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.
I have just returned from a conference in Banff, Alberta called the Banff Western Connect. I’ll fully admit that I am a bit of a conference junkie. I love to learn. I love to network and I love to swap success stories with other brokers. At the end of the day I always walk away with valuable insights and ideas that I can bring back to my board or my office. This blog post focuses on the importance of on-line reviews.
My latest brush with a review system came just a few weeks ago. I had to run into Loblaws for a few things. Everything ran smoothly. I grabbed what I needed, I self scanned everything, bagged and paid for my purchase and was in and out in 10 minutes. As I left the store there was a stand with a sign asking me to rate my experience by pushing one of four buttons. So I did. Because I found everything I needed and didn’t wait in line, I gave the highest rating possible. No fuss, no muss. But that simple button system does so much more than track your experience. Behind the scenes it is taking the simple data that the customer is inputting and adding on layers upon layers of data that already exists. Traffic in the store, time of day, weather conditions, number of staff on duty, etc, etc. All the data collected gets mashed together and helps the store deliver a better experience…and isn’t that the point of a review system?
It’s not that much different in the real estate space. It’s probably not nearly as complex but the data is still valuable. Here is the problem however; the collection of data is so much harder to get. To really understand how a client enjoyed their real estate experience one needs more information than one can get by pushing a simple button. If I am really interested in knowing how I did I want to ask about a hundred different questions; Did I show up on time? was I knowledgeable about the market? did I answer questions clearly and affectively? The list goes on. The problem is that clients are not likely to sit through countless minutes answering questions about their experience. One quick solution is to whip out your handy smart phone and record the happy clients telling you how great you are or what an awesome job you did. On line agent reviews are a joke. The reviews don’t mean anything and because the reviewers are anonymous, anyone can write reviews including your friends (who leave great reviews) and competing agents (who leave bad reviews). On top of that, there is no business model that supports the financial an online agent review website.
The unfortunate problem is that we live in an economy that relies on reviews and ratings. From the simple “like” button on Facebook to Yelp to Uber and AirBnB (where reviews go both ways). We know that 51% of Canadian Millennials surveyed say that online reviews, comments and feedback are the largest influence on their buying behavior, yet the flip side to the coin is that the internet has created a population of people with attention deficit disorder so those reviews have to stand out in order to be recognized and the process of getting that elusive five-star rating has to be quick and easy. I believe that over the next few years the key to success in any business will come from unlocking the keys to an honest, fast and easy rating system. Recently I took a trip to Iceland. I posted a ton of pictures from my trip and made a lot of positive comments about the country. Now my friends are messaging me about future travel plans there and want to know what places to go to, where to eat and stay. In effect my friends are looking for a referral of sorts.
So, is it possible to create a review of your services that comes off as truly authentic, and trustworthy? From the start we know that real estate is a referral business, but once you get recommended, that potential client is going to check you out online to confirm that you are the real deal. This is where the one-two punch needs to happen. Recognize that you only have a few seconds to make the connection so testimonials and ratings need to be above the fold in order to work, not buried on an afterthought tab at the bottom.
Mark McLean is the five-star 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.