Chime Customer Success Interview with Wilson Leung
Buying and selling real estate in one of the country’s hottest markets is no small task. Any agent, team, or firm across the country can wheel-and-deal homes within the national median market price of $234,900, but on the San Francisco Peninsula (where $7.16M homes and one-week deals are surprisingly commonplace), it takes a special breed of agent to thrive in the cutthroat shadow of Silicon Valley.
In our first customer success interview, we sat down with Wilson Leung, a Realtor at KW, to highlight the impacts Chime has made on himself and his team. Wilson has seen a 300% explosion in growth and has secured 30 taxable REIT subsidiaries to date since switching to Chime. Read more to learn how Chime has made specific impacts on Wilson and his team.
Zach: Tell us about your background in real estate. Where did you get your start?
Wilson: I was born and raised in San Francisco. My parents were first generation and I came from pretty humble beginnings. I witnessed first-hand the journey my parents took from not being able to speak English to where they are today, and those experiences have influenced how I run my business today and how I set my own expectations for others.
I’ve been licensed for five years and I got my start with the property management side early on in my life when I was 16. My parents had a passion for real estate, both buying and managing multiple properties, so that gave me the opportunity to manage units, screen tenants, oversee the application process, verify references, and even addressing tenant needs and problems.
The natural progression for me was to continue in real estate but to stay within the Bay Area as the language barrier prevented me from moving oversees to help my parents in China.
Z: What did you do traditionally regarding marketing efforts and sales strategies?
W: In terms of marketing and sales, there are so many shiny objects for us as real estate agents for us to use that we’re always drawn to something new and we want to try it. But obviously there’s always a problem with that because we learn consistency is the key to success.
Before Chime, I used a stack of different tools, including Microsoft Outlook (for email) and Excel. After that, I used Contactually, which was actually a great product however, for me, it wasn’t everything that I came to expect a real estate platform to have.
Now that I use Chime, Chime has so many tools that we need to do to run our business that it’s 99% there of being the one-stop-shop for agents that are willing to learn to use it. The 1% is actually ourselves who have either gotten lost in all the many learning curves each new shiny object creates or we’re so accustomed to the tools we use currently we aren’t willing to look elsewhere for tools that can actually meet our needs.
Z: What did you dislike most about the software you used in the past?
W: The biggest pain points were interface.
There are so many products that will get the job done, but 1) the interfaces were never user friendly and 2) there weren’t any platforms that allowed me to pay a single fee and get everything I needed up front.
I had to worry about “this product doesn’t have X features so I have to look for those features somewhere else” and I ended up paying for two different products that might have overlapped in some features but I could get everything I needed.
Going back to interface, it makes a huge difference in terms of how someone feels. It’s a business tool, but how I feel about using it will influence my overall experience of successfully using my tool and ultimately making a difference in my bottom line.
Z: How does Chime make you feel?
W: Chime is easy to use. I’ve been with them since they were beta, but even so, my critiques have been very minor. Things that need to be “fixed” are just “this could be easier on my eyes,” but the things I needed were already there.
Z: What excites you most about Chime? What would you tell an agent to help them switch?
W: For any product there’s always going to be a learning curve, and that’s a given. So for any good product, the learning curve will always be for the better. But Chime’s learning curve was different – because there wasn’t any curve.
Chime really provides the CRM piece, which is the most important tool for any agent. There’s also an advertising platform as well, which it makes it easier as an agent because you don’t have to build, deploy, or manage, the ads yourself. You just respond to the leads as they come in: You can call them, you can email them, you can send property information at your own time.
Once you engage with your leads and have a conversation, you start to understand their criteria.
Chime also has drip campaigns, which reminds me of RealScout, so the emails are automated and personalized for your leads so it looks like an authentic email from you with little effort on your part.
Going back to interface, Chime is really friendly. It’s like Apple’s iOS: It’s easy to use and consumer friendly.
Z: Talk to us about websites.
W: Your website is the reference point for your business. So if meet someone on the street or over the phone and they do a Google search for my name, my website has to 1) perform well in search engines following SEO best practices, and let’s say someone lands on my site after they searched it, they want to see that I actually have a working website.
The negative of not having a great website isn’t unique to real estate. Let’s say you were shopping for something online and you were going back and forth between two websites, the website that loads faster and is more user friendly will get your business over the other website which is slow and out-dated.
Even though a lot of agents have a great looking website, it doesn’t mean people will visit. You have to send people there. So as an agent, you have to worry about how to get people to your site. One way is to specifically advertise your website. If you spend money to advertise your website, your website better be pretty good or else people will fall off.
Z: How easy was it to build your website with Chime.
W: I didn’t have to build it!
Chime’s research team and their team of engineers has done a great job in terms of researching what the best real estate websites include. They perform competitor research, so just like in real estate, they make sure your website stands out from the rest.
Chime has a great approach analyzing every product out there available to us as real estate agents, pointing out what’s good, what’s bad, and really picking out all the good parts.
Z: How has Chime impacted your business?
W: Like any CRM, it’s up to the agent to use it. So if I have the best product like Chime and I don’t use it, there’s no point in me paying for it. But if you aspire to get to a position where you’re scalable and you’re not going to do everything on your own, Chime is a great tool to use.
As little of a difference as we consciously think it makes, when we notice that the tools that our lives easier, we subconsciously keep going back to them and avoid tools which impair us.
For example, take a luxury car versus an economy car. If I was driving a luxury car around town and you told me I had to switch back to the economy car, it wouldn’t be a good fit. It’s missing technology, it’s missing physical creature comforts, and it’s missing features which I know the luxury car can provide. Like cars, software tools are constantly improving and making our lives easier.
Z: So what is next for you regarding for online marketing?
W: Chime solves the problem of what to market and who to market to. Not only is it easily to use, but it’s scalable. You can assign leads to different team members, you can set up rules to govern who can see leads, and it keeps great records on the lead including who has touched the lead, what was said, and how the lead responded at any volume.
It also works on mobile, both phones and tablets, and it’s also in the cloud, which all CRMs should be. I can access it anywhere regardless if my PC breaks down or if I forgot my phone so I don’t need to run home or run back to the office.
Remember for online marketing, there are many ways to generate leads. As a business person, you should always think about yourself, too, and it’s on you to convert those leads. The lead is either going to be a good lead, a great lead, or a bad lead. Chime is really flexible in allowing you to use the CRM based on your own sales process, from assigning leads, creating campaigns, or sharing lead information between team members and even lenders.
Z: Can you describe your relationships today between lenders and between team members?
W: In our field, lenders are willing to split the marketing costs. One way that both of us can see our money and keep it more accountable is using the Chime system. Lenders can have a profile into the same backend of our CRM.
So let’s say we’re splitting the costs on Zillow leads, and I pay $500 and my lender pays $500. Of course there is a dashboard on Zillow telling us how many leads came in and the conversions but it’s not going to track how many conversations we had, how many emails we sent, was it sent to the lender, does the lender know about it. In Chime, it’s automated. The agents, teams, and lenders all have their own profiles and can all login and see the same database of clients.
Z: Anything else you would like to talk about?
W: Touching base on the luxury car analogy, I like the frequent updates because it means I know Chime’s engineers are working hard. Some CRMs rarely update.