Matt Dollinger, the V.P. of strategic development with @properties, is leaving the Chicago brokerage for a new position at Internet real estate company Trulia.
Dollinger will be the Head of Industry Relations for Trulia, a role in which he’ll oversee sales and business development for the company’s industry team and craft new products for brokers across the country.
As Dollinger tells it, he was initially not looking for a new position. Having been with @properties for five years, he was more than content with the brokerage (“I have been blessed to work there,” he said), and though he had been involved with Trulia’s advisory board for the last four years, he did not foresee a new career opportunity.
During a meeting with the company, Trulia asked Dollinger for suggestions on what kind of person they should hire for a new position they were developing in industry relations. After sharing his perspective on what qualities such a person should have, the meeting adjourned as usual – and then Trulia contacted Dollinger a couple weeks later, asking if he would be interested in the position.
The position, Dollinger said, will encompass several different areas. Half of the job will be overseeing Trulia’s sales team, specifically the individuals who work with brokers and representatives from local MLSs. The other half will be designing new products and services that better assist the real estate community, and Dollinger said the first six months of the job (he starts June 4) will be largely travel-based, as he visits brokers around the country and acts as the “business face” of Trulia, building rapport with brokers, listening to the challenges they face in their businesses and then working with the uniquely gifted engineers at Trulia to design services to meet those needs.
Brokers, Dollinger explained, are primarily concerned about the three “R’s” – recruiting, retention and revenue. Of all the brokers Dollinger has met with in his eight years in real estate, from New York, to San Diego, to Kentucky, he said those have been the universal themes in the industry, and the challenge for Trulia will be designing programs that are specific for broker needs but homogeneous enough to satisfy any broker across the country.
Ultimately, Dollinger said he’ll be working towards strengthening the symbiotic relationship between Trulia and brokers, especially now that real estate has emerged from its post-boom lull and it looking forward to a positive future.
The two big areas of focus for the company’s new programs, he said, will be continuing the quality of the company’s data, and establishing better trust with brokers on syndication services. Syndication, as we’ve reported before, has been a prime target for suspicion and, at times, hostility from brokers, and Dollinger said it will be his job to build trust with brokers, establish new partnerships between them and Trulia, and then provide them with technological solutions to the aforementioned concerns.
Because of the job’s emphasis on business relations, Dollinger said it integrates very well with his unique professional background. Prior to his tenure with @properties, Dollinger was director of career development for four years with Prudential Preferred Properties, so his real estate years gave him experience at franchise and independent brokerages.
“I’ve lived and breathed brokerages the last eight years,” he said.
And Dollinger’s position is not the only new development at Trulia, he explained. The company is preparing to unroll several new programs and features for agents, many of which build upon changes already enacted by the company.
“This is a company, much like @properties, that was able to … identify a concern and make changes quickly,” Dollinger said.
A press release on Trulia’s corporate elaborated on those changes, which aim to strengthen ties between the company and the real estate industry and develop professional relationships in the process that allows the company to deliver better solutions to brokers and assist agents in growing their business. Some of the initiatives the release mentioned include:
- An overhaul of the company’s broker offerings to improve marketing tools provide more accurate data and advertising for property listings..
- The release of Trulia’s Data Pledge for Listing Syndication and Display.
- The Trulia Direct Reference program, which allows local MLS, brokers and agents to synch data and improve accuracy.
Pete Flint, the CEO and co-founder of Trulia, said Dollinger’s addition to the company is one more step in Trulia’s new focus.
“Trulia is committed to the success of our industry partners,” Flint said. “We’ve introduced some exciting changes in the last year, and I expect Matt’s knowledge of the real estate industry will immediately help us better understand and meet the needs of our customers.”