By Maria Patterson
The Real Estate Vet
Vice President of Marketing
Maria Patterson: How does your experience as a REALTOR® provide important perspective?
Frederick Herot: There are thousands of real estate marketing ideas that come around every year, making it confusing to choose the right path. You must be able to visualize how each proposed program could result in something tangible. For example, can the new idea lead to getting a listing appointment? Can the program in mind cause a prospect to stay with you until closing? Coming from the industry makes it easier to sense how a marketing program will work—and conversely, what is unrealistic in an actual sales environment.
MP: What steps does the company take to ensure a ‘REALTOR®-friendly’ approach to its products and services?
Frederick Herot: The REALTOR® is the heart of the business. Despite the fact that almost half of homes sold are found on the Internet, the most important item the industry brings to the value exchange with consumers is the expertise that only a REALTOR® has. At realtor.com®, we are more than fine with that model. Our philosophy is, let us help the real estate professionals do their job–we are not in their business, but rather, we are facilitators of their business. That’s why we’ve chosen to promote the REALTOR® brand, and not create yet another brand that could be seen as competitive. We are the only national real estate company whose name, realtor.com®, can co-exist on every REALTOR®’s business card. Unlike our competition, we send each lead we get to only one REALTOR®, not to two or more. Being a partner instead of yet another competitor who might be trying to minimize their role is hugely important to us and to our constituencies.
MP: How do you help train REALTORS® to be successful?
Frederick Herot: We focus on providing the information and resources that directly educate REALTORS® and help the industry in the training they do. The results that matter are the listings sold and the buyers that complete a transaction. Our leads, according to outside surveys by PAA Research and the California Association of REALTORS®, tend to convert better. There is both an art and a science to the education. We offer training, tools and support to help brokers and their agents navigate the process. We offer webinars, free downloads and one-on-one assistance in setting up tools and applications to further this. You can see examples at www.realtor.com®/engage.
MP: Please discuss how brokers and agents are part of the company’s integrated approach.
Frederick Herot: Our sales and marketing teams meet with brokers and strategize on what tools and systems we have that bridge gaps in their technology, marketing or training. We construct a custom program around what is most important. We have a team that then works with a broker’s agents; they are responsible for installing tools, training on the program imperatives and making sure activities that are agreed upon are completed. We then close the loop with the help of our IT department and our business-to-business marketing team, providing the broker with reports that show how the plan is working and who has participated.
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