First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Asif Hussain: I’m well, thank you for asking. We are staying safe and counting our blessings!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ShowingHero.
Asif Hussain: I’ve always been in the startup space and fascinated by technology. However, the idea of ShowingHero came from my friend and co-founder Zee Bhimji, who is a property manager himself. Zee is a rockstar, serial entrepreneur and lives and breathes real estate. He owns award-winning Property Management franchises in the greater Chicago-land area and has been a leader in the PM space for over a decade.
Zee had approached me with a problem he was facing with showing coordination. His team was spending countless hours a week responding to renters, coordinating showings, dealing with no-shows and managing the leasing process. He saw this as an incredible drain of resources of both time and money. On the other hand, renters had a horrible customer experience. They would have to wait 48-72 hours to get a response, multiple emails and calls to even schedule a showing two weeks out! Therefore, we decided to build a platform that would allow us to solve issues that we were dealing with ourselves.
How does ShowingHero innovate?
Asif Hussain: Like many processes that need to change or become revolutionized, to most individuals, they appear status quo and inaccessible. Disruption is not just making a product/process better but transforming, simplifying and making it accessible to the masses. Ordering food or a cab from your phone, connecting globally with your friends via video chat, or even printing 3D objects from home all change the way we interact with the product, each other and the world around us.
In Property Management, it seemed normal to suffer through the antiquated system of the leasing cycle. It was costly and time consuming for agents and property managers and frustrating for renters and buyers.
A property manager would get 100s of calls and emails throughout the day inquiring about properties and setting up showings. It because extremely expensive to respond, pre-screen and show properties throughout the city. Even with a large staff, it would be impossible to keep up with the demand AND be profitable.
ShowingHero changed that, ShowingHero automates and streamlines the entire leasing cycle. The platform responds to every lead 24/7, qualifies prospects, coordinates showings based on the agent’s availability, and nurtures the prospect throughout the process with timely notifications. Agents don’t have to respond to redundant inquiries and play scheduling coordinator, and all administrative tasks are relegated to ShowingHero. This saves agents upwards of $440 per property and reduces the Days on Market by up to 73%.
On the other hand, prospects usually schedule showings outside of business hours, are looking for immediate responses, and want information readily available. Three-fourths of renters who ask property managers about a listing expect to hear back within 24 hours. With ShowingHero renters are now able to schedule, confirm and view property details instantly! The average prospect schedules 2.1 showings and raves about how simple the process is. Check out our Facebook and Google Page- The Proof is in the Pudding!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Asif Hussain: The pandemic has actually been a push for the real estate industry toward innovation. During the pandemic, ShowingHero was the first to launch virtual showings, a safe and secure way to view homes while still providing the personal touch. ShowingHero is the only platform to offers Agent, Self, Virtual showings and Video tours. Over the past 6 months, ShowingHero grew rapidly as companies were looking for social distance showing options and reducing their overall cost.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Asif Hussain: Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of lessons as we grew and expanded. The one we are trying to internalize with our team nowadays is “Good isn’t the opposite of Perfect” We are all artists, creators and innovators in our own worlds. Often we strive for perfection, and anything short of that isn’t acceptable. I often share that we should strive for greatness, but perfection should be a horizon, and that sometimes good is great enough. In our startup world, if you wait for a perfect product to launch at the perfect time to the perfect client, you will never launch. You need to fail fast and fail hard and learn quickly.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and ShowingHero in the future?
Asif Hussain: Having a great team helps manage stress and anxiety and working with empathy. Our motto at ShowingHero is “Be Better”- In everything you say, do or act. Hold yourself, your colleagues, your family/friends and everyone around you to the highest standard. Be motivated by the fact you can always be better, be humbled by the fact you can always be better.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Asif Hussain: We are really excited at ShowingHero about the future of the real estate. Our goal is to make showings simple, prospect-driven and empowering. We are moving towards utilizing AI to help agents and property managers increase their capacity and reduce their workload by removing the stress of leasing and selling. We’ve worked hard this year to secure self-showing concerns and provide a richer experience for virtual showings for prospects. We believe that as we move forward into 2021, contactless showings will be the future. However, we also don’t want to move away from the customer journey, so every interaction and feature we create the customer experience is at the core.
Your final thoughts?
Asif Hussain: As we reflect on what makes companies great, I truly believe the driving force is compassionate leadership. To be great, EQ is more crucial than the IQ of the team, and hence empathy is extremely important more so today than ever before. Compassionate leadership recognizes that diversity is a strength on the team and reaching success requires a growth mindset and an attitude of abundance from all members. Leadership isn’t about demanding but influencing towards a shared goal. We are excited to work with our clients, partners and users in creating a more compassionate, valuable and brighter future in real estate.
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