By John Voket
RISMEDIA, Nov. 11, 2008-Remember when a phone was just used for talking, the newspaper was used for advertising and the TV was just for watching? Well, those days are obviously over-your mobile phone can now do it all. In fact, some say your phone-and mobile search, to be more specific-will even be the future of the real estate industry.
There’s proof in numbers:
-There are approximately 255 million U.S. wireless subscribers (one for every adult over 16 years old)
– 1.5 trillion average minutes of use monthly
– Over 1 million cell site antennas
– 2 billion text messages sent per day
And these numbers continue to grow-something that Randall Standard, president of Louisville, Kentucky-based VoicePad, is counting on.
“Mobile search and Web search differ because Web searches answer the question: ‘What properties fit my criteria?’ while mobile search answers the question: ‘Can you tell me more about this specific property?’ Internet searches are basically anonymous, but mobile searches generate leads upon each inquiry,” explains Standard. “Web leads generally require more incubation, over a longer period of time, while mobile leads capture a potential buyer when they are in front of a property of interest so there’s much less incubation required.”
Today, Standard’s VoicePad technology is quickly becoming the tech toolbox add-on of choice for brokers and agents. VoicePad’s features include: full-inventory search by phone; fully bilingual (English and Spanish) capability; listing data conversion to high-quality speech; on-demand buyer text info service and a search by house/street number feature.
“Up until now, Realtors have had to ask themselves, ‘Is the consumer more likely to engage Realtors by phone, text message or wireless broadband during their home search?’ It’s hard to tell,” Standard says. “Now, brokerages and MLS providers no longer have to choose only one of the three mobile search technologies as part of their strategy because VoicePad combines all those technologies into a single elegant solution.”
To survive, Standard says Realtors need to be talking more and “clicking” less with their clients.
“Mobile search technology provides the opportunity to engage potential buyers when they are most valuable to industry professionals-when they leave the house and begin driving the neighborhoods of interest,” he says. “Phone-based search is best suited for this purpose as this technology operates on every phone.”
Prudential Kansas City: Instant Success
Known as a regional industry leader for integrating new technologies, Prudential Kansas City, after learning about VoicePad’s offerings earlier this year, was keen on working with the Kentucky-based provider.
“We call [our program] Pru KC’s ‘Home Hotline 24/7′ and we provide this as a service for all our agents to use,” says Dena Nash, marketing director for Prudential Kansas City. “Our goal was to get this one Home Hotline phone number in everybody’s cell phone so they know who to call every time they see a Prudential Kansas City Realtor’s sign.”
Nash sees her company’s recent integration of VoicePad technology as a natural extension of Pru KC’s website-both are available to their clients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The company also uses its Hotline number in all newspaper ads and other print marketing-even all direct mail pieces her agents send out.
What’s more, Nash says her agents are so excited about the instant success of the system that Pru KC has created streaming video for their website, concentrating, in part, on the availability and user-friendliness of their locally branded VoicePad system.