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Connecting with Consumers on Their Own Turf

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By Nick Caruso

Real estate is all about timing—connecting the right buyer with the right listing at the right time. For real estate professionals, this means staying on their toes 24/7 and trying to decipher the who, what, where, when and how of every single listing. Finding the right buyer can be trickier than ever thanks to the prevalence of consumers’ Internet searching, but this also means that more opportunities exist in the marketplace for brokers and agents. Having and maintaining a presence on the right websites can make all the difference when trying to find motivated buyers who are ready to move. To put it another way, you need to be where the consumers are, and consumers’ eyes are all pointed at Zillow.

As a broker, it’s important to ensure that there’s an easy way to post all of your company’s listings online, giving sellers the confidence that their home is being exposed to the masses, while keeping your agents happy with plenty of eyeballs on their listings. Zillow Pro for Brokers is the answer to keeping all parties satisfied. Under Zillow’s program, the brokerage’s listings have a direct route to Zillow, the largest real estate network on the Web. Agents can rest easy knowing they are getting maximum exposure for their listings, including an influx of new, quality leads. Their faces and contact information are placed at the top of buyers’ contact options every time, connecting the dots between ambitious real estate professionals and motivated buyers. It’s a win-win-win for any savvy buyer-agent-broker trifecta.

For Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in Wilmington, N.C., the partnership with the Zillow Pro for Brokers program has been critically important to the company’s marketing strategy. According to company President Tim Milam, agents have already started getting inquiries in just the first few weeks since joining forces with Zillow.

“If we can get a lead to come through for a consumer to speak with the listing agent, they are getting through to someone who has direct knowledge of the property,” says Milam. “We’re not trying to capture that lead and sell it to the agent. I’m not trying to be the middle man. Leads go directly to my agents who know their listing better than anyone.”

The decision to join with Zillow came about after some syndication shake-ups with the local MLS. Milam and his company wanted to ensure that their listings remained on Zillow for many reasons.

“Zillow is where the traffic is going and where the consumers are going,” he says. “They get about 79 million visitors a month, with growth on the Web that is exponentially better than other sites. That’s where we need to be and why we need to be aligned with them.”

With listing information provided directly from the brokerages it serves, Zillow Pro for Brokers is dedicated to accuracy. As opposed to trying to merge different formats from various MLSs, a feat that Milam says Zillow is aggressively trying to address and improve, brokerages need not fret over issues of accuracy when they are their own source of information. In addition to this commitment to accuracy, Zillow prominently features company logos, links and contact information on every single listing it displays, adding value and brand awareness. And for a company like Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage that represents approximately 4,900 listings or more, the level of exposure is massive.

“I’m very happy with the decision to join Zillow Pro for Brokers,” says Milam. “I’m getting leads and showings, which is exactly what we were trying to accomplish. Our sellers love to see that leads go directly to the listing agent who has the most knowledge. It’s all about driving traffic to those REALTORS® who know the most.

“We didn’t see any downside to getting more exposure,” he adds.

More and more of Milam’s agents are jumping aboard the Zillow program, logging on to make sure their profile pages are up-to-date and filled out so that their contact information and photos are readily available. Once listings are added to the company’s MLS, the feed to Zillow is automatic.

“From the agents’ perspective, there’s very little work to be able to get the exposure to their listings, and it’s at no additional cost to them,” says Milam.

With roughly 750 agents, all of Milam’s 29 regional offices have signed up with Zillow, a decision met with positive results across the board.

“We’re very happy that we did this. Zillow is tremendous to work with and they’re even coming back for additional training to show even more options to our agents,” says Milam.

Working in the same office as many of his agents helps Milam keep his ear to the ground so he can properly gauge their opinions on this newfound, no-lose partnership.

“Trust me—they’re happy about Zillow. The buzz is very powerful and that tells me it’s working.”

For more information, visit www.zillow.com or email partners@zillow.com.

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