We have all received the postcards, newsletters, door hangers, and other gimmicks from Real Estate agents who market to a particular farm area…usually their subdivision. Realtors are always told by their Broker or Team Leader to not only market to past clients and friends/family but to their subdivision where they live or where they think a lot of people would want to live. I agree…this is a good idea. It makes sense to market to a particular area where people might already know you (you subdivision) or to a place that is desirable to live. What I continually see is that Realtors market to these places in a way that has very little effect or produces no results. There are several ways in which you can dominate your subdivision. Let me explain…
I think that we can all agree that technology has come to the forefront on basically anything that we now do. This applies especially to the Real Estate space. Realtors are told that they are to have websites. They are told that they are to have effective content that answers questions to their potential client’s problems, and educational information about whatever their niche is…luxury homes, first time home buyers, condos, short sales, or a certain subdivision. This engaging and educational content comes in the way of blogging and videos. I love to do office presentations in front of large groups of Realtors. In these presentations I talk about what they need to do to drive more eyeballs to their Real Estate website. When I mention how to write an effective Real Estate blog I get the usual “eye rol”l and objections. Here they are the most common:
As the Director of Sales/Marketing at Stewart Title and Escrow in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area I meet with Realtors everyday. We talk about all kinds of things: Contact Management Systems, iPad training, data lists to target market, video, blogging, AND how to convert Online Real Estate Leads. To me online leads are the holy grail. These are consumers that have a need, so they type into Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube what they are looking for and they find you. The consumer then fills out a form, emails, or calls for more information. I think that we can agree that our society has moved the way of “impersonal” over the last 10yrs where as the consumer doesn’t really want to call you and chat. They don’t know you or your value and since email, text and filling out a form online is the same as telling you that they want to talk, that’s what they do. Real Estate agents and Lenders spend money every month on SEO, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com leads…sometimes large sums of money. What I have found is that their conversion of these leads are poor. The latest stat I read was that Realtors convert only 2% of the online leads they get into paying customers. Why is that?? Lets talk about it…
Most Title Companies have them…you know who they are. They call and email you for the primary reason of wanting your purchase and refinance business. They are the Title Company sales rep. They tell you about the good things that their Title Company offers, like mobile closings, good service, and the best escrow/settlement people in the business! They say all of this while at the same time offering you bagels, donuts, coffee, pens, pads, coffee mugs, and other gimmicks that absolutely does nothing to help you grow your business…but they expect you to send you theirs. It’s an interesting dynamic how this all works. To make it easy for you I have decided to divide the Title Company Sales person into two categories…the “Order Taker” and the “Business Builder.”
Have you noticed it? I have…people now days walk around or drive in their car staring at their phones! If you haven’t noticed this crazy phenomenon just look around you while you are driving, or at the mall, or pretty much anywhere else. People have their heads buried into their phones. Millions of people today own Smart-phones(I-Phones, Droids, Blackberry, etc.) By the end of 2012 over 50% of ALL Google searches will take place with a Smart-phone. What are these people looking at? EVERYTHING!! So ask yourself an important question: Are your Real Estate websites optimized for mobile devices?
In the last 60 days since moving to the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area I have met with over 50 Realtors and Lenders. Each person is in a different phase of their Real Estate career and have different levels of knowledge. Each Realtor and Lender also have different needs as it applies to their Real Estate marketing. Thus far I have seen Realtors and Lenders that have specific systems in place and others that are totally lost and need help. In the spirit of the London Olympics I think if would be good for you to look at your business model as it pertains to gaining new clients, staying in contact with past clients, and getting more eyeballs to your listings and website to ask yourself…if I was in the Olympics for Real Estate Marketing, would I make it up to the medal podium? Read below and ask yourself…am I doing these things? Do I need to make any changes to my Real Estate marketing? Would a I respond to my own marketing strategies?
There is one thing that Real Estate agents value above all others…TIME! Time is very valuable because as a busy Real Estate agent you are showing homes, going to inspections, dealing with appraisals, managing your leads and getting back to people, and closing your escrows on time at Stewart Title and Escrow in Fairfax, VA. With all of these things going on throughout your week where does the time come in to do your Real Estate marketing to past clients, your sphere, and most importantly…to new people who don’t know you or your value? You have to develop systems to Streamline your Real Estate Marketing. There are several ways in which you can do this…lets talk about them:
Having lived in Phoenix, AZ for 10.5yrs I witnessed the entire Real Estate cycle. I saw prices go from $140K on average then a 47% home value increase in a 12 month period…then a HUGE market crash in 2008 and home values fall all the way down to $112K on average. This left thousands upon thousands of homeowners underwater/negative equity where they either just let their home go to Foreclosure or they tried to successfully short sale their home. For those of you who don’t know what defines a short sale it is when a homeowners owes more on their home than what it is worth and tries to sell their home “Short” by asking the lending bank to accept less than what is owed on the property. There are many qualifications that banks look for before willing to accept a short sale but they are getting approved easier and easier in 2012 than they were in 2008 0r 2009. As of right now there are over 4000 distressed Northern Virginia homeowners that are in the needs of a Real Estate agent.
Having been in the Title Insurance business for the past 7 years doing Sales and Marketing I have run into pretty much every kind of objective possible as to why a Realtor or Mortgage Lender has a relationship with a Title Company or why they have to use Title Company X or Y. Many of these objectives are not to diffcult to navigate and usually result in landing a new client or large account. There is one objective that I have seen the most, especially in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area. That one objective that I hear is…”well our office has a Joint Venture (JV) with Title Company X or Y…my broker wants us to use them.”
Since moving to the Washington DC/Northern Virginia area and working as the Director of Sales/Markeing for Stewart Title and Escrow I have been working like mad getting in front agents, lenders, commerical agents doing what I can do help them grow their business. I’m also doing something else that is very important…and that is showing these people how Stewart Title is different than our competitors…how I/We are different. You see, when a consumer, or in my case a Real Estate agent or a Mortgage Lender sees the difference and then the added value that we bring, they make a conscious decision to do business with us instead of Title Company X or Y. This is how NOT to become a Real Estate Commodity.