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using smartphoneDerek and I have known each other for a number of years now, but just recently started working together. I’ve always known Derek, active in the real estate community for 10 years and currently CEO of Growth & Development for Exit Realty Beatrice Associates, had his finger on the pulse of technology, but didn’t see the full extent of it until a few weeks ago, when I spent the day at his office with him and his team. Here’s a couple of items we touched on throughout the day.

Seth Kaplan:  You recently redesigned your firms ‘For Sale’ Sign Panel to include a text-for-info option, what led to this change?

Beatrice_DerekDerek Beatrice:  In today’s real estate market the buyers want the information now!  Traditionally the buyer would have to call the office or the agent and then we would email them the information.  With the new Sign Panels, we can deliver the buyer what they want: video, colorful photos, detailed listing information, price and more while they’re sitting in their car in front of the property.  Furthermore, the agent or an inside sales agent can call the buyer immediately to see if we can set an appointment.  It’s a win-win; the buyer gets the information they want and the agent captures their information at the same time.

SK: Do you see a global shift in communication away from phone calls and towards other technologies like text with buyers, sellers and your agents?

DB:  Yes, we use several lead generation systems between the two EXIT Realty offices I own and the preferred communication of potential buyers is text messaging.  When a new lead comes into the CRM we automatically call, email and text; 9 out of 10 times the buyers will text back before they email or call.  We have many theories on why text messaging works.

First, people constantly get to much junk email. How many emails are unopened on your smart phone? A lot more than the number of text messages that go unread.  The second reason is that buyers and sellers want to communicate on their timeline; employers monitor email and web activity but not their personal cell phones.  At the beginning we thought it would be a millennial deal but we’re finding it holds true with most buyers today.

SK:  Besides utilizing text – what other technology medium do you find most effective from a marketing standpoint?

DB:  The most effective marketing that we do besides the ‘For Sale’ sign would have to be on Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. We find that through Facebook advertising we can get the cost per click to be $.10- $.15 and the cost per impression down to well under $.01 in most cases we see $.005.  Compare that to what you’re paying on Zillow, Trulia, etc. and there’s no comparison.  The second tool we use is direct mail.  Direct mail works when you include a call to action; they can be SMS, website, etc.  When we combine a direct mail campaign with social media we find we make a true local impact.

Final thought: What struck me most about seeing Derek and his team in action is how they coordinate all the various marketing programs they’re running into a clearly communicated plan to buyers and sellers within their market.  They aren’t doing everything for everyone, but what they do, works together to the market segment their targeting.

Derek Beatrice is the CEO of Growth & Development for Exit Realty Beatrice Associates and has been active in the Real Estate Community for 10 years.

If you’d like to participate in Talking Tech contact Seth Kaplan at