A July 2020 report from NAR says nearly 50 percent of real estate firms find keeping up with technology a top challenge (NAR Quick Real Estate Statistics). Yet, one of the oldest trade organizations in California had developed its own technology-delivery and member engagement protocol years prior.
A committed innovator, Arcadia Association of REALTORS®, founded in 1924, knew early on that tech advancements in real estate would be exponential. And with so many on the market, members could easily become overwhelmed, missing out on the tools that truly mattered.
“Services provided to REALTORS® should offer a value greater than the cost of membership,” said Andrew Cooper, Arcadia’s chief executive officer. “We made it our mission to sift through and deliver high-value tools proven to help members lead more clients to the closing table. And all the better if they came in at low-to-no cost.”
Andrew directed his team to research tools and services available to REALTORS® that had the potential to become a core offering within the Association’s member services platform.
“And there was RPR®,” he said. Realtors Property Resource®, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive real estate data and reporting platform, is offered exclusively to REALTORS® as a member benefit, already included in their NAR dues.
Education became the pathway to building awareness of RPR and other tools. “We started by sharing RPR how-to articles and videos on our blog, in newsletters and on our website,” said Stephanie Maertens, director of education. “They were getting a lot of attention, yet the foundation of our educational program was still on-site training, up to 80 classes a year.”
Then came COVID. “The pandemic caused us to take a leap into the online world of education to continue servicing members… to help them through the crisis,” she said. That leap led to a transformation of how Arcadia supports its members, an innovative approach with three distinct channels.
Education through RPR, a member benefit
Today, nearly 40 percent of Arcadia’s online training classes are free webinars from RPR. Topics cover every facet of a REALTOR®‘s business-building tactics, including CMAs and listing presentations, working with buyers, farming and prospecting, market and investment analysis, reports, and commercial real estate.
Visits to RPR among Arcadia’s members increased 34% from August 2019 to August 2020.
“Since we started our online platform, we haven’t charged one dime for a class. We find it for free, or we absorb the cost.”
Education by outsourcing
Virtual education also created opportunities to include industry experts from across the country in many of the Association’s engagement efforts. Members reaped the benefits by gaining exposure to real estate insiders who previously may not have been able to attend an on-site event or whose fees were unreachable by the Association. “Realizing we had so many additional educational resources available to us, it was then our mission to ensure those opportunities were easily and readily available to those who wanted them”, said Diane Fraser, marketing and communications coordinator. To date, the Association has covered topics like market trends, compliance, new laws, safety measures, and local issues.
Education through an open door
Arcadia embraces a holistic approach to education, believing that what is good for area REALTORS® (northeast of downtown Los Angeles) is good for the industry as a whole. “We have the largest educational offerings in our region,” said Stephanie of the 2,200 member Association.
“We’ve always placed a high priority on nurturing good relationships with our three surrounding Associations,” she said. “They see that and appreciate it, knowing their members aren’t going to get a hard sales pitch from us, just knowledge sharing. There’s a lot of trust built there.”
Learn more about offering RPR education to your members.