Saturday, December 2, 2023

Revolutionizing Real Estate Tech: DPI Showcase’s Journey of Automation and Growth

“There’s always talk about left-brain vs. right-brain people. Left-brained people are more analytical, while right-brained people tend to be more artistic. It seems to be the same with many salespeople. They tend to be more right-brained – social animals. They like to talk to people; to sell. They tend not to like programming or having to learn new programs. That is where DPI Showcase Web Sites come in. They try to automate as many of the technologies that real estate agents need, freeing them up to do what they do best: talking to people.

For the past 19 years, DPI has been creating websites for real estate agents and brokers. These websites are linked to the Multiple Listing System, MLS. Using a parallel program called the IDX (Internet Data Exchange), these websites import all the listings from the MLS, allowing the real estate agent’s clients to search for available properties in their area.

“Our main priority is to automate as much of the technical parts of sales as possible, freeing up the agent’s time,” states Mark Weithorn, Founder & CEO of DPI Showcase. “Before we add a new feature, we ask ourselves how can we automate this.”

In doing this, DPI has added many features to its system. There is a built-in CRM (Client Management System) with many automated functions. For example, if a client sees a property they like, they click on ‘Contact Agent’ and enter their name, email, and phone number. Automatically, the agent receives an email and a text message alerting them that they have a new lead. The client’s information is then automatically entered into the CRM. They start automatically receiving daily emails with new listings in their criteria, a weekly eNewsletter email, holiday emails, and various nurture emails. The agent is also alerted when the client is on the website looking at properties. All automatic. The real estate agent doesn’t have to lift a finger.

In addition to the IDX and CRM, the DPI websites have a host of other features. For example, each site has a blog page on it. Every day, a new article is hard-coded onto the website, providing content for search engine spiders to read. These blog articles are then automatically posted on LinkedIn. A weekly eNewsletter email is sent out to all the clients in the CRM. This newsletter contains the previous week’s blog articles. In certain markets, there is a database of new developments with floorplans. There are pre-designed landing pages plus many other features.

“The DPI system is not a template system; we call it a hybrid system,” states Mark. “Each agent is unique, and they want their look.” DPI has a team of web designers that work closely with each agent to customize the look and feel of each site. They match colors and add logos and photos of the agent or broker. Being sensitive to the needs of the agents, DPI never charges for set-up, design, or any modifications to the sites. The agents feel comfortable knowing they have a web designer they can reach out to.

It all began in 1998, DPI started as a printing company, Digital Printers International. One of their niches was printing postcard mailings for real estate agents. Then one day, while exhibiting at a real estate tech conference, Mark was approached by a dynamic programmer who had created a web system for agents. They instantly teamed up, retooled the system, and then started marketing this new technology to agents and brokers. As technology changed, printing was in decline and websites were growing, so in 2008, the printing division was sold off, and DPI Showcase was formed. The website division has been experiencing 19 years of solid growth.

“The key to owning a tech company is to keep your product relevant,” states Mark. “We are constantly adding new features to keep current with technology and the needs of our clients.” “Today we are analyzing AI, Artificial Intelligence, and its utilization in the real estate market.” “There seems to be confusion about what is automated vs. what is true AI. We have been using automation for many years now.”

As part of giving back to the community, Mr. Weithorn has been teaching marketing classes to agents for over 20 years. While he has taught and lectured across the country, most of these classes are at the Miami Association of Realtors. These are “How-To” classes, simple techniques that non-tech-savvy agents can do to generate leads. DPI also has a YouTube channel with dozens of Two Minute Tech Tips, teaching agents how to do simple tasks like posting links on social media or connecting their Facebook business page to their Instagram page. These videos receive thousands of visitors each month.

Recently Mark was a guest speaker at LA Tech Week. The topic was how AI will integrate into today’s world. He also spoke at the Internet 2.0 conference program in Las Vegas where, in a room full of programmers, he debuted the KISS method for technology: Keep IT Systems Simple. He explained how many programmers create systems and features without thinking out the user’s capabilities. The user gets frustrated and then stops using the program. Needless to say, there was much pushback from the programmers.

DPI’s plans have been consistent throughout the years, expanding into select regions across the USA. “Before entering a market, we take a look to see if it is profitable,” states Mark. “We look to see how many agents are in the area and if the real estate marketing is thriving.” This has contributed to the 19 years of consistent growth that DPI has experienced.”