By Zoe Eisenberg
Making an interactive online presence for yourself is an important step toward attracting more prospective clients and reaching real estate success. However, once you’ve gained an online lead, it’s important that you maximize your potential connection with them. Read on as Ginger McQuigg, Senior Vice President, Residential Sales with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group gives us a little insight into perfecting that lead connection.
Region served: The Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties
Years in real estate: 35
Number of offices: 15, plus our new Beach Drive office in St. Pete that’s opening in July
Number of agents: 400 residential
Average time on market: 92 days to contract
Average sales price: $188,249
Do your agents utilize your online marketing within their listing presentations?
Yes, the public expects online marketing and our sales executives cover the resources during their listing presentations. As a company, we have focused the majority of our marketing efforts toward online marketing.
Many potential buyers are finding homes for sale online and then bringing these “finds” to their broker before proceeding. How is this working for you?
This process gives our sales executives another way to obtain a better understanding of what a buyer is truly interested in before taking them to see properties that are currently on the market. Good preliminary work helps a great deal, and the visuals of online searches help everyone.
Do you have any special dialogue you use when approaching a new prospect who connected through the Internet?
The most important thing we need to do is figure out if they’re shopping for the future or if they have an immediate need. The Internet gives people a way to not only window shop, but dream and plan for their future housing needs, and that’s okay. As real estate professionals, we need to be sure that we understand where a prospect is in the online shopping process and accommodate that individual position for each shopper.
Is it easier to convert a consumer if the house they called in on is actually available?
Of course. If many of the properties they’re inquiring about are unavailable, it could create a credibility issue.
Some think it’s important for big real estate sites to not allow FSBOs, and to also not post estimated prices that conflict with your own listing price you put on a home. Are your agents aware of which sites abide by these practices?
I think this has become a hotter topic today due to some of the competitive changes that have occurred in the online marketing arena, in addition to the fact that online marketing companies have become more competitive in order to capture the eye of the public. That being says, all of our agents are well aware that realtor.com® does not allow FSBOs on their site. In addition, realtor.com® does not put competing price information on listings that are for sale.
When you’re recruiting, do you advertise your ability to market homes online?
Absolutely. Realtor.com® ShowcaseSM is one of the value propositions that we focus on when we’re searching for talent to join our team. Many other companies don’t offer this as part of their value package.
You have a company-wide program for ShowcaseSM Listings with realtor.com®. Are there tools within the platform that help you promote your properties and get them more attention?
This is the reason we have Showcase for everyone in our company—we do it for the seller to attract more buyers through the number of pictures and other value-added features the platform provides. Utilizing this program enables us to offer outstanding marketing services on behalf of the sellers who have entrusted us to sell their house.
How do you manage the leads that come to your office through realtor.com®?
All of our realtor.com® leads go directly to our sales executives who have the listed property unless the lead comes from a zip code that we have purchased and are on properties listed by someone other than a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties sales executive.
We know realtor.com® updates listings every 15 minutes in most markets. Do you think this kind of accuracy matters?
It absolutely does, especially as the buying process continues to heat back up. People expect online information to be up-to-date and accurate.
Do you think it’s important to support industry-friendly portals like realtor.com®?
I think it’s important to support portals that will increase our business, and if they’re industry-friendly, that’s even better. Realtor.com® provides us with marketing opportunities that will ultimately help facilitate a sale, allowing us to fulfill the job we were hired to do.