitch battle. The triumph netted Conversion Monster a $15,000 check, but more importantly, it will be onboarded onto the Keller Cloud, which includes a marketplace of real estate apps managed by Keller Williams and available to agents.

That serves as major validation for Conversion Monster, which uses software to manage internet-based real estate leads on behalf of agents. Conversion Monster nurtures potential customers until they’re ready to start actively buying or selling a house, then hands the process over to local agents.

The company was founded in 2016 by CEO Ro Malik and Western New Yorker Dave Carr, and now has 30 full-time employees, most of whom work from Buffalo. Conversion Monster is in the process of purchasing a downtown building, which it will renovate into its new headquarters and sublease to other tenants.

The company has doubled its revenue each year it’s been in business. Carr said Conversion Monster succeeds in taking the vast volume of internet-based residential real estate leads and turning them into a manageable funnel for agents.

Being on the Keller Cloud “doesn’t just put us on the map, it sets the stage for some really big things for us,” Carr said. “You hear about hockey stick growth and startups. I would say we’re about to snap the hockey stick.”

FutuRE Con 2019:

FutuRE Con Winner

Conversion Monster Has Been Named The Pitch Battle Winner At FutuRE, An Invitation-Only Real Estate Technology Pitch Battle. Powered By Keller Williams, The World’s Largest Real Estate Technology Franchise By Agent Count, FutuRE Was Focused On “Where The Next Generation Of Real Estate Begins.”

KW OutFront:

A New Era of Real Estate

KW Technology Grows Stronger with Latest Wave of Innovators

BY KW OutFront  | December 11, 2019

Anyone who wants to build the most powerful technology solution possible for their business must first build a powerful innovation engine. In technology, an innovation engine in its simplest form is a cloud service with artificial intelligence built on top of it.

At Keller Williams, this engine is the Keller Cloud – a specific cloud service ecosystem that leverages the collective power of the largest real estate sales force in the world: KW agents. By putting to work its massive collection of agent, transaction, and client data, Keller Williams has an incredible competitive advantage above anyone else entering the space and can ultimately create new user experiences at lightning speed. Even more, the Keller Cloud is smart, meaning it’s powered by artificial intelligence that is constantly learning and making agents more informed by providing insights within Command.

Built by agents, for agents,Command, a CRM-plus solution, is an open and highly customizable product that allows agents to run their business with unprecedented simplicity and insight. To enhance this already powerful technology and further drive value for agents, Keller Williams has collaborated with leading tech companies such as Google, DocuSign, and Porch through the Keller Cloud Innovator Program (KCIP).

By putting to work its massive collection of agent, transaction, and client data, Keller Williams has an incredible competitive advantage above anyone else entering the space

The program enables the integration of outside technology tools to Command, making way for further customization. All integrations are accessible through the KW MarketPlace – a digital app store containing the products of non-KW developers.

“Like us, our Keller Cloud Innovation Partners are also disruptors attempting to solve the industry’s greatest challenges and drive real estate forward,” says Jeff Tamaru, head of corporate development, Keller Williams.

The Innovation Hub Grows

Today, the Keller Cloud becomes more robust and Command, stronger, with the addition of 10 top-tier innovators – winners voted in by KW agents during a pitch battle at futuRE. Powered by Keller Williams and co-hosted by Lab Coat Agents, the sold-out event focused on “where the next generation of real estate begins” and featured an invitation-only pitch competition where 29 tech companies battled for access into the Keller Williams ecosystem. The group of 29 were selected from an original list of more than 80 companies during a weeklong voting process in November 2019.

“Like us, our Keller Cloud Innovation Partners are also disruptors attempting to solve the industry’s greatest challenges and drive real estate forward.”

“For over 35 years, Keller Williams has cultivated an agent-centric, technology-driven and education-based culture that rewards agents as stakeholders,” shares Tamaru. “FutuRE was another instance of our deep commitment to rewarding our agents and empowering them with choice.”

The first-place and second-place winners received cash prizes totaling $20,000 to celebrate, but the real prize was priority onboarding onto the Keller Cloud ahead of other winners and an opportunity to one day, serve 180,000-plus KW associates and their clients.

The Winners

First place: Conversion Monster – A company of inside sales agents developed technology to provide clients with a superior competitive advantage with internet lead conversion.

Second place: SocialSurvey – Connects users to transaction management systems and automated reviews and review-sharing at scale.

Third place: VlogEasy – Takes the pressure off content creation by automatically editing video footage. Once a user hits record, the technology does the jump-cut editing.

Others include:

  • Agent Operations – Follow Up Boss
  • AI / Predictive Analytics / Automated Value – Likely Sellers
  • Community / Sphere of Influence – Iovox Call Tracking
  • Education / Learning – Keeper Tax – Tax Filing
  • End-to-End Consumer Experience – MooveGuru
  • Lead Generation – Taradel
  • Property Marketing – APP (Automated Property Promotion)

Tamaru concludes, “The goal was to offer up more best-in-class options for agents to choose how they want to run their business on our platform. Looking at the incredible lineup of innovators and winners, we are confident this was achieved.”

Keri Shull Interviews David Car:

Never Miss a Lead

Keri Shull speaks with David Carr of Conversion Monster, a service that can help you convert your internet leads. They discuss how you can optimize the crucial follow-up process, keep your leads happy, and scale your business.

Firepoint Webinar:

New Integration: Conversion Monster + Firepoint

Winner of the futuRE Pitch Battle, Conversion Monster is helping agents win too with their powerful combination of technology and service. Amplify this great solution with the all-new integration with Firepoint.

Lab Coat Agents Webinar:

The Power of Conversion Monster

Lab Coat Agents interviews Ro Malik, CEO of Conversion Monster. In this video, we will talk about leveraging ISAs and automation in your business to increase speed-to-lead and lead conversion.

Brian Icenhower interviews Ro Malik:

Follow Up & Nurturing online leads

Brian Icenhower interviews Conversion Monster Co-Founder Ro Malik about the importance of Lead Follow Up & Nurturing online leads, and how his company performs these services for real estate agents.