Six Execs Share Best Practices for RPR Adoption & Usage

One million REALTORS®. That’s how many residential and commercial practitioners now have access to their local or regionally-licensed MLS data via the Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) Platform.

While this is an important achievement, the core of RPR’s member benefit comes from the value that REALTORS® receive from RPR’s many tools, features and reports . . . and that means usage and adoption.

While examining 90-day RPR usage among MLSs and Associations across the nation, we notice a broad variance in percentage of users—spanning from the mid 40s to as low as single digits. Is there something behind the metrics? In this case, the numbers don’t speak for themselves. The people do.

Here RPR talks to MLS execs representing a diverse mix of org sizes, structures and usage rates to discover what works for them in terms of usage, and how RPR programs—such as Contract Training, Deep Linking, Single Sign-on, Account Creation and RPR View—have helped add a higher level of service from the orgs to their members.

MEET OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS

Michele Caprio
Michele CaprioCEO, Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS®
Dionna Hall
Dionna HallCEO, REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches
Katie Shotts
Katie Shotts Director of Broker Relations, Pinellas REALTORS® Organization
Robbie Crossley
Robbie Crossley EVP, Greater Harrisburg Association of REALTORS®
Kim Hansen
Kim Hansen COO, REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches
Joe Pitts
Joe Pitts V.P. of MLS and Information Systems, Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS®

Q: When did RPR first appear on your radar and how?

Joe: When we first learned about RPR, through various networks, we weren’t really licensing our data out to vendors who produce products and services for our members, so we took a cautious approach to RPR. As we learned more, we realized it was analytical data and not the listings themselves that would be utilized by RPR.

Katie: About three years ago, I sat in on an RPR presentation at NAR’s midyear convention, and it just clicked. RPR’s Commercial VP, Emily Line, gave a really dynamic overview of how RPR works using specific examples, like how to find the right location for a business. I know that sounds like a simple thing but what struck me is how important it is to “see” RPR in action, to help people understand how incredibly useful it is in every facet of their businesses. That’s why we now put so much into RPR training—showing our members, rather than telling, is what works for us.

Robbie: We heard about RPR at NAR’s annual convention about five years ago. Shortly after that, we checked it out and liked what we found. Of course, we had to work out what fields to offer and such but working with RPR was flawless. We had no apprehensions since RPR is a REALTOR-owned company; there’s a built-in trust factor.

Q: What percentage of your subscribers are currently using RPR and to what do you attribute your success?

Robbie: Our usage rate has skyrocketed since we brought a contract trainer on board a few years ago. It’s now nearly 40 percent. We do everything we can to keep RPR in front of our agents, like linking to RPR’s monthly product updates to keep everyone up to speed on new tools and features, and also links to RPR’s online training. It’s all on our association’s website and on our MLS homepage—upfront and center.

We promote RPR in our weekly newsletters. We include RPR in our new member orientations and MLS training sessions. And our agents love the Market Reports, which we share every month through our MLS system.

Michele: Greater Las Vegas has an unusual market. About 13,000 REALTORS® practice real estate here; many work part time.   So, when I look at our 13 percent adoption rate, I feel the value is in reaching the members that are doing the bulk of business, and that’s those who are working full time. Because RPR is still in the roll-out stages within our association…we partnered with RPR just seven months ago…the 13 percent number indicates the technology appears to be headed down a path to success. For us, it’s both qualitative and quantitative. Members are responding to training and they genuinely like the RPR Platform. I am encouraged that we are doing well at this early stage in the process. That said, working toward a 20 percent usage rate at GLVAR is not an unattainable goal.

Dionna: We’re told that our association stands among the highest in terms of usage rates among similarly sized orgs, currently standing at 28 percent. We believe our success stems from a steady commitment to weaving RPR into the fabric of all that we do for our members. By consistently messaging the product’s benefits through training and communications, we are able to make RPR a name brand among our members.

Joe: Based on our size, our adoption rate is high, somewhere around 25 percent, which surpasses all benchmarks. Greater Greenville is serious about which products we offer to our members and only the best get vetted. So when we say that RPR is one of four tools covered at our weekly MLS orientations, we’re demonstrating our belief in the value of the product.

Q: What is unique about how your organization delivers RPR to its members?

Katie: “You use the thing you start first,” is pretty common among REALTORS® and probably consumers. Once we get used to something, it’s hard to switch. So our strategy is to introduce RPR to members from the very beginning … when they join … and then keep RPR in front of them for as long as they practice real estate. If I can get them to use RPR from the start, then we don’t have to convert them away from something else. They’ll stick with it … because it works.

Kim: We’ve identified a number of products that we consider to be key resources for our members and we train heavily on those products. Rather than offering dozens of tools, we’ve selected the most valuable, “day to day” tools members will use and we train on those. Of course, RPR is part of the program.

Dionna: We’ve developed training programs that package all of our available tools by the user’s likely ability/skill set and the direction they move in the market (luxury, rental, etc.), which provides somewhat of a crossover effect. For example, we offer a Mobile Suite training course, “These are the best four mobile apps you’ll want to use in your business and RPR is one of them.” Or we’ll cover RPR basics in our orientations, then again in MLS training, and then moving onto more advanced RPR tools in other courses.

So, by promoting the intent of the class rather than the content, we’re able to include RPR in a lot more classes. And all of our training opportunities are promoted via emails, social media, online calendars and on our website.

Michele: What’s interesting about our market is the trickle-down effect.  Get 25-50 Las Vegas REALTORS® in a room for training and all of a sudden 100 people know about it. The peer to peer promotion that takes place is organic. One agent takes the RPR app back to his office and we hear, “Wow, where did you get that new technology and how do I get it?”

We just don’t deliver RPR to our members. They demand it. And, from our perspective, if we’re not providing members the tools they are already paying for in their NAR dues, then we are missing the mark in service delivery to them. 

Q: How have RPR’s integration features aided with adoption and usage?

Kim: Single Sign-on and Deep Linking
We recognize that every member has hundreds of different passwords so asking them to leave one system to enter another is confusing, wastes time, and can be annoying. That’s where RPR’s single sign-on and deep linking tools are a huge benefit. By making the product more visible, the tools are able to increase usage. It’s where we see the greatest absorption.

Joe: Single Sign-on and Deep Linking
Once members are exposed to  single sign-on and deep linking, they use it and it makes their lives easier. Now, our members move easily from an MLS listing to RPR to do a geographic analyses, CMA, etc. The ability to have those functions is instrumental.

Katie: Account Creation
I teach the RPR Basics class at our org. I used to spend a lot of time starting the class by showing everyone how to set up their accounts and profiles. Now that RPR automatically creates accounts for new members and then reaches out to them with more information, I can start the class by getting into the really great tools RPR offers.

Q: What advice would you give to other MLSs who want to increase RPR adoption and usage?

Kim: 1) Train, 2) Deep Link, and 3) Single Sign-on

Joe: Make it easy for your members to get to RPR, with multiple access points. Be consistent, follow through with keeping this benefit in front of members and promoting training. Connect with other MLSs who have adopted RPR for peer-to-peer affirmations. Find out what your members think and how they integrate RPR into their daily business.

Michele:  Simply stated, rely on the resources provided by RPR. We’ve had several members of the RPR team speak at, and sponsor, our events, and they have gone well. Having a RPR representative on site really helped us make the events successful and members truly appreciated the one-on-one interactions. RPR’s commitment to supporting us through webinars and additional training is very meaningful and important to reaching the goals we’ve set for member usage of this fascinating technology.

Robbie: Don’t set your sights on total adoption and mediocre usage. Go for usage.

Before You Go …

From a national network of contract trainers, new member orientation tools and integration features—such as deep linking, single sign on and automated account creation—RPR’s support programs help more than 655 licensed MLS partners to fully maximize this member benefit.

Connect with RPR to learn how these invaluable resources can be easily integrated into your current systems. We’ll show you how to 1) ingrain RPR in the culture of your MLS, 2) introduce top RPR features and reporting tools early and consistently, 3) utilize RPR’s live and webinar training classes, and 4) leverage the ease of use that integrating RPR with your MLS software provides for your members.

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