We’ve all been the unhappy recipients of unwanted junk mail and Internet advertisements, yet online marketing has been hailed as the Holy Grail among Realtors for turning up sales leads. However, statistics show that scattershot online marketing does not necessarily translate into sales strength. By hyper-focusing outreach efforts on online portals, agents are missing valuable opportunities to not just create leads but actually increase sales. Agents can optimize their reach and revenue by remembering the roots of marketing principles and embracing an integrated plan that engages more offline strategies. To be sure, the prospect of influence through online channels is enticing, especially when the cost is little or none. Websites are reasonably economical to maintain and Google Analytics is very accessible, with the basic services offered for free. Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter also have analytics tools that seem to deliver a sense of outreach impact. Yet the fact is that only 15 percent of sales are the result of online outreach across all channels, including social media. So, what do these analytics tools really tell Realtors about the sales effectiveness of any particular online marketing strategy? It turns out, not much. While the internet provides numerous marketing channels, online analytics tools cannot account for the funnel effect of offline marketing or overall strategy performance. Google Analytics, for instance, doesn’t reflect the root cause of a potential client’s interest in an agent’s online presence, like whether a lead viewed an agent’s Facebook page or website as a result of seeing a yard sign, meeting an agent at an open house, or following up on a recommendation from a friend. Effectively, online analytics blind agents to many of the offline opportunities and leads, which account for 85 percent of all sales overall. Each online channel delivers a different set of demographics, but also leaves some out entirely. According to the Pew Research Center, while each social media site is differentially popular amongst various ethnic groups, all are skewed demographically toward the younger generations or, in Realtor-speak, potential first-time buyers. Other market segments are hardly represented at all. For instance, almost 75 percent of seniors (age 65+) do not use social media. In light of additional facts that more than half of home buyers age 50+ owned their previous home and nearly two-thirds of sales are the result of repeat business or referrals, clearly, there’s a significant lead pool that […]
One of my favorite people in real estate is John Reinhardt of Fillmore Real Estate based in Brooklyn, New York. I am not sure why, but everything competitive in the New York City area seems amplified. Like his peers, John is always building his business, one great agent at a time. Among John’s favorite recruiting lessons is the spot. In John’s case, his spot is Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. “It is the one place that agents cannot deny a free meal.” John is a recruiting machine – among the best in the business. The last time I sat down with John, I shared a story about a phone call that I received from an agent. In this case, the agent shared that her brokerage of 20 years had just been taken over. She was very uncomfortable with the new owners, so she split out with some other agents that started a new firm. The one thing that she did not contemplate in the transition was the loss of the transaction manager, the loss of the broker website, the loss of her listing presentation, and so on. And, although she did not mention it, probably a loss of her office friends. My sixth sense told me that this agent was having a case of buyer’s remorse. The decision to join the new brokerage was emotional. Now that reality has set in, the agent was rethinking her decision. It occurred to me that if her old broker had called her back that day, she would have promptly returned to her old office, back to that familiar group of friends, and back to the tools that she knew how to use to service her customers. The soft call back – Sotto Voce. Change is Hard Real Estate agents hate change. They love new things, but they hate change. Change is hard work. Change is disruptive. And, whenever you change something for the better, you wind up losing something in the process. This agent lost everything that she had “set up” and was facing the consequences of rebuilding and relearning. WAV Group has researched the productivity results of agents who switch firms. Our methodology for this research is to use BrokerMetrics by Terradatum. When a firm is under a recruiting attack or on a recruiting mission, we look for data points that that help tell a story. Unfortunately, the data rarely supports the cause. As […]
In a recent meeting I attended of broker owners, there was a questions posed: What’s more important in your business – Recruiting or Retention of agents? There seemed to be an overwhelming lean toward recruiting and it is hard for me to understand why. When we look at operational effectiveness in a brokerage, we look at things like brand, leadership, and culture. Brand is measured by the opinion of agents and customers. Leadership is measured by the popularity of executives among staff, managers, and agents. Culture is the happiness measurement of executives, staff, managers, and agents. The common goal of building strong brands, leaders, and culture is accomplished over time. These are things that are developed through trust. Are we overly concerned about getting people in the door to the detriment of the people already amongst us? Sometimes broker are. Is the brokerage more concerned with lead generation than customer for life? Is the brokerage more concerned with recruiting new agents rather than completing the process of developing a successful agent who loves their company? For me, great companies are like families. Everyone is a part of something that they are vested in and have pride in. The fastest growing companies I know are succeeding by firing disruptive, selfish, and unproductive agents and managers. In doing so, they became recognized for quality by many of the elite agents from other firms. The company becomes attractive. They run their business like a private club for the best of the best. Obviously the answer to the question is that both recruiting and retention are vital to growth. Recruiting becomes the outcome of retention. My point is that retention precedes recruiting. Essence precedes existence. What are you recruiting people to? What are your core values? What are your core beliefs? How are you benchmarking or indexing those things? When you truly believe in your business, its impossible not to invite others to join the company. But you recruit selectively because you owe it to your colleagues to invite people who will add value, not detract from it. Of course it will add unit and revenue value, but more importantly you add to the culture. As business people, we all have a tendency to look at the logic and not pay enough attention to the emotion. How many companies pull monthly reports but fail to do a survey to ask agent and customers about […]
WAV Group provides consulting services to MLSs and Associations to develop strategies and plans for business success. In working with MLSs and Associations we have learned how difficult it is to help agents and brokers understand the value of new technologies in their daily business. Today, WAV Group is introducing the second in a series of Case Studies developed for NAR’s REALTOR® Property Resource or RPR®. These Case Studies are designed to help REALTORS® understand the unique benefits of using RPR in their daily business to help position them as THE local expert. WAV Group developed these best practices by evaluating RPR “power users” and “power promoters” of the software. Download the Agent Case Study here. WAV Group has followed the introduction and rollout of REALTOR® Property Resource (RPR) closely since it was officially introduced and then launched in September 2010. In previous papers, WAV Group outlined the factors needed to make an informed decision about whether RPR and other data-related products were appropriate for individual MLSs and Associations. These case studies are NOT intended to help an organization make a decision about participation in RPR. Those decisions are best left to individual MLSs, Associations and Brokerages. The purpose of this case study is to help agents who are have access to RPR understand how they can the tool effectively in their daily business for reviewing COMPS, building CMA’s and providing invaluable market level data and information to their clients and potential new clients. The case study also clearly articulates how RPR is incremental to the tools available in MLS systems. WAV Group has watched with interest as more and more MLSs and Associations have signed up for this service. From its early beginnings, the product has continued to evolve with more and more tools for REALTOR® members. As of May 6, 2012, 384 MLSs and Associations have signed agreements with RPR, representing 618,914 REALTORS®. 244 have RPR installed and operational for their 503,444 members with more in the review process. While these numbers are impressive, REALTOR® usage and adoption of these products is the ultimate goal. The purpose of this case study is to help agents understand just how easy it is to get up and running with RPR quickly. It’s also intended to help agents understand how the reports and CMA’s in RPR can be used to project a professional image and provide more in-depth information that non-REALTORS® can. […]
I woke up at 3:42 am pacific time this morning, only to realize I was probably one of the first people on the West Coast to see the “official” launch of the latest version of the iPad. While there is no AMAZING new innovation that we’ve never seen before, they have taken the device to new levels in a few interesting ways. First, there is a new high definition screen called a “Retinal” screen that delivers more pixels per square inch than anything we’ve seen to date including high definition televisions, according to the video promotions from Apple. Next, it includes a new 5 megapixel camera which turns the entire iPad into a viewfinder so you can be sure to get great shots which are framed properly. Coupled with the new camera is a new version of iLife media software which makes it even easier to create photo collages and “trailer”-type videos. The new version of Garage Band within the iLife suite allows up to 4 iPads to be networked together to play virtual music together. Pretty fun stuff for those that would have time to do such things. For real estate, the high res camera and viewing screen is going to make viewing homes a whole lot more fun, I would guess. The new iLife suite will make it easier for agents to get creative with the ways they display images. Who needs a virtual tour when you can create your own photo montage in minutes that can be shared easily with clients? It could be a whole new way to break through the crowd in a listing presentation. A savvy agent could be a photo collage while walking around the property with a homeowner.
Century 21 announced today that it will provide its U.S.-based real estate professionals with new tools from Market Leader including marketing, lead follow-up and a full CRM platform. Market Leader and the CENTURY 21 marketing team worked together to define a customized solution, leveraging a number of the integrated building blocks that make up Market Leader’s comprehensive software platform. The base system that will be provided to all agents at no cost while advanced capabilities will be available for high-end producers at a small premium. PRESS RELEASE