There are two sides of our business. There’s the stuff that we do without technology, let’s call that the analog you, and then there is the stuff you do with a computer, that’s the digital you. There is no question that technology is having a significant impact on our business. It seems like every six months or so there is a new launch of the next shiny new toy/gimmick making promises to increase our business.
The truth, I believe, is that technology will help us reach more people and even make our job easier. If you consider yourself a Jetson you can use tech tools to increase your business flow…that is, increase the contacts that pass through your life. But being only a Jetson isn’t going to make you more money. To do that you also need to think like a Flintstone. Understand that before there was Facebook, Twitter, emails, texts and digital signatures there was the simplicity of face to face interaction. Granted today’s fast-paced world makes that personal interaction more difficult, but clients learn so much more about you, as a real life person, than an email signature or Facebook post.
My goal for 2017, and I hope the goal for every realtor, is to ditch my jet pack and adapt the more foot powered car alternative to increase my business. This doesn’t mean giving up on tech tools that help you and I meet and interact with people but we should also ramp up those phone calls, letters, hand written notes and personal interactions. Above all, increase our frequency and speed of those old school interactions. Consumer surveys reveal that our new digital world has created a population that is impatient and compulsive so the key to connecting is a quicker response time combined with increased frequency.
Personal interaction has another benefit. It allows you to ask more personal questions and in order to get truthful answers the clients just need to know you better. I suppose that is why video bios have become so important to our business. Not only is it easier to get information (watching rather than reading) but it gives clients an idea about who you are well before they meet you and divulge their motivations for moving. The reality is that we can’t help our clients until we truly know them.
So be more like a Flintstone this year. And don’t give up. Remember to keep calling and interacting until you get the business or they tell you to stop.
Mark McLean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real Estate Association. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE.
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Annual General Meeting in Ottawa as a voting delegate and representative of the Toronto Real Estate Board. Say what you will about organized real estate conventions, the truth is that everyone there is interested in the health and longevity of our industry and while you may not always agree with them, they are NOT there for the free food. I am constantly amazed at the passion and committment to our industry, their enthusiasm in new directions and technologies and their support of charities like Realtor’s Care.
Last year, CREA, under the direction of their board, decided to take an indepth look at all aspects of how organized real estate operates in Canada. The Futures Implementation Team identified four strategic focus areas that they wanted to concentrate on: development of a state-of the-art technology platform, providing information and tools to Realtors and to consumers; increased emphasis and enhancement of professional development to increase our value to consumers; looking at restructuring organized real estate, particularly the governance, to expedite decision-making, and ultimately reduce costs and duplication; and finally to acquire consumer insight so organized real estate can understand changing consumer needs and improve our relationship with consumers. While all very good stuff, this is a tremendous amount of work which eventually lead to the proposal of 23 initiatives. Well, that is the history of FIT in a nutshell.
Back in October I headed to Winnipeg for a CREA Special Assembly to get a first hand look at some of these proposals. One of which was a “Rate Your Realtor” idea. This has been a relatively divisive topic among boards and in Ottawa there was, again, a lengthy debate about it. Some argued that the optics of a rating system for Realtors, regulated by Realtors would not be viewed in a positive light by the public. Others said that a private system could corrupt an agent’s rating easily and that a CREA owned system could monitor the ratings more vigilantly. The proponents of the idea looked to the successes of an internally owned rating system at the Houston Board, while others looked at some existing rating sites that had lots of outdated information. In the end the proposal was defeated, but somehow I think we will hear about this idea again.
The idea of ratings got me thinking however. I wonder if a private site could ever become the penultimate resource on the performance and success of agents let alone develop a profitable model for such a system. At the end of the day, good agents, who have been in the business for a while, are successful because they have stellar reputations and can safely rely on the referrals of past clients. They did a good job and were attentive to the needs of their clients. But agents who are just starting out may not have built their referral network yet. So what can they do? Simple, put a testimonial section in your website or include a brief video on your front page. It is not a lot of work for the benefit provided. There have been a number of studies that show a testimonial has much more leverage with decision makers than an advertising message.
So the take away here is that testimonials, whether written or by video, should be a key component of your marketing and prospecting plan. It has a lot of value so make it front and centre. We carry around, in our phones, the technology to record quick videos at a moment’s notice, so next time you do a good job for someone ask them if they will record a little testimonial for you.