Milestones CEO says agents must move away from transactional mindset to a relational one

Today’s RealTrending features features Rivers Pearce, chief marketing officer, and Dustin Gray, founder and CEO of Milestones, a homeowner portal that just raised 10.3 million in Series A funding.

Here is a small preview of today’s interview with Rivers and Dustin. The transcript below has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Tracey Velt: Immediately, when agents hear of housing super app, of course, they’re thinking of Zillow and they’re worried about them disrupting the agent. You said you partner with agents. I know that’s a question that I have further down on the list, but it seems to fit right here. Tell me about the difference with that. What do agents really need to know about what you’re doing as far as from a disruption angle?

Dustin Gray: Well, for starters, we don’t like to look at ourselves as disruptors, and here’s why. We are not a direct-to-consumer brand. We are invisible. Our goal is to empower the industry, to build long term relationships with clients and make those enjoyable for the homeowner, enjoyable for the agent, enjoyable for the lender and have those folks stay connected. Nobody should see Milestones much in that process.

So if you work at company X, the app should look and feel like company X. If you look at company Y, it should behave like company Y. And that was really the intent all along. It wasn’t to build something, to try and disintermediate people from their clients. It was to build, frankly, in some ways the anti-Zillow.

That doesn’t mean we’re really anti-Zillow. What it means is we think that once you get a client, somebody that you know in real life, that you should serve that client forever. And if you’re doing so, guided or aided by tech, they should never go back to a portal and become a lead for somebody else. If you already know them and work with them in real life, they should have no reason to.

So the disruptive part, if you could look at it as saying, “Let’s build something that never ends between the client and the service provider. And let’s make continuity with that.” But we don’t do that under the Milestones brand. That’s a huge point of difference. We empower everybody else to take the relationships they already have and make those relationships go further with technology.

Rivers Pearce: I would piggyback on that is without getting into too much complexity here, but it is really a platform or an operating system to bring all of your existing technology together in a potentially more seamless way, where Milestones is operating underneath the hood.

And, yes, we do some things very, very well, but you may have things that we do that you don’t want to necessarily use our platform for. And I think when I first met Dustin, he likened it to the iPhone operating system. That there are plenty of great tools there, like a calendar app or mapping and whatnot, but you may prefer to use Google Calendar.

You may prefer to use some of these other things, but there are other things that the ecosystem does very well and facilitates. I think that’s very much how we see Milestones fitting in from a technology perspective as well.

RealTrending features the brightest minds in real estate. Twice a month, brokerage leaders, top agents, team leaders, and industry experts share their success secrets, trends, and lessons learned navigating this ever-changing industry. Hosted by Tracey Velt and produced by Elissa Branch.