By Prem Luthra, President of Elm Street Technology
The real estate brokerage business is evolving, rapidly. Undoubtedly you’re witnessing first-hand how today’s digital landscape is affecting consumer behavior, particularly with their expectations (or demands) on our industry. You may see this change as a disruption or distraction, although today I’d like to offer a different perspective--that a tech-fueled brokerage business environment and the many technology offerings available are in reality, opportunities and untapped resources.
Breaking down why I think these new platforms are so important, I’ll draw attention to the three main components I believe comprise a successful brokerage: productivity, transparency, and communication/collaboration with consumers.
With every passing moment, a new app or whiz-bang technology hits the market. New software gets launched, and new businesses are formed. This new business ecosystem is a roller coaster and, whether you like it or not, you’re along for the ride.
As a brokerage, you have three options when it comes to dealing with the multitude of tech platforms, CRMs, and various other products.
To effectively leverage your online presence, it’s vital to take advantage of digital platforms. They’ll help you find leads, build trust, and stay connected with your consumers.
Conversations that were once held behind closed doors or at the negotiating table are now occurring on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook and in front of thousands of people. Data that was historically only available to our industry practitioners can easily be found on dozens of websites. Sound familiar?
At first thought, this can seem like a scary thing. But, this too can be seen as an opportunity to build trust with your online audience (and future clients).
Blogging and posting on social media about recent transactions, company events, policy changes, or customer service responses are great ways to show your customers the behind-the-scenes operations of your brokerage. It tells them that you have nothing to hide, and it may answer some of their questions that they’ve been hesitant to ask.
Communication and Collaboration
Social media, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn, is great for staying in touch with people that you don’t have frequent contact with. Perhaps you even have a few old high school acquaintances on your friends list that you hardly, if ever, talk to but still keep them as a “friend” for old times’ sake.
When leveraging these platforms for business, your goal is to make sure you’re accessible and memorable, without overstaying your welcome or becoming an annoyance.
It’s true that this is a difficult balance to achieve, but doing so successfully can mean increased online and word-of-mouth leads and testimonials.
Where do you begin?
Although the platforms and tools are new, the principles of your business remain as they always were. To find out where you can start implementing these changes, refer back to your customer value proposition from Marketing 101.
Find out how you can use the various new platforms at your disposal to meet the total sum of benefits your customer expects from your relationship.
So, to recap:
This new, digital age of brokerage is upon us and will only become more integrated into business as time goes on. The upshot is that we can use these platforms to increase leads, productivity, transparency, and to build better relationships with consumers.
To be an effective broker in today’s world, you need to put on your consumer hat on, focus on your value proposition, and start planning the implementation of these platforms into your business.
Customer Relationship Management platforms (CRMs) have been around in the real estate industry for what seems like ages now, presumably helping agents by providing them with more tools, greater insight, and saved time when working with leads and clients. And yet, is spending your valuable money on a CRM system really worth the investment? We believe the answer is a resounding YES.
Using a good CRM platform provides you with valuable client insight, incubation tools for your prospects, and a plethora of additional tools and features to turn them into clients for life, a key component of running a successful real estate business. Here are our top three reasons why every real estate professional should invest in a high quality CRM system to be successful:
1. A good CRM platform will provide you with effective lead incubation features and tools to keep your pipeline consistently full, while not wasting time on leads who are not yet ready to buy. This gives you the time to focus on your hot clients who are ready to buy/sell now, while your CRM platform handles cold prospects until they’re ready for your attention.
2. A CRM platform should give you significant insight into your clients’ and prospects’ search activity, as well as the ability to collaborate with them during this process in your own private, exclusive environment without the presence of other agents. Advanced insight into how often your prospects and clients log on, how many properties they’ve looked at, their “must have” features (even some they may not realize are “must haves”), properties they’ve added to their Favorites list or rejected and more, gives you a substantial advantage by knowing where your prospects/clients really are in the buy/sell process and exactly what they’re looking for.
3. Finally, a good CRM platform doesn’t just lose sight of a client after a sale, but provides insight and content that keeps clients coming back again and again even after the sale is complete, helping you stay top of mind and creating clients for life. This content may include relevant emails about the state of the market in your client’s specific area, CRM content that provides post-sale tips on decorating, refurbishing, home repairs, or home valuation content that they can continually check to keep track of their new home’s value, and more.