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Episode 349 - Russ Cofano - CEO and President - Collabra Technology Inc
Episode 34911th April 2023 • The Real Estate Sessions • Bill Risser
00:00:00 00:45:17

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Episode 349: 



Episode Summary:

Today's guest is Russ Cofano, the CEO and President of Collabra Technologies, and he is currently based in Redmond City, around the Seattle area.

In this episode, Russ discusses the importance of agents adopting digitalization to expand their sphere of influence and increase productivity. Russ also talks about his accidental but direct entry into real estate.

Top Takeaways: 

"Seeing the problems and helping people solve those problems is a great way to get a knowledge base that no one else does."

- [Bill Risser] 

"You live life through the windshield, but you view life and understand life through the rearview mirror."

- [Russ Cofano] 

"In marketing, word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective method of marketing because it comes with the seal of approval of the person making that referral."

- [Russ Cofano] 

"Marketing is not a 30-day diet; it's not a 90-day lead gen program. It is a consistent process over time to build your presence in whatever you're trying to market."

- [Russ Cofano] 

"There is a correlation between certain digital marketing activities and production."

- [Russ Cofano] 

"It's amazing how many agents don't see the power of ratings and reviews."

- [Russ Cofano] 

Episode Highlights:

[00:56] Intro

[01:19] Meet today's guest, Russ Cofano

[04:24] What's the biggest misconception about Seattle? 

[07:24] From Law school into real estate. 

[15:36] Starting work with Collabra Technologies. 

[21:11] About SphereBuilder

[31:17] Case studies on top producing agents. 

[38:00] Working with MLS companies.

[42:44] Advice from Russ to new agents

[44:03] Connect with Russ.

Episode Notes: 

With a lot of his life spent around the Seattle area, Russ sees that the biggest misconception about the place is its heavy rainfall. However, the annual rainfall is even less than New York City's. Although there are more rainy days, most are short, quick drizzles. Russ schooled at the University of Washington and loves Football. 

After getting his Law degree, Russ got into real estate, which piqued his interest while in law school. He wanted to start developing hotel buildings but decided to represent developers instead due to the high-interest rates. Incidentally, where he got a job had a significant presence in residential real estate, and working there gave him a lot of knowledge and passion for the industry. Because his role was the legal hotline for realtors calling in, he gained much experience enough to be a broker before starting. 

Russ had discovered he had prostate cancer, after which his wife got diagnosed with breast cancer, and although they fully recovered with treatment, they decided to stay in Seattle. He eventually got to work with a new company managing their assets to help the company grow by building technology that allows realtors to be better marketers. 

There are two spheres of influence; the first is close contacts like friends or family who know, like, and trust the agent. This sphere also generates referrals through word-of-mouth marketing. Another form of marketing is Search Marketing which has become owned mainly by portals. Now, there are social channels built with a different strategy than the close contacts

SphereBuilder contains a tool called Sphere Index which is a way for an agent to measure their performance in digital marketing through an analytics platform that observes their activity on different social media. SphereBuilder also recommends how agents can improve this score based on the benchmark set by successful agents in their area. It has a content generation platform with easy sharing mechanisms through organic and paid-ad formats. This is crucial because marketing is a consistent effort to build an online presence. Already there is a correlation between certain digital marketing activities and production. Over time, there would even be a tighter correlation between these two. From the case study on the top-producing agents, one can see that these agents did things differently using a platform of their choice, an authentic approach, and consistency. SphereBuilder helps agents do these things.

Agents are time-poor and sometimes not too tech-savvyhence SphereBuilder has been made to be as simple as possible so that agents can quickly do what they need. This allows them to spend more time with prospective clients. This ease of functionality is similar to Bill's "Rate My Agent" process to help give agents ratings. SphereBuilder categorizes digital marketing into three subsegments; profiles, content/engagement, and reputation ratings. Interestingly, only some agents are maximizing their digital presence.  

While the MLS work is demanding, some lawsuits can undermine how MLSs have operated. It has become imperative to broaden the value proposition they provide agents. However, there is sluggishness in MLSs to adopt this due to the typical delays in their decision-making processes. 

SphereBuilder hopes to become the marketing data source for the real estate industry. With real estate being a marketing-related business, harnessing data analytics to give real estate agents prescribed steps to get transactions. 

Advice from Russ to new agents: Find a mentor or someone you connect well with beyond the business, and learn everything you can from them. It may seem slow initially, but it will be your best decision ever.

Resources Mentioned:








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