Salefish Software received the Global Innovation Award from the National Association of Home Builders last year, when one in every six low-rise homes in the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Golden Horseshoe were sold using its software.
And the company’s quest for what co-founder Rob Nicolucci half-jokingly refers to as “global domination” is just beginning.
“We’ve created something that hasn’t been done before and it works,” said Nicolucci at a recent presentation of what Salefish has to offer new home and townhouse builders, condominium developers, sales agencies and home buyers.
The idea of communicating with clients in a way that had never been done before was the catalyst when residential architectural firm RN Design launched what ultimately became Salefish.
Real-time transaction data solutions
The Concord, Ont.-based company provides real-time transactional data solutions that support builders, developers and salespeople in offering open access to information for home and condo buyers.
The technology enables pricing transparency and information portability for the purchaser. It also links transaction data to 3D interactive and enterprise resource planning systems for builders and developers.
Salefish’s interactive site plan table reduces duplicate sales, streamlines the sales process by decentralizing it, and creates an engaging customer experience. Its point of sale (POS) system uses touch screen kiosks and iPads that allow sales agents to search for availability based on house model type or lot size in new communities. It can provide unit price, lot-siting, floor plans, premiums and other information while also generating sales documents.
Salefish’s web-based software is hosted in the cloud and last year was improved with Home Buyer Live POS. This allows developers and sales agencies to send customers a link which enables them to buy a new home or condo unit online from anywhere.
“This has never been done,” Nicolucci emphasized.
Salefish in action
Zancor Homes, Pristine Homes and Fernbrook Homes collaborated with Salefish to offer customers the ability to purchase new homes online at Belle Aire Shores in Innisfil, Ont. in March. Nineteen homes were sold in the first 19 minutes, and the majority of the release sold out in one evening.
“Purchasers did their due diligence before that night when we opened the sales window,” said Roy Hobbs, president of Crescendo Real Estate Solutions, which delivers digital marketing and presentation centre sales programs for new residential communities.
“To sell that many homes in such a short period of time was absolutely phenomenal. The key was that people were in control of their own destiny and weren’t relying on salespeople or someone with a master siting plan saying ‘you can’ or ‘you can’t.’ ”
Salefish software reduces a 45-minute sales transaction to four minutes, and the sales representative doesn’t have to leave the customer’s side during the process, according to Hobbs.
Salefish was involved with 2,567 low-rise lot sales in 2016 and 3,567 so far in 2017. It was involved with 1,266 high-rise suite sales last year and 2,769 so far this year. Nicolucci estimated that the company will have been involved in the launch of between 60 and 70 housing communities this year.
There are licensing, set-up and monthly fees to use Salefish’s software.
“It will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to launch a low-rise site,” said Nicolucci. “It’s probably between $10,000 and $15,000 for a high-rise site.”
The cost is per builder per site, so multiple builders involved in the same community would each pay individually to use the software.
Eliminates need for sales offices
Salefish’s software eliminates the need to print brochures or create sales offices, though many developers using the software still choose to have them, or at least short-term pop-up sales centres.
“In a really busy market, we can take six months and spend $1 million to put up a really, really nice sales office, and we’re done in two days and people ask why you spent all of that money to do that,” said Lindvest sales and marketing director Joseph Alberga. “The flip side is that if it’s a really slow market and you spend all of that money and put in all that time and effort and you’re there for five years, someone will ask why you were there for so long.
“There’s no win for me. So if I have an option where I can do it this way and, one way or the other, it works, then I’m all for it.”
Alberga, who uses Salefish for all of his projects, said his salespeople are now used in a more productive way and the company has created a better buying experience.
“The role of the realtor will change, but it won’t disappear,” he stressed, likening the evolution to what’s taken place with travel agents in an era when many people book their own trips online.
“There’s all the work that goes in up front, and you have to meet with the people who come in, and there’s all of the after sale stuff that happens,” said Salefish co-founder and managing partner Rick Haws. “You’re not eliminating any of that by using the software.”
Future opportunities for Salefish include: greater absorption in the local high-rise market; entry into the United States, as well as rental buildings and retirement communities; facilitating online sales; white-labelling the program for other real estate service providers; customer portals; broker portals; and using the technology to enable buyers to decide on interior decors.