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Technology: Friend or Foe?

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By Steve Hundley

RISMEDIA, May 24, 2011—I know this question is odd coming from me, the CEO of one of the most successful technology companies in our industry. However, I’m also an experienced real estate professional and want to point out what I would call an industry epidemic: the expectation that technology is the answer to more sales.

Whew! I’m sure I’m going to get hate mail over this one, but not from my top agent clients who are all earning over $1 million in gross commission income (GCI) year after year.

Nearly every call we get is from agents who say they want to generate X amount of leads from the Internet. When we ask them if they have room for improvement in marketing to those people they already know vs. those they have never met, the answer is always yes.

I have become sort of disenchanted with “Internet leads.” Think about it. If our mantra in real estate is “listing is lasting,” then why have studies consistently shown that less than 2 percent of all sellers find their listing agent on the Internet?

I know you keep hearing about Facebook this and Twitter that, but let’s get real. Our findings show that only one out of every 300 transactions can be attributed to social networking and only a fraction of that is for listings. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but that’s another story.

Let me tell you how technology will bring you business and not be a distraction. First, start with a solid target market. Whether it’s a geographic farm or a social farm, know what information will resonate with your audience—it must be relevant and timely. Consistency is imperative here. You need to connect with your community at least two times per month—more at first.

Your community needs you to be more knowledgeable than they have time to be. You do the research, you make the recommendations, you use technology as a resource to captivate, not capture.

Build your website or blog to be a destination that your target audience can learn from. Then use your email, Facebook, Twitter and direct mail as announcement tools to promote the hyperlocal information you are publishing. Be inspirational and lead with irresistible content and you will win the listing and sales game.

Content is king. Simple as that.

Steve Hundley is the CEO of 1parkplace, Inc., developer of social media and real estate-marketing technology solutions for Realtors® and brokers. For more information, please visit www.1parkplace.com.

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