5 Pieces of Wisdom Real Estate Must Learn from Uber
Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.
Is there an Uber of real estate coming to disrupt the entire industry?
The answer is yes, but disruption in real estate is going to start at the grassroots level with agents who embrace change.
Uber disrupts because they listen to customers, adopt the right technology and adapt with genius long-term strategies. Read on to find out how you can disrupt like Uber for long-term success in real estate.
How to Create Seamless Customer Experiences with Technology
The cab companies had a massive efficiency problem and Uber knew they could disrupt their industry with technology.
By focusing on software, Uber saved on overheads to gain an advantage over cab companies which had to pay for vehicle repairs, employee benefits and wages, and call centre staff.
Agents can use technology to disrupt in the same way.
Think about it like this: you can spend 15 minutes setting up a personalised email to go out to your database of 500 contacts. The leads you generate from that email give you an idea of who is in the market right now and lets you know who to speak to.
Best of all, it saves you hours cold calling. If you had to spend 5 minutes cold call everyone in your database, contacting the 500 contacts would take over 40 hours.
That’s a full week!
Technology allows you to work smarter, not harder. The tricky part is knowing what the right technology for real estate is.
Why you Need to Embrace the Right Technology
The trick to being disruptive is choosing the right technology for your customer base and business case.
For Uber, this meant the smartphone because the technology is popular, it lets people connect to the internet and people always have them on hand. Unlike cabs, an Uber customer never has to hold the line, like they might if they called a cab company at a busy time.
Uber used the right technology to make it easier for people to become customers.
The right technology for agents is tablets and email.
Email, for example, allows agents to show properties to large groups of people. Everyone has email, so you are casting a wide net that will catch more customers.
Tablets are easier than laptops for a busy agent to use on the go. They are also perfect for gathering data at open homes because they are easy to pass around to multiple prospective buyers
How to Listen to Your Customers
One of the things that made it so easy for Uber to steal business was that people hated taxis. Consumer frustration is a powerful force for disruption and brand loyalty is a powerful thing.
The internet provides the best agents with a powerful opportunity to disrupt agents who are being slack on customer service.
AI makes it possible to automate communications and stay front of mind with buyers and vendors. Online services like ratemyagent.com.au make it possible to develop a good reputation and find new contacts outside your database.
You might be wondering how you can stay ahead of other disruptors who use this technology. Uber has a lesson for expert disruptors here too.
How to Adapt and be Original
Uber isn’t a taxi company any more. They deliver food. You can rent an Uber bicycle. In 2020 Uber will deliver UberAIR, which will offer short flights.
When Uber launched they were the rideshare company, which gave them a head start over everyone who came after them. When other competitors like Lyft, DiDi and Ola came along, they didn’t just stand still. They diversified.
There are a lot of agents in the world, so it’s crucial for you to stand out to your contacts. After all, only one agent can sell a person’s house so you need to make sure it’s you.
Originality in real estate used to be video blogs, or gifts at an OFI.
What’s original in 2019? Well, if we told you that it wouldn’t be original anymore (you’ll have to come up with the idea yourself!).
When you come up with your million-dollar idea for marketing your properties remember that you can’t depend on a gimmick.
What’s Important about Thinking Long-term
Uber is trying to build self-driving cars. Why? Because they don’t want someone else to invent it first and disrupt them like they disrupted the taxi companies.
To think about long-term technological prospects is to prepare for and guarantee long-term success.
If the taxi companies had invested more resources into an app before Uber, they might not have lost so much business to them. As it stands, they failed to understand what their customers wanted and had a lack of imagination about what kind of disruption technology could bring.
Like the Uber of real estate, the best agent in the future is the agent who listens to their customers and adapts to disruption by implementing the right technology.
Want to Disrupt Like Uber?
Make sure you’re a disruptive agent. Get in touch to embrace the best email marketing tech and make sure you remain the ahead of the competition.
Techniques for Effective Warm Calling
Warm calls are the best way to stand out amongst the competition in a property market that is becoming increasingly digital. Here are some techniques for effective warm calling that help you dominate the digital landscape
They say that every business is a tech business these days. As technology becomes more widespread, the line between tech companies and non-tech companies gets blurrier.
This means that the technologies which gave disruptors an edge stops becoming such a massive advantage when competitors catch up.
It’s the same in any industry, even real estate. As the majority of agents move toward being tech enabled, the advantage that early adopters enjoyed offers less of an advantage.
Get Ahead by Building Personal Relationships
Just like in the good old days, building personal relationships is still the best way to get ahead for any agent, and getting a contact on the phone is still massively important.
What you don’t want to do, however, is cold call. Cold calls frustrate contacts and add to your stress levels. Instead, you should be using data to find and call warm leads.
Ingredients for a Good warm Call
Because warms calls require a degree of knowledge, you need to have a bit more preparation.
It’s good to draw on your prior dealings with a contact. Maybe you sold their property in the past? Maybe you only met them once at an OFI. Whatever the case, refer to your last point of contact to break the ice.
The problem here is you could have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of contacts in your CRM. You can’t remember everything!
This is the part where you utilise data from your email campaigns, web leads, CRM, OFI, and any other data you may have gathered.
What you’re trying to find is who are your most interactive contacts. Once you have those you want to gather:
- A name (obviously)
- Residential address
- What properties they interact with
When you know these three things, the only thing left to figure out is how they all fit together.
How to Make a Good First Impression
Studies have shown that people form an opinion of another person within the first two seconds of a conversation, so a good first impression is everything.
When you call someone, it’s a good idea to address them by name to establish trust. When you use contact’s name, you trigger an emotional response making that don’t experience when they hear other words.
You can also use your own name to create a connection. Mention your brand and office, and reference the last time you had contact. This gives the contact context, confirming that you aren’t just a another telemarketer.
“Hi , this is Adam from Newtown Real Estate, I met you at that inspection on Main St last summer. How are you going?”
Without a prior relationship you can still get your foot in the door by being polite and human. If a contact is enthusiastic when they answer, be enthusiastic. If they are professional, play into that. Personality can’t be automated, so it’s a great way to get an advantage over the competition.
Show What You Know
You have established a conversation. The next step is to cross reference your data.
Do you have a property address? Are you 100 percent sure that this is their current address?
Unless you have spoken to this contact very recently, you can’t be too sure. Ask your contact if they’re still at the same address.
After you’ve done this check, you can start talking to a contact about your listings.
The properties you discuss will depend on your contact’s individual behaviour (this is where your research from before comes in). You want to open by talking about the property they’ve clicked on most; their ‘favourite property’.
If their favourite property is a sold property, then a person is likely to be self-appraising. This means you should talk about the great price you got for your vendor.
“Have you heard about the house on Property Street? We sold it for $20,000 above valuation.”
Talking about a property in this way assures the contact that you could get a great price for them as well.
On the other hand, if the contact has been clicking on a for-sale property, mention that property and confirm that they’re in the market.
“I’ve been getting a lot of interest in 4B Broad Street from potential investors. I just thought I’d call and let you know about this great opportunity.”
Ask the Right Kind of Questions
Perhaps one of the most important things to do when you’re calling people is to ask open ended questions. Open questions invite people to start talking, which is how you really catch leads and win sales.
Consider the different kinds of answers you get when you ask someone:
“Are you looking to sell?”
“What kind of properties have caught your eye lately.”
The first question only requires a yes or no answer.
The second question, on the other hand, forces a person to think about the kind of properties they’ve been engaging with, then gets them talking about them.
What if a Call Doesn’t Convert
If you don’t get the response you want from a contact, don’t be disheartened. It’s almost impossible that every single call you make will end in a listing. That isn’t the only reason you follow up on leads.
When you follow up on leads, you can make a sale, or you can get an appraisal, find a listing, garner interest.
Your contact might not be looking right now, but they might be looking soon, or they might have a friend who is looking.
Turn your contacts into connections. This is how you stay front of mind.
The road to success for any agent is paved with good connections.
Agility in the Workplace: How to Adapt to Technology So That You Can Get Ahead
As the business of real estate moves ever forward, there’s an inevitable push towards automating processes and incorporating more technology into the roles and expectations of agents.
Change can be scary, and for established employees, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an understandable gripe. The work day is already packed to the rafters, so finding the time to learn an unfamiliar system is a non-priority task that ends up at the bottom of the to-do list.
Over the years, I’ve seen many employees shine through the uncertainty of the ‘new’ and leverage themselves as invaluable upskillers, reaping the benefits of their increased productivity. I’ve also witnessed many succumb to the short-term anxiety of unfamiliarity and fail to capitalise on the opportunities within the challenge.
You can guess which group strode ahead, time and time again.
Real estate will always rely on exceptional human interactions, but the ability to react quickly to the changing tech landscape is imperative for survival.
Here are my tips on how to stay tech agile so that you can get ahead in real estate and make yourself indispensable to your employer.
Change is inevitable, so don’t bother dragging your feet in the mud, you’ll only appear stagnant. Even if you’re a full-blown skeptic, fake it til you make it. Have a positive attitude and step up as the early-adopter who helps others in the office get excited too. It won’t go unnoticed.
Use It as a Selling Tool
Savvy ActivePipe agents showcase the platform in their listing presentations to demonstrate how easy it is to find premium buyers for the client’s property. This is often enough to get them over the line and secure their business.
You can use this strategy for any new technology. Think about what the client gets out of it. Can you work that into your pitch and turn it into a selling tool? It might be the push you need to get around the product yourself.
Don’t Let Initial Failures Bog You Down
Just log in. The first time you poke around a new system, it’s normal to feel like a bit of a failure because you don’t completely understand what you’re doing. Don’t let this stop you. The more you log in and try, the more familiar it will become.
Compare it to the first time you started working in sales. I’m sure we can all look back and cringe on mistakes we made in the early days of our career, but if we had let that failure consume us, we wouldn’t have learnt how to do things differently. To do things better.
We don’t have much control over the new technology that enters our lives, or the direction that a company takes when implementing it across the business.
What we do have control over is our attitude when we are faced with new opportunities. The best agents I know have one incredible trait in common. Their ability to adapt and make the best of the situation in front of them allows them to thrive, no matter what. They are always looking for the next challenge.
Technology like ActivePipe is there to make your life easier. It only takes a little effort to give it a go and ensure that you’ll stay relevant within the industry for years to come.
Building Your Professional Network through Strategic Content
There’s no shortage of articles out there telling you how easy and important it is to build your real estate network through social media.
Thousands of agents across the globe have wholeheartedly embraced the internet to actively build relationships with buyers and sellers in the local community, but how much time are they dedicating to creating content which engages professionals who can help build and promote their business?
Attracting contacts with industry clout is a solid strategy for getting ahead. You’ll not only build your profile but also gain numerous insights that will catapult your personal and business development.
What’s the most effortless way to ignite these connections?
Well-considered, strategic content.
Build the framework with LinkedIn
Plenty of agents use LinkedIn to attract new clients and socialise with like-minded colleagues. There’s nothing wrong with this but it’s a mere fragment of what LinkedIn can do for your professional network.
LinkedIn gives you access to some of the most influential players in real estate. Go after them. Send connection requests to influencers, keynote speakers, group executives, power agents, anyone you can learn from or who can help advance your business.
Don’t add or accept just anyone. Keeping contacts relevant will ensure you don’t dilute the value of your network. As a general rule, if they don’t have a profile picture or play a valuable role within your industry, cull them.
Study, mimic then …
Now that you’re building a more strategic network, you need to make yourself visible within it. This is where content comes into play. To capture the attention of key industry figures you need to engage them in a value exchange.
What do they get from having you in their network?
Study the type of content they’re sharing and interacting with. What publications are they following? What articles are they into? Start by sharing similar content that will pique their interest and encourage a comment, like or share. If what you’re posting has value, you’ll naturally position yourself as a thought-leader which will attract new, quality followers and prepare you for step three…
In-between the thousands of phone calls, miles and meetings that you plough through each week, there’s surely a few insights into the industry that roll around in your head. Have you ever thought that these could be of value to someone else?
You don’t have to be a great writer or spend countless hours plugging away with editing software to create content that pops. In fact, it’s often raw material that conveys the most authenticity. You just have to ensure that you’re not making content for the sake of content. It doesn’t matter how slick the result is, the only importance is whether it adds value to a professional audience.
If words are your thing, write a short article series that speaks on changes in the industry. Prefer a more ad-lib style? Make use of your smartphone and create a video series interviewing other movers and shakers in your network.
The possibilities of what you can create are endless but you have to put time into research. What will perform well? Plan your content in advance and craft a distribution strategy that will get you noticed by the right people, at the right time.
Growing your professional network requires a multi-pronged strategy and takes time. Content plays a big role in promoting yourself with meaning and personality but smart agents know that they have to get out and rub shoulders with the best-in-class to truly secure the relationships that will help them get ahead.
Real life will always trump online.
Pro-Tip for ActivePipe users
Once you’re in the cadence of producing content, why not use ActivePipe to send it out to your professional network? Firstly, ask your new connections if it’s ok to reach out to them via email. Set up a new ‘audience’ purely for these contacts and add them in. Then, simply drag-and-drop articles and media to create a high quality newsletter that will impress and engage the most important people in real estate.
It’s that simple!
The Case for the Coach: Should You Consider a Real Estate Mentor?
Even if you’re a workaholic power agent with natural selling abilities and a multi-million dollar portfolio, you’re just as susceptible to flatlining business as the newbie trying to make a name for themselves in an overcrowded market.
Sometimes, we can all do with a little help. Whether that be motivation, guidance in crafting business objectives or even just an accountability measure; having a highly experienced mentor watching your back can be a saving grace for agents in need of a hard refresh.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few with a ready-made Coach Carter, happy to help through the pure goodness of their heart, hiring a mentor can be a costly and confonting exercise.
So, is it the right option for you?
Here’s what you should consider before taking the plunge.
Do you have clearly outlined goals and objectives in place?
One of the main purposes of taking on a coach is to help you set and achieve SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) goals. If you have trouble knowing where to start or haven’t had much luck seeing them through in the past, then having a mentor to bounce around ideas with might be just the thing you need.
Before you splash out on professional help, try sitting down with a favourite colleague and mind mapping your goals together. Make a pledge to keep each other accountable and touch base every few months to check that you’re on track. Brutal honesty is key here.
Is your usual support network busy with their own needs?
With life growing busier by the day, it’s natural to feel bad asking for help when we’re in need. We don’t want to bother others with our problems or take up any of their precious time. This is where hiring a coach can be really beneficial. You are paying for their expertise, so there’s no need to feel guilty for using it. Just like a therapist is cathartic to those going through personal hardships, a coach will listen to your innermost professional concerns and build tangible solutions to them.
Be Honest: Are You Prepared to Put in the Hard Yards?
A good coach is going to push you out of your comfort zone. Are you ready for that? The usual excuses, “I’m too busy,” “I’m too tired,” and “It’s been a bad week” aren’t going to cut it and really, the only person you’ll be letting down is yourself, as you watch the hard earned dollars you forked out for their personally designed kick-in-the-butt fly out the window. If you’re not ready to make this sort of commitment, don’t bother.
Hiring a coach might just be the thing you need to get you out of a slump, over a sales hurdle or to the next level in your career, but it’s not for everyone.
If you can find the support you need within your network and your business is cruising by with no hiccups, great! You go, you!
If, on the other hand, you’re feeling overwhelmed or lacking clear direction; there’s no shame in getting help from someone who’s been there, done that and whose sole business objective is to see you get ahead.
ActivePipe supports you by sending emails that deliver qualified leads – and more of them. Click here to organise a chat.
How Every Agent Can Squeeze the Most Out of the Christmas Period
Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the mad rush of Christmas each year. One minute it’s October and you’re waist deep in the property selling frenzy, the next you’re at the supermarket wondering why on earth Deck the Halls is playing on the radio and everything’s covered in tinsel.
It’s easy to write the holidays off as “sales slump season” but smart agents know to use this time wisely. Yuletide is the perfect opportunity to get all those life admin jobs you haven’t had time for during the busy months sorted and prepare yourself to step into the new year with your best foot forward.
Not sure where to start? Here’s the ActivePipe list of naughty and nice ways to squeeze the most out of this Christmas season.
Prepare your content for the year ahead
When the year is in full swing, your calendar’s overflowing with appointments and your phone feels like it’s been duct-taped to the side of your face, finding time to create or even curate content can feel like the last priority on your to-do list.
In this day and age you’d be a fool to leave content out of your overall marketing mix, so why not make the most of the downtime by planning out your social calendar for the year ahead? Snap any great photos of properties or happy sellers lately? Get them off your phone and onto your social media pages. Why not share some of your valuable expertise with the world and write some blogs? Don’t fancy yourself a creative? Look up some inspirational quotes or images that you can share.
The beauty of Facebook is that you can set-and-forget content so that your campaigns are scheduled and you have plenty of great stuff going out as the year ticks along, minus the headache!
Send Out an Xmas Email from ActivePipe
Let your contacts know you’re thinking of them with a fun holiday email. Take a photo of your office wearing Santa hats or include a group shot from your end of year party. Your contacts will love seeing your personality shine through and will be more likely to open your emails in the future.
At ActivePipe, we decided to make a Year in Review video, in which we showcase some of our big achievements of 2018. You could do the same with some of your more impressive listings and any events or awards you’ve been involved in over the year.
Get active in the community
As corny as it sounds, Christmas is about giving back. Show how involved you are by getting out and involved in your community. Fundraisers, Christmas concerts, school fetes, they’re all great ways to get out there, make new connections and even find fresh content for your social channels.
Clean up your database
This is another one of those “I don’t have time” jobs that can make a world of difference to your business if you bite the bullet and get it done. Make sure all your contacts are assigned, duplicates are deleted and all the names you’ve got saved in your phone are entered into your database. ActivePipe works best when you’ve got squeaky clean data to work with, so it’ll be worth your while. Who knows what hidden listings are waiting to be discovered?
Take a Break
Working in real estate is stressful, there’s no two ways about it. The energy that it takes to be “on” for your boss, your clients and your income is relentless and taxing, so whilst you might feel frustrated that the market slows down for Christmas, really it’s a blessing in disguise. Take the chance to recharge and nurture your mental and physical wellbeing, so that you can go into the new year fresh-faced and excited to kick some goals.
Have a happy and safe holiday period everyone, I look forward to seeing the amazing results you achieve with ActivePipe in 2019.
Want to have the right programs in place in time for the new year? Get in touch with the ActivePipe team here.
ActivePipe Year in Review, 2018
It’s gotten to that time where you look at the calendar, realise that it’s only five days until Christmas, and wonder where the year has gone.
2018 has been an amazing year, strength to strength, and we wouldn’t be here without our users.
Thanks for making 2018 a top year.
This one’s for you!
It feels like yesterday, not last year, that I was writing the 2017 ActivePipe Year in Review.
This year we’ve launched in the US, built our global support team in Cebu and expanded into the finance industry. That’s on top of all the new features and improvements to the platform.
When roughly 50 per cent of startups fail in the first five years, it makes me proud and excited that we are still growing rapidly into our fifth year, with many new prospects on the horizon.
This comes down to much more than a great product.
I’ve spoken before about the importance of promoting a positive work environment to inspire your team, and I wasn’t blowing smoke. I meant it when I said that leaders need to inspire a sense of purpose in their staff if they want to maintain a culture of success as a business grows.
Our team has tripled in size this year, which has introduced a lot of new members to our ActivePipe family. Rapid expansion comes with its own set of challenges, but the new members of the team have brought different experiences from different backgrounds in different industries.
This diversity of perspective is something that makes us challenge each other and makes ActivePipe such an exciting and interesting place to work.
I can’t wait to show you what we’re bringing you in 2019.
How Was Your Year?
Many of you have absolutely crushed 2018. The ActivePipe Dashboard gives us insight into the workflow of our users and has shown us a lot of people with really impressive results.
This has helped us find a tonne of agents who are doing spectacular things with the platform, and has lead to some great conversations.
Among others, it alerted us to the Ray White Sandringham team, who won 17 appraisal request in their first 24 hours with an ActivePipe account!
Well done to all of those teams who have managed to save money on their path to more listings and more sales.
Not all of you will have had the greatest year. We all have our year that we think of as a ‘bad year’, but it’s important not to focus on the negatives. Instead, recalibrate and prepare for opportunities to come.
A wise man once said:
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
Get excited for the opportunities that are waiting just over the horizon and get ready to make next year a success story.
Make 2019 yours.
We’re right here with you.
We’re collecting the greatest stories from real estate in 2018 to create a follow-up article! This is a great opportunity for you to share your experiences from the year with the rest of the industry.
This could be something you’ve learned, the things you’ve overcome or stories about your contact relationships. This could even be a funny story from an OFI or your office.
Get in touch, because we want to hear from you!
ActivePipe Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® in New ACE, Agent Centre for Excellence
Award-winning real estate marketing automation platform ActivePipe, has joined forces with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® as part of their newly launched state-of-the-art marketing technology platform, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® Agent Center for Excellence (ACE).
As part of the ACE package, which seamlessly integrates multiple best in class marketing technologies into one cutting edge platform, ActivePipe allows Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® agents to create powerful email drip-campaigns with built-in automation and property integration.
With ActivePipe, brands can now implement a ‘tiered-down’ approach, the first of its kind. Centralized communications can be deployed from the brokerage level, delivering a cohesive message through their local channels. These emails take seconds to create, thanks to ActivePipe’s easy-to-use email builder.
“We are proud to be part of the ACE initiative alongside the other best-of-class technology platforms,” said ActivePipe CEO, Ashley Farrugia. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® is an exceptional group, and with ActivePipe, their agents will be given the tools to send intuitive emails that discover hidden opportunities in their databases, resulting in more listings and higher commissions. It’s a revolution.”
The ACE platform is designed to be agent focused and data-driven, delivering powerful CRM, lead management, listing alerts, digital marketing tools and agent intranet from one centralized portal.
“After nearly two years of research, we realized investing in a best-in-class approach was the only way to continuously provide our agents with the most advanced technology to maximize their business,” said Rajeev Sajja, Vice President of Digital Innovation at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS. “We are genuinely committed to providing best-in-class tools and services to our agents to service their clients through innovation and key partnerships in the industry. As agents begin utilizing ACE, they will find running their day-to-day business is easier, more effective and highly efficient.”
The official rollout of ACE will begin in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania area throughout December 2018. By January 25th, all 5100 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® agents throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey will have access to ACE.
Unique within the real estate space, ActivePipe integrates live property feeds to present tailored recipient-specific content. ActivePipe helps brokerages and agents in identifying and converting potential buyers and sellers by managing the communication journey with all prospects, at scale.
Its drag-and-drop email editor allows for easy and instant blog and video incorporation, creating a seamless nurture program across all stages of the real estate lifecycle.
ActivePipe has established a rapid paid penetration across US, UK, New Zealand and Australian real estate offices in its short history in market. The ActivePipe platform complements all popular real estate CRM platforms by bringing static data to life. Agents can now identify and profile the clients most active, allowing agents to focus and prioritise those clients that are showing signs of transacting in the immediate future.
For more information, speak to a member of our team here.
Ebany’s Top 5 Tips for Getting Started with ActivePipe
“You’ve just got to jump in and have a swim around.”
That was the advice from one of our happy clients, Reece Prewett, when asked what he’d tell other agents and principals thinking about giving ActivePipe a go.
I completely agree with Reece, but I also believe that to make the best of your time in the water you need a few lane ropes around to help keep you on track.
No matter what, if you’re willing to try something new, ActivePipe will revolutionise your business; start your journey right and you’ll ensure that your results are supercharged and that you see them quick stat.
Here are my top five tips for getting off on the right foot as you begin your new life landing infinite leads, saving hours in your week and creating customers that will come back to you time and time again.
Gotta Start Somewhere
Login! This is where Reece’s advice really rings true. ActivePipe is designed to be easy and fun, so the first thing you should do is have a poke around. Try building an email. You can drag and drop images, text, and even content from other people’s websites. Practice your skills without the worry of breaking anything. If you build something fun, send it to yourself or a friend to see the finished result!
Get Your CRM in Check
This is a great excuse to consolidate. Do you have a notebook somewhere with a list of contacts you never got round to entering into your database? Or perhaps your phone is full of names you’ve collected out in the field that never made it to the desktop? Well, this is the time to sort it out. Get every name you can into the system so that ActivePipe can start discovering their buying and selling intentions.
Play the Name Game
Don’t settle for Mr and Mrs. As much as possible, try and get hold of first names too. This is important for the open rate of your emails. It’s accepted across the board that people will notice and respond best to emails that are personalised with their first name. The beauty of ActivePipe is that as long as that name is entered, the platform will do the hard work and personalise your emails for you.
Clean up your data by making sure all your contacts have been assigned. You know that amazing feeling you get after a big spring tidy up? That’s how good you’re going to feel once you’ve organised your database. Make sure duplicates are deleted for that extra squeaky clean goodness.
If a contact is receiving emails from you, chances are they’re receiving material from other agents too. When you think about how many emails, messages and newsfeeds pass in front of our eyes each day, it’s no surprise that even the most well-intentioned send can slip through the cracks, never to be seen again. Give yourself the best chance of standing out from the crowd by getting your head into ‘creative mode’. Start thinking of interesting and original ways to get your message to your audience. Google trending topics, .gifs, upcoming entertainment in your area and anything else you can think of that might catch and hold attention. Have fun with it!
Now that you’re getting comfortable and have sent a few campaigns out, why not log into our training centre and watch our short tips and tricks videos which will help you become an ActivePipe pro with a pile of listings you’re colleagues will be envious of.
Seventeen Appraisal Requests in 24 Hours: The Story of Ray White Sandringham
Implementing new technology in an office, group or brand level is never an easy feat for the poor tech officer in charge of facilitating its rollout. Once they’ve convinced those up top that the product will return a solid ROI, they then face the mammoth task of persuading a bunch of notoriously time-poor agents to not only spend precious hours learning the system but to maintain momentum once the initial push has subsided.
Sammie Johnson, the Systems & Technology Trainer for City Realty in New Zealand, is all too aware of the difficulties.
“Being in the Tech Team, we sometimes find it hard to push technology that I know will improve their business. You have to pitch it to them in dollar format, and generally most won’t get onboard…until they see someone else making money or progress from it.”
After seeing the results ActivePipe was generating for other Ray White agents, Sammie insisted that her group of offices sign up too. Expecting inevitable pushback, she couldn’t believe what happened next.
When her Sandringham office tentatively switched on the platform one Wednesday afternoon, something magical occurred. By the next day, they’d secured a whopping 17 appraisal requests and excitement was in the air as the team realised that this was just the beginning.
“It’s just a huge game changer for us. These are crazy numbers! Plus, it’s really simple and user friendly,” says Sammie.
No one in the office was more excited than Susan Woods-Markwick. In the first 30 minutes of ActivePipe she’d landed 7 appraisal requests. The multi award-winning agent is already known as a powerhouse in Auckland but now she had access to a system that was only going to skyrocket her business further.
“It’s exciting and liberating! Keep it coming!” she says.
Susan’s principal, Phil Horrobin, knew that it was going to change the way he ran and trained the staff in his office.
“It’s going to be a significant part of our business, you know. I mean data is so readily available now that we see agents growing their databases like it’s a kind of obsession. Actually being able to manage and communicate with them though is a whole other level. So, now with ActivePipe you could have an agent with a database of 10,000 people but they’ll actually be speaking to the right people, at the right time, as opposed to sitting down and making ten cold calls from that 10,000. So it’s going to be a big change for us”.
Do you remember Sammie’s initial concern about getting agents onboard with the platform? Well, after seeing the results in Sandringham, the other offices under her technological gaze couldn’t be more eager to follow suit.
“It’s a big step forward and a big game changer for our growth. It’s great, we’re very happy about it. We love ActivePipe!”
So, success all round for Sammie Johnson and the team at Ray White Sandringham.
Personal vs Personalised: Why the Difference Matters for Agents
The word “personalised” gets thrown around a lot these days. Saying that something is personalised isn’t just a fancy way to say personal. It has its own meaning. Read on to find out what those meanings are and why the difference between what’s personal and the personalised is relevant to agents.
What’s the Difference, Technically?
As an agent, you’ve probably used a “personal touch” and “personalisation” in your customer journeys, even if you haven’t realised it.
“Personal” is a describing word. It means that something is private or unique to a particular person.
“Personalised” is a doing word. It’s all about action and means that something has been made for a particular person.
These may just be words, but the ideas behind them carry weight.
What matters is how you understand the relationship between these two ideas and how you can use that understanding to improve your customer relationships.
Why Agents Should Care
As an agent, for example, you might sometimes add a personal touch. This could mean giving out pens with your name on it, or property profiles with your face on it. Some of the big-figure agents even take it as far as rolling out champagne for an open house!
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to add a personal touch. A personal touch just means doing something to make people recognise and remember the agent they’re dealing with.
This tactic is as old as the real estate game itself.
Making something personalised, on the other hand, is more new-school.
To personalise something is to make it unique to the customer.
More and more businesses are starting to do this. It’s easier than ever to order a t-shirt with a personal message or photo on it. Facebook creates personal videos about peoples’ online friendships and lets their users share them on their wall.
Technology has dawned a revolution in personalisation.
These companies are only making one product, but they change them so that each item is completely unique to the customer.
This takes the guesswork out of marketing and product creation.
In the past, companies had to try and create one product or marketing campaign that worked for the majority of their target market. The genius of modern personalisation is that it lets the customer create the product that’s perfect for themselves!
For the Last Time: How Does this Help Agents!?
To be fair, personalisation isn’t completely new to real estate.
Think of the classic: the agent Christmas card campaign, where an agent handwrites personal messages to everyone in their database. Some of the top agents even do this for all their contacts’ birthdays as well.
At least, it used to be just the top agents.
These days any agent can easily personalise in two steps.
First, you need to know about your contacts to be able to cater to their unique personalities. The obvious details to find out are name, phone, address. On top of that, go the extra mile.
What are your contact’s interests? Do you know what food they like? Do they have a pet?
This level of detail might seem like overkill, but people are doing it. It’s how you get ahead. Knowing these things about a person helps you build stronger relationships with your database.
Getting this information can be easy, if you’re a good listener. You’ll be surprised what kinds of information people reveal about themselves in casual conversations.
To keep track of all your contacts’ details, add an extra column in your database. The great thing about digital contact lists is that you can add heaps of custom fields without your data getting completely out of control.
Once you’ve got an idea about who your contacts are as people, the second step is easy.
There are heaps of digital platforms that let you integrate with you database and send personalised messages to your contacts.
Google Calendar is great example. Just plug your contacts’ birthdays into your calendar and send people a text when you get a notification. If you’re really clever, you can even use a third party app to send the texts for you automatically.
Technology has improved personalisation so that, like Facebook, any agent can deliver digital messaging that is unique to individuals.
What is the difference in something that is personal versus personalisation?
Something that is personalised (made for a particular person) lets you have a personal conversation (unique to an individual).
The ideas don’t compete with each other, rather the personal and personalisation compliment each other.
Things that are personal and personalised aren’t the same thing, but when your sales pitch contains both, it helps you have the better conversations that make customers for life.
To learn more about how ActivePipe can help you automate personalised comms, speak to one of our automation experts.
Let’s Talk About Genuine Automation
Not very many agents or administrators, if any, are aware of the full potential in marketing automation available to them in the real estate space.
When the term “email automation” is mentioned in conversation, most administrators point out that they have access to software that enables them to send out an email next week that will repeat the week after.
“…We create the one email and that goes out week after week. It’s set and forget.”
That isn’t really automation though, is it? That’s repetition at best, and the sole cause of all the spam that we see in our industry. Whose clients are yearning to see the same email spammed to them week after week? Certainly not our clients.
Worldwide, email is still considered to be one of the best means of connection — if it’s done right. If though, you are sending the same benign list of “fresh stock” each week, do so at your own risk — and pay the price. You’ll end up with a diminishing email database full of buyers, sellers and investors who are disconnected from you and uninterested in your content.
Let’s Talk About Genuine Automation
Did you know that ActivePipe listens to your clients preferences and can subsequently refine the information being sent to them, based on their needs?
Each week, we are sending millions of emails that are completely tailored to the individual receiving them, based on price, configuration, location and property type: For Sale or Sold, based on the client’s intentions. This means the relevance score is up, and the likelihood of unsubscription is down.
We can also tag and re-tag clients based on their behaviours and needs, which can, in fact, pivot and continue to tailor the content and journey those clients are on. This means that they are getting the right information, based entirely on their genuine needs.
Genuine automation means intuitive, thoughtful and targeted communications. The polar opposite of spam.
When working with some of the worlds biggest brands and boutique agencies we have taken notes on what is available and what is missing and we developed ActivePipe ENTERPRISE as the solution.
Enterprise enables you to set and forget certain journeys, based on your client’s behaviours that align them with the journey that suits their needs. For instance, an investor could quite comfortably and happily be contacted ten or twelve times a year, as long as the information is relevant to their investment needs.
Likewise, first home buyers are absolutely busting for the right information that enables them to buy the property they’re looking for, as well as guidance around finance and the real estate market. All of which can be catered for automatically, as long as that’s the journey they’re on.
Many agents address the investor in this scenario with the first home buyer, in the same email. As this continues, week after week, it’s no wonder that the industry has ended up where it is. Week after week of repetition. Inboxes full of spam.
If you want to learn how genuine automation can transform the way you communicate with your customers, book in for a chat here.
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Why Email is Still the King of Real Estate
There’s so much noise around social media and its lead generation capabilities that you’d be forgiven for thinking the medium has overtaken email as the ultimate online marketing channel for real estate agents.
From Facebook to LinkedIn and beyond, there’s an expectation to pimp your product across all platforms, at all times, leaving the more traditional efforts of email marketing billowing in the dust behind you like a rogue tumbleweed.
For those of us in the industry, following these trends and analysing the data is essential for our development, and my marketing team have spent hours trawling the numbers in an attempt to discover which marketing channel reigns supreme.
What we’ve discovered is that despite the hype around social media, when it comes to converting and nurturing leads, email comes out on top time and time again. This could really throw a spanner in the works for the agents who are progressively looking to social as the backbone of their marketing plans.
Do Your (Number) Crunches
The data coming out of leading technology market research firm Radicati speaks of the superior organic reach that email provides compared to social. They’ve discovered that an email is 5x more likely to be seen than an advertising message delivered via Facebook and that 98% of top rating agents in the US (earners over USD $100,000) tout email as the best real estate marketing channel for converting leads.
These are some mind-blowing figures which are backed up by research coming out of The Digital Marketing Association, who’ve found that email has a whopping 66% conversion rate – far higher than social and direct marketing.
In the Mix
One should never disregard social media as part of a holistic marketing mix. It’s an excellent and well documented way to showcase your personality and create an environment of trust with your contacts. What I’m saying is that it might be time to start refocusing your efforts back into email – a medium which transcends the mere realm of ROI and truly engages the more than 4.5 billion email accounts out there patiently waiting for your delivery.
So how can a pragmatic agent use this information to their advantage? It might sound like a corny analogy but you should think of email as the engine of your car, fuelling the rest of the mechanics along your road to success. Let email power the rest of your channels and not only will your lead conversion rates increase but you’ll be engaging the existing leads in your database who don’t necessarily have visibility of your social presence.
Use It or Lose It
Speak to a professional about how to make email work for you. Just because the data tells us that it’s is a winner doesn’t mean you can bang out any old thing and expect to be crowned Agent of the Year.
Get it right though and you’ll be left with no doubt that email is still the king of real estate. (more…)
Why Every Agent Needs to Leverage PR
As ActivePipe’s Public Relations Coordinator I have the pleasure of speaking with a cross-section of agents from across our global network each week. I love learning what makes an agent tick and through these countless discussions have cultivated some pretty incredible insights into the universal pain points and aspirations of real estate professionals across the board.
Every agent I speak to knows the importance of leveraging their profile but where they can sometimes come unstuck is in knowing which methods are worth investing their precious time into. Being time-poor can lead to a lack of creativity, resulting in lacklustre exposure and a dreary publicity program.
Sometimes it’s best to leave these things in the hands of a professional, which is why I’ve enlisted the help of Diane Falzon, the PR extraordinaire behind FalzonPR, who’s a mentor and expert in helping agents position themselves as leaders in their field.
Here’s why she believes traditional public relations should not be ignored by the modern agent.
Why Every Agent Needs to Leverage PR
As the news cycles change in the blink of an eye, storytelling and creating digestible pieces of information to readers, viewers and listeners has become the necessary fuel for all.
You may say that the onslaught of social media has diminished the need and value for traditional public relations and media exposure.
The truth is that public relations continues to play an intrinsic role in working with clients to craft and disseminate news and angles for journalists to consider and pursue.
For the real estate space, and in particular, agents, leveraging from PR can be a valuable tool in not only maintaining a presence with your relevant demographic but also celebrating and showcasing your street cred in the industry.
Creating a connection to your clients and potential clients through the media will help personalise your business and connect-ability with your intended audience. You are more than the person who creates listings online. You are more than the bricks and mortar you are trying to sell. As an agent, you are a wealth of industry knowledge and through an effective PR campaign, you can outshine and outdo your competition.
Let Your Success Do the Talking
Through effective and strategic PR initiatives, you can showcase your successes and milestones, as well as provide advice to your customers. As a learned voice in this space, you can tap into information hungry clients and share your expertise. It is through your tenacity and intriguing storytelling that customers will want to know more about the PR savvy agent in their local area. Some possible PR ideas for you to pursue may include creating a narrative around, “Tips on how to present your property for sale”, “When is the right time sell”, “How do I choose the ideal real estate agent” or “Top five mistakes when selling your home.”
There is no room for humble in the real estate game. Create a space and narrative where you can be heard or read about so that you shine amongst your competition. Whether it is your local print, radio or online, shine a spotlight on what you want to share with your customers. Believe me, they want to hear from you, not just when you want them to sign on the dotted line.
Call in the Experts
If DIY PR is not your thing, don’t despair. Hiring a PR professional to help you is also a great option. Look out for a PR consultant who can get ensconced in your world and can articulate what you want to share to the media. Their job is to showcase you, your business and your story in a way that will enhance your brand, expertise and sales success story.
There is a saying that “all publicity is good publicity.” Call me old fashioned and conservative, I tend to shy away from negative publicity and prefer to create sound and robust stories which generate positive outcomes. A story about an agent found guilty of underquoting does not sound like the sort of publicity you would be after. Be selective in what you disseminate so journalists know that quality content is heading their way.
It is the business which boasts its uniqueness that will be seen the most. Think about it. There is a suite of restaurants in Australia – but it is the ones that showcase their unique cuisine or chef to the media are the ones that get the good word of mouth going. Be that shining star in your suburb.
Be involved in your community, show your altruistic side within that community and then share it with the media. Being a part of your community does wonders in enhancing your authenticity. Also, don’t be shy in celebrating your real estate wins. From achieving a record sale price in a plateau market or winning an industry accolade, share your story far and wide.
Go on, switch that PR light bulb on, NOW!
0430 596 699
Reece Prewett: Recruitment, Retention and the Power of the Database
Reece Prewett is the proud business owner and principal of Ray White Papakura, New Zealand. A master of the corporate world, Reece’s career has seen him in senior executive positions spanning four continents and nearly twenty exceptional years. His ability to drive global teams through significant growth and transformation makes his insights into the benefits of ActivePipe incredibly valuable.
We were lucky to catch up with Reece to chat about the improvements he’s seen in his business and in his agents since joining the ActivePipe family.
AP: Hi Reece, thank you for taking the time to chat today. Even though your office is pretty new to ActivePipe you’re already seeing some fantastic results. Can you tell me a little bit about how are you using the platform and how you are finding it so far?
RP: We’ve had the immediate benefits of appraisal requests and loan market requests coming through, which is fantastic! But the real juice is coming from those who mine the data in the ‘Hot Leads’ category. It’s the people who are clicking on properties multiple times, revealing their intentions about buying and selling and putting their details in through the website. We are loving that.
AP: Do you find that the information that is coming through is allowing your agents to have better conversations with these leads?
RP: It’s giving direction. You may have 1000 people in your database but when it comes to 10am Monday morning, who are you going to call? You want to start your day by making ten calls and what ActivePipe does is make those ten ‘hot calls’ as opposed to ten ‘hit-or-miss’ calls.
You’re making the right calls, at the right time, to the right people.
AP: How does AP help you train and manage the agents in your office?
RP: We have 25 agents in our office and ActivePipe helps us to work out which of those need some support. In my experience, agents can be highly effective at their jobs but not run a good database. The truth is, they could make twice as much money and have twice as much leisure time if they utilise the platform to maximise their database. They might even get their weekends back for themselves.
I’ll give you an example.
Our Number Two salesperson has 500 people in his database but it’s not well constructed. ActivePipe has allowed us to see that this is a problem and we’re now able to use it as an opportunity for him to improve his business. The guy’s already getting really good numbers so we wouldn’t necessarily have noticed his mismanaged database but he could be doing so much more and in half the time!
AP: How do your agents feel about using this new platform?
RP: I’m now using ActivePipe as my recruitment tool! This is because agents want leadership, support and something to help them deal with being so time poor. A lot of agents are time poor, so if you told them you’d organised a PA for them, they’d literally grab you with five arms, give you a hug and say, “Where do I start”?
That’s not a particularly cost-effective thing to do. With ActivePipe, I’m effectively giving them half a PA for free and it does all that work for them in the background.
For example, I’ve just recruited one prospect who was sold by the platform. At first he was going to wait until next year to join us but he ended up saying, ‘‘Yep – I’m done”, and he literally joined us the next week.
AP: Let’s talk about the technology side of things. Has there been any resistance to learning the new system?
RP: Absolutely. People just don’t like change, right? People who say that they like change are bullshitting you.
I think the young, smart agents coming through know that they don’t need to be tech-savvy but they do need to be using technology wisely and properly. The good thing about ActivePipe is that you don’t need to be an IT savvy individual, you literally just have to walk up to it, turn it on and make the phone calls.
Once you’re in and swimming around it’s like ‘Wow’.
AP: So you obviously think that technology is important for the future of the industry but do you think it is, specifically for your business?
RP: I think it’s important for every business. I think other small to mid-sized businesses out there won’t embrace it and that’s good for me because I know those people will drop off over time.
You don’t have to be that far ahead of your competition. It’s just like running away from a cheetah – you just need to be that little bit faster. So whilst ActivePipe is a great recruitment tool, it’s just as much a retention tool. Once they’re in and setting up their stuff each week and checking their database it’s almost like they can’t leave. How could they?
AP: So it becomes a very sticky product?
RP: Yeah, but in a good way, right! If you can have steak at home why would you leave and have hamburgers next door.
AP: You’ve had some really good appraisal request numbers coming through your account. Has that helped in terms of numbers of listings?
RP: Has it improved our business? Yes, absolutely. For example, since we’ve started my Top Agent has received two listings through the platform which equates to $30-40,000 NZD that’s coming in the front door. It’s probably paid for ten years worth of ActivePipe!
AP: So, it’s actually giving you as a business owner the chance to not only help your agents but to improve your business as well?
RP: It’s a total win-win. With ActivePipe, you’ve got recruitment, you’ve got retention and then you’ve got the ability to squeeze the juice out of a lemon. You’re presented with another money spinner by being able to generate leads that are not being managed and because they’ve been presented the way ActivePipe does, it’s very easy for the company to pick that up.
AP: Thanks Reece. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
RP: I’d just like to say that we were a bit timid about turning it on but you’ve just got to jump in the cold water and have a swim. ActivePipe has made a real impact and it’s a really positive one. I can’t think of any downside.
The Social Channels Every Agent Needs to Leverage (and how)
The idea of an agent using social media to boost their profile is hardly groundbreaking.
I don’t need to tell you that it’s an essential element of modern business. That said, for a time-poor agent, working out which social networks to invest time and energy into can be an overwhelming experience.
To help navigate this wild west, I’ve enlisted the help of an expert. Talia Wachtel is the VP of Marketing at Tiger Pistol – a Facebook Marketing Partner specialising in helping brands generate meaningful local results via social.
We had so much to talk about that I’ll be releasing our interview in an exclusive, three-part series that will cover everything you need to know about building a superstar online persona.
To get started we’re getting back to basics as Talia tells me the channels every agent should be using and how on earth they can use them well.
Thanks for taking the time Talia! I want to start by asking you about Instagram. There’s so much hype around using this platform for business but many agents, especially the older generation, aren’t sure how to get started.
Selling real estate is a visual affair. We’ve all seen vendors happily spend thousands of dollars getting the perfect portfolio of images together, so it’s no surprise that Instagram is increasingly being touted as the perfect social media platform for agents.
The key to success is a clean, professional aesthetic that represents you as an agent. Every photo you post should be beautiful, clean, clear and natural. It may surprise you to know that overworked photos with heavy filters aren’t necessarily the key to success!
Posting short videos is another great way to add a personal touch and showcase a property’s best features. Don’t be afraid to be the star of the show! Videos that feature an agent talking about what’s happening in the market do well and will position you as a thought leader.
One of the most successful strategies that we are implementing for our clients is advertising through Instagram Stories. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing success with this – Stories are growing 15x faster than feeds. Even Facebook exec Chris Cox says “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year”. Similar to advertising on Instagram Feed, prospective vendors can click on your story and land on your website without having to remember your name or look you up.
This leads into my question about Facebook. This has been the powerhouse platform for a while now and you’d be hard-pressed to find an agent who’s not using it to some extent. What advice do you have for those wanting to take it to the next level?
If you haven’t made yourself a Facebook Business Page yet, hop to it. It’s imperative to separate your private and business lives online, but more importantly, you need a Business Page in order to leverage Facebook’s robust advertising capabilities.
There are three key elements in driving success on Facebook: Posts, Ads and replying to your community. Posting regularly will keep your Page relevant. If you’re strapped for ideas on what to post, there’s not harm in getting inspiration from other agents you follow. Share local market updates, lifestyle articles, neighbourhood events that you find online, and of course, leverage your listings. While you may not be trying to do the hard sell, your listings can provide unique content and are a great way to get your Page Fans to click through to your website.
To really get the most out of Facebook, you need to be running ads. And I’m not talking about simply Boosting Posts. I’m talking about leveraging the plethora of Facebook ads that are purpose-built to drive meaningful business outcomes. Run a Lead Ad to generate leads directly on Facebook, or drive traffic and conversion on your website with a Conversion Ad. If you’re looking to be seen by as many people as possible in your local area, Reach Ads are perfect for you. Don’t shy away from using some of the more refined targeting options as well, such as uploading your client database for retargeting purposes, or creating a Lookalike Audience to ensure you’re being seen by people who are most like your existing clients. Add the Facebook Pixel to your website, and retarget people who have visited your listings online with specially targeted messages.
Lastly, with all the engagement you’ll be getting on your posts and ads, you’ll need to make sure that you’re checking any comments or messages sent via Messenger. It’s important to get back to leads in a timely manner, and Facebook makes it easy for you to do that.
I’ve been working on growing my LinkedIn profile and it’s been great for connecting with other marketers and players in the real estate space. How can it work for agents trying to connect with prospects?
Whilst Facebook is a bit more casual, LinkedIn should really be treated like your public CV. This is where you can really establish yourself as an expert in the space, and network with real estate’s biggest players.
Make sure you fill in the ‘bio’ section with plenty of information to let prospects and other agents know who you are and what you’re about. Add in your accomplishments and finish it off with a jazzy photo that will capture attention amongst the noise.
Now it’s time to optimise. You should update your profile with a proper URL that lets Google pull you up when someone searches your name. Begin to build your network by adding connections through your current email database.
Play around with LinkedIn’s “Advanced Search” feature. Here, you can type in specific keywords and locations to find the perfect connections to build your dream network.
I’ve noticed lately that a number of agents are using Twitter to advertise properties. What are your thoughts on this?
Twitter is all about the hashtag, so have a look around and see what other agents are using to get ideas. Staying up-to-date with the most popular hashtags in your farm area will help people find your posts.
Tweeting is like attending a networking event. It’s not necessarily about making rushed deals but putting in the groundwork for later business. Start by sharing a photo of a great listing in your local area and use strategic hashtags to get it in front of the right people.
If someone replies to your content, you must engage with them. These are your clients in the making, so treat every one of your followers like they are a prospect talking to you at an OFI.
Any final advice Talia?
No matter what social media strategy you decide to go with, you need to actively concentrate on growing your network. Real Estate truly is all about connections – so make sure to put some time aside each week to send friend requests to former and current clients, other agents and leaders in your community. The referrals you can generate from a solid network are exponential.
Want to reach out to the experts? Hit up Talia and the Tiger Pistol team here.
And don’t forget to keep an eye out for Part Two in the coming weeks! (more…)
How to Turn Your Online Leads into Contacts, Quickly!
We all know the first place a buyer goes to check out real estate is the internet. On many levels, this is a win-win situation for you and your prospects, as you both enjoy the ease and affordability of showcasing listings online.
The downside to our tech-led world and the source of many an agent’s frustrations is the curse of the dreaded ‘missed lead’. You know the one. A prospective buyer or seller has browsed your website, clicked on a few of your properties and if you’re in luck they might have even sent you a quick email. No phone number and certainly no essay on their intentions to purchase or sell. You’ve been busy the last few days but finally, you’ve got a spare moment and are ready to reach out out with a return email but ‘Bam!’, they’ve disappeared faster than a toupee in a hurricane. No reply, no first date.
There’s nothing you can do to eradicate lost leads forever but there are steps you can take to minimise churn and turn your online leads into customers for life.
The secret? Think quick.
86% of potential buyers use online as their main tool to search for property. If you can reach out to them on the same day they visit your website, you’re in good stead to capture their attention and garner a response. If you can get in quick with an email, over 30% of those inquirers will get back to you on the same day. Considering the real estate industry has an average email open rate of 27% these are damn good numbers.
I Don’t Have Time For That, Do I?
Well, it’s time to get organised. Yeah, the stats sound impressive but how can a time-poor agent honestly spare the man hours to contact every single online lead immediately? It doesn’t sound like a realistic expectation. The hard truth is that speed to lead is a huge indicator of whether a successful conversion will take place, so you have no choice but to put the time aside every day to follow them up. Make it your new rule. I’d recommend making it a ‘first thing in the morning’ habit as most people scroll real estate sites at night. This way you’ll give yourself the best chance of being the first agent in their ear.
Make Tech Your Mate
Implementing smart technology like intelligent CRMs or software like ActivePipe will take the hard work out of nurturing your online leads. Once you’ve captured a lead in your database, you can start sending out content tailored to their preferences. Not only does this give buyers and sellers the personal touch they crave but you’re far more likely to stop them in their search for an agent (or dream property). ActivePipe kicks things off by sending any new contact in your database a ‘Welcome’ email. Too easy!
Stopping the Search
Your primary goal in all this is to stop your leads in their search for… well, you! You want leads to stop in their tracks, send you an inquiry and bang down your door, insisting that you’re the one for the job! You don’t want them window shopping then disappearing into thin air. Attract, capture – convert.
Sounds good, how do I do that?
Keep driving traffic back to your website. Consumers today are looking for a personalised online experience – which means you need to consider their trigger behaviours. Look at what properties they have interacted with, how often they are visiting your site and where they’re located. If you can send them content that matches these behaviours, they’re going to keep coming back for more. You’ll have them in the bag.
Summary: The 3 Step Plan
To improve the ROI on your lead generation strategy and start turning those online inquiries into customers for life, you just need to follow these 3 simple steps.
- Make Online Lead Nurturing Your New Morning Ritual
- Be Proactive in Getting into Contact
- Use ActivePipe to Send Tailored Emails That Send Traffic to Your Website
Get in quick and the conversation will be flowing in no time.
The Art of Staying Front of Mind
Staying front of mind is one of the most important issues an agent must address in their quest to grow market share and nurture leads. It’s also one of the most difficult things to keep on top of.
There is a lot of white noise coming from other agents in the marketplace and prospective sellers often have to go through letterboxes full of rubbish before they’ll see any of your material. This is where being relevant comes into play. If you’re delivering value; the right information, to the right people, at the right time, they’re going to be more inclined to choose you to list their property.
LBDs, cold calls, door knocks – they are all useful for the average agent but unless your value proposition is relevant and cuts through the clutter, you risk getting lost.
Relevance is the currency of 2020.
To help you win the battle of delivering personable and meaningful communications, I’ve put together some simple tips on how to rise above the clutter and be the agent they can’t wait to call.
Get the Conversation Flowing
If a contact is thinking about buying or selling, knowing what is happening in the market will always be relevant. Never shy away from sharing news on forthcoming auctions and recent record sales, they are fail safe topics that never go out of fashion. Bonus points if you’re the first agent in your farm area to deliver that information – well done, you’ve just made yourself the ‘go to guy’ for market insights!
Once you’ve identified which of your contacts are sellers, it’s over to you to nurture them with the right content as they move towards putting their house on the market.
A great way to find out the intentions of your prospective clients is to survey them when they first make an enquiry. This is easier said than done, so leveraging the right technology to help you will go a long way in helping you serve your clients’ needs (more on this later).
Time to Streamline
Now you know what your clients’ intentions are, the challenge is in delivering them the right messages. The upsizers and downsizers will likely want to know everything they can about preparing to sell and getting the best price. The investors will be impressed by tips on sustainable and low effort investment information and of course, first home buyers will need to know absolutely everything.
How Do I Manage All These Messages?
How can an agent stay relevant in each one of their relationships and transaction opportunities when at the end of the day, they’re only human and can’t be everything, to everyone, at all times?
I’ve come up with a simple trick.
It’s the art of the ‘two main personas’ and it’s the easiest way to address the needs of your contacts and keep you front of mind.
Persona One: The Friendly Professional
The first persona is that of the personable and approachable professional that is always on hand to help.
Social media is your greatest asset here. It’s the perfect tool for positioning your fun and friendly personality. Use it to organise an event such as a get-together where people from the community can join you in an informal setting and ask you all their questions on the market. This is a great way to build rapport and get to know people without pressure.
Persona Two: The Market Analyst
The second persona is that of the market analyst. Someone who is dependable and knows the facts and figures that will guide the selling experience. It’s someone who can address the seller’s needs specifically and who can provide intuitive market intelligence.
This is where ActivePipe can really play a role in remaining front of mind. Because it’s monitoring your clients real-time intentions it will activate the right emails, at the right time, to give them the right information to make a decision. All of this can be done automatically on your behalf, building your brand image as the professional your clients need to know.
At the end of the day, staying front of mind is a ‘forever battle’ for agents but it doesn’t have to be the thorn in your side. So long that you always focus on being relevant and you keep the art of the ‘two main personas’ in mind, you’ll always have something important to say, to the people who want to hear it. (more…)
The Future of Proptech with Dr Mike Messig
I sat down with Dr Mike Messig, tech genius and ActivePipe CTO, to find out what trends we can look forward to (and what we should be wary of) in the era of proptech.
People have always tried to predict the future. In the past, predictions involved visions and crystal balls, while predictions in modern enterprise have a greater focus on modelling and forecasts.
This isn’t magic.
When we’re thinking about the future we’re actually looking at what is happening now and what has happened in the past. When a change happens in a general direction, we call that a trend, and when we notice a trend, we ask ourselves if we can trust that this trend will stay on that trajectory.
One person who thinks a lot about trends is Dr Mike Messig, our resident tech guru and industry oracle. In a recent trip abroad I caught up with Doc Mike. He told me about a few things he sees becoming big things in the next few years, and why he’d put money on them.
What is Proptech?
Proptech is technology for people in the property industry.
A smartphone isn’t proptech.
Proptech is the smartphone app that lets agents and brokers manage their properties on the move.
Every industry has exploded or been flipped on its head by changes to technology. Proptech is the wave that is washing over real estate and will make the market of the future almost unrecognisable to the market of today.
Why Marketing Automation is a Game-Changer
In the past, marketing campaigns required a lot of leg work. Brands put themselves in front of customers with expensive ads in local papers, or with time consuming letterbox drops.
“We’re seeing a lot more people explore marketing automation, and that number is only growing,” Doc Mike says. “People invest money on marketing automation because they can count on good returns.”
When marketing is automated it is much easier to personalise. It’s the modern equivalent of putting brochures into personalised envelopes but it’s about a billion times quicker and way cheaper.
With the way things are going brochures will be extinct pretty soon.
“Imagine trying to explain what a brochure is to a kid in the future,” Doc Mike laughs, “they’d think you’re nuts.”
Can Proptech Fix Problems with Proptech?
The funny thing about technology is that it often introduces a new problem in the process of solving another problem. What’s the solution?
At least according to Mike.
A good example from real estate is the agent publicity dilemma. As email started to dominate as a way for people to communicate, agents had to choose between managing their digital presence and important time making deals out in the field.
There was no way to solve the problem by reverting back to the good ol’ days, so proptech introduced a clever solution.
Make your digital comms send themselves!
When email first arrived it made global communication lightning fast. Improvements let us do cool stuff like smart sends, where a digital campaign waits for a customer to do something before targeting them with a personalised message.
This is all possible thanks to things like machine learning which is going to make everyone’s life easier.
Can Someone Please Explain Machine Learning and Neural Networks in Plain English?
Doc Mike says that machine learning and neural networks are ways of making computers train themselves and to perform better over time.
According to Mike the trend towards machine learning and neural networks is “through the roof”, especially with big guns like Google, Facebook and Amazon throwing billions of dollars into this kind of technology.
What does this mean in terms of proptech?
Machine learning and neural networks help build technology that addresses the needs of your database, such as software that can predict how contacts will act before a contact has even approached an agent for enquiry.
“Agents who use these technologies will uncover leads that they don’t know are there,” Mike says.
“With digital methods you find out how people will act before they know themselves. This gives anyone a clear advantage over competitors and helps grab commissions that can be worth tens of thousands.”
List Buying is on the Way Out
For a long time, list buying has been a normal practice for agents. It has often been seen as a way to get in touch with a lot of people quickly, but that practice of list buying will probably not be around much longer.
“We see list buying a lot in the US,” Mike says. “This is funny because in most other respects the US is way ahead but in terms of list buying, they often trail behind.”
Mike explains that bulk sending to bought lists is a quick way to get blacklisted. People think list buying can put you in front of a lot of people quickly, but the reality is that it can lock you out of conversations with people forever.
This is why people say that a trend away from list buying is a trend towards forming and nurturing relationships.
“I feel like I’m hearing the term ‘customer for life’ a lot more than I used to,” Mike realises. “There is definitely something to that.”
What does this mean for those lists you bought?
Don’t be frustrated that you’ve spent money on lists in the past. Just be grateful that, if you’re smart, you won’t be spending money on lists in the future.
What is the best approach to Technology?
When we think about trends, often we think about fads. We imagine that a trend is just something that comes and goes. This is not necessarily the case. A trend is a direction, that we assess by judging the past and the present to predict the future.
Often technology changes so quickly that it’s hard to determine the difference between trends and fads. Mike says that we should watch the people around us to figure out what’s coming next.
We also need to be bold.
The most successful people and brands in the future will be those who are open minded and prepare for challenges and opportunities that come out of nowhere.
That’s a trend you can bet on.
Gearing Up for the Busy Season
Agents, are you ready?!
Right about now, prospective vendors’ letterboxes will be filled to the brim with “Spring Has Sprung” LBDs from agents desperate to catch up on the prospectives they should have got to months ago.
In the next few weeks, there will be a rush of houses that come to market with optimistic (read: ‘unrealistic’) prices and reserves that have been pumped up by the same agents in a bid to beat the competition to the listing agreement.
OFIs will undoubtedly be filled by fast moving, educated buyers and a lot of the new stock will quickly become old hat if the prices and marketing programs don’t keep pace.
Spring is the season that makes or breaks agents. Put simply, if you don’t get ahead, you’re going to fall behind.
So, how do you avoid the mess and make sure that you get the best listing, at the best price to attract ferocious bidding from the best buyers?
The answer is to leverage your database.
This is where ActivePipe comes in. Log into your dash and have the phone handy. It’s time to let your fingers do the walking.
Skip the LBDs and get in front of the right sellers, now
We know there’s a bunch of potential incredible sellers you have not met yet, so you need to find the ‘highly active buyers list’ and show them some service.
We already know that these people are fixated on the property market, so you need to log into your ‘highly active buyer’ list and check out each of their favourite properties (that’s easy, we have them listed right there on their profile). When you pick up the phone don’t mince words, get straight to the point.
“We have sent you loads of properties over the past few month and I was wondering which ones might have caught your interest? Maybe the three bedder on Jones Circuit is something you would like to see this weekend before the rush?”
By drilling into the properties that they have been clicking on, you are jumping all the ice breakers and getting relevant, fast. This puts you at the top of their ‘agents who know exactly what they need’ list. In 2018 relevance is king.
Put them in front of the right homes that suit their preferences even if they are not your listings. Help them out with market info and put in the extra hours. This will bode well for you when it comes time to choose who will be listing their home.
Who you gonna call?
In 2018 we learnt that over 50% of your buyers are also sellers, so you need to get face-to-face and put your professionalism on display. The best way is by enticing as many of them as you can to visit your offices’ listings.
Pick up the phone with your list of highly active clients and profile updates.
Target the different profiles, one at a time. Start with upsizers and downsizers. You already know exactly what their intentions are, so be the agent that cuts through the bull**** and asks the right questions. Remember, getting to the point fast saves them time and gives you greater capacity to spend more time with the right buyers.
“Hi James, it’s Ben calling from Action Estate Agents. I’m just calling to say thanks for letting me know about your intentions to find a bigger/smaller home. We have a few available that are going to suit your needs. We also have a few off market opportunities – let’s discuss some addresses you should see this weekend before the crowds beat you to the best homes on the market.”
Take aim, then fire. Don’t let the market opportunities pass you by as you chase “would-be deals”, go for the best targets first.
GOING ONCE, TWICE……THREE TIMES….. SOLD.
Let’s talk about getting the right buyers and registered bidders to your next auction. 10/10 buyers say they would buy the right house, at the right price and most of them would consider even the slightly right house, at the right price. So how do you drum up buyers?
There is no time to waste. As soon as your new listing is blasted out to the best buyers, you need to pick the most engaged. Get on the phone and start generating actual foot traffic for this weekends OFI.
Sally for example, is in the top ten most engaged list for your auction listing in Summerset Place.
You could try this script:
“Hi Sally – glad I caught you before the weekend. Did you have a chance to check out my new listing on Summerset Place? It’s 100% the style of property that should catch your attention. Would you like to have an early viewing before the crowds? The vendor is really keen to move this along and has asked me to invite all interested parties to an inspection. How about Saturday, 9am?”
This is of course, just an example. Every agent has a unique personality, so it’s important to create a script that feels natural and authentic to you.
What matters is that you are ready to show some clout and spring into the busy season.
Best of luck!
How ActivePipe Drives Traffic to Your OFIs and Auctions
We all know that the market fluctuates, as do people’s buying intentions.
If you have a database of 4,000 people, how can you possibly know where they are all at in their real estate journey unless you are using intuitive software like ActivePipe? Here are some simple tips to help you get the right people to your opens and auctions, please your vendors and turn impressed buyers into future sellers.
Refresh Your Skills
Brush up quickly by watching the new ‘Dashboard Tips and Tricks’ webinar. The best part is you can view it whenever and wherever you want and it will only take up ten minutes of your time. We tell you where the gold is, all you have to do is dig! It covers hot properties, profile updates, interactions, self appraisers and more. It’s all based on customer intent and our insightful algorithms. You would be crazy not to use this information!
Are there properties that you, other agents or other offices in your brand are selling with similar features? Why not reach out to them and start working together? Use the information sitting in your ActivePipe dash and CRM to find and call people that have visited properties similar to the one you are currently marketing, or have the same buying criteria. Don’t forget to ask for permission though, or you might receive some phone calls yourself.
It’s not just the property you need to promote. Let your customers know about the great results you’ve been achieving by sending them an email through ActivePipe. As in the tip above, you can collaborate with your co-workers to find the perfect candidates to reach out to as well. For most agencies, buyers are buyers and not ‘owned’ by a single agent, so why not share the love around?
Has the market changed? Is there relevant information you could be sharing with your contacts? Put yourself in the mindset of a potential buyer or seller and send them a monthly newsletter with ActivePipe. We now have RSS feed, so you can include blogs and other multimedia. It’s so easy to use and could include topics like, ‘how to prepare your home for an OFI’, ‘selling in winter’ or ‘community news’.
Handy hint: Emails detailing the latest market trends will always receive a high interaction rate.
Watch Your Attendance Soar
Using ActivePipe to attract the perfect candidates to your OFI’s and auctions is quick and easy. Follow the tips above and your attendees will not only be serious customers, but the conversations you have with them are meaningful and relevant.
You may never have to make a cold call again.
4 Ways You Are Killing Your Business (without realising it)
Like many aspects of life, if you want to get clarity on something the best view will always be retrospective. Nothing beats 20/20 hindsight.
The seventeen years I spent selling and auctioning homes wasn’t always perfect. Since then I have had many nights to contemplate how I might have approached some situations differently based on these practical years of experience and learning.
I now travel the world talking with thousands of agents a year, meaning I am privy to the operations of brands big and small. This allows me to get out the magnifying glass and have a good look into what makes an agent successful and also identify their challenges at an office or enterprise level.
The similarities across the globe are endless. Agents in the UK face the same struggles as they do in Australia and the US. While some details vary, there really isn’t a great difference between a Monday here and a Monday there.
Here are four things I’ve learnt about what separates a good agent from a great one. Wherever you are in the world, the same rules apply.
You are overlooking your clients concerns for your own
If your motivation when you wake up is to line your pockets, you will only ever get so far. People, more specifically prospects will see you coming a mile away.
‘Commission breath’ is a thing and it’s obvious. While you might make some progress in your career, greedy won’t get you all the way and eventually you will turn away more clients than you attract.
If you want to make big money, you are going to need to flex your empathy muscle and head into every situation thinking “how can I help” or “what is the best outcome for my client”. This will speak volumes and establish confidence in your professionalism.
You are holding onto the process and hampering the progress
The old saying “you have to let go, to grow” is the hottest tip of 2018. With all the new agency models creeping in and taking the market share up inch by inch, the best agents know it’s time to focus on the important tasks.
You can’t grow in this market as a jack of all trades and a master of none. You need to let go of all the distractions and complications, and distill your process to focus on very specific activities that leverage your time effectively.
You are not building a pipeline or worse, ignoring the pipeline
Fortune 500 companies consider a well organised pipeline to be fundamental to their success. Meanwhile, all I hear from agents and brokers around the world is “30 day sellers”. At best they might consider them “60 day sellers” but even the latter only gives them leeway of a month or two.
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but you can’t build trust in 30 or 60 days. I’ll bet all these “VIP” contacts have no idea who you are or what list you have them in. I’ll also put money on the fact that every one of them is in another three agent’s 30 day sellers lists.
A genuine pipeline sees years into the future and those sales are the basis of your growing income. If you already know four families that will be downsizing after their kids leave the nest in two years from now, thats 40k of commission coming to you in the near future.
The most brilliant agents around the world are thinking far more than 30 days forward and they are using that time advantage to build trust. Trust will be the currency of 2020.
You are holding onto to much junk data
If you are in the 30% of agents worldwide that take their database seriously, there is still a problem. There’s too much crap in there. Striving for success with an uncategorised and incomplete database is like swimming in jeans, you think you’re making progress but really you are just weighing yourself down.
I met an agent last week who boasted that he has 13,000 contacts in his database and then told me how he needed two dedicated workers to keep on-top of it.
“It’s endless, like painting the harbour bridge. Once you have gone through and called everyone on it and updated the details as you can, it’s time to go back and start from the other side. Even then a tonne of opportunities fall through the cracks.”
A smaller, faster, fitter database with complete contact and property data is the way of the future. ActivePipe has tools that will enable you to build, clean, nurture and identify your prospects intentions before your competition ever sees them coming.
It’s all about quality over quantity.
Put your clients first, leverage your time wisely, nurture your pipeline and clear out the junk. Follow these simple rules and you’ll avoid these common mistakes and the loss of opportunities that come with them.
Programs like ActivePipe help you to organise and clean your database and automate your customer touch points. Click here to organise a demo.
Get Your Weekends Back
There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of the week and realising that many tasks on your to-do-list have been left unchecked. There’s no charming real estate genie who’s going to sneak past reception at 5pm and save you from them, so you better get cracking now, lest spend your precious weekend off with your nose buried in work.
We don’t have to tell you how busy your life is, but we can give you tips on how to use your time effectively, so that you never have to work a weekend again. Here’s how to wake the precious time management genie that’s laying dormant inside you.
The early bird catches the worm. The way you start your day will set the tone for the rest of it, so implement an effective morning routine that you’ll actually stick to. This should always begin with a nutritious breakfast but can also include doing some stretches, going for a brisk walk or taking 10 minutes out of your morning to sit and savour your coffee rather than chugging it down on the run. Now that you’re feeling centred and your mind is clear, it’s time to transport this energy into the office, so aim to be the first one in there with a beaming smile on your face. Your mind is fresh, so the more you can pump out before 9am the better, you’ll be hours ahead of your competitors and can walk in your front door at 5pm rather than 8:30pm.
While every property is different, the selling process is generally the same. Instead of starting from scratch every time you need to organise marketing collateral or write up a contract, be prepared. Have pre-filled templates ready in folders you can easily access from your desktop so you can whip up forms in minutes. You might even write up a checklist to help you navigate and streamline the entire process. This will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Set up a planner and define your goals for the week so you aren’t mindlessly jumping around between tasks. Having this overview will make you feel more in control so you can focus on the job at hand.
Write a To-Do-List
Now that you’re organised and know what needs to be done, get pen to paper and prioritise your tasks. It can be satisfying to physically tick off a job once it’s complete and this will motivate you to continue ploughing through your list. We recommend starting off with the least enjoyable items and saving the best till last, just like you did as a kid when you were told to eat your veggies before you chow into your mac and cheese. This routine will decrease your stress levels and make you feel like you’ve got a handle on what needs to be done, and when.
Work During Time Snippets
Is your client running ten minutes late? Perhaps you’ve finished setting up for an OFI and viewers are yet to arrive. This is all idle time that you can capitalise on to get some of those menial tasks out of the way. This could include a follow up call or replying to an email you didn’t get a chance to send this morning. If you have your phone on you, you have everything you need to tick some of those items off your to-do-list. What are you doing reading this blog for? Get cracking! 😜
Learn to Delegate
Don’t run yourself ragged. You have a team for a reason and they are all there to support you as you work towards a greater goal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, it’s better to put your ego on the line and get the job done quickly rather than wasting hours fluffing around for no good reason. Your morning meetings are a great place to assign tasks and establish deadlines, so plan your day and map out your priorities before it begins so that you can squeeze the most out of this time.
Time Out is Key
As counteractive as it sounds, don’t forget to unplug and take time out for yourself. A good quality sleep each night is essential for your brain to function optimally. This means turning your phone to sleep mode and avoiding too much tech time in the bedroom. If stress starts to rear its ugly head during the day, take five minutes for some deep breathing and mindfulness exercises.
If you follow these tips and manage your time during the week wisely, you’ll get your weekends back and your Sundays will feel exactly like they are meant to. You’ll be relaxed and able to do all the things you love outside of your 9-5 grind.
Mastering the Skill of Client Expectations
When you are vying for a new client’s business and you are aware that there are several other agents whispering in their ear, it’s hard not to make big statements about what you can achieve to get them over the line and secure their listing.
In a competitive market, it’s human nature to assert your superiority with sweeping sales statements that you know may be a little far-fetched. Unfortunately, this is why there is a low level of trust towards real estate agents and why many clients walk away from a transaction feeling misguided.
After speaking to thousands of agents and clients around the world, we’ve learnt that honesty is the best policy and those who promote complete transparency are those who triumph. Being honest with your prospective clients and managing their expectations will not only cement a positive relationship with them, but they will be the first to recommend you to their network.
Being known as the agent in town everyone trusts, will always work to your benefit, so here are some tricks for managing client expectations. Your business will thank you for it!
Be transparent about what you can deliver
No-one knows the market better than you do. Your finger is constantly on the pulse so you know exactly how a suburb is performing and what the demand is like. If you know a potential listing’s value falls between $550,000 and $600,000, tell the sellers that. Don’t say you are going to get them $600,000 + and hope for the best, because it will come back on you at the end. The vendor will think that you haven’t put in the hard yards, which will lead to a poor review. Being honest about timelines is just as important. As the market slows down, remind sellers that their property might be sitting on the market for longer than expected because there is less demand out there. The key learning here is under promise, over deliver.
Every real estate agent operates in a slightly different way. This means that vendors can come to you with service and deliverable expectations that deviate from what you provide. For example, they may expect you to answer the phone at every hour of the day whether it’s 10am or 10pm. Perhaps they’ve seen those ads for agents who work for a set free rather than commission and are questioning why you don’t do the same. To avoid complications, the best thing you can do is establish your outcomes from the get go. This can include a timeline, advertising budget and commission rate.
Write it down
Once you establish your outcomes, write them down, have your client look over them and once you are both happy, get the contract signed off. Having physical proof of the terms and conditions keeps you both accountable and is a great reference if either of you think you are going off track. If things go wrong, as they inevitably do sometimes, you know you have something to fall back on. Be specific. The clearer you are, the better.
One of the biggest problems in the real estate industry is a perceived lack of communication. We understand that agents are busy, but at the end of the day, they are managing the sale of their client’s largest financial investment. This is a big step for many vendors, who are often emotionally invested because they’ve spent years under that roof and may have even raised a family there.
Some of the little details in the selling process that you wouldn’t think much about mean a lot to them, so keep your clients in the loop as much as possible. No-one who’s in the process of selling their home is going to be bothered by an additional email or phone update. They’ll more than appreciate your thorough service, proactivity and enthusiasm.
Stay in touch
Just because the sale is complete, doesn’t mean you should stop communicating. In five years time, your vendor might sell again and when they do, you want to be the first person that comes to mind. Staying in touch doesn’t have to be laborious as systems such as ActivePipe exist. These automate your customer touch points, so that emails are being sent out on your behalf with minimal effort. If your contacts are seeing your face over these years, you’ll be the first person they call when they come to market.
If you’re honest from the get-go, establish the conditions of sale and communicate with your contacts throughout their entire journey, they’ll be happy with the outcome no matter what. Doing these things show that you’ve tried your best.
Don’t underestimate the value of managing your clients expectations. For their happiness and yours.
Why Every Agent Needs to Understand ROI
If you’ve been playing in the real estate game for awhile, there’s no doubt you’ve dropped the term ROI from time to time.
Let’s face it… It’s a great way to nudge Mr-and-Mrs-Investor over the line when they’re sitting on the fence over that great two-bedder you know is perfect for their portfolio.
But did you know that ROI is as integral to your business as an agent as it is to the investors you are dealing with on a weekly basis? The type of ROI I speak of has nothing to do with bricks and mortar and everything to do with getting the best bang for your buck and turning your business into a profit machine.
It all comes down to marketing.
What is ROI in marketing?
Just as investors weigh up the probability of a profitable return on an apartment, you can use the same calculations to judge the investments you make in your marketing strategies. Whether it’s the money you spend printing brochures or the cost of designing banners to display out the front of your open home, every effort you make should result in dollars. There’s a number of strategies that can work for you, you’ve just got to decide which one is going to generate the most profit with the least amount of effort.
How do I maximise profits?
Email marketing is an absolute must. According to recent studies, the median email marketing ROI is 122%, which is four times higher than any other digital marketing channel. If you’re not making the most of the opportunities it presents, your competitors will be and you’ll be missing out on potential listings. It’s that simple.
Let’s take a look at this real world example. Agent Sam recently invested $500 a month on an email marketing software program for his office. He’s had a pretty good start and the software has landed him 5 appraisal requests that he wouldn’t have received without its help. As we know, approximately 25% of appraisal requests result in listings and Agent Sam has easily hit that mark. He’s now got two listings under his belt. Both properties are set to sell for around $600,000, which means Agent Sam is about to make a profit of $24,000! He’s over the moon but how did his ROI fair? Let’s crunch the numbers.
Agent Sam invested $500 into his software resulting in $24,000 commission. To work out his ROI you simply divide the profit he made by the investment he put in. Agent Sam scored a ROI of 480%.
The lesson here is don’t fall into the trap of thinking of software as an overhead or an ‘expense’.
At the end of the day, good ROI practice comes down to smart spending. Allocate your budget correctly to ensure that you squeeze the most out of each dollar.
Your Customer is Numero Uno
What you want and what your customers wants aren’t always going to line up. Design your email communications around content that adds value. This means staying relevant and keeping things as personalised as possible. Software like ActivePipe tailors your emails automatically so that your customers never feel like they’re part of a spray campaign. As top ranking agent Glen Coutinho puts it:
“ActivePipe puts my face in front of 5000 people and most of them think that I’ve written the emails individually, so it really works in my favour.”
Know Your Metrics
Data is everything. Use it to dig deep and discover what is and isn’t working for your digital marketing campaigns. The beauty of digital is that you can track your leads from origin to sale, which means you can directly see how your campaigns have translated into listings. Once again, investing in software that does the hard work for you is the simplest and most effective way of documenting these metrics. ActivePipe will not only tell you who’s interacting with your emails but will foster every stage of your relationship with these prospects.
The likelihood that you’ll stumble across the perfect marketing strategy straight off the bat is slim. Perfection takes practice and this means engaging AB testing and always being on the lookout for something new that will excite your contacts. They’re probably getting emails from a few different agents, so it’s worth trying to do something that stands out such as a competition or a personalised OFI invitation that makes them feel special.
Automation is key
To keep the labour costs low and save yourself from a mountain of screen time, it’s time to think about email automation. ActivePipe makes the process simple by allowing you to build emails that deploy regularly at a predetermined time or with a trigger such as a clicked link. Companies that use marketing automation technologies report a 53% increase in their lead generation and sales conversions. Why wouldn’t you want to give that a go?
The marketing software you choose can have a colossal impact on your operational efficiency and ability to reach your contacts in a meaningful way. ActivePipe not only nurtures your database but also generates leads by identifying your high value contacts, so you can get the ultimate return on your investment.
It’s a no-brainer really.