The first time I heard about Trulia was during the 2006 Inman Connect Conference in NYC. At that time I was working as Director of e-business for Fillmore where I had just cracked the SEO puzzle and finished implementing a series of changes involving web, CRM and agent training. It was becoming clear to me that consumers wanted listing information that was easy to access and consume, with no strings – and they wanted agents that spoke their language. At that time, these thoughts were revolutionary – and I wanted to help bring them to market. Later that very year, I would have an offer in my hands to join Trulia as one of its earliest employees.
And so it began.
I can’t even begin to tell you what we went through over those 8 years, from the real estate downturn in 2008, to the resistance and challenges of bringing the Trulia name to the masses. We went personally from broker to broker to explain what we were doing and why. We had our share of victories and defeats along the way. And in the end, we brought many brokerages that were once staunch naysayers, into the fold.
The data didn’t lie: We drove leads and traffic, and did it at a much more effective rate than any form of advertising available – and I am proud of that work. Ken Jenny wrote a wonderful post that captures this sentiment, so I will not belabor it.
But I will bring it forward to today, and why I left.
I haven’t lost any love for Trulia. Trulia and its peers have created a fantastic lead generating machine that agents are crazy not to take advantage of – especially given the fact that they’re not required to pay. However, while portals have solved the lead generation problem, they haven’t solved lead conversion. That is where this revolution is headed.
Unfortunately, agents currently don’t have tools to help them in this process of converting an agent-ready client into an offer-ready client. Once an agent gets a paid lead, how do they truly deliver a search and discovery experience that rivals a portal, Houzz or Pinterest? Right now, RealScout is the only viable answer.
We will see many companies enter this space, and I am excited for the battle of innovation. By not being worried about driving leads, or monetizing agents via leads, we are able to drive value to the key part of the home buying process – getting offers and closing deals. Leads are highly commoditized. Prices for leads will be driven down, which is great for agents, but it means converting those leads is even more important. Traditional real estate portals encourage voyeuristic consumer engagement and this leads to a lot of wasted effort on discerning good leads from bad.
This creates a scenario where companies have to fight tooth and nail to provide the best possible home buying experience, vs a home browsing or shopping experience.
8 years ago, I set out on a journey to change lead generation for the real estate industry and succeeded in transforming the businesses of thousands of agents and brokers. It’s time to catalyze the next revolution: it’s time to make the move from lead-gen to next-gen tools – like RealScout.
This is why I joined RealScout after 8 years at Trulia.