Industry Advisor by Jose Perez
RISMEDIA, July 6, 2009-It would be really easy to blame the market for all our problems. I hear many real estate brokers saying, “Lower transaction volume, lower average sales price, higher commission splits, lower commission dollars and tight credit are just about to drive me out of business.” Our real estate consulting firm disagrees.
While all of this is going on, there are a number of cultural trends that are also having an increasingly dramatic effect on our industry. Social media, Web 2.0 and the resulting way consumers and agents are communicating are not only here, but here to stay. Furthermore, the impact this is having on real estate marketing is radically changing the playing field.
So what are you going to do? How is your real estate firm going to survive?
In order to start becoming the real estate brokerage firm of the future, today, the change must start with you. You are the leader and, thus, the foundation for the reinvention of your company. You and your management team must fully accept this and hold yourselves accountable before asking anyone else in your firm to do so. You must become a REinvented broker.
Are you and your company on social media? Are you texting? Are you blogging? Are you aware of what the real estate agent and consumer of the future want?
The next level of your REinvent pyramid is your website. You must recognize that consumers are expecting to engage with your company and its real estate agents through an informative, interactive Web 2.0 platform way before they ever call you or send an Internet inquiry.
Do you know what your bounce rate is? Do you know how many new visitors go to your site every week?
Having a lot of good information on your website is worthless unless consumers can find you. Internet marketing and lead management is the next important step in your real estate REinvention. It is pretty well accepted that print is on its way out and the future of marketing is on the Internet. This takes several forms, but two very effective ways to create traffic for your site are social media and search engine optimization (SEO). Viral marketing is just a fancy way of saying, “word of mouth.” The difference is that the results online can be exponential because people can click a button and send information about you and your company to hundreds or even thousands of people.
Do you have an Internet marketing strategy? Do you have a social media strategy? How do you manage leads that come in from your website? Do you know how soon your agents are responding to these leads?
There are many reasons the first three layers of the pyramid are important, but maybe none more than this: without a REinvented broker/manager, an engaging Web 2.0 website and a solid Internet marketing and lead management plan, it will be difficult for you to recruit the real estate agent of the future because these are the things they are looking for in a company. If you don’t “get it,” they will go look for someone who does. A recent NAR survey states that 71% of agents who are 29-years-old or younger engage in social media, while only 19% of those 60-years-old or older do. This should give us an idea of what is coming down the pike with younger agents who are totally comfortable communicating this way-and even older agents that have accepted this as the new reality.
How are you reaching the agent of the future? Are you communicating with them in a way in which they are comfortable or in a way that best suits you? Are you viewed as an innovator or a dinosaur? Are you the real estate firm of the future or of yesterday?
Once you have addressed the consulting issues in the first four layers of the REinvent pyramid, you will be on your way to finding more buyers, sellers, listings and closings. But first things first…start working on you today.
Jose Perez is the president of PCMS Consulting.
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