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Elegran’s Alfred is light, smart proptech for NYC agents

05/29/2020

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Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Alfred is a listing marketing and lead management solution for agents of Elegran Real Estate.

Platforms: Browser; mobile-responsive Ideal for: Agents of Elegran Real Estate

Top selling points Low learning curve Broker Blast email marketing Listing creation process Integration of marketing team Developed 100 percent in-house Top concerns

As with every in-house solution, risk comes from top producers having more influence over new features and feedback, and learning to monitor feature-bloat.

What you should know

Elegran is a 100-agent firm in New York City that has long found ways to leverage technology on behalf of its agents. In 2017, it won an Inman Innovator Award for Most Innovative Brokerage.

The process started when its network of buyers started coming back as sellers, and the need to efficiently manage leads became a challenge.

After building a way to distribute seller leads, they found the process of agents standing over marketing folks while they design flyers and postcards to be slow and unproductive. (Speaking as someone who was once in that creative position, it’s also highly annoying.)

Those common business frustrations gave rise to Alfred, a web app for handling leads and managing marketing projects.

The software was developed and is supported by a separate development company owned by Elegran, but located in Budapest, Hungary.

There are a number of benefits to controlling the process, not the least of which is cost management. It also offers a straight line from user to coder. Elegran manages that with a select beta group that meets on a regular basis to discuss needs and Alfred’s roadmap.

Overall, the software looks great, uncluttered and visually ergonomic.

Leads come in from all sources and are identified accordingly in a list view upon login. The user can see the property or buyer name, price, the source and necessary details.

Leads are fed to each agent according to their rank within the company, which is probably the most judicious format a broker could use.

Agents manually input property data when entering a new listing, thanks to New York City’s lack of a fomral multiple listing service. But, Elegran’s historic database of listings helps auto-populate some of the data.

Agents order photographs through Alfred, using Elegran’s network of professionals. Final images are uploaded to a Google Drive for insertion into the listing entry.

I love this smart use of existing business technologies, and how Elegran doesn’t ask its agents to stray from their core competency, which is to sell real estate.

Show sheets, four-page brochures, postcards, and soon, Instagram story content, can be requested of the marketing department for quick turnaround and publishing.

Company policy dictates that Elegran agents are not charged for any marketing. However, an agent’s tier within the company does determine what marketing collateral is made available to them. That’s more of a business decision than a technology one.

Because there’s no MLS in New York, brokerages leverage something called the Broker Blast, essentially an ever-evolving email list of close to 20,000 agents.

Elegran has created a unique strategy for their agents’ blasts. It developed a “listing similarity algorithm” that pushes listings to only those agents best suited to sell them. In some cases, this trims their send from thousands to a few hundred. For some listings, another 1,000 of the “next closest” agents in similarity are added.

That, folks, is how email marketing is done. Elegran avoids spam stigmas, increases list viability, improves deliverability, and most importantly, reinforces its brand by sending only relevant, worthwhile listings.

The blast uses Mailchimp, and every listing is individually tagged within the software for easier send tracking and lead association within Alfred.

Alfred includes an automatic open house sign-in form that links names to their CRM, which runs on Salesforce — another smart use of existing software. Because why build a CRM, especially with only 100 or so agents?

This is cool, sharp and practical proptech, developed with the intent to better business efficiency and help real estate agents do what they’re paid to do.

I’m excited to see where Elegran takes Alfred, but secretly hope they don’t go much further with it. I’d hate to see software this light and specific get bogged down. What about a voice-skill?

“Alexa, open Alfred. Do I have any new leads?”

Lest we forget, Alfred could also benefit from including virtual tours and video marketing, which could easily be handled by the existing photography workflows.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman. He lives near Lake Tahoe in the northern Sierra Nevada of California.

After 25 years, Inman Connect is coming to you. We’re transcending our legendary events in a live digital event, Inman Connect Now. Get ready for the top industry leaders plotting the path forward, new business ideas and opportunities, networking like you’ve never imagined it, and tons of exciting new magic, all straight to you. It’s all part of an epic new Inman experience, Connect Now, June 2-4, 2020. Click here to save your seat.

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