For the last month or so I have been conducting interviews with the agents in my office to discuss their goals for the new year. It’s an interesting process because the interview/discussion/talk/get together is an opportunity to cover a lot of different bases. First, it is a chance for agents to talk about what they did right (or wrong) and second, to help them get on track for the coming year if they need the help. Every agent approaches our meeting a little differently. Some have a bunch of notes jotted down on a piece of paper while others have prepared power point presentations on their iPads . The important thing is that they have spent time thinking about their business and in my book, any effort is appreciated. The reality is that I am looking for three things; I want to know how agents are going to be conspicuous, connected and convenient. Here is what I mean;
Being Conspicuous is really about being “out there”. As we know, good Realtors are social creatures who are always keen to network and connect with people. NAR reports that in fact 73% of real estate transactions are a result of some sort of social activity. But there is more to going to dinner parties. To to truly conspicuous you must have a plan that will help you expand your customer base and attract attention. That plan could include door knocking, warm and cold calling, flyers, billboards, open houses, newsletters. The key, of course, is not only being in the conversation, it is about starting one. Remember, 41 real estate conversations equals 1 transaction. For me, the conspicuous part of the equation puts both your name and your face into the hands of the public.
Being connected is about using social media and technology. I am interested in what you are doing today that will increase your online persona tomorrow. Active Rain recently conducted a survey of 1758 real estate agents to find out what separated the top agents in the US ( those making more than $100k a year) from the rest. Not surprisingly, high performing agents spent 6 times more money on technology than their poorer counterparts. A whopping 87% used some type of client relationship software to manage and connect with new and past clients. This systematic management of their database allows successful agents to build a high volume business. Also interesting is that they were 35% more likely to blog, 54% more likely to use an email newsletter, 78% more likely to utilize video for their listings, and 175% more likely to use some type of Internet marketing. There are a number of social media platforms out there and while I won’t suggest using all of them, I think it is prudent to stick with one or two and use them well. Let’s face it, social media allows us the ability to send messages to a lot of people. So, are you broadcasting?
Finally, being convenient. Today, real estate happens second by second. Consumers are thirsty for knowledge and have the one tool to get that information fast…..their smart phones. Today, 1 out of every 6 searches happen on the phone. realtor.com recently reported that iPhone users to their site has increased by 68% in the past year while iPad users have increased 32%. Smart phones not only give the public the ability to search the internet all day long, it allows them to connect with agents quickly. But the surprise of the mobile study was that agents had terrible response times. Only 14% of agents responded within 30 minutes, 18% within an hour, and 35% actually never responded. (the other 40% were somewhere between a day and a week). So, if immediacy is the new norm, I want to know that you are available and knowledgeable because, in real estate, one without the other just doesn’t work.
Our conversations aren’t about money, they are about finding success using the myriad of tools available to us today. So, if you need a boost, drop by my office. have a great day.
Okay, here’s a question for you. How many of you out there made the decision to be a real estate agent when you were a kid? If you are like me, you probably had visions of being a doctor or maybe a fireman. We generally make our choices at an early age because our nature is to want to help people. If you ask my 6-year-old what he wants to do, he would say that he wants to own a factory that makes robots that clean up kid’s rooms. As adults, our focus changes a little. We may still want to help but our motivation is really about one thing….money. My boy has no concept of how much things cost. Last week his money-making scheme was for me to buy him a new toy which he would sell at a garage sale. He didn’t make his choice to own a factory because he thought he would make a lot of money. He simply clued in on the fact that cleaning his room was a drag, and if it was a drag for him, it was a drag for his friends too. He also figured out one of the basic rules of economics; people will beat a path to your door if you can provide something that will make their lives easier.
So what does our embedded need to help have to do with selling real estate? At the core, our job is about doing just that…Helping people. Because the internet has grown by leaps and bounds, today’s consumer often knows more about real estate than many agents. Our job has changed from home finder to “trusted advisor”. I think it is a concept that may be lost on a lot of agents out there. At the recent Agent ReBoot Conference in NYC they shared some interesting statistics from NAR on what people look for in choosing an agent. Check out the top five.
32% Agent is honest and trustworthy
20% Reputation of agent
17% Agent is a friend or family member
12% Agent is knowledgeable on the neighbourhood
11% Agent is a good listener
It seems clear that we need to offer more to our clients. We need to bring service back to our profession. My comments seem timely as we, especially in the Toronto market, face excruciating pressure from the Competition Bureau to create other models for sellers to choose from. I believe these choices that will, in effect, leave many consumers dazed and confused. I am not alone when I say that in the not so distant future, the courts will be clogged with real estate deals that have gone bad because one side of the transaction was not properly protected. Let’s not discount our industry. It is no surprise that when you focus on the financial reward customer satisfaction diminishes. We should be “going beyond the listing”. Doing so is the best way to raise the consumer’s expectations on what we, in the real estate industry, can do. Not only that, a happy client becomes your evangelist. Remember customer care does not end when the deal closes. Follow up is one of the cornerstones of building your referral business. Just ask Jim Ritchie, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Tridel. I had the great luck of sitting beside him on the flight back from NYC. He would tell you that one of the things that makes Tridel so successful is their client care (both before and after the sale).
The views expressed above may not be the views of Bosley Real Estate.