What is an Association’s role in providing commercial technology?

Participants showed up in force at a recent RPR presentation and training session for Miami Realtors®, the largest REALTOR® association in the country. Despite a downpour of rain resulting from an unfortunately-timed monsoon, RPR was welcomed by packed rooms and an enthusiastic group of leaders who wanted to learn more about how they might benefit from RPR Commercial.

After witnessing the success that comes when an association exposes their members to intuitive training tools, we decided to dig deeper into how Miami REALTORS® approaches the technology space for its Commercial members. Here’s what Nathan Graham, RPR director of commercial services, discovered while chatting with Paul Cauchi, sr. vice president, Realtor Commercial Alliance at Miami REALTORS®.

Paul Cauchi, e-PRO®, Sr. Vice President, Realtors® Commercial Alliance, Miami REALTORS®

Nathan: As someone who has been around the commercial association world for many years, how has technology impacted and changed things at the local level?

Paul: Today’s access to information is expanding at a rapid pace, so at the local level we constantly research solutions for both the residential and commercial side of the business. Most of these technologies are time and, hopefully, paper savers, but the tools that help agents make money are the game-changers that we want to provide.

Nathan: When vetting new technology platforms, what priorities do you focus on during the research process?

Paul: Ultimately, we search for technology solutions that help members be more effective, efficient and successful, leaning heavily on members’ knowledge to ensure we find tools that match their needs.

On the commercial side, we look for tools that help level the playing field for brokers at smaller firms––focusing on solutions that provide real-time access to property, market and trade area information that allow them to create dynamic marketing packages that close deals.

Nathan: What are a few examples of non-RPR technologies offered to your commercial members?

Paul: One member favorite is IMAPP, which integrates tax information with off market and active listing records, while also allowing users to download property owner details. Another is our Member-to-Member Email solution provided by RealConnex which helps members promote their commercial haves and wants to other members.

Nathan: What is the benefit of having RPR Commercial packaged with your other offerings?

Paul: At first I saw RPR Commercial as an incredible site selector, but as more features have been added, its use and level of benefit has greatly expanded. For example, Valuate® is an amazing feature that helps members when working with investors. In general, RPR Commercial has a lot of features that we don’t offer, making it a great complement to our current suite of products and services.

Nathan: What would you say is the biggest boost to growing member awareness and use of technology solutions provided by Miami REALTORS®?

Paul: The bottom line is that we are committed to free training on all of the tools offered at the association. This includes stand-alone training on tools like RPR Commercial, but also training that shows members how to use multiple tools in their day-to-day businesses, which has been an integral part of our mission and success.

Nathan: What part of your membership do you think stands to benefit the most from RPR Commercial?

Paul: Brokers working in retail can really take advantage of RPR’s site selection tools. Also, the platform’s deep dive into local demographics and economics is perfect for identifying the best fit for a property or client regardless of the sector. It seems like the more we showcase the features and benefits of RPR Commercial, the more use cases we generate.

For instance, RPR had more than 100 members at its investment analysis course. Until that class, most of the attendees didn’t realize the full extent of how RPR Commercial can help them and their clients make better investment decisions. For our commercial members, explaining that this is a core commercial tool, already included in their NAR dues, is an easy selling point.

Nathan: Is there a difference in how your association approaches marketing the benefits of RPR Commercial versus the Residential side?

Paul: I think we first needed to help our members understand the difference between the two and how each has unique benefits. We cross promote when we train, but there is an emphasis on the differences and how to run specific reports. We have stand-alone training in our labs for both products, so our members have become aware that they are unique applications.

Nathan: What commercial real estate tech software, platform, or hardware do you think will have the most impact in the near future and how are you preparing for it locally?

Paul: Anyone who can viably compete with the veteran companies who have largely had marketshare while offering a more competitive price will really change the industry dynamic. There is definitely a “barrier of entry” for new and residential brokers trying to get into commercial real estate. On a completely unrelated note, I think software that helps with zoning, land use and redevelopment will be important because, especially in metropolitan areas, highest and best use will become even more critical.

On a completely unrelated note, I think software that helps with zoning, land use and redevelopment will be important because, especially in metropolitan areas, highest and best use will become even more critical.

I am fortunate to have an amazing board of governors and professionals here at the association to help monitor and evaluate the newest tools. Technology is moving so quickly that we need to be both open and discriminating at the same time. It is also unpredictable, so everything I’ve shared prior could change at any time.

Paul’s Biography: As Sr. Vice President of Realtors® Commercial Alliance at the Miami Association of REALTORS®, the largest REALTOR® association in the country, Paul works to provide high quality education and training that helps practitioners make money and save time.

If you have questions about how to leverage RPR Commercial, or would like to see if we can partner with one of your technology providers, let us know here.

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