We are at the Hilton Hotel in Burnaby, listening to Seth Price of Placester kicking off the keynote at NEXTGENre Vancouver real estate sales conference. He begins by talking about the power of looking someone in the eye, rather than on social media.
“I’ve lived through three cycles of boom and bust, and the people who survive are the ones who are constantly asking where the next sale is coming from.” Clients find us through a wide variety of paths, and our job is to find out what those paths are and create the breadcrumbs of trust so that people can refer people to us, work with us, make deals with us. That’s the path we should be on as business owners.
In real estate we have to eat what we kill. We are all business owners, you are responsible for your own destiny. What can you do to take advantage of where consumers are.
YOU DONT NEED MORE LEADS.
Last year there were 40 million leads last year in the US, and five million sales. We are either focusing on the wrong persons or we’re paying 2x or 3x for the same lead!
The web is blowing up at an incredible rate. Speed dating is the norm. It’s a short attention span world online. His son has five dating apps, but still says it’s hard to find someone who is truthful. It’s the same online for us. Customers need you to be in the service business, to tell them at their moment they’re freaking out that, hey, this happens, it’s okay, I’ll walk you through this.
Had a conversation with Dale yesterday. Client was freaking out because she loves crafts and thought she couldn’t do her crafts or it’d mess up her house. He told her to relax and just do her crafts in her crafts room, it was okay. It’s the heart to heart that matters; that is the service we provide.
Visited 22 websites yesterday, and not one was focused on the client and the service, they were all “I AM AWESOME” websites. Which is, whatever, but that’s not why people would do business with you for the biggest deal of their life. Keep in mind the Buyer’s Journey. A few years ago it was 60% online, now it’s 80-90% online.
Our struggle is to be of use to the consumer. I know what that’s like, as an agent for five years. But the real differentiator is how can Randy be different from Rachel? How can A be more useful than B to someone else, what can he do to demonstrate that during the 80% of the buyers’ journey during which nobody wants to talk to Randy.
Don’t get lulled into being an order taker. I started noticing that people were not as caring of the customers they had because they literally didn’t need them. The relationship, nurturing, community part went out the window. That exists in this market too. If you want a differentiator allocate a portion of what you do as an organization to caring for the customers in a way that you are hoping in five years they’re still going to be a customer or refer people to you.
Everyone is distracted, by puppies, emojis, trainwrecks, our phones (who takes their phone to the bathroom?…come on, you guys are lying! everyone does). The phone spends more time with you than any living person. That’s the relationship that we have with these devices. Our customers have the exact same relationship. They are us.
The web is where you need to articulate your human-ness on the web. Modern branding is all about those signals that you’re a real person. A CRM is just the black book that says someone has kids, they have dogs, they have a favourite ball team. That info you store in your head, that’s the MOST important tool you have for everyone from the sales agent to the CEO. You need the specifics. Do you guys all know who in your database has pets? You should! This is what technology can do, this is what it’s good at.
How awesome would it be to communicate directly to those 75 people on your db that have pets? Make sure people have communications that are appropriate to them.
SEO is about having some basic signals out there so you can be found. Your site needs to be a destination for people to find information. Test: send a friend to your website and tell them to let you know if they find information that is useful to them as consumers. Tell them to be honest. Step into the customer’s shoes. It’s not about the logo; it’s about the information. How does it make people feel, does it solve their problems? The first priority is to make your site a destination.
When clients go to search you, if they’re on iOS, they get pushed to Bing. On Android, they get pushed to Google. If searches see inconsistency in name, address, phone number or missing information, search engines don’t show them. Bots look for complete information. You have to do a Google listing, you have no choice. It’s simple, with zero cost. This is the modern yellow pages. Every office should have an address. You can do multiple locations, every agent should have a page. Companies will even do it for you.
How do I then take the customers I have and turn them into referrals? 72% of consumers won’t do business with you if they can’t find you online. It’s a matter of trust. This is the power of testimonials and customer reviews.
Understand your customer. What can you create that is unique, useful, different to solve their problems? You can make yourself useful to the community. This is the power of content. Content can be anything from videos, infographics, whatever. Your job is to figure out what marketing activities you can spend money on and have it be useful for months and months, rather than an ad buy etc that only lasts awhile. Good content can be used by every single new client.
A strategic approach to creating useful and relevant materials for your clients: That is the definition of Content.
If the content you create addresses the questions of buyers, it can be the #1 driver of business. Use content in your emails, on your website, on social media, everywhere. Images in particular are super-powerful, because they are fast and acceptable.
One realtor: for every question she was asked, she created a piece of content. Then she emailed it to them, and put it on her website and facebook. Zero paid ads, and she’s on track to do $25 million after three years. She no longer even writes her content, she has a staff to do it.
Ebooks are great pieces of content, so that you can send it to people and they can share it. When you get asked a question answer it, but also follow up with the ebook that contains the answer. Do not confuse this with blogging per se.
Ten years ago I started a blog on basketball. I didn’t have an objective, and that was a mistake. I didn’t think of making it useful. It’s the same with emails; do YOU want to read your own emails? Would you be proud to send that to a friend or would you be embarrassed? Does your blog show there’s a human behind it? It probably shows you don’t love it.
If people ask you a question, you need to figure out how to respond to it in a way that’s consistent. Answer the ones that get asked the most often, not all of them. And it needs to be good. You need to do it in a way which is actually authentically awesome.
Look at the searches that happen in your market, and that’s a source of information. People want to look at real estate porn: the most expensive house, etc.
Content and conversations create connections. EG: what is the best place to trick or treat in our town? Realtor made a post and asked the question, shared it on FB, and tagged everyone she’d interviewed about it. It’s hugely popular in her market every Halloween.
Email is underutilized. It’s the last thing that people give you permission to do. When people subscribe, that’s not forever. People unsubscribe if it’s not useful or interesting. It’s an honour to be invited to send an email to someone, yet we spend very few dollars hiring people to write those emails as if they care. We just mail it in. A whole bunch of garbage that goes into a super-powerful channel. It gets clicked on 60% of the time: compare that to ads!
When you connect the info in your db with your emails, you unleash power. That scales relationships.
If you’re going to do content, figure out what question is being asked that YOU want to answer, and do your best job. Every town has a lot of unemployed journalists, they are good writers. Hire them. You won’t have to spend more than $250, and you have to tell them what they should write, but you do not have to do it yourself.
Influencer marketing is simple. You create something that is desireable and you invite people to participate. Interviews, podcasts, conferences, you name it. That’s what influencer marketing is. People say yes if your platform makes them look good.
It’s a lot easier to promote if you have something worth promoting.
You need a CRM. That’s where everything about your customer goes, all the info. You need social media. You need content. You need a website that answers questions. Email the people on your CRM, tailored. And share your content on your social accounts. And make sure your CRM talks to everyone: social, website, content, email.