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The marketing tools available to REALTORS® have changed considerably since the early days of door-knocking, open houses, sending out flyers, even delivering pumpkins in October. We’re now in the era of Web 2.0 and beyond, with Internet and social marketing tools, which are more cost-and-time-effective than anything that we’ve ever tried before.

As long as you’re using them in the right way, and efficiently, there are many advantages to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other websites for connecting with your consumers.

Social Marketing
Consider the story of Gary Vaynerchuck, who is now renowned as a pioneer in social media, promoting his wine-tasting reviews website ( via Twitter and Facebook, as well as Vlogs (video blogs), turning it into an overnight sensation. He now gives keynote presentations and consults Fortune 500 companies on this technique, which caught the eye of the business world and is recognized as a thought-leading approach to savvy and skilful marketing for the 21st Century.

Vaynerchuck realized early on, as did we in the real estate business – you need to go where your prospects are. And this means going online.

Of course, many of these blogging and tweeting sites might sound like a ‘waste of time’ and a sure-fire way to burn hundreds of man-hours surfing and posting new articles and information. How can these sites bring in leads? How do I stay on top of these technological developments, without getting bogged down with spending all day in front of a computer? Is this really a worthwhile use of my energies?

The answer is yes, this is worthwhile. But, the key is automation, automation, and then automating your automation. First, you must understand the process and put your personality, character, and personal touch into your systems. Then, you need to set-up the appropriate ‘nets’ to bring in the prospects, and from there – if you’re getting enough prospects – you will certainly need to automate the process, or you will be very busy; too busy to handle the incoming leads and close these deals.

Fishing for Sellers with Tech Lures
When ‘fishing’ in the open waters of real estate, the trick is to have a multitude of sources and thus having many poles in the water. We don’t know if having the biggest net in a single place really works, but we do know that having a decent-sized net in many well placed spots is most practical and productive.

Your lead goal is to get conversions and initially, that means catching a fresh lead – and by this, we mean a real lead. It was more common in the past to get a time-waster who provides a bogus phone number, or a bogus email address. However, nowadays, in the age of Spam, those who understand the web wouldn’t even bother including a number or email address if they weren’t serious about receiving a reply.

As in fishing, it is not easy to know where the fish are unless you know the waters, conditions and what will make the fish strike at your bait. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single answer or specific route to recommend in the practice of fishing. What might work for us, won’t necessarily work in a different market with different customers. However, the one thing that does work is testing, testing, and testing. There are fish, so if you test those waters over and over, eventually you will find a place where they’re biting and how to make them strike…

Of course, we need to bear in mind that, just because it works today, there are no guarantees that the customers will be there a month from now, or that a competitor won’t figure out the same idea. There’s a reason it’s called “fishing” and not “catching.” You need to keep on top of the market conditions, which market is moving in real estate and what motivates these folks to contact you. And once you’ve tested the waters and found something that works or doesn’t work, then it’s time to tweak that testing.

We recommend that you read up on A/B split testing to zero in on the single variable that is most effective. Also, you should look into using free analytics tools for your website to see where your prospects are dropping off, where your traffic is coming from, what are your popular site pages, etc… We like Google Analytics for this service and it’s free.

Another example is how the auto industry has adapted to the tech change regarding prospective buyers. The auto dealers understand there are two primary different types of buyers; online and onsite. Onsite are traditional buyers that need to see, feel, and touch the product and the sales process. These buyers walk onto the dealership, test drive the car several times, look for a rapport with their sales person, and enjoy surviving the negotiation process. In turn, the dealership takes them through the appropriate sales process including what might be a painful negotiation process.

Conversely, the auto dealers understand the online buyer, too. This buyer isn’t interested in a conversation with the auto dealer, sales person, etc. Several years ago, the auto dealers still tried onsite tactics with the online buyer; today, they realize this is a lost cause. Now the auto dealers assign a special online representative who is an expert at this style of communication. This online representative’s goal is to respond as fast as possible and with a no haggle, no hassle price and buying process. This communicates trust to the online buyer. In addition, the online representative understands that he may only have one shot at gaining the buyer’s confidence or the buyer is off to the next online dealership.

The question for you is: Do you have flexible sales systems that can accommodate a multitude of customers, especially the online customer?

We’ve been doing our testing for quite some time. In the beginning, we started with a service where we loaded diskettes; the software automatically dialed a data phone number at night, and connected over a modem to send updates and new listings… Back then, 12 years ago, we were at the forefront of the technology side of this business, and we strive to remain at the cutting edge today so we can get to the fish before anyone else.

Without a doubt, we’ve come a long way from door-to-door pumpkins, too; those were the old days of marketing, prior to the personal computer and advent of the Internet. And since the Internet was created, the number of possible sources for leads has grown exponentially over the years. What lures will you test to catch the most?

Also in this chapter: Fishing for Buyers with IDX, Branding and Conversion Secrets, Email Do’s and Don’ts, Lead Conversion Insights and More

To learn more about or purchase “Blueprint for 100 Deals or More Than $1 Million Per Year in Income,” visit:

Rick Bengson is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShowingSuite, Inc. a leading real estate productivity software company, and Co-Creator of Alan Shafran is the owner of The Alan Shafran Group, selling up to 175 homes per year. To learn more about “Blueprint for 100 Deals or More Than $1 Million Per Year in Income,” visit:

Editor’s Note: “Blueprint for 100 Deals or More Than $1 Million Per Year in Income: The exact systems and technology to sell 100+ homes, every year—no matter the market,” is a new book by leading real estate industry executives Alan Shafran and Rick Bengson that outlines how to build your business as well as make more money, please more customers and improve your overall quality of life, whether you are a novice or climbing the ladder in the real estate business. For the next several weeks, RISMedia will be running portions of each chapter every Wednesday or Thursday, highlighting the in-depth information and invaluable resources the authors have compiled in this exciting, new publication.