Q&A with Long & Foster CEO Jeff Detwiler

Close to Home (CTH) sat down with Jeff Detwiler, CEO of The Long & Foster Companies, to talk technology, MoxiWorks and the value of an open platform.

CTH: These days, many real estate brokers claim to be “technology companies.” What does Long & Foster consider itself?

JD: For over 50 years, we’ve been and are proud to remain a real estate company—one that strategically uses technology to help our agents and clients to buy, sell, rent and invest in real estate.

Just as consumers work with Realtors for their expertise in buying and selling properties, we partner with the best-in-class technology providers to deliver leading solutions to our agents. It’s a calculated approach that enables us to work with the top tech firms in all verticals—giving our associates access to the latest and most innovative solutions to build their business.

CTH: Who are some of the companies you’ve partnered with?

JD: The most significant of these partnerships is with MoxiWorks, of which we became a part-owner in 2015. By investing in MoxiWorks, Long & Foster invested in the future of our real estate agents and our company. Not only does the partnership enable us to stay on the leading edge of broker services, but also it helps ensure our agents have the tools necessary to best support their clients.

CTH: Tell us more about how Long & Foster’s ownership in MoxiWorks benefits its agents.

JD: As a part-owner in MoxiWorks, we influence the company’s long-term growth and product development. We sit on the board of directors, sharing Long & Foster’s and our agents’ wants and needs directly with the leadership team of MoxiWorks. That helps ensure the solutions we need get built by the team at MoxiWorks.

MoxiCampaigns is a great example of how our input influenced MoxiWorks’ direction. Our agents asked for automated email campaigns—beyond the popular Neighborhood News campaign in MoxiEngage—and MoxiWorks delivered its MoxiCampaigns platform.

CTH: Why MoxiWorks?

JD: As a tech start-up founded by a real estate company—Windermere Real Estate (a company that’s much like Long & Foster but based on the West Coast), MoxiWorks knows real estate. They understand what it’s like to be an agent, so they know their solutions have to provide benefits beyond the tools themselves.

They have to simplify an agent’s work and build for them a smarter and more efficient workflow. One of the ways they do that is by being an open platform.

CTH: What’s an open platform?

JD: Think about the iPhone. There are proprietary applications on the iPhone that are included with your purchased phone, but you can also download other custom apps onto your iPhone. Those apps are built by myriads of other people and companies.  MoxiWorks is like that—offering you its proprietary MoxiEngage, MoxiPresent, MoxiHub and MoxiCampaigns programs, while also connecting you to popular tools like RealScout, ActivePipe and QuantumDigital—to name a few.

Just like Long & Foster partners with the top tech companies in the industry, so, too, does MoxiWorks—ensuring you have direct access to those leading vendors through your MoxiCloud platform. This structure enables Long & Foster to curate a tech stack that will bring our agents success now and well into the future—continually and quickly adding new tools as they’re introduced to the marketplace and changing what’s available as the times and market conditions adjust.

Conversely, a closed proprietary platform—like some of our competitors have touted recently—are limited to what they can develop and offer (and how fast they can develop it). They can’t leverage the industry-developed solutions in the same way as you can with an open platform, nor can they deploy them in the same speed.

CTH: We read MoxiWorks just gained a new investment partner, Vector Capital. What does that mean for Long & Foster and its agents?

JD: Even better products and even more products, faster. It’s truly tremendous news for our agents. With additional funding from Vector Capital, MoxiWorks can not only speed up their own product development pipeline—enhancing their existing suite of solutions and building new tools faster—but also consider strategic acquisitions.

Just like Long & Foster has acquired like-mind brokerages to grow our business, MoxiWorks may acquire other best-of-class tech providers that complement and supplement their existing offerings.

 CTH: Tell me a little about MoxiWorks current offerings and what Long & Foster agents can use.

JD: There’s MoxiPresent—the “more-than-a-CMA presentation system”—that we’ve had available to our agents since 2014. It’s a comprehensive and interactive CMA tool with pre-built presentations for our agents to use when pitching buyers and sellers of both luxury and traditional properties. Long & Foster agents have created more than 100,000 presentations in MoxiPresent so far.

MoxiEngage is another MoxiWorks solution that’s deployed at Long & Foster, and it’s a productivity and CRM system designed for real estate agents. It’s centered around the sphere-selling methodology and it’s proven to help active users increase their business by more than 30%.

MoxiCampaigns is one of the newer solutions within MoxiEngage, and it’s a set-it-and-forget-it email marketing system. Simply choose a campaign—for example, the holiday campaign—select which clients you’d like to receive it and they’ll automatically get holiday messages from you.

MoxiPromote is part of the MoxiMarketing suite, and it enables you to quickly and easily promote your listings or yourself via social media. In just three steps from your MoxiWorks account, you can grow your sphere, generate leads and win more listings.

MoxiHub is MoxiWorks’ Intranet platform, and it’s what we’ve built Foster, our new agent marketing and productivity platform, on. Foster is available in the DC metro region and is being introduced throughout the company. It provides easy access to a variety of programs most used by agents to “Foster your business.”

Those are just the MoxiWorks proprietary suite of products—there are also 50+ innovative tech companies that have partnerships with MoxiWorks and that we, as Long & Foster, have access to through MoxiWorks’ open platform. The options are limitless and by leveraging these programs, our agents have everything needed to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.