ERA Real Estate

ERA Sue Yannaccone

ERA Real Estate provides its customers with the innovative technology solutions

and consultative support they need to drive success

for their brokerages in an ever-changing market.

By Janice Hoppe

Technological advances and an increase in the accessibility of data have had a tremendous effect on almost every professional industry in the world. The real estate industry in particular has evolved into a much more dynamic field due to these advancements; which have not only changed the way that real estate professionals approach their clients, but has also resulted in a new type of homebuyer – one that is more educated and knowledgeable about the market before even reaching out to a realtor. In order to meet the evolving needs of the new homebuyer, ERA Real Estate has built a franchise system based on collaboration and support that has resulted in a stronger community of real estate professionals ready to take on these new challenges.

In 1971, Jim Jackson founded the company, now based in Madison, N.J., originally called Electronic Realty Associates, with the vision of bringing real estate into the technology era. At the time, the latest technological advancement was the fax machine. “The founders of ERA gave every real estate professional a fax machine when they joined the franchise,” President and CEO Sue Yannaccone says. “This was one of the company’s first steps towards instilling our brand’s value proposition, a commitment to innovation and cultural collaboration – both of which we still hold in the highest regard today.”ERA Fact Box

The fax machine allowed ERA Real Estate professionals to connect with each other across the country. “The industry back then was a closed industry; there wasn’t much communication between brokerages,” Yannaccone adds. “ERA team members recognized that brokers and agents within the network could lean on each other for support, so they began sharing best practices and lessons learned with one another via fax.”

“Today, ERA continues to attract brokers and sales associates who are focused on growing their businesses, learning about new technologies and adapting to the dynamic industry,” Yannaccone says. “Our brand operates with a broker-first mentality, taking a consultative approach to focus on each individual brokerage’s goals. The support we provide is tailored based on these specific goals, unlike other brands who take more of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to franchising.”

Tools for Success

One of the ways ERA continues to prove itself as an exceptional franchising opportunity for real estate professionals is through its dedication to providing customers with cutting edge solutions and innovative programs available to the industry. Franchisees have access to state-of-the-art technology, training and consultation services that help drive business performance.

For example, one of the most popular ways for franchisees to grow is through mergers and acquisitions. When a franchisee becomes interested in a potential acquisition, ERA leverages its global network to help source potential targets, then offers its extensive financial and strategic consulting opportunities to help close the deal.

ERA Real Estate executives today continue to uphold the establishment’s founding commitment to bringing the latest technology and innovation to the real estate industry. Most recently, ERA rolled out the Zap platform, a new integrated technology that connects consumers, agents and brokers. Zap provides ERA brokers and agents with branded websites and a customer relationship management (CRM) system, as well as transaction management tools, digital marketing resources and “agent coaching” reports.

“The new Zap platform offers a world-class consumer interface where perspective homebuyers can search listings with a Google-quality experience or better,” Yannaccone says. “It also has a set of agent tools on the backend so real estate professionals receive insights into consumer behaviors that helped them to better serve clients.”

“Zap’s central component is a scoring algorithm used to gauge the readiness of a consumer to buy,” Yannaccone continues. “One of the challenges in real estate with the onset of the Internet is that the buy cycle has become quite long. It starts out in a casual, entertainment-oriented format because consumers can gain information online so easily. It becomes more serious over an 18- to 24-month period where they shop for houses and ultimately turns into a transaction.”

The platform assigns each prospective homebuyer a numerical score from zero to 100. The higher the number, the more ready a potential customer is to make a purchase decision. “This component of the platform provides a view of all transactions and consumers so agents and brokers can manage their business in a more effective and efficient manner,” Yannaccone says.

Ongoing Support

Because technology often leads to changes in the home-buying process, ERA is constantly evolving its training programs to ensure its brokers and agents know how to work with new types of buyers as they emerge. “Demographics, expectations, needs and wants have all changed because of increased access to housing market information,” Yannaccone says. “We have a robust training platform with live training, online classes and self-paced classes; the majority of our programs come at no additional cost to the franchisee.”

In addition to ERA Real Estate’s extensive training platforms, which was notably ranked among Training Magazine’s top 125 programs last year, ERA’s many technology platforms are also included in the franchise fee. Brokerage firms and agents are not only given access to the Zap platform, but each brokerage is also provided with a company website for each of their offices, as well as for each of their agents.

“The office and agent websites are hosted on the same platform, which is a real advantage for SEO and from a marketing perspective,” Yannaccone says. “There is an agent rating tool on the website and a place for agents to leave insights on properties they have toured. When you add up all that original content it helps improve search scores in Google.”

To keep its franchisees connected and up-to-date on the latest industry trends, ERA hosts an annual international business conference with more than 2,000 attendees from 33 countries. Additionally, the brand hosts regional meetings, training events and rallies for sales associates throughout the country – so professionals in similar areas of the country can meet and collaborate in a smaller, more intimate setting.

ERA also participates in industry conferences in order to share expert insight around the latest industry happenings and stay up to date with new advancements. ERA Real Estate executives often participate on panels or as keynote speakers at these events. For example, earlier this year, Sue Yannaccone participated in a panel discussion about women in real estate at Inman Connect in New York City, while Chief Marketing Officer Chris Trick discussed marketing automation at a recent industry conference in San Francisco.

Moving forward, ERA plans to continue focusing on growth in the major metro areas of the United States. “Our brand was founded and really focused in its early years on secondary and tertiary markets,” Yannaccone explains. “More recently, we’ve begun to target more popular major U.S. metropolitan areas, and so far have found great success. Over the past five years, we’ve expanded ERA Real Estate’s presence into 12 major metros, including market-leading companies in Houston, Nashville and Beverly Hills.”


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