Real Estate Relationship Building in the Digital Age
NextHome CEO discusses how an emphasis on human connection drives tech-adoption strategy
Originally published on RISMedia
NextHome’s 'Humans Over Houses' mantra has catapulted the franchisor to record-setting growth. The company added 135 offices between 2019 and 2021, making it No. 1 in office growth in the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2021 ResidentialFranchise Report. In 2022, Franchise Business Review ranked NextHome the No. 1 franchise in owner satisfaction across all industries.
In this exclusive interview, NextHome CEO James Dwiggins shares with us where NextHome stands today, and where the company is headed as technology becomes an even greater factor in real estate relationship building.
Real Estate magazine: Give us an update on the past year, where is NextHome today?
James Dwiggins: I recently got back from Orlando, Florida, where we got to celebrate the success of our top-producing agents, teams and offices at our annual conference.NextHome ended 2021 with 36,600units closed and $11.9 billion in sales volume. We were also named theNo. 1 franchise in owner satisfaction by Franchise Business Review for the second year in a row.
Needless to say, we had a lot to celebrate with our members.We hadn’t filled a conference center with this many NextHomies since2019. The company has grown a lot in the past three years. We ended Q1 with 5,300 members across 575 offices. We had many new brokers and agents in attendance—members who have never experienced a NextHome event before, and we knew it was really important to make them feel like part of the family alongside those we had not seen in a while.It was great to see so many of our members in their orange outfits breakdancing at our cocktail reception one night, then getting up early the next day to get a first look at our new technology platform, including IDX websites and a powerful smartCRM.
You got to see how these high-achieving professionals could effortlessly blend the highest industry standards with pure joy and old fashioned fun.This event meant a lot to us, so we had to make it count. For months prior, we did our homework, not just planning for the conference, but also laying the groundwork for all the new initiatives we announced in Orlando.
Real Estate magazine: Speaking of new initiatives, what’s in store for NextHome in the future?
James Dwiggins: Moving forward, we can’t be complacent. Challenges are going to come, as they always do. We will be ready by adopting new technology, marketing, and education programs. A big part of skillfully adopting new initiatives is starting with the core of who we are. I am going to sound like a broken record here, but again, it’s putting humans over houses. No matter where technology takes us, our approach will always put people at the center. As long as we stay focused on the humans, we can easily adopt the right marketing and technology.
For example, readers of RISMedia likely saw our announcement a few weeks back. NextHome has partnered with Inside Real Estate, and we’re bringing the kvCORE platform to all of our NextHomies as an included member benefit. Before moving forward with Inside Real Estate, we asked ourselves how we could use technology to help our members focus on their most important task: connecting with their clients.
kvCORE was the right choice—the platform does a lot to nurture connections. It takes the agent’s lead-generating work away from a drip advertising approach, moving more toward an AI-driven intuitive conversation. It lets the technology work the lead generation side of our associates’ business so that they can focus on helping people who are ready to buy or sell and who need the skills and full attention of our NextHomies.
A lot of tech sounds great in theory but ends up killing productivity. It leaves little time to make connections with the human beings you represent. We strive for the opposite. NextHome offers a single platform that has everything agents and brokers need to run a successful business, a single password to remember, a single phone number or email address to save when you need support. Any new initiative, including this partnership with Inside Real Estate, is going to make the business of our members more integrated, streamlined and, most importantly, client-focused.
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