Mastering real estate workflow
In real estate, it’s really important agents communicate. If an agent’s working towards a yes in authority, or a price reduction or an offer – they’re in the right space.
The problem is the labour-intensive workflow of real estate. All the emails, questions, friction and queries slow agents down. They stop communicating.
The original founder of Flow, Peter Matthews knew the process could be streamlined, simplified and more transparent. He knew he could get agents communicating and fix workflow.
What Peter wanted to fix and create
1. Remove the friction in the transaction, particularly across multiple offices.
2. Create a process so everyone from sales, administration, marketing and accounts, could log into.
3. Create a process so everyone could see where that task was up to.
4. Create a process so everyone could see a task assigned to different people.
The magic of the Kanban
Peter knew he wanted structure and the Kanban to fix workflow in real estate. Peter explains, “Kanban is the saviour of frustration. It is the WD-40 in the process, it removes the friction.”
Used by Toyota, Kanban maintains inventory levels. A signal is sent to produce and deliver a new shipment as the material is consumed. These signals are tracked through the replenishment cycle and bring extraordinary visibility to suppliers and buyers. Peter says, “Kanban creates visibility around every task that takes place, whether it’s done by a salesperson or anybody else in the business. Anyone with access to the system can log in and see what that task is up to, who’s doing it and what is coming up next. You can see everything that’s going on around the task.”
So Peter created and launched Flow, Flow makes every component in the system transparent, documented and auditable. Peter says, “We’re very conscious of that, in the way that we designed the system to ensure that when regulations change, the system changes to become compliant directly with those regulations, right across the board.”
Everything sits in one centralised space. So what you can see on screen is every function that’s happened within that process of that listing. Peter says, “So if an Agency Agreement comes in, we can nominate that Agency Agreement, you can simply click into it, on that screen and have full visibility over who the person was that executed the agreement and when it was done. Any communication that exists around the whole transactional process will be recorded here. There is a message on screen which allows anybody within the system to communicate a message, and nominate who that message is going to. It will be sent out via email and the response will come back via email, and it will be recorded in the timeline.”
Peter says, “Everything is recorded in the main log. You can see who did what task and when. In the pending tasks you can actually see who’s got what task next. And the completion of one task by one person automatically starts the task for the next person. The whole improvement in communication genuinely takes the friction out of the process. And what we really want from Flow is for agents not to participate in Flow, but to get tasks that they need to do. The tasks get done and administrators spend time in Flow. It becomes a repository of every single thing that’s happened and it can be reviewed at a later date and things can be seen where they were up to at that time.”
In addition, Flow makes the workflow process accountable because everything is time and date stamped. Peter says, “When a staff member comes into the office that day, they know what they’ve got on, they can see what they’ve got to do, but they also know that others can see what they’ve got to do too. So it provides accountability.”
Tasks can be set with priority levels and colours can change based on those priority levels. Tasks can also be assigned to other people. Peter says, “So if somebody’s sick or they’re on holidays, or they’ve just got a lot going on, from an admin view you can reassign those tasks to other resources in the company that may be able to pick up that slack from somebody else’s tasks.”
The process for using Flow is digital from the start. Peter says, “The most important thing for us was to get to a point where an agent did not need to re-key the same information twice. We’ve achieved that and we’re going to keep that going so we can remove as much duplication as possible. What we want to do is to provide a workflow that actually adds value to that CRM process, in a very simple way. We have great collaborations with CRMs, like Agentbox, and all the other major CRMs which removes the possibility of double-entry, which nobody wants to do and again, keeps the data alive.”
The benefits of Flow
- Automated workflow.
- Central store for all information. Agents can operate in a far more remote capacity than what they’ve been able to before
- Complete visibility across the whole process.
- Standardisation of process.
- Compliance and preventative compliance. Flow automates compliance so that you don’t need to then check compliance, because you are compliant by the end of that task.
- Task management process and triggers.
Transitioning to Flow
If you are interested in Flow, make sure you are committed to the journey. Peter says, “Unless you make a solid commitment to complete something, you’re going to get distracted and other things will take precedence. Unless there’s a commitment at the top, from a leadership level, it doesn’t matter what happens after that. It’s got to start with a leadership decision.”
Also remember, change can happen incrementally. Peter says, “If any one’s ever been through change management, particularly around technology, the worst thing that can happen is this position of, “Yeah, this will be fine, it will be easy.” Nothing ever worthwhile is easy, but what it requires is commitment. And I guess from our side of things, we’re committed to providing assistance in making that happen and that’s why we’ve created a very, digestible change management process with all the products to arrive at a destination where then your whole workflow is complete.”
Is it time to go with the Flow?