In the following interview, Michael LaRocque, broker/owner of LaRocque & Co., REALTORS® in Cocoa, Fla., discusses the firm’s internet lead program and branding strategies.
Region Served: East Coast of Central Florida
Years in Real Estate: 20
Number of Offices: 1 brick and mortar, 2 virtual
Number of Agents: 37
When it comes to online leads, where are the majority of your leads coming from?
One-hundred percent of my paid online leads are from realtor.com®. I don’t pay any other providers and haven’t for years. In the past, I tried all of them, but I eventually chose realtor.com® because their leads have proven to be the most viable.
You’ve been using realtor.com® for seven years. How has that relationship progressed over time?
We’ve seen amazing growth and expansion, ranging from the number of agents under our roof to the number of sides closed and areas serviced. We now have agents available to serve our customers in three counties on the East Coast of Central Florida. The close collaboration with realtor.com® has been instrumental in this growth trajectory.
Have you found that one transaction can turn to many over time?
Yes, it’s commonplace, and part of our long-range planning. We acquire a lead originally sourced from realtor.com®, transact on the immediate business at hand, then turn our attention toward converting that lead into a “customer for life.” We want their repeat business and referrals. We have many examples of this, but perhaps the best is a lead that was delivered to us with an original inquiry value of $50,000 or thereabouts. My agent successfully closed the first transaction, but over time, this lead purchased, sold and rented many more units with us. Fast forward to today, and the sum total of business has fallen into the $1.5 million production value over time. The takeaway? Treat all your leads like the gold they are.
Let’s talk about branding. How is your company working to brand itself?
We recently reinvented our website and are now utilizing more social media to establish name recognition. We like to acquire our leads from realtor.com®, then keep them on our website and stay relevant to them on social media. Branding is even more important, as the public seems to have a shortening memory.
How does your company branding come into play in terms of drawing in new customers?
Realtor.com®’s Local ExpertSM is an important feature for this, as it’s a continuous effort to stay top-of-mind with the public. In an environment of “always-on” intel and immediate availability of information, you must stay out in front of your market to expand your brand.
How do you use your branding with your sellers?
Reporting functions available to us from both realtor.com® and our website allow us to exhibit to our sellers that our marketing efforts are the surefire way to get their property sold in a timely fashion and at top dollar. It’s a combination of some tried-and-true techniques in conjunction with the latest technologies and social media utilization that gets it done.
What is your favorite thing about working in real estate?
Working with our life-long customers and my team.