“Testimonials and ratings from clients give the consumer the ability to look at an agent and say ‘Wow, other people have ranked this agent a 4 or 5 consistently.’ It also gives agents the confidence that they provide good service,” says Welk.
The reviews system is so powerful that Innovative Real Estate gets about four calls a month from prospective clients who want to work with them based on Zillow reviews alone, says Nordby.
Using Zillow’s contact-forwarding feature, the company sends its Zillow leads to its own in-house system to be dispersed among agents based on the zip codes they work in. The company then uses a drip campaign to try to convert leads into sales. During this incubation period, the company reaches out periodically, but never with a hard sale at the gate.
“Once you get that lead, it takes some time to incubate those leads and build relationships and be in flow with them. It takes knowledge and time, because buyers want to build up a relationship to make sure you’re the person,” says Welk.
Building this relationship before stepping foot inside the first house is key, says Nordby, otherwise, that lead may just find the next real estate agent and the next home. But in the right hands, these leads could very well become motivated buyers who won’t be afraid to communicate exactly what they’re looking for with the agent.
“Today’s consumer is probably the most informed and intelligent consumer in a long time. They know more about the house at the beginning than the REALTOR®, ” says Welk. “Accuracy of data is very important to us and that’s something we use to build these relationships.”
Innovative Real Estate Group has used other companies and methods in the past and claims the difference between those attempts and Zillow are “night and day.”
“Before, it was really hard to track people down and get them to commit. They were tough prospects to convert. Compared to other companies, Zillow prospects are much more qualified, and more times than not, ready to go,” says Nordby.
In the last year, Welk states that they’ve received an average of 150 leads per month. The company closed 5.3 percent of those leads, while another 4 percent remain active. Also in the last year, the company saw a growth of 91 percent, while the year before they saw a growth of 108 percent.
“A lot of that is a direct impact from Zillow,” says Nordby. “Zillow really leveled the playing field between us and other brands. Consumers are finding us just as much as any other brand.”
“I think it’s one of the premier tools out there right now. It’s giving us the marketplace to talk to the consumer without cold calling or diving for dollars,” says Welk. “It’s a better way to generate business.”
For more information, visit www.zillow.com/agents.