By Nick Caruso
Staying on top of technology is vital to the success of your business. Susan Carleton, Broker/Owner of Pointe South Real Estate Sales in Perdido Key, Fla., garners 60 percent of her new prospect business from online. In the following interview, Carleton shares her top technology tools and time savers.
Region served: Pensacola and Perdido Key, Fla.; Orange Beach, Ala./the Alabama Gulf Coast
Years in real estate: 18
Number of offices: 4
Number of agents: 30
Top tip for staying organized: Try to grasp any and all technology that will help you work more efficiently.
Favorite technology tool: In my email, I have a widget that serves as an electronic signature. It also allows users to click through to my listings and website.
What is unique about your brokerage versus others in your market?
One thing that sets us apart is the fact that we’re locally owned. We’re also different in that we’re not a franchised brokerage, but rather, independent. Our area of focus—vacation rentals and residential leasing—is another factor that makes us unique. We manage 200 vacation rentals and about 375 residential leasing properties, so we’ve got the full gamut of sales, rentals and leasing.
How much of your new prospect business is from online?
About 60 percent.
What lead sources do you use?
We rely heavily on realtor.com® and TigerLead, in addition to Google Paper Clip and our own website. While we just started using TigerLead, we’ve been working with the other systems for about three or four weeks now (at press time). When a lead comes in, no matter which source it originated from, it’s assigned to a dedicated team within the office. A team member is then responsible for contacting that person within 15 minutes with a phone call. Once we’ve made initial contact, we reach back out through various avenues—email, text, etc. Staying in touch with leads is important, so we send out alerts that match their search criteria on a consistent basis.
Can you provide an example of business that can be directly attributed to the program?
We actually just had a lead come in through TigerLead and it was someone who was looking to sell their property and replace it with a smaller property. Our agent went on the listing appointment and as soon as the property is sold, they’re looking to buy.
How do you successfully manage Internet leads?
Top Producer has been instrumental when it comes to managing Internet leads. We take our TigerLeads and export those that aren’t immediate buyers or priority leads and send them to Top Producer so that we can continue to follow up. All of our walk-in leads and call-in leads get put into Top Producer as well. If the lead is ready to begin searching right away, then we add it to TigerLead. Top Producer handles leads that aren’t identified as buying within the next 3 – 6 months and allows us to put them on a drip campaign and work them that way.
In what ways do these systems affect your recruiting efforts?
We use TigerLead as a recruiting tool to attract the best of the best. While we’ve set up procedures that have to be followed, agents can elect to be a part of this group or not. We lay it all out there, but it’s not for everyone; it’s for people who want to excel and want to work the leads. We do a lot of training with our agents to help them embrace the technology that’s available. In the end, if it makes their job easier, they see that and are more inclined to be on board.
How do these systems work together?
To ensure these systems work together seamlessly, we make sure they’re all overlapping one another. And if we have something in place that’s not working, we take it out of the mix. With TigerLead and Top Producer in place, every day the group comes into the office, they’re just blown away. Before we had TigerLead, we had no way to measure or capture leads coming to our site. TigerLead became the answer.