The motto of RE/MAX has long been that agents are “In business for themselves, not by themselves.” This has never been truer than in a Virtual Office concept. My own concerns when I was considering opening a Virtual Office was that everyone would be separated, disconnected and all by themselves. That seemed dreadfully depressing to me, as I am a social creature, as are most people who are attracted to this industry. I knew if a Virtual Office were to work, a strong, connected sense of community must be at the heart of the business model.
It was extremely important to me that agents love working at this iREALTY brokerage, and who they work with is an exceptionally large factor to one’s satisfaction. However, if they never see, hear, or speak to their colleagues, the connection between co-workers never form.
So, collaborating with partners at a social networking software company, we have developed the iCOMMUNITY.
The iCOMMUNITY is an internal social networking site for real estate brokerages. Agents spend pretty much all day, every day, on this site and from here, they can access everything they need. There are practical elements, such as giving agents the authority to create and publish information in any part of the program. The agents create their own community, which just makes sense as there are many multiples of them and only one Broker/Manager. Why should all information only come from one person? Agents inform, correct, elaborate, blog, share and opinionate. (I’m not even sure that is word!;-) ) with each other.
For example, a traditional conversation works like this. Bob speaks to Bill, they discuss an item and come to a conclusion. Now two people have this information. With iCOMMUNITY, two people have a conversation, but (if they choose) everyone has access to it. Multiple people can participate in the discussion, and now every agent in the office knows this information. With iCOMMUNITY, our agents are the most informed and knowledgeable agents by far, as they have a never ending stream of relevant live time information from their colleagues.
iCOMMUNITY also has its fun side, which is equally necessary and far more entertaining! Incorporating many aspects of social online networking, agents are in constant contact with their colleagues and office, sharing laughs, photos, games, personal updates, messages and “tweets” and generally socializing. iAGENTS are more connected, informed and in touch with each other and their office, in ways that are simply impossible in traditional offices.
Social connection is at the heart of RE/MAX Alpine Realty (iREALTY) and is the essential component of a successful Virtual Office.