Beyond the Box – Season 1 – Episode 7 – Bill Andrews – Regional Sales Director at Black Knight Financial Services

Beyond the Box – Season 1 – Episode 7 – Featuring Bill Andrews – Regional Sales Director at Black Knight Financial Services.

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This week we have the extremely intelligent and seasoned tech expert Bill Andrews. Lynette Keyowski sits with him to discuss the history of technology in the real estate space and what the future may hold. 

“And it occurred to me, I thought that it was illegal, I said “why are they allowed to do their own stuff?” and they said, “there’s nothing stopping them. You have to go compete and go for it.”  And I realized okay, so that’s a game-changer. There’s never going to be a time where you rest on your laurels, and it’s going to be changing forever more and that’s exactly how it’s been and what happened.”

Full Transcript of the Show

Lynette: I’m so happy to be back for another episode of Beyond the Box, where we are really interested in talking about the intersection between real estate technology and capital. And I couldn’t think of a better person who has touched all of those points over a very colourful and pretty successful career in the real estate sector, Mr. Bill Andrews. So, thank you for joining us today, Bill, so happy to have you with us. 

Bill: Thank you for the invite. I am most happy to speak with you and we have known each other for a long time. And it’s an amazing business and I’m constantly reinventing myself. 

Lynette:  I love that you positioned it that way because it’s exactly why I wanted to invite you going to the podcast, because this is one of those industries where it does evolve, depending on where you are. Sometimes it feels like it’s not moving at all and in some ways it’s moving at warp speed and I think you know we’re at a period in time where we’re going to see you know some shifts happening, and what I love is, is you know you have gone through some shifts in the past.  You’ve had to reinvent yourself based on some of these things and we just love to have some of your perspective on what that has looked like and maybe what this current situation might look like for you going forward. So, first of all just weave out a little bit of your origin story and what your trajectory has been through this crazy industry over the last 20 ish years? 

Bill: Yeah, 20 ish years, or something like that. So, yeah, it all happened by mistake. I was working in the cell phone industry early. I had no idea what I was doing and it was magnificent, we made all kinds of money. Back then we used to make money on the usage and Pactel cellular had not spun off yet, it was still Pactel running a mobile division. And we had those bag phones, do you remember those bag phones? And that was my first foray into what I would call technology. And I was also part of the first sales force in the United States, maybe even in the world, that was outfitted with an IBM laptop, a Motorola flip phone and all of the components to do business from my car on the road. So, that was normal for me back in 1990… I would say ‘94. I would be on my laptop, and I hate to say this but I’d be driving and I’d be typing. 

Lynette: It was okay then Bill, it was all okay then.

Bill: It was natural back then, it was what you did. But, what I would be doing is I would be getting mobile numbers back, running credit on people, and then we would have phones in our trunk and we’d program them.  And so that was really the beginning of my foray into technology. And the first instance I had a really realizing that there’s a never-ending search to, to use it is we were all the top reps, probably in the country coming out of my office there in Woodland Hills California; It was the business division. And we were always, when I go look at the list, I was always somewhere in every month in the top 5 reps somewhere in California and the country, top 10. And then one crazy month I looked up there and I saw out of the top 10 there were about six names that I didn’t even recognize. So, we’ve just done hiring and it was all these young people in the office, young guys and gals. And what happened was they came with their own laptops, while all of the veterans were waiting for all our material to be printed and for the person that does that to put our name on the flyers.  And these people have done their own, and they hit the market early and they got all the low-hanging fruit. And it occurred to me, I thought that it was illegal, I said “why are they allowed to do their own stuff?” and they said, “there’s nothing stopping them. You have to go compete and go for it.”  And I realized okay, so that’s a game-changer. There’s never going to be a time where you rest on your laurels, and it’s going to be changing forever more and that’s exactly how it’s been and what happened. And then from there, I left that career, because I could see that the money and the ability for me to really structure and corner my own market was leaving and it was, well, the way I put it, was you were going to be able to get a free cell phone if you bought a big gulp at 7-Eleven. And I said, that’s probably a bad sign, I should probably be leaving by now, and I did.  I went to work for iPicks and iPicks was the first virtual tour company that we actually were selling the cameras and the software and then the broker, or the agent would have to take the pictures, two 180’s and then stitch it to a 360.  That’s how I got into this business, and I thought that was amazing. And I thought that’s how some people were going to buy homes, because they told me that Will Smith did it, so I figured everybody else would. 

Lynette: If Will does it, everybody will do it. 

Bill: It was a great tease to get you; it became… and here’s the funny thing.  That technology never really worked for people to, to use the virtual tour to buy a home, but what we figured out, was that we would put a virtual tour on a floppy disk with an agent’s name on it and then they would use the floppy disk to do a listing presentation and because the technology would wow the listing, the customers, they would choose them for that listing. And they’d say, “wow you’re doing something no one else has,” and that lasted for a long time so the wrestler by the wayside. 

Lynette:  So, virtual tours. That description of a virtual tour I think does not at all align with what the industry thinks of as a virtual tour today, right. Because at the time that we’re recording this, you know we’re what, four or six weeks into the Covid experience. And one of the things we’ve seen really take off is the increased use of virtual tours, but also platforms in tech companies evolving in a much different way to facilitate what you tried to accomplish back then. Back then, it was more of a marketing scheme, a marketing tool.

Bill: Yeah, it always boils down to this. My job was to sell virtual tours. And I found out when I’d go do presentations at broker’s offices, the virtual tour was great and you’re supposed to use it to let people view the home. But because I was selling virtual tours, my job was, how do I get them to buy virtual tours. Well, by putting their name on a floppy disk and saying if you buy these today, we’ll take care of this for you and even if you don’t know the technology you take this into your listing presentation, and there you go. And so, of course the tour took off, and it grew legs of their own, but that’s how I sold it. That’s how I figured out how to move this forward? Otherwise, without that, I want to say greed factor or the factor of making an agent understand, how does this work for me, how do I get business from this? That’s what my job was. So, virtual tours worked, but unless we move this forward, you know it’s going to do nothing. 

Lynette: So, I love that. I love that you wouve out sort of that baseline of how you entered the space that you had. I mean you and I have known each other in a very different capacity. I mean you’ve moved through a couple of different organizations since you and I’ve known one another. So, from there, what was the next trajectory to where you are now?  And I’ve purposely kind of left that for you to weave out. I don’t want to be a spoiler here, because you’ve made another relatively recent move. 

Bill: Yeah. You know, I’ve always been… I realized that some people look at me but I don’t want to settle in and get bored.  I want to be making decisions and I want to be in the front end of things that are exciting. And I’m deciding how those things move forward and how my life does. From there, I went to a company called Crescenda. It stood for customers receiving and sending data. I was unintentionally, I had the first MLS. I was responsible for… I had a Palm Pilot with a modem. And it was ridiculous, because they each had a charger and I think the modem took 6 hours to charge and the Palm Pilot took  2 hours to charge. And you put the two together and it was in black and white with a little stylus pen.  But, I convinced Rappitoni to put their MLS on that. So, I sold the very first device, that held the MLS on a device that was cellular, and handheld and it was two pieces.  And that was what launched me into Rappitoni, because when they didn’t get the rest of the funding, the idea was there, the seed was planted that it could be done, and that you could get an MLS on a device, which had not been done and no one was willing to do it on the other MLS’s. It all of a sudden became natural, and Rappitoni actually called me and said I want you to start selling my internet based MLS, it’s brand new come on over here and let’s move. 

Lynette: Very cool. So, you’ve been at the bleeding edge of what I would say the real estate sector, in terms of the realtors on the ground, known as the MLS system. You were at the Forefront of marketing those systems, from an internet based way into the hands of the market.

Bill: Unintentionally, but I was lucky because I saw how things played out and how people had the wrong idea. I had a call one day when this was all playing out and it was all the major carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, all of those and they were all talking amongst each other about how much they were going to charge us, and how much we had to pay them, and I said, “You guys have completely missed the point. We won’t pay you a dime. This is going to happen whether you like it or not, because it’s going to happen over the internet and this is just a device that people can use to access the internet.” 

Lynette: Right, right. 

Bill: So, good luck with all of this,” and they really didn’t understand. They weren’t seeing the big picture because they were looking at it from their small corner of the world, when in fact it was a game-changer and it was going to be a game-changer. 

Lynette: Cool,  so that took you to Rapattoni, and then just really quickly, you’ve had a few other stops that you’ve had along the way. Just let us know kind of what those stops are, what kind of product you were selling, because it’s always been in tech, right?

Bill: Yes.

Lynette: You know, kind of where you’re at now. And then I’d love to pivot to some of the experiences that you have had for your trajectory. 

Bill: Sure, so the main points were rapattoni and I was there for eight or nine years. And we really stormed the market, and we took a really big market share and we were doing incredibly well with the internet based MLS. Then I met my favourite guys in the business, Brian Shepard and Sean. And I’ll tell you, it was the best time, and maybe the most fun time because they have the spirit of having fun and technology and being kind of bold and brazen and just having a lot of fun in the process. And I love that and I went there and we won some major, major accounts and it was wonderful because our support team in our group was another piece that moved the MLS forward. It was incredibly fast,  lightning fast, and then without any knowledge, all of a sudden we were purchased, well, those guys did, but we were purchased by CoreLogic. And then there was another foray into it because I was really the only guy that knew matrix, so a lot of my positions were going and doing all the demos for us. And some of the interesting times there, some of the things that I said and did to win business, but I’ve always been honest and transparent and so that didn’t work for somebody, you know, fine, you can show me the door or I’ll hit the door on my own. And then, I got a little bit bored there after a while. I was taking care of most of the major accounts, CRMLS and MLS Listings, and some great people that I’ve gone over the years, and I decided to take the position with Zillow because they wanted me for the API. I thought that, that would be the next level of technology that was going to help vendors getting to the market. And allow for data to move faster and safer.  And I did that, and I had a lot of fun. And then, they pivoted to more of Bridge67 which was some of the listing input. And at that point, I decided that I’ve done a lot of vendors  and I was excited about that technology and that’s where I met the guys at Remine, Limedesk, Rate My Agent.  A bunch of really good vendors, with good products. And I did that as a consultant, and then, of course I took a position with Remine, who wanted me to spend more time with them just in a directional position of the MLS and the business and in understanding that. And then most recently, as you know, again I pivoted and I went over the Black Knight with some great folks that I’ve known for many years and respected. And I just thought with everything I’ve done, and everything I’ve been involved in, the MLS has always been my knowledge center, my cornerstone, my comfort zone, and so I decided to be with Black Knight that was most recently to do it again. And I’ve never cared about what anyone says. I always say, jokingly that I just can’t hold a job, but the truth is, sometimes I don’t want to hold a job. I know when my time is ready, when it’s time to move on because I don’t want to be a guy that hangs on and looks for a safe spot. That’s just no way for me to go through life. 

Lynette: I so appreciate that about you Bill, and one of the things that I absolutely love, and for those that are either watching this or will be listening to this; I’ve come to know you as probably the most genuine person. End stop. And then I can also add in the real estate sector, but you, it’s your approach I think that has just provided… I love when you say, you know, I’ve never wanted to hold a job because that’s the ethos that you kind of give out. This isn’t a job for me, I do this because I love it. And the other piece that I will say, is just how deep your relationships are in this industry. And it’s really been about, you know, I’m hoping that a good number of people that are listening to this podcast have had the opportunity to experience a Bill Andrews curated dinner because it is an experience second to none. I mean, it’s always at a great place, so yes the drink and the food is excellent, but it’s more than that. It’s the people that you bring together. You know, I’ve had the privilege of being invited to a few of those, and what I’ve always appreciated is, you know, I don’t even know the people that are at the table with me, you have simply just curated an opportunity for people to get one know one another,  that really whether or not it serves your business objectives, is not the root of the invitation and neither is it the nature of the conversation. And you know, there is nobody that I have come across in this industry, who has nothing but the highest level of appreciation and admiration for you as a human being. And I think that’s the piece that I’d like to get some of your thoughts around in terms of, you said something a bit earlier, and I jotted a note, and it was, “you know, my job was always to figure out how to get it there.” And you know, I can’t help but believe that “the figuring it out” was exactly through that channel and you know the relationships that you built, and how you built those. So, I’d love to hear a little bit about that, you know the intersection between real estate and technology and even capital, to a certain degree, has another element in there that is none of those, and it’s the unique piece that you bring to the equation. 

Bill: Well, first thing, thank you so much for saying that. Those are some really kind words.

Lynette:  All very genuine.

Bill: But that is one of the pleasures that we all have in this business, is taking the time to be with each other and not selling there, just getting to know people. And I think the most important thing that anybody in our business can know is to be a  problem solver. There’s lots of problems. And in order to be a problem solver, you have to be a good listener. But there’s a time and a place for that.  And at dinner, I’m really just trying to break bread and have fun, creating an environment where someone wants to talk to you, wants to tell you  what issues are and that it’s an honest conversation. Sometimes you can’t solve their problems, and sometimes you don’t have the right product, and you have to be ready to accept that, because otherwise you will chill any goodwill that you have, because relationships are everything in this business. If they weren’t then I couldn’t go from company to company and be able to still pick up the phone and call someone because, I think they know when I call them that I’m not trying to sell them something. I’m just trying to tell them, “I’m here now, here’s what I’m doing. Here’s what we have, if you find something in this product line that works for you, give me a call. I’ll be honest with you.”  That’s the way I want it. And so I’ve done this, and as I’ve gone through this, it’s the relationships that have always carried me through and always allowed me to do business with people. So much so,  and I love it so much, you know I brought my three sons into this business. I said, “Listen, I can’t teach you much, but I can teach you if you’re interested in this business, how it works and I love the people in it, and I love what we do.” And I love the fact that such a technology based business now but it is still human to human, and it’s still all about contacts.  So, you have to find a way to make any new and emerging technology. You have to know your audience, and you have to figure out how this is going to help somebody. How is this going to solve a problem for somebody. And that’s fun! 

Lynette: Yeah, and I love that you just wove that thread all the way through because I think a lot of people often ask, or one of the questions that I hear often is well, things are changing. Things are going to change and evolve and that’s just a truism of life, right?  The only thing that doesn’t change is that everything changes, right? And so, one of the questions I was going to ask you, is in your experience how things have changed and I’d be interested to hear it. But I think your last answer almost kind of says, “it doesn’t matter because what you know, the one constant thread is those relationships.” And just really being willing to understand people’s issues so that you can create a path to a solution, even if you don’t have the solution. But I would love to hear you know your perspectives on how this space has changed and how do you think it might change further?

Bill: That’s really an interesting question and here’s where it really changed. When I first got into the business, and I started asking, I would go to a top broker, or a top agent. And one of the questions I would ask her in the process was, “May I get your email so that I can get something for you.” And they would often say, “Well, one second, let me get my assistant. Hey Betty, what is my email again?” In the early days, they were still using, if they were a Coldwell Banker agent, they were using their Coldwell Banker, whatever they were. But they quickly learned that hey, I want to have my own email, so I realized number one, they don’t know their own email. So the changes are they’re not reading their email, so that’s probably not a good idea. And then secondly, I think the biggest swing in the business, and this shows you how things can change so dramatically but still be the same.  In the old days, and I’m talking old days probably 2000. That was still when people, public did not have access to listings, it wasn’t available. An agent, quite frankly could be playing golf or be lazy or doing nothing, and still hold someone hostage because they were waiting for what homes can we go look at.  And so they had no ability to challenge you to find something without you. And like all of us, I mean those things sharpen your blade; the fact that you know someone might find something before you. And at first because they weren’t accepting change, they were angry about the data being out there. So, the Zillow’s and the Realtor.com’s and all of the sites that could start showing data made people mad. Instead of embracing that, “Okay, well now, I can actually figure out who’s my real interested buyers, because if we’re talking, and they’re doing a lot of searching I’ve got a real hot prospect.” But, that’s the positive view. The negative view is, “this sucks. I don’t have control anymore. And I want control.” But,  those who embrace the fact that, okay, the horses out of the barn. What’s the next thing? Maybe I should be a horse wrangler!  Because the barn’s not doing me any good anymore, when the horse is out of it.  And so, it really was the first change, but bottom line is, even today with people searching on their own and having all the technology, and all the capabilities, they still need someone that can have some of the hard conversations regarding the property, that can advise of them legally or that can advise them in terms of pricing in the market and what’s happened in the neighbourhood. And that’s the relationship builder, the searching part never was. You know, that was just an easy way to knock down the sale. So, now if I am an agent, I understand one thing. And I’ve known this throughout business, but when you have an easy process with something, you have little chance of building relationships. When there are instances where there are some difficulties or some challenging things, when you work through that with someone, whether that’s buying a house, or selling a house, it does build a relationship and it builds trust, because you are working through the issue, you’re not ducking it. You’re asking the hard questions, and you’re doing the hard things and that’s the true gold in it. That’s where you become and that’s where you find your value, because your knowledge and your confidence grows every time you do that. You learn not to run away from something. And I’ve got a really, really interesting story. Just a few days ago, I’ll say that it’s a person I know that’s very close to me, called me and presented me with a problem. Their company wanted something, the customer wasn’t going to allow something else and there seemed to be a big divide and my first question was, “Have you called that person in charge, that CEO and have you presented him with this issue?”  and he said, “No, I think it’s going to be an issue.” And I said, “No, nothing is going to get solved unless you go to the source, and say, “We have an issue and I need to talk with you, and I need some options, and we need to talk about some options so I can serve you.” And within 10 minutes of him making a call, everything got solved. And they said, “It’s okay, I understand, we;re going to make an exception in this case and move forward. Because we put a lot of effort into this and I think you’re right, we can do this.” But the initial answer was, “No way, not going to happen.” But that’s how you work through those things. 

Lynette: You know, there’s so much to unpack of what you just said Bill, and it’s really the Crux of what I was, you know, the genesis of this conversation and what I was hoping we could tackle, but you know just a couple of nuggets  that I want to pull out of that, and you just shred with us. First and foremost technology, if it makes it easier it, doesn’t make it better, because you’ve eliminated that opportunity to really understand where the friction is. So, I love your point around, “if there are bumps in the road, you’re not growing and learning, but you may not also be serving your client, or whoever your ultimate customer is very well either” because they haven’t really understood what their needs are right? So, I love that.  I love that, you know, it’s a piece of the psychology in the industry, and you said it earlier, like, “I want to control change”  so it’s been like, well I don’t want to accept any change, because then I’m out of that control, right? But here’s the thing, if you accept the fact that things will change, but also understand that the relationship and the interaction is still the most important component, then the change isn’t scary. Because you have just evolved to meet that need, right and I think it just elevates the degree to which you’re needed in that transaction. So, I love that piece and then your story is amazing because it does highlight sometimes, it’s eating that frog, just do it. You kinda just have to do it.

Bill: Yes, haha. That’s well said! 

Lynette: You just have to pick up the phone!  BUt it’s a hard thing to do, and so, I guess one of the things that I’d love to hear from you is, over your career, given all of those as the basic foundations, what have you found, because you mostly you have sold into MLS’s but although, you’ve had a lot of interface with brokers and agents. Because it helps MLS’s in terms of transition to new technology. What have been some of the most timeless strategies that you have employed that you found regardless of who you were working with, what technology you were representing. What are those kinds of tools in the toolbox that you find most important? 

Bill: Well, I think you know, you have to number one, you have to know your audience. And you have to understand their business. And in our business, in most cases data is crucial. Data is king. So you have to understand, where is the data, who controls it,  how do I get it. What are the factors in becoming a vendor that has access to the data. So, my product is animated, it’s alive. And that’s what data does for software. It’s dead until the data’s in there, then it’s alive! 

Lynette: I love that, great analogy. 

Bill: And it’s what changes business. And it’s how every person looks at a piece of software and they assess how they can use it. It’s one piece, but because people are individuals, and because people are creative, they find the means that work for them. So, I would say, for a vendor coming into this market, we’ll start there. Look at your products, figure out who’s going to be using it. And when I say know your audience, it is known that a great number of agents are not looking to do a lot of business. There are some that are retired, they used to maybe be a school teacher, or a fireman, or a policeman. And they’ve got a pension and so they’ve got some source of income, but nobody wants to sit around the house. They want a life and they want the ability to still generate money and have a social life and that propels a lot of people into real estate, because you work for yourself, there’s really not a lot of pressure unless you put it on yourself. And in many cases, and some cases there are. And so, you have to assess how much does this person want to spend and what are their goals, as opposed to. So, you have to understand if this product is driven for brokers, what are broker challenges? Those have changed over the years, you know, they used to get a desk fee. And so they would want to have a lot of people sitting there so they could charge for a phone, and these things. ANd then people started working out of their home. And so, there’s that shift again and you just have to know your audience, data is always going to be key whenever you’re there. And it’s really having an honest appraisal and assessment of “how do I move it onto the market, and  who’s going to get.” And sometimes the way that happens is… there’s a company that I was working with, and you know them. And when they called me, they had no idea I had been working in the United States for I think three or four years, and buying data from sources that didn’t work. And I said, “Well let’s just go jump on the road, let’s go talk to some MLS’s I can hook you up with, and let’s ask them what they think of your product. Let’s ask them if they think this is scary for brokers. Let’s really get their opinion.” And  for the most part, we got pretty positive feedback although some felt that it might compete with brokers, but that’s always going to be there. So, you can’t let that dissuade you. You have to go and do your research and do some honest appraisal and go right to the source, you know, don’t be afraid. Just like I said when there was an issue, just call the person that can make a change for you, and explain why this has to be done to be successful. And find a work around. And I think it’s the same trying to get into the market with a product, you just have to do some homework and know your audience. 

Lynette: I love that. It’s amazing advice Bill, because I think that’s what we see so many times and you and I have both seen a lot of tech, come and go right. Which means that’s a lot of companies and a lot of people that have kind of come and gone. Some have tried to recycle a few times right? And I think in the absence of figuring that equation out,  ultimately it doesn’t matter how great your solution is. If you don’t figure out what you’ve built, who your audience is,  you need something to make that product come to life right? And I would agree with you, it’s generally data. And then, really understanding, understanding, what the needs are. You can have the greatest piece of tech, but if nobody buys it, it’s just a piece of tech, right. 

Bill: In the end, you have to find where the value is in it. It’s different in all products, and I want to say this,  I think you know, the one problem I see with our industry is a lot of people want to pick and choose winners and losers. And I think there needs to be more timestamps because, you know, it wasn’t so much so, when I first got in the business, there was no one allowed from the outside, it was very closed. And so, a vendor would really go through hell to try and get in the door, but now people are more accepting of meeting vendors in technology. But there’s not enough time set aside to evaluate it and to, to give opportunities and to really look at it. And I think that’s because everyone’s a little bit rushed and judgemental. But the other thing I’ve tried to do all my life is to not have an opinion when I see a piece of software or a business model. When I used to work at Rapattoni, we would talk to a lot of vendors. And I made sure that I kept one day a week open to just listen, because you might hear 50 pitches, and then you might find an absolute gem. Something that you see a visions for and you can say, “I think this is going to make it,” immediately and this is the approach I’d take and you know, “how can we help you,” because this is going to be great for us to offer our users and for you to, to flourish in this market. 

Lynette: And I think you’re absolutely right, it’s so much of what we have seen, isn’t it, over the last few years is just how companies… how the space I guess is maybe a bit more collaborative, rather than as competitive. So, much more open and welcoming for new solutions and new companies to come forward, but also more collaborative. I would even say with the incumbents in terms of working with and integrating with some of this new tech. So, I’m hopeful that this is a sign for a lot of additional innovation in the space. So, I’m just conscious of time here and know we need to wrap up, but again we’re recording this a little bit during this period of time, where there’s a lot of turmoil. I think a lot of vendors are probably wondering how this piece of time is going to impact them. Probably a lot of you know requests for deferral of payments, and maybe some renewals that aren’t happening. Given everything we’ve talked about over the last 30 minutes or so, in terms of the approach of really selling technology into this space, I want to start here. Where do you see the opportunity in this period of time for the real estate sector, especially with technology?

Bill: Well, I think what’s going to happen here is that we’ve seen everything kind of come to a halt. Now, I’m a believer that  human nature over the, whether you want to believe, the hundreds of thousands or thousands or millions of years, you can’t just change it over one virus. It’s going to somehow be back to people are going to travel, people are going to eat out, people are going to… you know I always like this too, you know, painful times where you say this will never happen again. But, the further you move away from the pain, the less you remember it. And so when we moved away from this, I do think there’s a gem in here. This kind of leveled the playing field. So you have agents that are top agents, agents who don’t do much business, and they all found themselves in the same place. And this is a good time to reinvent yourself, because when you hit a point where you’re all in the same boat, and the same thing is happening across the board. And it’s affecting people buying homes or selling homes, you have a chance to see, okay here’s the time to reset. What is my goal, what do I want to do, what do I need to do to reach that. Let me go look at some technology and there’s some really good stuff out there. To me, anything that you can use that, number one, promotes you, keeps you connected; I think the biggest issue I’ve seen over the years is once an agent sells a home for someone or helps someone buy a home, there’s been a lack of the ability to stay close to that person.  So, you’ve built this relationship but they may not need you for another 8 or 9 years. So,  you have to figure out for another 8 or 9 years,  what can I bring to this person that’s ov value. And that can be, constant monitoring of the value of their home, of their neighbourhood, of things that you can do to help them. You know, you have to say in front of them. They need to remember what you did, and that you’re there, and that you become someone who is familiar to them through the whole process. So, anything that helps you to do that, and then anything that helps you to be able to use technology and gather it in one place. So, if you pick three or four or five products, you want the ability to integrate those products, so look for software like that. Things that will help you more efficiently. You can’t log in or log out of  8 or 10 systems a day, you have to have the ability to log into something and find your scope of what’s important to do over the next hour, as opposed to what’s important to do in your next 8 hours or a week. 

Lynette: Right. I love that, that’s such a great insight Bill, and I think again, in terms of the companies and the technology that we see as part of the REACH program and evaluating companies that are already in the market. Those are the ones that are starting to percolate to the top, right. Those are the ones that are enhancing the relationship almost as opposed to disintermediating the process, right. I think that’s definitely something that I’ve heard loud and clear through our conversation is that’s an important component in this industry. But because of the nature of real estate, real estate is a very personal purchase, it’s a very infrequent purchase and therefore the relationship is a very important component. I love that. So, just to wrap it up, I have two last questions for you. First one, and I suspect it’s not the one on the back or on the wall behind you, but when’s the last time you were on your surfboard?

Bill: Oh, about 2 weeks ago!

Lynette: Oh, did you get out?

Bill: Yeah, but they closed most of the beaches, it’s hard to get access and it’s also been red tide out here, which is a condition that in this case has been so severe, that the water is brown, and at night you can see of course, the glow on the water but during the day it’s brown. So, it’s been a little bit stinky and brown and beaches are pretty weird because lifeguards are on bullhorns telling you to keep moving. It’s been a couple of weeks, so I’m  just waiting for things to get back to normal.

Lynette: Cool! That’s cool. Well, I still am looking forward to the day when I get to come down and get a surf lesson from Bill Andrews, so that’s still on my bucket list. But here’s the last questions I have for you.  What’s the next event you think that you and I are going to be able to enjoy dinner together?

Bill: I’m thinking… I’m hopeful, I think we might be able to see November NAR. I think there’s a good chance that we’ll all be at that.  I can see some of the travel coming back a little bit. Very limited, but I think by then we’ll have something figured out if they have some of the fixes in place. For example, like a vaccine or things that they found that are… I think people will be more confident about travelling and not having severity and weigh the risks of, “how long do I stay here, and how long do I stay holed up” as opposed to. Our industry is very reliant on relationships and seeing each other, eyeball-to-eyeball with most things. And I look forward to it, because  I think this will be an especially sweet one, because I think people will be very happy to see each other and to all be back and so I think I’ll see you in November and we’ll see what happens! 

Lynette: Well, I certainly hope so, and whether it’s November or whether it’s sometime in 2021, I definitely look forward to the next time you and I get to hang out because it’s always such a pleasure. And I really appreciate you agreeing to do this today, it was so great to see you. So great to chat with you and I wish you all the best with your new gig!

Bill: Well, thanks. I’m honored and I wish you the best as well, I know your background and your level of dollars in the business is going to help all those vendors out there in Canada. And I hope they’re listening, because this is an opportunity for them to glean something off what you’re doing, and I wish you the best of luck in that. 

Lynette: Thank you so much. Really appreciate you, my friend. 

Bill: Thanks, Lynette! 

Lynette: I look forward to the next time we chat. Take care! 

Bill: Bye-bye! 

— End of Podcast — 

Beyond the Box: Conversations with real estate executives, venture capital partners and technologists on what lays ahead for the real estate industry in a world after COVID-19.

Beyond the Box Podcast Hosts

Lynette Keyowski
Beyond the Box Host: Lynette Keyowski – Managing Director at REACH Canada
Mike McAra Headshot
Beyond the Box Host: Mike McAra – Director at REACH Canada