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…

Innovate

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.

What’s next?

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!

How Thought-leaders Maintain Relationships to Improve Long-term Portfolio Strength

On average, any property will be bought and sold every ten years. ActivePipe SmartFeeds helps agents become thought-leaders to stay front-of-mind until contacts are re-active in the market. Find out how it works and how we’re making it better!

Imagine you’ve just sold someone a house.

We know that a property will exchange hands every ten years on average, but your customers might sell more frequently. This makes it difficult to know exactly when contact interest in the market will peak.

One solution is thought-leadership, which many agents use to engage active and inactive contacts.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to show you how you can save time building your thought-leadership platform, and make customers for life.

How to Stay Front of Mind, Long Term

A property owner never stops caring about their property, so you can always guarantee they will have a level of interest in the market.

Most people aren’t real estate experts (as you know, all too well) and can often feel intimidated or inundated without access to reliable information channels.

For this reason, people look to thought-leaders.

Thought-leaders can remain front of mind with contacts even when those contacts aren’t actively looking at property.

It comes down to a value exchange.

Make it easy for people to get the information they want, so they don’t have to look for it. People who aren’t interested in your weekly listings can be engaged with broader updates and information that is relevant to real estate.

Content Ideas for New Thought-leaders

Becoming a thought-leader isn’t as simple as it looks. The most successful thought-leaders in any industry can sometimes spend years trying to develop a following.

The first thing you need is an idea. New technology is great for sharing, but old technology (pen and paper) is sometimes best for coming up with ideas.

In the brainstorming process, think about your target audience (property owners), and what they need or want to know.

For agents, good topics to cover are:

  • Local community news and events
  • General commentary on the property market
  • Trends in interior design and renovation

These are just some basic ideas to get you started. Use these to inspire your own creativity. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to start your own blog.

If blogging isn’t for you, there are heaps of websites online with sharable content that you can tap into.  Even if you aren’t necessarily creating all your own content, people will still come to you as a source of information if you’re sharing the best content from around the web.

Again, developing a following takes time. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if you don’t immediately see the results you dream of.

Now that you’ve got the content, only one question remains:

How do you share it?

The Easiest Way to Reach Your Audience

SmartFeeds is the digital tool that makes thought-leadership easy.

Email marketing has high engagement in all industries, so it makes sense to use a tool that taps into email and is the reason we’ve developed the ActivePipe SmartFeeds feature.

When you use SmartFeeds in an email, the ActivePipe Feed Engine:

  1. Goes to a website of your choice, such as a blog
  2. Fetches information about that content
  3. Automatically loads that information into an email

From there, it’s easy to send emails to your database that help to improve contact engagement with your emails.

Follow these steps and you become the obvious first point of contact for any client when they re-enter the market, whether that’s in 2 years time, or twenty.

Be the thought-leader that people follow.

 

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.

About ActivePipe:

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.

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.

Congratulations!

(more…)

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.


HAVE A CHAT

How Many Emails are Too Many Emails?

I love training new ActivePipe users.

I get a real kick out of how excited they get as we work through the platform together. It’s like skipping straight to the tearjerker at the end of the movie, when the lead character realises that after all these years and all these hardships, their life is about to make a drastic change for the better.

It might sound extreme, but in my experience, that’s the power of this platform.

As I’ve finessed my skills as a trainer, I’ve found that the number of questions I’m asked during a session is diminishing. There is one regular though that consistently rears its head and is deserving of some explanation.

How Many Emails are Too Many Emails?

I hear this all the time.

No one wants to be a ‘spray and pray’ marketer and BSOs are rightfully wary of the term ‘automation’. They know that how often you send affects engagement rates and as a result, how many listings you land.

So how many are too many? How many are not enough? Should an agent put on the brakes or step on the throttle?

At the end of the day, there is no ‘magic email number.’ You’re better off focusing on a few simple rules which will guarantee that your emails are well-received and bursting with value.

Here’s what I recommend.

Content, Content, Content

Before you send anything out, you need to ask yourself, “What value will my audience gain from receiving this message?”

Many email automation providers simply send the same email to everyone on a list. Naturally, this means that for many receivers, the emails are going to be ‘low-value’ and you’ll notice open and click-through rates drop whilst unsubscribes soar.

This is where intuitive software like ActivePipe can help. Because the content of your emails tailors to the requirements of each individual in your database, you know that they’re only receiving information relative to their needs. Voila! High-value information equals high-value engagement.

An Out of Control Database

The cleaner your database, the better your emails will perform. It’s as simple as that. Database maintenance may feel like the last priority on your to-do list but the truth is, an agent is only as good as their contacts. If your list is clean and you’re only sending properties to interested parties, 9 times out of 10, they’ll be salivating for your next move.

U.G.L.Y

The presentation of your email is paramount. If it’s poorly arranged, the images aren’t crisp or your fonts are dated and tasteless you’re in big trouble. If an email is unpleasant to look at, it doesn’t matter how great your listings are, you’re going to look unprofessional and ultimately end up in the dreaded trash can.

No CTAs

Are your emails not producing many inquiries? Make sure that your CTAs are in check. By making it as simple as possible to get in touch, you’ll encourage anyone who’s sitting on the fence to get in contact with you regardless. Capitalise on people’s laziness.

So That’s the Secret!

At the end of the day, it all comes down to value. If your emails contain relevant information, are easy to read and include a clear call-to-action, the number of emails you send out isn’t that important. With a little trial and error, you’ll naturally find your own ‘magic email number’ and there’s no better number for you than that. 

If you’d like to speak to someone about how you can create and automate emails bursting with value, get in touch with Ebany and the team here.

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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.

Let’s Convert

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.

From punchy subject lines and CTAs to whether or not your emails are intuitively automated or audience segmented, there are plenty of variables that will affect the success of your campaign.

Get it right though and you’ll be left with no doubt that email is still the king of real estate. (more…)

How Real Estate can Learn from Sport to Improve Customer Experience

How learning from sport can help the real estate industry find simple solutions to make a customer’s path to purchase effortless.

Introducing tablets to collect prospect data at OFIs was a crazy innovation.

We take them for granted now, but if you’ve been in the game for a while, you were probably pretty impressed the first time you used a tablet to collect prospect details.

And this is just the beginning.

Agents can look to the world of sport to see how the future of technology will improve customer experiences to make the life of your customers effortless and improve your sales.

Get Rid of Typing with NFC Chips

Some agents report that a tablet at an OFI can double the number of leads they go home with.

Those leads are often better quality. An added bonus is that contact details are added directly to your CRM, so you waste less time typing out all your contact details manually or trying to translate messy handwriting!`

By taking handwritten contact details out of the equation, you save yourself and your contacts a lot of time. Considering this, the next step is to remove typing details altogether.

Look at how Nike harnessed the potential of wearable technology with their NikeConnect jerseys.

The jerseys are the future of sports apparel, containing the NFC chips that allow some smartphones to tap and pay. This kind of jersey can do things like verify the authenticity of merch, or even replace half-time SMS competitions.

Instead of copying down a number into their phone, then texting that number to try and win a competition, sports fans in the future will be able to just tap their phone to their jersey to enter a comp.

In real estate, smarter apps that use NFC technology could make it so that neither you, nor your OFI attendees need to spend time manually entering details into a tablet. You will be able to capture contact data in the blink of an eye.

This will make it easy to follow up and nurture leads.

Use Beacons to Catch Leads and Map Customer Behaviour

The NFL in the US is a big fan of beacon technology and has been using beacons to pinpoint fans in a stadium. The beacons allow stadiums to improve the customer experience and provide patrons with personalised deals and even make it possible to share which bathroom has the shortest line.

This targeting feature makes beacons one of the most exciting technologies for real estate agents and is already starting to change the way agents capture and nurture prospects.

The benefits are twofold.

An agent can attach a beacon to the front of any house on the market. That beacon transmits a signal to people who pass through the area, giving them info about upcoming OFIs. Think of this like a for-sale sign that ends up right in a prospect’s pocket!

The second benefit happens when people come to the OFI.

Beacons are increasingly accurate. When a beacon connects with a prospective buyer’s phone, they can pinpoint its exact location. This means that in the future, agents will be able to get a map of everywhere a prospective buyer has been during an OFI.

This will give every agent a bird’s eye view of their OFI. You will capture key insights into what aspects of a property you should feature in your listing ads.

This technology is already here and starting to take real estate by storm.

Create Videos Customised to Individual Contacts

When our friends at Visual Domain teamed up with the Melbourne Victory football team, they were given the task of creating personalised videos that address the experiences of Victory’s high-value members. Creating thousands of personalised videos might sound like an impossible task, so it’s a good thing this is Visual Domain’s specialty.

A company like Visual Domain can capitalise on your CRM and use that data. A video that’s made this way can contain a contact’s name as well as cater to a viewer’s personal experience and serve them only video clips that are relevant to them.

In this Melbourne Victory membership campaign, the Visual Domain team used data on which game members attended. When the member receives their video, they only see clips with highlights from the games they saw.

Using this kind of marketing harnesses powerful emotional memories for an effective call to action.

At the moment, this kind of video is taking off, as more and more brands are starting to see the value in highly personalised content. In real estate we see videos that contain the specific houses that contacts have shown interest in, allowing brands to effortlessly address specific contact needs.

Finding Inspiration for the Future

Sometimes, it helps us to look to other industries to see where technology will be heading next.

By looking at other industries, we can start to see how our own industry will change and get excited about the improved customer experience of the future. (more…)

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.

 

(more…)

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…)

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.

The Takeaway

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…)

5 Tips to Avoid Ruining Your Perfectly Good Marketing Plan

So, you’ve got some great properties on the books, unusually cooperative sellers and a flawless marketing strategy. You’re ready to make an absolute killing.

Nice one! Having a solid plan is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign but unfortunately, it doesn’t guarantee that when the theoretical becomes actionable, it’s actually going to work for you.

Devastating, I know.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen (and experienced) some “fail safe” marketing plans fall spectacularly to pieces and it’s had nothing to do with a lack of preparedness, or the smarts of its creators. Often it comes down to a handful of easy to overlook mishaps, which I’ll share with you now.

Things Drag On

Sometimes (almost always) things take a little longer than expected. That one-bedder in the CBD with the fabulous verandah? It should have been the hottest property in town but instead, it’s been sitting dormant in your listings folder collecting dust. Don’t be the agent who shrugs and thinks “give it time,” keep the momentum going by re-evaluating and shaking up your selling strategy before the property becomes stale and its owners lose faith in you. Hustle and proactiveness is key here.

Test, Test and Test Again

In saying that, don’t try a tactic once and then throw in the towel because it doesn’t yield immediate results. Messages can rely on repetition to break through. Test subject lines, Facebook posts and CTAs multiple times before you panic and change tact. Remember, it’s ok if things aren’t working for you, what’s not ok is not learning from these issues or implementing the appropriate changes.

Say ‘Ello to the SEO

It’s 2018, so when we talk marketing we’re primarily talking about having a multichannel digital presence. If you’re not already, you need to get on top of SEO, which essentially refers to how the words you use affect a property’s rank in a Google search. Using the same generic terms as your competitors are only going to see you lost in a sea of sameness, pushing you down into the wasteland that is Google page 2. The trick here is to look for features that make your property stand out and use those as keywords. Showcasing locality helps too.

Don’t Hate, Automate

Save yourself time and dollars by investing in marketing automation software. It will do the hard work behind the screen, whilst you do the hard yards out in the field. We’re all time poor, so let’s make it easy for ourselves to get things done as efficiently as possible.

Get Up Close and Personal, Baby!

If you’ve gone through this checklist and you’re still not seeing results, you need to go back and check your personas. You’ll remember these guys from when you first created your marketing strategy; the fictional characters you developed to characterise different target groups of your customers. Now’s the time to go back and say hello to them. Think deeply about what it is they want and which channels they would realistically use to find your properties.

Refresh your memory of personas here

This is the key takeaway. The best marketers don’t necessarily have fancy degrees or years working in an exclusive agency. They’re the people who can effectively put themselves in the shoes of others and really understand what makes them tick. Customer centricity 101.

So?

Keep making great marketing plans but don’t blindly follow them if they’re not gaining the traction you expected. Have the flexibility and wherewithal to change course if need be and if all else fails, do some research! There’s so many great (free) blogs and courses on digital marketing out there, so read up, keep your finger on the pulse and you’ll have plenty of fresh ideas to help turn your marketing plan into a sales result.

Let Your Personality Shine Through Content

If you’ve chosen a career in real estate, it’s safe to say you’ve got a bit of pep to you.

Whether you’ve been gifted with an innately strong personality, or it’s a learned bravado that makes you pick up that phone for the umpteenth time, as an agent, you can’t afford to not let your flag fly and take the lead in a conversation.

So why are so many agents producing such bland content? In 2018, all the tools are so nicely laid out for the taking. Social media is free (and really easy), images, videos and .gifs can be easily assimilated across a range of platforms and best of all, you’ve got that winning personality and just the right splash of salesmanship, ripe for the picking.

If done right, content marketing is your best friend. It attracts contacts to your website, educates them and then convinces them that you’re the agent for the job. It reminds previous clients that you’ve got your finger on the pulse and keeps you front-of-mind when it comes time to get back on the market. It gives your brand (YOU) a sense of authority and a leg up on the competition.

Too good to be true?

Research tells us that content generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. These are some pretty serious stats. But it doesn’t mean you can just throw up any old thing and hope for the best.

Your content is a reflection of you and the experience people have with you. So make it easy for yourself and let you do the talking with these 5 tips that’ll turn you into a content marketing genius with a personality that shines.

1. Write How You Talk

This is a really simple way to get started. Writing copy that will go out for the world to read can be daunting, so many agents fall into the trap of overthinking what they write or trying to emulate others out of fear of getting it ‘wrong’. This only leads to dull, dull, dull.

Get started by getting started. Write down your copy exactly how it sounds in your head and go from there. You can always go back and do a tidy up when you’re done. This will establish your own unique ‘voice’ which you won’t struggle to replicate in the future.

2. Talk in Stories

Having a slow news week? Don’t stress, it happens to everyone! One of the best things about online content is there are no set rules and including anecdotes from your everyday life is totally acceptable and a great way to give your contacts a glimpse into your life (a two-for-one deal because you’re also building a relationship they can trust).

The trick here is to weave a business message into your stories. Did your favourite footy team make the grand final? Why not talk about how the competitiveness in your friendly tipping comp got you thinking about competitiveness in the real estate market.

Did your daughter just start at a new school? Write a Facebook post about how funny she was getting ready for the big day and wish all the families out there a great start to the new school year.

Stories allow you to connect to your community and seep into their subconscious. Marketing gold.

3. Know Your Audience (and don’t be afraid to show it)

Unless you’re specifically talking to a corporate crowd or other agents, no one cares if you know all the big fancy real estate terms.

Rather than setting out to impress with your shop talk, picture your audience sitting in your backyard enjoying a Sunday BBQ. How would you talk to them about real estate in this scenario?

Write it down.

4. Use the Tools

Writing not your thing? That’s cool! Thank the tech gods above that in 2018 you don’t have to be a poet laureate to let your inner self out into the world. Facebook Live and Instagram stories are fast becoming a staple for savvy agents with marketing know-how. Not only can you showcase your personality without having to write down a word but you’re engaging in a practice which Forbes magazine says is now ‘essential’ for growing your brand.

Give your followers a live tour of one of your properties, or host a Q&A session that answers questions they send in.

Still too much for you? Share videos and articles that you like on your different channels! Chances are, if you like something, someone else will too.

5. Have Fun

Don’t take it all so seriously. Have a laugh (at yourself if need be) and put yourself out there. There’s nothing more engaging or authentic than someone who’s having a go and being themselves.

That’s the key takeaway everyone. There’s a million different ways you can go about sharing your content but as corny as it sounds, there’s only one you.

So, let yourself shine!

 

 

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.

The verdict:

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.

 

 

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.

Establish outcomes

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.

Overcommunicate

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.

Remember…

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.

Experiment

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 verdict?

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.

Daniel Oliver’s Secret to Success

Earlier this week, we had a chat to Daniel Oliver, Ray White SA/NT #1 Agent January 2018. We were so impressed with the results he’s generating with ActivePipe that we had to know more about how he implements it in the office and his everyday routine. So far, Daniel has received 17 appraisal requests and 142 profile updates, a truly staggering effort.

Here’s what he has to say about ActivePipe and how it’s helped him reach out and truly engage with the homebuyers of Adelaide.

AP: First of all congratulations on being named Ray White SA/NT #1 Agent January 2018. We’ve been looking at your ActivePipe data and can see you’ve received 17 appraisals through the platform! Great work.

DO: Thank you! Its nice to have received them, hopefully many more to come.​

AP: How long have you been on ActivePipe for?

DO: We were one of the first offices to get on board when Ray White took on ActivePipe. Our training was back in April 2016.

AP: How do you incorporate ActivePipe into your everyday routine?

DO: My assistant or myself will log into it everyday. We’ll look through and see which properties have open for inspections coming up and we’ll call anyone that’s clicked on that property and say, “we have this amazing property on offer that is similar to what you are looking for, have you seen it? Would you like to come to the next open home?”

That drags traffic to the property and it’s all through ActivePipe. It saves us a whole lot of time because we know exactly who’s clicking on what properties. They have no idea that we’re calling them because of that click, we just say “I keep in touch with all my current buyers, would you like to come by?”

This really helps us with our attendance numbers and sells the property.

AP: What are your favourite features of the product?

DO: Getting people to the OFIs is the first big help but we also love ‘Potential Sellers’ and ‘New Geo- Conversions’.

Our favourite is ‘Profile Updates’. We know for instance, that if someone is an ‘Investor’ we can hand it straight over to our BDM, who’s our investment specialist. He can take care of them straight away and hopefully turn it into a property management referral, which means more business coming in.

AP: In terms of efficiency and time management, how has AP changed how you operate in your daily business?

DO: It saves us hours. Literally, a lot of hours of calling everyone back. My aim at OFIs is to collect a minimum of 90% of emails from attendees but before ActivePipe, I didn’t really care to be honest. Now that I’m aiming for that 90%, it’s probably why I’ve received 17 appraisals. It’s because I’m building my ActivePipe database.

AP: How Important Do You Think Embracing Technology Like ActivePipe is for the Future of Real Estate?

DO: 100%. We are at the forefront of doing that and I think it’s been one of the biggest changes to my business. I can’t imagine life without it.

AP: How would you describe ActivePipe to other agents who aren’t with the system but who are considering giving it a go?

DO: I wouldn’t tell them about it. It’s a secret. (more…)

Half Your Buyers Are Also Sellers

Each week, most agents across Australasia, the UK and US come into contact with twenty or more buyers – even in a quiet market. 

Our stats show that across these markets, 36% of those buyers are also sellers who are researching the market and agents operating in their neighbourhood. This means that on average, agents are quietly ignoring the fact that they’re running into 5-7 prospective sellers each week. It’s no wonder that so many agents struggle to keep new listings coming in consistently!

When it comes to great service, buyers in the residential market are getting the short end of the stick and it’s this area of service that’s giving most agents a bad name.

The moment a prospective seller is identified in the marketplace agents are crawling all over them trying to get pen to paper. On the other hand, would-be buyers calls are ignored, their emails go unanswered and in general, if they are followed up it’s done so in a less than perfect manner.

A couple looking to sell and relocate to a larger home recall their experience:

“When we called an office asking about a house that had come to market, we were told that the agent would call us back. We waited two days and called again… still no luck. It was really frustrating”.

The couple had a house to sell in the same area and the sale would be necessary for them to bridge the gap financially.

“We spent the whole time chasing agents and trying to inspect properties that we were interested in purchasing. We felt like we were ignored or had to scream out for attention”.

Eventually they made an offer on a property and decided not to sell through the same agency they were buying through.

“By the time we were ready to put our house on the market, we were so frustrated by the experience that we chose someone completely different to sell through. They’d actually returned our calls. We didn’t want the future buyer of our house to struggle the same way we did, just to get a hold of the agent selling”.

Sound like a common scenario? It absolutely does because it happens every day.

Six star client relations and service are a must for growing your income and market share and it starts from the first impression. If you are feeling too stretched to return a call and email enquiry, it’s time to take a good look at automation to leverage your service output. Given that almost 50% of your future business will come knocking on your door,  you can’t afford to overlook the basics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of CTA in Real Estate

If you’ve ever dared to venture onto this crazy new thing called “The Internet,” there’s no doubt you’ve found yourself face-to-face with a little button that promises big things.

Whether it’s a dreary Sunday afternoon online shopping or signing up for an industry mailing list, at some point in your digital life-time you’ve come across a well thought out call-to-action (CTA) button.

So what is a CTA and why is it so important for real estate?

Simply put, a CTA is a short and engaging text, video or audio prompt that’s built into your communications to persuade your audience to perform a specific action. Sign Up Here! Go To Checkout! Buy Now! These pushy little fellows have shouty voices and a crass sales pitch we should hate but if done well, they are absolute dynamite and the key to your business’ success. A good CTA can make or break an agent’s marketing efforts.

Lights, Camera, Action

Surprise, surprise, a good CTA is all about action. Commanding statements that incorporate verbs such as; call, subscribe and buy, are to the point and will encourage your audience to spring into… action.

Keep It Simple Stupid

Have you ever sent out a killer email filled with hot properties you think your database will love? You’re confident the phone is about to start ringing off the hook but alas, radio silence. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common occurrence for those who produce good content but fail to summarise it with a simple and direct CTA.

Tying up your email with a “Book Your Viewing Now” button will hook your audience in and make the process as simple as possible – for you and for them.

Urgent, Urgent! Don’t Miss Out

Blame it on what you will, the modern human has an embarrassingly short attention span. We’ve all got a debilitating case of collective FOMO and an “I’ll do it later” attitude that makes us difficult to tie down. Here lies the beauty of a great CTA. It not only encourages your contacts to take action before they have a chance to get distracted but it also creates the impression that a property is in hot demand and if they don’t jump on it “now” they will miss out on something amazing.

Capitalise on urgency with a “Don’t Let This One Pass You By” button.

Testify!

If you’re not gathering client testimonials you are missing out on a major marketing opportunity. A strong testimonial is often the dealbreaker that separates you from your competition and can be the deciding factor in whether people go through with the CTA that’s presented to them. Placing one just below a quote and a photo of a smiling customer gives you authority, displays success and subconsciously persuades an audience to get clicking!

Why not start incorporating testimonials to the bottom of your emails? Follow it with a “Call Now” button and you’re phone will be ringing in no time.

Too Easy

At the end of the day, creating a strong CTA is simple. Keep it short, simple and persuasive and you can’t go wrong.

How Content Marketing Will Help you Generate and Nurture Leads

Content marketing is the new marketing.

Getting on your soapbox and boasting about your past sales isn’t going to win hearts so it’s time for real estate agents to take a new approach to their online marketing. They should focus on creating content that provides value rather than always focussing on a hard sell.

Imagine if you were a first home buyer reading an article about the mortgage process or an investor who stumbled across a Facebook post about the hottest new rental suburbs to look out for in 2018. Don’t you think you’d be intrigued and want to know who the expert behind the wisdom is? Each of these pieces of content will be tied to your name, face and a strong call-to-action that will position you as the perfect person to buy or sell their home.

The proof is in the pudding.

According to industry experts, content marketing generates three times as many leads as other outbound forms of marketing and has a conversion rate that is six times as high.

Here are five benefits you will gain if you put some time aside to write content each week (we’ve even thrown in a couple of tips to get you started).

Content Creates Awareness

There are hundreds of real estate agents working your farm area and potential customers don’t have the time to contact each of them individually. They rely on a quick Google search to see who is out there selling properties and getting involved in the community. The easiest way to get in front of the masses is to have a strong digital presence. This doesn’t mean a thumbnail sized photo of your face at the bottom of your office’s website, it means having as many online marketing initiatives as you can. Facebook ads, EDMs and blogs are a great place to start. People in the market will come across your digital collateral in their search for an agent and will be impressed by your local knowledge and proactiveness. You are showing them you can market yourself, which gives them confidence in your ability to market their property.

Content Builds Trust

Sharing insights from the property market will prove that you care about your customers and genuinely want them to succeed. This abolishes the stigma of self serving agents who are only interested in their commission cheques. By giving tips on preparing a house for impressive OFIs or how to beat your reserve on auction day, you are positioning yourself as a go-to-guy for all property related information. You will become a trusted advisor and friend, building long-term relationships that will lead to sales down the track.

Content Encourages Engagement

One of the best things about social media is the way interlinking networks increase your reach. If a person is interested in an ‘event’ you create on Facebook or likes one of the blog posts you share, their list of friends will see the interaction. This will get you in front of hundreds of potential leads, which can be exponential. A ripple effect is created where friends of friends are encouraged to engage and these are people who would have never come across you if you were still relying on letterbox drops and cold calls.

Improved SEO

Once you start playing with different content strategies and find something that works well, you’ll start noticing that your search engine rank improves. This means if someone Googles “Brisbane Investment Properties” they’ll be directed to a blog you wrote about “Queensland’s Hottest Suburbs For Rental Returns”. Add a great supporting image and strong CTA and chances are you’ll have a voicemail or email in your inbox in minutes. Your content has effectively done your marketing for you.

Improved prospect quality

You’ll be amazed by how easily you can see who is interacting with your social posts and what they are looking for. If one of your contacts tags a friend in a blog you’ve written about the best suburbs for first home buyers, it’s safe to assume that they are on the hunt for their first home. What a perfect touch point for you to reach out and send an inbox message offering your services. Not only will your prospects be of a higher quality, you’ll know exactly what to say to get the conversation going.

In conclusion…

Content marketing is a cheap and effective way to generate and nurture leads while positioning yourself as a thought leader that your community trusts.

It’s all about putting yourself in the mind of your customer and thinking about what will be relevant, engaging and valuable in their property journey.  

Don’t be scared to have a little fun with it. Let your personality shine through and don’t forget to choose engaging images that grabs attention.

It’s easier than you think.

Understanding Milestones to Create Customers for Life

It’s a total cliche to start a conversation with “we all know life is unpredictable” but some sayings are overused for a reason.

Life really knows how to throw a spanner in the works when you least expect it. One minute you’ve got your life perfectly mapped out, the next your hubby has been made redundant and you don’t know if you can cover your mortgage repayments on one income. Or maybe after months of trying, your girlfriend finally falls pregnant and you realise you need to move out of that one-bedder in the city to something more roomy in the suburbs.

None of us know what is around the corner. You’re an agent, not a clairvoyant so how can you predict when a client’s situation is going change and it’s time for them to make a move. The truth is you can’t, but one thing you can do is recognise the key turning points in life that change a person’s property needs.

If you have this, you will always be able to turn a conversation into a listing opportunity and a listing opportunity into a long term and prosperous relationship with your contact.

Here are some major milestones to look out for and why:

Having a Baby

A new bundle of joy means a new bundle of space is required in the household. For many young parents it signifies moving from the first home they’ve bought together or perhaps looking to buy in the suburbs after years in an inner-city apartment. For you as an agent, this means upsize, upsize, upsize!

Divorce

When a couple splits, there are two common scenarios that take place. One of them chooses to stay in the marital home whilst the other looks for something smaller or they decide to cut their losses, sell the property and start new lives, in new pads. As cold as it sounds, divorce offers a great opportunity for agents to capitalise on a two-for-one deal.

Retirement

After working for the man for the better part of forty years, it’s no wonder that those on the cusp of retirement are dreaming about selling the family home and setting up somewhere to enjoy their golden years. Perhaps it’s a wealthy investor wanting to sell off her property portfolio to take a river cruise through Europe, or maybe it’s a grey nomad ready to trade it all in for a motorbike and a unit on the beach. Either way, retirees are the ultimate downsizers.

Bereavement

This can be the most difficult chapter in a person’s life cycle and needs to be treated with utmost sensitivity. Needless to say, this isn’t the time to get dollar signs in your eyes and swing into bull-in-a-china-shop commission mode but it does pay to know the general property habits of those going through loss. That way, you’ll know what they’re looking for and how to service them better. If it’s the loss of a spouse, chances are your client is looking to downsize or relocate closer to family. If it’s a parent or close relative, they may have come into an inheritance and are looking to invest in property for themselves or their kids. You can use your expertise as an agent to guide them in the right direction.

Graduates

Whether it’s TAFE, uni, circus school or a tradie apprenticeship, there’s nothing more exciting in a young person’s life then finishing their studies and finally being able to make enough cashola to start putting away their pennies and planning for the future. Welcome, first home buyers! Don’t overlook fresh-faced young graduates, if you nurture them through their first-home purchase you’ll create a customer for life!

Remember…

Being front-of-mind when your contacts go through different stages of their life journey is paramount to your business. It’s all about building relationships that inspire trust. Do this and your clients will want to share their personal moments with you. ActivePipe can help you nurture relationships by sending out intuitive communications that encourage meaningful conversations.

Stop seeing contacts as a listing opportunity and start seeing them as a customer for life.

Four Buyer Personas Every Agent Needs To Know

The whole point of marketing is to get the right message in front of the right person, at the right time. This concept is the same across all industries regardless of whether you are selling a product, a property or your services as a real estate agent.

How do you know who the right person is and more importantly, how do you know what to say to that person once you find them?

Since the caveman days, marketing professionals have known a simple trick. A way to clearly define who they are talking to, so they know exactly what to say when the time comes to sell.

It’s called a buyer persona.

What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are fictional characters you create to represent key customer groups in your target market. We all like to think of ourselves as individuals but like it or not, we fall into clear categories based on our likes, lifestyles and demographics. This fundamentally shapes what we are looking for when we buy a property. As a real estate agent it’s in your best interest to know exactly what these groups want so you can put the right message in front of them at the right time.

For example there’s Successful Suzie who drives a Range Rover, wears Louis Vuitton and is looking for her second investment property with her husband, Super Successful Steve. Her needs will be very different to Family Man Freddie who is expecting his third child and needs to move from the inner-city to a big block in the suburbs with plenty of storage space and a garage.  

Why is developing buyer personas so important?

Creating vendor personas will give you an insider perspective of your client’s motivations. You’ll know exactly what they need, resulting in better relationships and listing results.

Having an easy-to-go-to reference list of personas will make your marketing easier because you’ll have a ‘cheat sheet’ that you can easily access and refer to. Developing buyer personas will allow you to:

  • Have meaningful conversations with your customers
  • Know what each persona is looking for so you can service them more effectively
  • Learn people’s pain points, beliefs and aspirations so you can address their concerns
  • Simplify your sales process by eliminating guesswork and getting straight to the point

Where do I start?

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to come up with a huge list of personas and getting yourself confused. Begin with four key market segments; first home buyers, upsizers, downsizers and investors.

Remember Successful Suzie? She is your classic investor so she’ll be looking for a hot rental suburb which guarantees great returns. Her friend Family Man Freddie is the typical upsizer looking for a sensible purchase close to schools, parks and shops.

Can you see how these buyers need to be approached differently?

The other two personas to kick off with are Retired Robbie as your downsizer and Newlywed Natalie as your first home buyer. Retired Robbie is looking for a sea change so he can spend time fishing with the grandkids and get back to nature after 40 years in the suburbs. Newlywed Natalie has a comfortable job in accounting and a bun in the oven so is finally ready to take the plunge and enter the property market. She’ll need a little more guidance.

Understanding the psyche of each of your personas will help you nurture them through each stage of the property buying journey. You’ll be able to put the right properties in front of the right people and with these insights you’ll know exactly how to sell it to them. Don’t overlook this crucial component of your marketing plan. It’s the key to your success!

ActivePipe uses behavioural analytics to identify upsizers, downsizer, investors and first home buyers so you can easily match your buyer persona to these buying intentions.

To have a chat to someone from the ActivePipe team about how you can make the best out of your real estate marketing, click this link.

Becoming a Power Agent With Sherrie Storor

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about how delighted I was to join ActivePipe and its dynamic group of empowered women.

The tech industry is often thought of a man’s domain. A room full of numbers guys hacking away at their computers whilst a spirited debate about the fluctuation of bitcoin ensues. What I discovered was vastly different. This was an eclectic group of males and females, working together to propel the company forward and support each other with their individual goals.

The real estate industry is no different.

A few weeks ago, my colleague Alison and I were invited to attend the Women in Real Estate Breakfast Series hosted by coach, mentor and elite property agent Sherrie Storor. The event brought together a panel of gutsy and tenacious women, all at the top of their real estate game. They were there to celebrate female skill set and achievement with a takeaway that was clear:

Women in real estate have backbone. They have to if they want to lock down listings in a competitive market and survive in an industry built on competition. From top selling agents and CEOs to an auctioneer who offered bid calling lessons to anyone who dared, the panel showcased the diversity of female talent in the industry.

It wasn’t all serious business though, from Moet at the door, to eggs benny and a great view across Albert Park Lake, everyone was there to have a laugh and make new friends. Even if, being 6am, there were a few bleary eyes about.

Sherrie’s journey as a mentor and speaker began when she was selling elite properties at McGraths in New Farm, Brisbane. After personally selling more than 850 homes, she realised she had more to give and that her experiences could help other agents reach their full potential.

Everyone was looking forward to hearing Sherrie’s tips on how to be a powerhouse agent and we’re thrilled to share them with you.

Find your edge

Reflect on your strengths and use what makes you different to set yourself apart from the rest.

Analyse your digital presence

Google yourself and stalk your social profiles to see how potential clients would perceive you. Clear out anything that damages your reputation or is off-brand.

Use live video on Facebook and Instagram to get properties seen more

Sporadically posting a couple of pics on social media just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want to showcase your properties and your personality, use live and unedited footage. The bloopers make it extra entertaining.

Send video messages to buyers after open homes

Stay front of mind with a short thank you video that will also remind them of the properties best features.

Have a structure for your sales process

Up your efficiency and minimise errors by proceduralising your sales process. You’ll gain consistency and each step will become second nature, making your life easier.

The Takeaway

As someone who often looks at real estate from the outside-in, it was great to find myself in the thick of it and to see just how much women are accomplishing.

With Sherrie’s tips you will be a power agent in no time!

If you want to connect with her community, join the Facebook group Real Estate With Heart.

‘Why’ It’s So Important To Build Your Brand Story

Imagine if your favourite brands were people.

What would they look like and what would they have to say?

Would they drink beers at the local pub or spend Friday nights swilling fancy Burgundy at a fine-dining restaurant?

Companies can be so caught up developing features for their product that they often forget to tell the story of who they are. But humanity was built around storytelling and it’s in our nature to look beyond facts and figures and find an emotional hook.

Some companies get it right and that’s reflected in their tribe of loyal supporters and healthy market share. Others do not and whilst they may find some business success, they’ll never be remembered as inspiring or an innovative powerhouse in their industry.

If you are happy to plod along making mediocre sales and average commissions that’s fine, but if you are looking to take your business to the next level and be an agent others look up to, you’re going to have to find your “why”.

Why are you in real estate?

Is it simply to make money or do you have a passion for helping people move into their dream home? Are you a competitive person who loves the thrill of the chase or did you just fall into real estate by chance?

No matter how you got to where you are right now, you can and should make it into a compelling story. One that resonates and comes from the heart. That might sound like an overused cliche but in real estate, trust is everything and the only way to build trust is through authenticity.

How to build an authentic story

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Start your narrative by thinking about where you came from as this will shape the rest of your brand’s personality. If you used to play club footy and fancy yourself a bit of an athlete, it’s probably your competitive spirit that defines you and your business style.

If you’re a mum with a handful of kids, chances are you know a lot about backyards, storage space and local schools. This is a great asset for young families and you’ll be much better suited to helping them than the ambitious footy player we spoke about earlier.

Combine your back-story and your unique selling proposition to define your why.

What happens after you discover your why?

Let’s look at our athlete as an example. We already know that he has a competitive personality and likes to hustle.

This means his ‘why’ is the desire to get the best possible price for his vendors.

He should communicate this by marketing himself as a bulldog who doesn’t let go until he gets what he wants – the perfect price.

Consistency is key so this message should permeate through every piece of marketing he produces and every touch point he has with his clients.

Conclusion:

Get your brand story out however you can.

These days good agents are thought leaders as well as salesman, so create a blog or start a Facebook page.

It’s a completely free tool to get your brand story out there and show your contacts that you are a real person with a real story to tell.

Remember that you are your brand and great brands inspire hope. They sell ideas, not services so whether you’re a one man show or a team of 10, get everyone next to a white board and start brainstorming a concise and creative brand story that forms your why.

You won’t look back.