In a region where competition is heavy, Don Matheson’s office of nine is succeeding using some key innovations. Read on to learn how one broker is using technology to compete in the Scottsdale and metro Phoenix, Ariz. Market.
RE/MAX Fine Properties
Region served: Scottsdale and metro Phoenix
Years in real estate: 38
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 5, plus 4 full-time support people
Current market conditions: While our supply is increasing, overall, the market is stabilizing.
Favorite part of your job: Solving problems and dealing with people on a day-to-day basis.
I understand you’re a leading broker in your market area with an office of nine. How do you manage to compete with the bigger offices with more agents?
We are much more innovative than a lot of folks out there. As early adopters of the Internet, we’ve been able to build up an impressive Web presence, driving consumers to each of our three sites: ScottsdaleRealEstate.com, AZGolfHomes.com and DCRanchHomes.com—a hyperlocal site that caters specifically to our farm area. In addition, we’re taking an innovative approach to video through a video hosting service. While it may be an added expense, we’re able to produce professional quality videos that our agents can share with clients after an open house. Last but not least, we’ve customized Google Earth so that it truly fits our clients’ marketing needs.
What would you recommend to a new agent about using online marketing?
Only take the number of leads you can handle. And if you have fewer leads, make sure you can handle them in a personal way. It’s also important that you track each and every lead—from where it came from to the amount of commission you received from it. By tracking this information, you’ll be able to see how much money you spent online as well as how much you got out of it. In the end, it comes down to being patient and not forgetting about the long-term nature of online marketing. Don’t think it’s the panacea to cure all ills, and don’t get so busy with online marketing that you forget about meeting people face to face.
Do you primarily have your agents prospect for their own business or do you provide leads to them?
When dealing with past clients, my agents prospect for their own leads. Because the number of listings on the market is continuing to accelerate, I believe we’re going to see a lot more expired listings, so I’m working with my team to brush up on their expired listings skills, techniques and scripts. We also have a lead coordinator who is responsible for massaging all leads that come in. Once a lead has been warmed up and is ready to go, we assign an agent based on the geographic area the prospective buyer is interested in as well as their price point. It’s also important to ensure the agent is fully available for the client when they come to town so they feel like they’re being taken care of and treated properly.
How do you keep your follow-up personal versus looking automated?
It all comes down to consistent online communication. Once a lead is in our database, every email that’s sent looks different. Before we contact a lead, we look at their activity levels within the various portals we use. If there’s little to no activity, we’ll reach out and ask if they’re still interested in pursuing a home in the area. If the activity level is higher, we’ll take the opportunity to get in touch and see if they’d like to change or widen the search area.
What differentiates you and your agents from the rest of the crowd when you go on listing appointments?
The way we go about marketing homes is a true differentiator. By taking advantage of realtor.com®—and paying more for online marketing so that our properties show up more often than those of our competitors—we’re able to measure the eyeballs that come and see each particular property. Our affiliation with RE/MAX also helps us stand out, as each of our listings on global.remax.com can be translated into 35 different languages, allowing us to keep up with the international market. We’re also taking advantage of AdWerx for advertising, BombBomb for email marketing and Top Producer as our company CRM. The information from realtor.com® tends to be more timely and up-to-date, and a recent integration with various social media platforms has added to the convenience of being able to find the information we’re looking for in one central location.
Are you able to keep track of what happens to the leads you get and the results?
We use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of leads, each of which is tracked by category. From where the lead came from to how many we get from realtor.com®, other portals, our own websites, etc., we’re able to keep a running total and also see where we stand in terms of conversion and how much revenue we’re generating from each source. While you may be getting a lot of leads from one source, unless you track the conversion rate and the revenue from that conversion, it’s pointless to have all those leads. By tracking all of this information, we’re able to identify whether we’re spending too much or not enough. In terms of tracking the follow-up process, our lead coordinator is instrumental when it comes to checking in. Any communication we have is logged so that we can continue to touch base and incorporate personal anecdotes where appropriate to show that we haven’t forgotten about them.
For more information, visit www.remax.com.