Unless you have been hiding under a rock the last seven months, you would know that a little thing called COVID-19 has caused our real estate world to get flipped on its head–and in a good way. Crazy enough, a horrible pandemic has created the most insane market many of us have ever seen. Lenders are processing loans at rates they have never seen, and buyers are looking to literally “cash in” on the amazing selling and buying opportunities. I can tell you as a Title Company person, our people are seeing large sums of transactions come in every day with no end in sight. It’s a great problem to have, but when this occurs for all of us, something else does as well. We start to neglect our real estate database as we don’t have the time to spend properly marketing back to them. The other issue is with COVID, it creates a barrier from doing the face to face events with our database we are used to. It’s time to get creative and start marketing back to our databases because ALL of this…will end. What is your plan going forward when rates rise up and the market normalizes?
A few years ago I started working with an agent from a local real estate company in Alexandria, Virginia. His name is Gordon Wood and he told me about an idea he had for a great product he was calling WhoHub. Ok…as you can imagine over my nearly 15-year career in Title Sales I have seen and heard a lot of ideas about great real estate tech. The difference, this one made a ton of sense. For one reason, the WhoHub app was created by a long time successful Realtor who designed the WhoHub app for other Realtors and brokerages. If you are like me, I get way too many emails and have to look at several places to find out what the heck is going on with my business. I know many Realtors inside their brokerage have to do the same thing. What if everything you needed was located in one place…on an application on your smartphone?
We are entering the time of year where we find out that “Bob” who we always liked has some really interesting political and social views. We learn about “Cheryl” who continually posts political meme’s over and over that she thinks is great, but lets everyone know she might not be a good person to refer clients too. And we see “Tom” who we want as a client but got into a 100 comment Facebook war over–“if hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID.” We see this over and over as we get within 90 days of an election, or any certain polarizing event that happens in our country. Realtors, lenders, and yes…Title sales reps are losing real estate business by needing to tell the world how they feel and convince everyone else they must feel that way also. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Most people don’t care what you think, but when they see what you put out on social media, it makes them feel a certain way. If the feeling is negative…say goodbye to the relationship and business.
If you are reading this and wondering during the age of COVID, why every real estate closing isn’t being done electronically, you are not alone. The technology has been in place for quite some time, and in my company’s case, since early 2018. I remember it being a huge craze and us ramping up getting our “e-Notaries” and learning how to conduct the full e-Closings, only to have it really not happen the way we envisioned. Let’s talk about electronic closings and the different versions.
It’s 2020 and we feel like we are in the movie “Jumanji” not knowing what is going to be thrown at us next. There is also a good chance your marketing plan that was outlined back in January was also put into flux. With the lack of ability to get face to face with people, other methods are needed to get the word out about your business, listings, and of course your value propositions. You have probably heard your broker, real estate coach, or people like me talk about how video is the best way to convey a message to your target audience and can create a 24/7 selling proposition especially if you post content on platforms like YouTube. If you were holding out, the time to jump on the video train is now. Now is the time to begin leveraging with real estate video and start growing an interested audience!
Let me ask you a question. Are you a Title Insurance sales rep or an account manager? A problem we see in the Title industry is we have far too many “account managers” and not enough true Title Insurance salespeople. You may be reading this and think you know where you fall between the two categories, or maybe you don’t. This blog is meant to be educational and help the people in the account manager role realize they are account managers and how they can add true value to their Realtor and lender clients going forward. This is something that I didn’t figure out for a while after joining the industry back in 2005. When I was started, there was no training for Title Sales reps and I was new to the industry. That makes things tough. Let’s discuss the differences and get you moving in the right direction!
I teach a lot of lead generation classes to my Realtor clients and one of my favorite classes is about Farming specific subdivisions. I teach and show agents how to essentially own your real estate farm on the internet. You can probably think of a “top agent” in your area who has a stronghold on a real estate farm. Now, go to Google and type in “homes for sale in xyz subdivision” or “information about xyz subdivision” and see if they show up on the first page of the results page. There is a real good chance they are nowhere to be found. Why? Agents haven’t been trained or taught to use the search engines as their friends. Instead, they spend their marketing dollars on direct mail, newsletters, and the famous “Just Listed/Just Sold.” There is value in direct mail, but if you look at your own behavior–do you go to the mailbox to get your real estate information? Let’s reverse the thinking and talk about how you as a Realtor can own your real estate farm online.
If you are over the age of 30, you have lived through SARS, MERS, Ebola, 9/11, and the Great Recession. COVID-19 is another major issue our country and the world are going through, but it will pass. We don’t have the exact timetable on when that is, but it will pass. For now, many of us are working from our homes, with kids running around and it’s not necessarily the best recipe for productivity and success. With that said, it is our new reality…for now. I always say there is an opportunity in anything, and this holds true here. You are going to see much of your competition “freeze up” during this time, not knowing how to shift their business. There are many ways to be productive Realtor from home. I have gotten the word out to my clients that essentially nothing has changed as to how I can help my clients and get them what they need. Here are great ways to be a productive Realtor from home and make the next 60 days the jump-start to your real estate business.
SEO for Realtor websites in 2020. What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? First…let’s back up. SEO is Search Engine Optimization. Essentially it’s the way Google, Yahoo, Bing, and YouTube rank or selects the most relevant content when someone types in phrases or questions on their platforms. Theses “search engines” want to give their users the best experience possible, so creating the right content is important. The issue I see is most Realtors have websites, but few know how to use them correctly. The other issue is the Realtor’s website is given to them by their brokerage. Those two things in combination say–“My online presence through search engines is going to be very minimal.” Let’s change that by walking Realtors through the main functions of SEO that will help them get noticed on that infamous “first-page” where they conduct business.
For Realtors looking to expand their business to the next level, time seems to be the culprit that interferes with their efforts. Lead generation and following up with past clients is a must in our business, and to help leverage that effort, an ISA (Inside Sales Agent) may be your answer.
You might be asking…what does an Inside Sales Agent do? He or she assists with generating listing and buyer appointments, making follow up calls to your sphere of influence, and setting quality inbound and outbound appointments for yourself and other team members. The issue many Realtors face is lost client opportunities, lost commissions, and finding out a past client bought or sold a home and didn’t use you. Why? Because you weren’t top of mind. The Realtor was so busy working on other things, they didn’t make time to stay connected to their warm relationships. The ISA’s job so ensures those things don’t continue to happen. Here are the 4 traits to look for when hiring an ISA.