5 Pieces of Wisdom Real Estate Must Learn from Uber
Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.
Is there an Uber of real estate coming to disrupt the entire industry?
The answer is yes, but disruption in real estate is going to start at the grassroots level with agents who embrace change.
Uber disrupts because they listen to customers, adopt the right technology and adapt with genius long-term strategies. Read on to find out how you can disrupt like Uber for long-term success in real estate.
How to Create Seamless Customer Experiences with Technology
The cab companies had a massive efficiency problem and Uber knew they could disrupt their industry with technology.
By focusing on software, Uber saved on overheads to gain an advantage over cab companies which had to pay for vehicle repairs, employee benefits and wages, and call centre staff.
Agents can use technology to disrupt in the same way.
Think about it like this: you can spend 15 minutes setting up a personalised email to go out to your database of 500 contacts. The leads you generate from that email give you an idea of who is in the market right now and lets you know who to speak to.
Best of all, it saves you hours cold calling. If you had to spend 5 minutes cold call everyone in your database, contacting the 500 contacts would take over 40 hours.
That’s a full week!
Technology allows you to work smarter, not harder. The tricky part is knowing what the right technology for real estate is.
Why you Need to Embrace the Right Technology
The trick to being disruptive is choosing the right technology for your customer base and business case.
For Uber, this meant the smartphone because the technology is popular, it lets people connect to the internet and people always have them on hand. Unlike cabs, an Uber customer never has to hold the line, like they might if they called a cab company at a busy time.
Uber used the right technology to make it easier for people to become customers.
The right technology for agents is tablets and email.
Email, for example, allows agents to show properties to large groups of people. Everyone has email, so you are casting a wide net that will catch more customers.
Tablets are easier than laptops for a busy agent to use on the go. They are also perfect for gathering data at open homes because they are easy to pass around to multiple prospective buyers
How to Listen to Your Customers
One of the things that made it so easy for Uber to steal business was that people hated taxis. Consumer frustration is a powerful force for disruption and brand loyalty is a powerful thing.
The internet provides the best agents with a powerful opportunity to disrupt agents who are being slack on customer service.
AI makes it possible to automate communications and stay front of mind with buyers and vendors. Online services like ratemyagent.com.au make it possible to develop a good reputation and find new contacts outside your database.
You might be wondering how you can stay ahead of other disruptors who use this technology. Uber has a lesson for expert disruptors here too.
How to Adapt and be Original
Uber isn’t a taxi company any more. They deliver food. You can rent an Uber bicycle. In 2020 Uber will deliver UberAIR, which will offer short flights.
When Uber launched they were the rideshare company, which gave them a head start over everyone who came after them. When other competitors like Lyft, DiDi and Ola came along, they didn’t just stand still. They diversified.
There are a lot of agents in the world, so it’s crucial for you to stand out to your contacts. After all, only one agent can sell a person’s house so you need to make sure it’s you.
Originality in real estate used to be video blogs, or gifts at an OFI.
What’s original in 2019? Well, if we told you that it wouldn’t be original anymore (you’ll have to come up with the idea yourself!).
When you come up with your million-dollar idea for marketing your properties remember that you can’t depend on a gimmick.
What’s Important about Thinking Long-term
Uber is trying to build self-driving cars. Why? Because they don’t want someone else to invent it first and disrupt them like they disrupted the taxi companies.
To think about long-term technological prospects is to prepare for and guarantee long-term success.
If the taxi companies had invested more resources into an app before Uber, they might not have lost so much business to them. As it stands, they failed to understand what their customers wanted and had a lack of imagination about what kind of disruption technology could bring.
Like the Uber of real estate, the best agent in the future is the agent who listens to their customers and adapts to disruption by implementing the right technology.
Want to Disrupt Like Uber?
Make sure you’re a disruptive agent. Get in touch to embrace the best email marketing tech and make sure you remain the ahead of the competition.
Leader of Leaders: The Rise of Leanne Pilkington
Leanne Pilkington has been in real estate for a long time. In that time, she has accumulated prestigious awards, setup organisations and established herself as a leader and role model. She is the president of REINSW, Managing Director of Laing+Simmons, and Founder of Real Women in Real Estate (RWIRE).
For someone so accomplished, Leanne Pilkington is down-to-earth and candid. As a woman I look up to, I was honoured to sit down with her to discuss how she got to where she is today, and the bright future she’s continuing to forge for herself and all women in the real estate industry.
Origins of a Real Estate Icon
A twelve-year old Leanne started out answering the phones at her dad’s real estate agency and would go on to become one of the most influential people in Australian real estate.
“It was never a burning passion,” Leanne says, talking about how she fell into real estate after graduating.
“Honestly, I went to Schoolies like everybody does, and I ran out of money. Dad said, “Yeah, all right, I’ll send you some money, so long as you work for me until you go to uni.’”
Leanne would work for her dad for eight years, learning her way around the industry.
“Working for dad wasn’t really ideal for me because I would give him too much of a hard time. I wouldn’t take directions from him. Typical teenage girl,” she jokes. “I recognised that I needed to get out of that environment if I really wanted to grow and develop a career.”
This knack for pushing herself out of her comfort zone is something that has defined Pilkington’s career. For a period, she even made a move into other industries before returning to real estate in the 90s, when she would join Laing+Simmons.
Leanne has been there ever since. In 2015 when she was named Managing Director, she was the only female managing director in NSW, and one of the few across the country. From there, she has gone on to become the president of REINSW, where she wields tremendous influence in NSW residential property, an industry which turns over $107 billion annually.
Leanne Pilkington: Advocate for Technology
Pilkington says that in all her time as an agent, the biggest changes to real estate have come from technology.
“I think that in my first 25 years of real estate, nothing has really changed,” she told us, “the only thing that would change would be the market conditions. But now there is so much money being poured into technology, and although I don’t think we’ve really seen a disruption yet, it’s coming.”
Leanne is working to turn Laing+Simmons into the real estate brand of the future.
“We’re working on a lot of really exciting technology at the moment. I’m really pumped to see how that makes a difference in helping agents better personalise their communication, better manage their databases, have better information about what’s going on in their market.”
At the core of Laing+Simmons new platform is a CRM that is empowered with robust business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and virtual agents. Leanne says that this is a strategic move, with “much better information for our agents about what’s going on in the market and just better consumer insights.”
Already Laing+Simmons is seeing results. The virtual assistant alone has improved conversions off enquiries by 13 per cent.
“All of our marketing will be automated so that we can have a much better brand compliance,” she said. She emphasised that this would make it “much easier for agents to roll out the campaigns that we develop for them, across all of their different platforms.”
Far from being pessimistic about the disruption that technology will bring, Pilkington is eager to embrace it. She does not imagine a dystopian future where the robots take over. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“I don’t believe for a minute that it’s going to be the end of real estate agents. I think that the relationships are still really important. But agents need to get smart about how they utilise the technology.”
Leanne says that agents should get smart by thinking about how they can serve the customer.
“The reality is that consumers have changed as a result of technology. Their expectations have changed. The way they research things has changed. The way they want to buy things has changed. And so we’re going to have to change with it.”
Leader of Leaders
As the founder of Real Women in Real Estate (RWIRE) and nominee for three REB Women in Real Estate Awards, it might surprise you to learn that Leanne Pilkington was initially a reluctant hero for women in real estate.
It all started in 2015, when some of her colleagues were urging her to throw an event for women in the industry. Leanne resisted.
“I didn’t personally need something like that, so I didn’t understand that there was even a need.”
Leanne eventually caved in and the event blew up.
She got triple the number of attendees she expected and women were flying in from out of state. Leanne realised that there was a need for this kind of event and threw herself into the project that would eventually become RWIRE. Now, RWIRE has spread to 11 locations across Australia, to New Zealand and even LA. In June it will host its 50th event.
“It’s been much more successful than I ever expected. I didn’t understand it to start with, but I do now.”
Part of the popularity, Leanne thinks, stems from an absence of women in leadership positions and on stages at conferences and events. To combat this, RWIRE has a focus on outreach and education, including a new podcast, Courageous Conversation, which launches on the first of June.
“It’s about the conversations that we all have, not just women. But it’s really to encourage women that don’t like those difficult conversations around leadership, to be game enough to approach it and realise that good things happen on the other side.
When asked about all of the different advocacy projects she’s working on, she stops for a moment.
“I sound really busy when I’m talking about it like this, don’t I?” she remarks.
I acknowledge that she must get up early in the morning
“I do, yeah,” she laughs. “You’re quite right.”
For a person to become a multi-award winning Managing Director of an acclaimed agency, President of powerful industry institution and founder of a global organisation, I imagine Leanne Pilkington must get up very early indeed.
Face it, You’re Piling Leads into a Leaking Sales Funnel and That’s Not Okay
Everyone knows how important it is to get leads, but all of the hard work and investment involved can be for nothing if you’ve got a leak in your sales funnel.
To fix this problem we need to understand what exactly your sales funnel is, how to spot a leak and then we can learn how to plug up that leak so that you can rescue leads and help them on their path to close.
Define Your Funnel
The most basic funnel breaks the customer journey into three segments:
- Awareness: all the people who know about you
- Consideration: the people who are thinking of using you as their realtor
- Conversion: the people who buy or list with you
At this stage, it’s important to understand that not all your leads will make it to the conversion stage.
What you want to identify are the lost leads you can prevent. These are the leaks.
Find the leak
You can’t plug a hole if you don’t know where the leak is coming from.
If you find you’re spending money on marketing but people aren’t calling to make inquiries, it means your leaking at the awareness stage. If a lot of people you know are signing with other realtors, that means you have a leak in the conversion stage
Identify the leak, then you can fix it.
Clean your Database
At the minimum, you should have a name and email address for every contact. You may have had a great conversation before, but without a way to get in touch with them, they will be stuck in the awareness stage. Remember, if you can’t get in contact, that person is not a contact.
Thankfully, you can use software to go through your database and eliminate contacts with incorrect, absent or out-of-date information.
Use Smart Marketing
The shift from outdoor and print advertising to email and social gives realtors wider and more targeted reach and also gives them better insight into which ads are working.
Email marketing is particularly effective because it is cheap, everyone has an email address, and smart software lets agents see exactly who is engaging with their emails. By using AI driven analytics, this new breed of software lets realtors identify people at the consideration stage and act before any of their competition. The key to effective marketing is hitting the right person with the right messaging at the right time.
Make the Right Calls
Cold calling is going out of fashion, and for good reason.
The problem is, cold-calls target people at the awareness stage of the funnel, long before they’re ready to convert. If you call people too early, you risk annoying them and putting them off.
Instead, you could look at technology like email marketing, search and social to generate leads nurture your contacts to the conversion stage, where you can use your metrics to make warm calls.
This article was originally written for and published in RISMedia.
What Women Want (from Real Estate)
Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.
As part of our Women in Real Estate Week we wanted to get the latest research on where women stand in the industry. We found the Grow the Talent Pool, 2018 report, which surveyed thousands of agents, men and women, from across Australia, about their perceptions of how real estate is changing.
The report showed that diversity in real estate is constantly improving. More women are now being attracted to the industry because of flexible working hours that accommodate carers. It also found that more men have an increased understanding of the issues women face in the workforce.
This is largely thanks to the hungry women of real estate who know what they want and are acting as a disruptive force to get it.
This article looks at four of the learnings from the Grow the Talent Pool, 2018 report that show what comes next for women in real estate.
Women on the Rise
The good news is that more women are being attracted to real estate from other professional backgrounds.
The numbers show that more women are coming to real estate because it offers working hours that suit their needs. This is good news for the industry because it means that real estate is stealing talent from other industries which aren’t as accommodating.
The improvement is partly thanks to attitude shifts from leaders who recognise the importance of flexibility for parents, as well as new technology that is disrupting the traditional working weeks by making agents’ schedules more flexible.
Attitudes to Inappropriate Behaviour
Unfortunately, a number of people who responded to the survey reported that inappropriate behaviour was sometimes an issue in real estate.
Men and women in real estate both experienced inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, such as sexist jokes or offensive comments, and role stereotyping, though women experienced this at higher rates to men.
However, the report also notes that things are improving.
“There is clear evidence that attitudes to everyday sexism are changing as awareness grows,” the report noted. It went on to say that the majority of the respondents to the survey left additional comments regarding everyday sexism, “indicating their keen interest in this issue.”
Talking About Money
The report found that women were very interested in discussions of salary, and showed that both men and women in real estate are thinking about issues relating to salary.
The report notes that improvements are very positive but says that there is still room for improvement.
As Andrea Brown, Partner at Knight Frank puts it, “I have had all the usual battles that females unfortunately still expect – salary being number one. But if you do not ask, you don’t get.”
Women in Leadership
The report indicated that 79 per cent of women in real estate desire career progress, which includes moving into leadership positions.
The report also showed that out of all women who are leaders, most of them were reaching leadership positions at younger ages.
This may partly be because women are less often promoted into the most senior levels, and because women spend less time in the industry (a result of women’s experience from other industries and decisions to have children).
These findings could indicate that starting a family is a barrier to women’s attainment of higher leadership positions. As the report notes, “The next challenge is to expand the support for women returning to the workforce after having children.”
“We lose a lot of women after they go on parental leave,” according to one of the respondents. “This is something I have noticed over the years, which is why it took me a long time to make the decision to start a family.”
However, the higher proportion of young female leaders may mean that the positive changes that real estate has made are starting to be felt. Things are continuing to improve and, as women in real estate make their voices heard, we might see many of these young women in real estate’s most powerful positions in the future.
What the Future Holds
The face of real estate is changing in more ways than one.
ActivePipe can automate your email marketing to give you an advantage over the competition. If you’d like to discover how we can help you get ahead, get in touch. Let ActivePipe turn you into a leader.
How Agents Can Overcome Work-Related Stress
Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.
Stress can be a normal and healthy part of life, but it’s not good to remain stressed for long periods of time. This is known as chronic stress and it can lead to serious problems.
Occupational stress (or, work-related stress) is a common type of chronic stress that, if left unaddressed, can cause serious health issues.
How Serious is Stress?
A 2015 study from Harvard and Stanford showed that chronic stress can be as bad for your health as second-hand smoke.
People who suffer from chronic stress can experience:
- Weight gain
- Sleep problems
- Poor memory and concentration
- Anxiety and depression
- Heart disease
Stress can even lead to death. In Japan, heart attacks and strokes that result from stress cause a number of deaths each year. This “overwork death” is common enough that they have even come up with a special word (karoshi) to describe it!
Why Work is a Major Cause of Stress
One quarter of people say that work is their main reason for stress. This is not surprising, considering we spend over a third of our waking lives working.
Work-related stress generally occurs when an agent feels like they have low control and have to meet high demands.
This means that techniques for overcoming work-related stress should empower you to feel more in control and condition you to withstand the high demands of real estate.
Sleep More To Manage Stress
Experts say that, “people are getting less sleep than they need due to longer work hours”
You might feel like you are getting ahead by sacrificing sleep to work, but a lack of sleep actually affects your ability to concentrate and deal with stress.
If you take time to rest, the hours you work will be more effective and you will accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.
There is no ‘perfect’ amount of sleep, but for most people seven to nine hours is recommended.
The conundrum is, if you’re already stressed, work-related stress might actually cause insomnia. If your sleep is suffering from work-related stress, then try these other methods to help get your stress levels under control.
Meditate Like a Wall Street Stock Broker
Meditation isn’t exclusively for tree-hugging hippies anymore.
In his 2018 book, author Robert Wright looked at many businesses, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, who are using meditation to manage the stress of highly demanding jobs.
Don’t have time to meditate?
According to Wright, you don’t need a lot of time to meditate. Even just ten minutes of mindfulness per day can go a long way to help you feel less stressed.
Exercise, but Not Too Much
It’s recommended that you do two-and-a-half to five hours of exercise per week.
Do not over exercise as this can increase the amount of cortisol in your blood. Cortisol is ‘the stress hormone’, so be wary of overdoing it.
Instead, undertake exercise that you enjoy and makes you feel good to get your stress under control.
Communicate with Your Coworkers
So far we’ve talked about ways you can prepare yourself to meet the high demands of real estate work. It’s also important, however, to address feelings of low control.
This is where it’s important to try and improve your work environment, as having a more positive environment can help reduce work-related stress for you and your colleagues. There are things you can’t change about your work environment, such as market disruptions, but if you create a more supportive network, you and the team around you will find that you are able to cope with stressors more easily.
Communication is key.
There are a lot of different strategies you can implement in your workplace to eradicate work-related stress.
Some of the things that experts recommend are:
- Clearly defined and understood roles and responsibilities
- Make sure workloads aren’t overly demanding
- Social interaction between workers
Remember, establishing a good work environmentisn’t the sole responsibility of your office principal. Your principal has a business to run, they could be suffering from work stressed as well!
By taking the initiative you will show that you’re a team player who cares about you work, your colleagues and the business. This reflects well on you, and helps you overcome work-related stress, so that you can focus and succeed.
Cold Calls Got You Stressed?
Everyone hates making cold calls. They’re a massive contributor to workplace stress for agents.
Thankfully, you can uncover buyers and sellers from your database without having to ever make a cold call again …
Get in touch so we can show you how you can eliminate cold calling from your business.
Techniques for Effective Warm Calling
Warm calls are the best way to stand out amongst the competition in a property market that is becoming increasingly digital. Here are some techniques for effective warm calling that help you dominate the digital landscape
They say that every business is a tech business these days. As technology becomes more widespread, the line between tech companies and non-tech companies gets blurrier.
This means that the technologies which gave disruptors an edge stops becoming such a massive advantage when competitors catch up.
It’s the same in any industry, even real estate. As the majority of agents move toward being tech enabled, the advantage that early adopters enjoyed offers less of an advantage.
Get Ahead by Building Personal Relationships
Just like in the good old days, building personal relationships is still the best way to get ahead for any agent, and getting a contact on the phone is still massively important.
What you don’t want to do, however, is cold call. Cold calls frustrate contacts and add to your stress levels. Instead, you should be using data to find and call warm leads.
Ingredients for a Good warm Call
Because warms calls require a degree of knowledge, you need to have a bit more preparation.
It’s good to draw on your prior dealings with a contact. Maybe you sold their property in the past? Maybe you only met them once at an OFI. Whatever the case, refer to your last point of contact to break the ice.
The problem here is you could have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of contacts in your CRM. You can’t remember everything!
This is the part where you utilise data from your email campaigns, web leads, CRM, OFI, and any other data you may have gathered.
What you’re trying to find is who are your most interactive contacts. Once you have those you want to gather:
- A name (obviously)
- Residential address
- What properties they interact with
When you know these three things, the only thing left to figure out is how they all fit together.
How to Make a Good First Impression
Studies have shown that people form an opinion of another person within the first two seconds of a conversation, so a good first impression is everything.
When you call someone, it’s a good idea to address them by name to establish trust. When you use contact’s name, you trigger an emotional response making that don’t experience when they hear other words.
You can also use your own name to create a connection. Mention your brand and office, and reference the last time you had contact. This gives the contact context, confirming that you aren’t just a another telemarketer.
“Hi , this is Adam from Newtown Real Estate, I met you at that inspection on Main St last summer. How are you going?”
Without a prior relationship you can still get your foot in the door by being polite and human. If a contact is enthusiastic when they answer, be enthusiastic. If they are professional, play into that. Personality can’t be automated, so it’s a great way to get an advantage over the competition.
Show What You Know
You have established a conversation. The next step is to cross reference your data.
Do you have a property address? Are you 100 percent sure that this is their current address?
Unless you have spoken to this contact very recently, you can’t be too sure. Ask your contact if they’re still at the same address.
After you’ve done this check, you can start talking to a contact about your listings.
The properties you discuss will depend on your contact’s individual behaviour (this is where your research from before comes in). You want to open by talking about the property they’ve clicked on most; their ‘favourite property’.
If their favourite property is a sold property, then a person is likely to be self-appraising. This means you should talk about the great price you got for your vendor.
“Have you heard about the house on Property Street? We sold it for $20,000 above valuation.”
Talking about a property in this way assures the contact that you could get a great price for them as well.
On the other hand, if the contact has been clicking on a for-sale property, mention that property and confirm that they’re in the market.
“I’ve been getting a lot of interest in 4B Broad Street from potential investors. I just thought I’d call and let you know about this great opportunity.”
Ask the Right Kind of Questions
Perhaps one of the most important things to do when you’re calling people is to ask open ended questions. Open questions invite people to start talking, which is how you really catch leads and win sales.
Consider the different kinds of answers you get when you ask someone:
“Are you looking to sell?”
“What kind of properties have caught your eye lately.”
The first question only requires a yes or no answer.
The second question, on the other hand, forces a person to think about the kind of properties they’ve been engaging with, then gets them talking about them.
What if a Call Doesn’t Convert
If you don’t get the response you want from a contact, don’t be disheartened. It’s almost impossible that every single call you make will end in a listing. That isn’t the only reason you follow up on leads.
When you follow up on leads, you can make a sale, or you can get an appraisal, find a listing, garner interest.
Your contact might not be looking right now, but they might be looking soon, or they might have a friend who is looking.
Turn your contacts into connections. This is how you stay front of mind.
The road to success for any agent is paved with good connections.
Agility in the Workplace: How to Adapt to Technology So That You Can Get Ahead
As the business of real estate moves ever forward, there’s an inevitable push towards automating processes and incorporating more technology into the roles and expectations of agents.
Change can be scary, and for established employees, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an understandable gripe. The work day is already packed to the rafters, so finding the time to learn an unfamiliar system is a non-priority task that ends up at the bottom of the to-do list.
Over the years, I’ve seen many employees shine through the uncertainty of the ‘new’ and leverage themselves as invaluable upskillers, reaping the benefits of their increased productivity. I’ve also witnessed many succumb to the short-term anxiety of unfamiliarity and fail to capitalise on the opportunities within the challenge.
You can guess which group strode ahead, time and time again.
Real estate will always rely on exceptional human interactions, but the ability to react quickly to the changing tech landscape is imperative for survival.
Here are my tips on how to stay tech agile so that you can get ahead in real estate and make yourself indispensable to your employer.
Change is inevitable, so don’t bother dragging your feet in the mud, you’ll only appear stagnant. Even if you’re a full-blown skeptic, fake it til you make it. Have a positive attitude and step up as the early-adopter who helps others in the office get excited too. It won’t go unnoticed.
Use It as a Selling Tool
Savvy ActivePipe agents showcase the platform in their listing presentations to demonstrate how easy it is to find premium buyers for the client’s property. This is often enough to get them over the line and secure their business.
You can use this strategy for any new technology. Think about what the client gets out of it. Can you work that into your pitch and turn it into a selling tool? It might be the push you need to get around the product yourself.
Don’t Let Initial Failures Bog You Down
Just log in. The first time you poke around a new system, it’s normal to feel like a bit of a failure because you don’t completely understand what you’re doing. Don’t let this stop you. The more you log in and try, the more familiar it will become.
Compare it to the first time you started working in sales. I’m sure we can all look back and cringe on mistakes we made in the early days of our career, but if we had let that failure consume us, we wouldn’t have learnt how to do things differently. To do things better.
We don’t have much control over the new technology that enters our lives, or the direction that a company takes when implementing it across the business.
What we do have control over is our attitude when we are faced with new opportunities. The best agents I know have one incredible trait in common. Their ability to adapt and make the best of the situation in front of them allows them to thrive, no matter what. They are always looking for the next challenge.
Technology like ActivePipe is there to make your life easier. It only takes a little effort to give it a go and ensure that you’ll stay relevant within the industry for years to come.
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:
- Goes to a website of your choice, such as a blog
- Fetches information about that content
- 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.
5 Ways You Can Leverage Your Competition to Get Ahead
If you feel that life out in the field is comparable to a sunset feeding frenzy on the Serengeti, you’re not alone.
Real estate is notoriously competitive and if you don’t stay on your toes, maintaining enough momentum to get in front of the pack is about as likely as a crew of feasting hyenas spitting out their prey to go buy a four-bedroom, double garage in the suburbs off you.
It’s just not going to happen.
What is interesting about competition, is that it needn’t be looked at as an annoying obstacle to success. Smart agents know that to get ahead they need to look to the competition around them.
Understand, learn and leverage it. Not only will you build on your personal strengths to improve your business but you’ll position yourself as an agent that others look up to.
Survey the Scene
Take time to understand your competitors and the marketplace. What audiences are being overlooked in your area? What strengths do power agents in your locale exemplify that set them apart from the rest?
Be vigilant. If you’re constantly boundary scanning, you’ll be amazed at the little tips and tricks you pick up that others won’t notice. Get out there, get networking and let your competition train you in what works and what doesn’t.
It’s Not Just Your Properties that Have a USP
Every single one of us has a unique selling point. Perhaps it’s your time-management super powers, knowledge of great property design or plain old selling prowess. We’ve all got something that makes us stand out from the crowd.
To determine your USP ask yourself questions like:
- Why would a potential client choose me over another agent?
- What can I add to my service to help me stand out?
- Are there weaknesses in my local market that I can take advantage of?
Make sure that your USP aligns with the client pain points you uncovered whilst boundary scanning and you’ll have a leg up on your competition.
Be the One to Stay in Touch
Your competitors are always on the hunt for new prospects. Do you think they care whether or not you’ve worked with these clients before? Don’t be the fool who loses repeat business because you didn’t bother keeping in touch. Use the ease of social media to reach out and engage with past customers, even if they’ve left you for another agent.
Show them some love and you’ll be front of mind when it comes time to make their next transaction.
Don’t Let Trends Pass You By
Don’t be the last to know what’s hot or not in real estate.
Utilise your network of competitors by following them on social media. You’ll see which conferences, expos and events they are attending, as well as trending topics, tips and tricks.
Have a bit of fun with this.
Create your own content and share it with your network. This could be a video reviewing a conference, an anecdote from a recent transaction or a blog about dressing houses for optimal impact. The options are endless and a great way to position yourself as a leader in the field.
Do Unto Others..
Yes, real estate is the highly competitive feeding frenzy that our opening metaphor described. This does not warrant losing sight of your moral compass. Playing dirty will always come back to bite you in the end. Make highly ethical business practice part of your USP and never, ever bad mouth a competitor. If you believe that you’re not the right agent for a job, recommend someone you think will serve them better.
At the end of the day, your reputation as a trustworthy and reliable professional is going to be your greatest asset and no competition, no matter how strong, can take that away from you.
ActivePipe gives you an edge on your competition by nurturing your database with emails that send the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Want to know more? Get in touch here to organise a chat
The Case for the Coach: Should You Consider a Real Estate Mentor?
Even if you’re a workaholic power agent with natural selling abilities and a multi-million dollar portfolio, you’re just as susceptible to flatlining business as the newbie trying to make a name for themselves in an overcrowded market.
Sometimes, we can all do with a little help. Whether that be motivation, guidance in crafting business objectives or even just an accountability measure; having a highly experienced mentor watching your back can be a saving grace for agents in need of a hard refresh.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few with a ready-made Coach Carter, happy to help through the pure goodness of their heart, hiring a mentor can be a costly and confonting exercise.
So, is it the right option for you?
Here’s what you should consider before taking the plunge.
Do you have clearly outlined goals and objectives in place?
One of the main purposes of taking on a coach is to help you set and achieve SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) goals. If you have trouble knowing where to start or haven’t had much luck seeing them through in the past, then having a mentor to bounce around ideas with might be just the thing you need.
Before you splash out on professional help, try sitting down with a favourite colleague and mind mapping your goals together. Make a pledge to keep each other accountable and touch base every few months to check that you’re on track. Brutal honesty is key here.
Is your usual support network busy with their own needs?
With life growing busier by the day, it’s natural to feel bad asking for help when we’re in need. We don’t want to bother others with our problems or take up any of their precious time. This is where hiring a coach can be really beneficial. You are paying for their expertise, so there’s no need to feel guilty for using it. Just like a therapist is cathartic to those going through personal hardships, a coach will listen to your innermost professional concerns and build tangible solutions to them.
Be Honest: Are You Prepared to Put in the Hard Yards?
A good coach is going to push you out of your comfort zone. Are you ready for that? The usual excuses, “I’m too busy,” “I’m too tired,” and “It’s been a bad week” aren’t going to cut it and really, the only person you’ll be letting down is yourself, as you watch the hard earned dollars you forked out for their personally designed kick-in-the-butt fly out the window. If you’re not ready to make this sort of commitment, don’t bother.
Hiring a coach might just be the thing you need to get you out of a slump, over a sales hurdle or to the next level in your career, but it’s not for everyone.
If you can find the support you need within your network and your business is cruising by with no hiccups, great! You go, you!
If, on the other hand, you’re feeling overwhelmed or lacking clear direction; there’s no shame in getting help from someone who’s been there, done that and whose sole business objective is to see you get ahead.
ActivePipe supports you by sending emails that deliver qualified leads – and more of them. Click here to organise a chat.
Simple Email Tips for Realtors
Email is well and truly established as the premium marketing tool for top realtors across the country.
It boasts a 66% lead conversion rate, is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring new customers and is considered the preferred method of communication by 61% of American consumers.
These are impressive figures, which aren’t all that surprising when you consider that 95% of us have an email account we check multiple times per day.
So, if you’ve been thinking about taking your marketing efforts to the next level but don’t know where to begin, we’ve put together some simple tips to help you get started.
Begin with a Strong Subject Line
There’s no point sending an email if it’s not going to be opened. That’s why it’s important that you capture attention with the right subject line. Short and sweet (5-9 words is optimal) is the name of the game and personalizing with neighborhood information such as local listings or attractions will set you apart from your competitors. Research tells us that subject line personalization leads to a 26% higher chance of your email being engaged with!
Finish with a Call to Action that inspires… Action!
Just as there’s no point sending an email that won’t be opened, there’s no point sending one that doesn’t drive the reader to take action.
As the realtor, it’s your job to direct your audience with a clear and concise CTA so they know exactly what to do.
Include action verbs that persuade:
“Get more information on this home now”, “Call me to discuss your next home” and “View listings in [your community] now!” are a great place to start.
Engage and Send
Keep emails relevant and engaging. Rather than spraying your contacts with content that may or may not apply to them, keep your advertised listings local and neighborhood news recent. Look to Google for inspiration. There are plenty of examples of great real estate emails you can draw inspiration from. Just make sure you add your own personal touch to convey authenticity.
Once you’re happy with the body of your email, think about the timing and volume of your sends. Once to twice a week is desirable but everyone is different and it may take a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you. Whatever you decide, consistency is key to staying front of mind.
Don’t Stop Learning
This is just the basics to start you on your journey. Explore the ActivePipe blog to discover more in-depth and expert advice on creating a successful email marketing strategy or speak to one of our client success specialists today.
How Every Agent Can Squeeze the Most Out of the Christmas Period
Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the mad rush of Christmas each year. One minute it’s October and you’re waist deep in the property selling frenzy, the next you’re at the supermarket wondering why on earth Deck the Halls is playing on the radio and everything’s covered in tinsel.
It’s easy to write the holidays off as “sales slump season” but smart agents know to use this time wisely. Yuletide is the perfect opportunity to get all those life admin jobs you haven’t had time for during the busy months sorted and prepare yourself to step into the new year with your best foot forward.
Not sure where to start? Here’s the ActivePipe list of naughty and nice ways to squeeze the most out of this Christmas season.
Prepare your content for the year ahead
When the year is in full swing, your calendar’s overflowing with appointments and your phone feels like it’s been duct-taped to the side of your face, finding time to create or even curate content can feel like the last priority on your to-do list.
In this day and age you’d be a fool to leave content out of your overall marketing mix, so why not make the most of the downtime by planning out your social calendar for the year ahead? Snap any great photos of properties or happy sellers lately? Get them off your phone and onto your social media pages. Why not share some of your valuable expertise with the world and write some blogs? Don’t fancy yourself a creative? Look up some inspirational quotes or images that you can share.
The beauty of Facebook is that you can set-and-forget content so that your campaigns are scheduled and you have plenty of great stuff going out as the year ticks along, minus the headache!
Send Out an Xmas Email from ActivePipe
Let your contacts know you’re thinking of them with a fun holiday email. Take a photo of your office wearing Santa hats or include a group shot from your end of year party. Your contacts will love seeing your personality shine through and will be more likely to open your emails in the future.
At ActivePipe, we decided to make a Year in Review video, in which we showcase some of our big achievements of 2018. You could do the same with some of your more impressive listings and any events or awards you’ve been involved in over the year.
Get active in the community
As corny as it sounds, Christmas is about giving back. Show how involved you are by getting out and involved in your community. Fundraisers, Christmas concerts, school fetes, they’re all great ways to get out there, make new connections and even find fresh content for your social channels.
Clean up your database
This is another one of those “I don’t have time” jobs that can make a world of difference to your business if you bite the bullet and get it done. Make sure all your contacts are assigned, duplicates are deleted and all the names you’ve got saved in your phone are entered into your database. ActivePipe works best when you’ve got squeaky clean data to work with, so it’ll be worth your while. Who knows what hidden listings are waiting to be discovered?
Take a Break
Working in real estate is stressful, there’s no two ways about it. The energy that it takes to be “on” for your boss, your clients and your income is relentless and taxing, so whilst you might feel frustrated that the market slows down for Christmas, really it’s a blessing in disguise. Take the chance to recharge and nurture your mental and physical wellbeing, so that you can go into the new year fresh-faced and excited to kick some goals.
Have a happy and safe holiday period everyone, I look forward to seeing the amazing results you achieve with ActivePipe in 2019.
Want to have the right programs in place in time for the new year? Get in touch with the ActivePipe team here.
ActivePipe Year in Review, 2018
It’s gotten to that time where you look at the calendar, realise that it’s only five days until Christmas, and wonder where the year has gone.
2018 has been an amazing year, strength to strength, and we wouldn’t be here without our users.
Thanks for making 2018 a top year.
This one’s for you!
It feels like yesterday, not last year, that I was writing the 2017 ActivePipe Year in Review.
This year we’ve launched in the US, built our global support team in Cebu and expanded into the finance industry. That’s on top of all the new features and improvements to the platform.
When roughly 50 per cent of startups fail in the first five years, it makes me proud and excited that we are still growing rapidly into our fifth year, with many new prospects on the horizon.
This comes down to much more than a great product.
I’ve spoken before about the importance of promoting a positive work environment to inspire your team, and I wasn’t blowing smoke. I meant it when I said that leaders need to inspire a sense of purpose in their staff if they want to maintain a culture of success as a business grows.
Our team has tripled in size this year, which has introduced a lot of new members to our ActivePipe family. Rapid expansion comes with its own set of challenges, but the new members of the team have brought different experiences from different backgrounds in different industries.
This diversity of perspective is something that makes us challenge each other and makes ActivePipe such an exciting and interesting place to work.
I can’t wait to show you what we’re bringing you in 2019.
How Was Your Year?
Many of you have absolutely crushed 2018. The ActivePipe Dashboard gives us insight into the workflow of our users and has shown us a lot of people with really impressive results.
This has helped us find a tonne of agents who are doing spectacular things with the platform, and has lead to some great conversations.
Among others, it alerted us to the Ray White Sandringham team, who won 17 appraisal request in their first 24 hours with an ActivePipe account!
Well done to all of those teams who have managed to save money on their path to more listings and more sales.
Not all of you will have had the greatest year. We all have our year that we think of as a ‘bad year’, but it’s important not to focus on the negatives. Instead, recalibrate and prepare for opportunities to come.
A wise man once said:
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
Get excited for the opportunities that are waiting just over the horizon and get ready to make next year a success story.
Make 2019 yours.
We’re right here with you.
We’re collecting the greatest stories from real estate in 2018 to create a follow-up article! This is a great opportunity for you to share your experiences from the year with the rest of the industry.
This could be something you’ve learned, the things you’ve overcome or stories about your contact relationships. This could even be a funny story from an OFI or your office.
Get in touch, because we want to hear from you!
ActivePipe Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® in New ACE, Agent Centre for Excellence
Award-winning real estate marketing automation platform ActivePipe, has joined forces with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® as part of their newly launched state-of-the-art marketing technology platform, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® Agent Center for Excellence (ACE).
As part of the ACE package, which seamlessly integrates multiple best in class marketing technologies into one cutting edge platform, ActivePipe allows Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® agents to create powerful email drip-campaigns with built-in automation and property integration.
With ActivePipe, brands can now implement a ‘tiered-down’ approach, the first of its kind. Centralized communications can be deployed from the brokerage level, delivering a cohesive message through their local channels. These emails take seconds to create, thanks to ActivePipe’s easy-to-use email builder.
“We are proud to be part of the ACE initiative alongside the other best-of-class technology platforms,” said ActivePipe CEO, Ashley Farrugia. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® is an exceptional group, and with ActivePipe, their agents will be given the tools to send intuitive emails that discover hidden opportunities in their databases, resulting in more listings and higher commissions. It’s a revolution.”
The ACE platform is designed to be agent focused and data-driven, delivering powerful CRM, lead management, listing alerts, digital marketing tools and agent intranet from one centralized portal.
“After nearly two years of research, we realized investing in a best-in-class approach was the only way to continuously provide our agents with the most advanced technology to maximize their business,” said Rajeev Sajja, Vice President of Digital Innovation at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS. “We are genuinely committed to providing best-in-class tools and services to our agents to service their clients through innovation and key partnerships in the industry. As agents begin utilizing ACE, they will find running their day-to-day business is easier, more effective and highly efficient.”
The official rollout of ACE will begin in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania area throughout December 2018. By January 25th, all 5100 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® agents throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey will have access to ACE.
Unique within the real estate space, ActivePipe integrates live property feeds to present tailored recipient-specific content. ActivePipe helps brokerages and agents in identifying and converting potential buyers and sellers by managing the communication journey with all prospects, at scale.
Its drag-and-drop email editor allows for easy and instant blog and video incorporation, creating a seamless nurture program across all stages of the real estate lifecycle.
ActivePipe has established a rapid paid penetration across US, UK, New Zealand and Australian real estate offices in its short history in market. The ActivePipe platform complements all popular real estate CRM platforms by bringing static data to life. Agents can now identify and profile the clients most active, allowing agents to focus and prioritise those clients that are showing signs of transacting in the immediate future.
For more information, speak to a member of our team here.
Ebany’s Top 5 Tips for Getting Started with ActivePipe
“You’ve just got to jump in and have a swim around.”
That was the advice from one of our happy clients, Reece Prewett, when asked what he’d tell other agents and principals thinking about giving ActivePipe a go.
I completely agree with Reece, but I also believe that to make the best of your time in the water you need a few lane ropes around to help keep you on track.
No matter what, if you’re willing to try something new, ActivePipe will revolutionise your business; start your journey right and you’ll ensure that your results are supercharged and that you see them quick stat.
Here are my top five tips for getting off on the right foot as you begin your new life landing infinite leads, saving hours in your week and creating customers that will come back to you time and time again.
Gotta Start Somewhere
Login! This is where Reece’s advice really rings true. ActivePipe is designed to be easy and fun, so the first thing you should do is have a poke around. Try building an email. You can drag and drop images, text, and even content from other people’s websites. Practice your skills without the worry of breaking anything. If you build something fun, send it to yourself or a friend to see the finished result!
Get Your CRM in Check
This is a great excuse to consolidate. Do you have a notebook somewhere with a list of contacts you never got round to entering into your database? Or perhaps your phone is full of names you’ve collected out in the field that never made it to the desktop? Well, this is the time to sort it out. Get every name you can into the system so that ActivePipe can start discovering their buying and selling intentions.
Play the Name Game
Don’t settle for Mr and Mrs. As much as possible, try and get hold of first names too. This is important for the open rate of your emails. It’s accepted across the board that people will notice and respond best to emails that are personalised with their first name. The beauty of ActivePipe is that as long as that name is entered, the platform will do the hard work and personalise your emails for you.
Clean up your data by making sure all your contacts have been assigned. You know that amazing feeling you get after a big spring tidy up? That’s how good you’re going to feel once you’ve organised your database. Make sure duplicates are deleted for that extra squeaky clean goodness.
If a contact is receiving emails from you, chances are they’re receiving material from other agents too. When you think about how many emails, messages and newsfeeds pass in front of our eyes each day, it’s no surprise that even the most well-intentioned send can slip through the cracks, never to be seen again. Give yourself the best chance of standing out from the crowd by getting your head into ‘creative mode’. Start thinking of interesting and original ways to get your message to your audience. Google trending topics, .gifs, upcoming entertainment in your area and anything else you can think of that might catch and hold attention. Have fun with it!
Now that you’re getting comfortable and have sent a few campaigns out, why not log into our training centre and watch our short tips and tricks videos which will help you become an ActivePipe pro with a pile of listings you’re colleagues will be envious of.
In Conversation with David Young Choi
ActivePipe’s catapulting global expansion of the last twelve months has allowed me to make some exceptional appointments to our executive team. The quality of these highly sought-after professionals is enviable, as is the wealth of experience and understanding of the sector that they bring with them.
When I first met David Young Choi three years ago, we quickly entered into a friendship driven by a mutual respect for what the other was ‘about.’ At the time, he was Chief Commercial Officer at Homepass, a proptech company moving in the same space as the recently launched ActivePipe; our paths were always destined to cross. I was instantly drawn to his astute intelligence and passion for the role and I was pleased to watch his career continue to shine as he moved into the position of Director of Corporate & Enterprise at Domain.
When ActivePipe reached the point of needing a CCO of our own, in my eyes, David was the only man for the job. He’s dived head first into the role and is already feeling like such a member of the ActivePipe family that it’s hard to believe he’s only officially been on board for a few, (admittedly, action-packed) weeks.
I’ve finally found some time to sit down and decompress with him. Here’s what he has to say about his ActivePipe appointment, insights into the company so far and the overall climate that’s defining proptech in 2018.
Dave, you’ve known me and ActivePipe for years now. What is it that got you excited to come on board and take this role?
DC: I was sold the first time that I saw ActivePipe. It was so intuitive and simple, that I was immediately drawn to its potential. ActivePipe addresses every major pain-point that brands and agents face. This runs deeper than just personalised communications and discovery technology. You’re talking about a platform that holistically revolutionises how an agent identifies and converts pipeline opportunities and then builds a lifelong relationship with them. From a corporate perspective, the power to create an automated email drip-campaign that seamlessly integrates properties which can be sent out on behalf of all their agents in minutes, is invaluable. How could I not be excited about this?
It’s the numbers that get me going. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you build into a product if you’re not getting results for the clients, what’s the point?
DC: Well, from what I’ve seen, the proof is well and truly in the pudding. From the ground up we’re now looking at servicing nearly 40,000 agents with the biggest brands across four countries, including the US. What are we at now? Over 16,000 appraisal requests for our clients. So yes, it’s both the numbers and the technology that has me excited.
Thinking about how these numbers will grow as we continue to push into the US gets me excited.
Of course! Our international expansion and opportunity were major drawcards for me joining the team. At the end of the day, the fundamental problems we solve are universal, no matter whether you’re in Australasia, the UK or US. ActivePipe’s value proposition spans all geographies.
Based on your experience dealing with agents from across these geographies, what are they saying about the introduction of automation for their business?
Well, corporations are always blown away by the ability to maintain brand integrity across the network without losing the personal touch that individually crafted communications provide. This is huge for them. Agents talk about how easy it makes it for them to stay in contact with the thousands of agents in their database and facilitate relevant conversations.
Yeah, I completely agree. I love how it’s not only positively enhancing the experience of the agent but also adding value and creating a pleasurable overall journey for their customers.
DC: Well, that’s what it’s all about. The reason ActivePipe agents are seeing such great results is that their contacts aren’t feeling like the recipients of spam or monotonous cold-calls. With each and every touchpoint being tailored to their needs, trust and rapport are consistently being built. When it does come time for an agent to pick up the phone and make contact, they are more productive and can actually add value.
You’ve already been throwing some big ideas around with me. Where do you see this company heading in the next few years and how are you going to help get us there?
DC: The customer is the centre of our universe, so everything we do moving forward must focus on customer centricity. This is already a dynamic business but we must always remain diligent and on the front foot of the needs, pain-points and solving our customers business problems. All I can say right now is, watch this space because big things are coming.
So, talk to me about how you see our role in the industry now that you’ve seen us from the inside and out.
DC: This is an easy one! The role of ActivePipe is to help real estate agents and brands get the absolute most out of their business. It’s like squeezing every last drop out of a lemon. ActivePipe takes the archaic lead generation and customer nurturing methods which real estate has relied on for so long and turns it on its head. Its role is to completely change the game.
Thanks, mate, as always it’s all about company culture for me, so no matter how you want to shake things up, you know where I draw the line.
That’s a great point to bring up actually. To return to your question about what excites me about ActivePipe, I’d have to say that its reputation as an organisation with extremely high staff satisfaction and retention rates was a huge drawcard for me. It’s been inspiring to hear you speak on the driving force company culture plays in the pursuit of innovation. I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team as it moves towards the next phase of its’ global expansion.
Buxton: Hyper Relationships through Boutique Singularity
In my journey to understand the inner workings of Australasia’s best real estate brands, I’ve been captivated by the concept of utilising technology to curate personalisation en masse. Successfully integrating automated systems into an industry that relies so heavily on interpersonal interaction isn’t easy and many brands have suffered through the teething process of trying to perfect the balance between efficiency and providing a service that maintains real estate’s integral personal touch.
One brand that has seamlessly mastered this domain is Buxton. Through smart database setups that allow each agent to build hyper relationships with their clients, Buxton is changing the way we think about email automation and its often misconceived perception as a vessel for impersonal spam.
I sat down with Buxton CEO, Nathan Jones and Operations Manager, Fiona White to find out how this boutique brand has positioned itself as one of Victoria’s most personal real estate groups.
At ActivePipe, we are driven to personalise the email communication experience for real estate customers whilst giving agents the ease of intuitive automation. You have taken it to the next level at Buxton. Can you tell me about how you’re achieving this?
Nathan: We’ve set up our database so that every contact in the system is only ever hearing from one agent. The difference between our database and other brands is they have all these siloed databases whilst we just have one. This means that no matter whether a contact has gone to different agent’s OFIs or bought property off someone else, they are still the client of that original agent.
We just wanted to make sure that we never had a scenario where two Buxton agents were sending eDMs to the one person with the same properties or even different types of properties. Relationship singularity is extremely important to us.
We’re trying to build the hyper relationship between the agent and the client through these eDMs and ultimately that came down to us making sure that we weren’t competing with ourselves.
How did ActivePipe help you achieve this?
Nathan: In terms of building out the customer journey, we had been running with a couple of ideas for a few years but the system we were using was a bit like a dumbwaiter. There was no feedback and no intuitive AI behind it to tell us to send out another communication after someone had engaged. It was just, ‘On Thursdays this email goes out’ or ‘On Fridays this email goes out’. We still had that one-on-one contact but there was nothing smart about it. So the ultimate leap for us was taking it to the next level with ActivePipe.
So in terms of your nurture program, imagine that I’m a dormant lead and haven’t spoken to someone from Buxton for a significant period of time. How do you trigger off a journey?
Fiona: We send out ActivePipe’s Data Discovery Surveys once a quarter. That’s just if they haven’t interacted with any correspondence from us. They’ll also receive monthly ‘Sold’ reports for their desired area. So, regardless of whether you’re interacting or not, you’ll always get an email from us once a month and then quarterly with the Data Discovery Survey.
This leads perfectly into my next question which is around clean data. The Data Discovery Surveys are so effective at keeping a well-maintained database, which Buxton agents are great at. What are some of the benefits you are leveraging through this information?
Fiona: It’s so easy to forecast behaviour when you use the dashboard properly. You can see people’s home address, where they’ve been searching and you can see that they’ve been self-appraising among other things. You’ve got that next level of data rather than just, ‘Oh, I’ve got their address’ or ‘I know where they live’. Our agents are able to have a personalised conversation with their contacts.
Nathan: The piece of data that I’ve always found missing on real estate databases which I find slightly comical is a property address. We’re in the business of building relationships and transacting on properties, so it would be handy to know where people lived. If you know where someone lives, what you can do is pretty limitless in terms of the information that you serve them. Without it, you’re fighting with one arm tied behind your back. That is the importance of clean data, of quality data. If you don’t have it, you’re going to struggle.
I want to know more about how you’re helping create better experiences for your customers. How receptive are they being to the automated comms being sent to them? Are they receptive it or are you getting pushback?
Nathan: We’re not having pushback at all. People want customised marketing. They don’t want generic, impersonal communication coming through. If people shop at Country Road, it asks them to put in their size, height, shape and all of a sudden they start sending comms featuring appropriate clothes. It’s the same thing. People don’t have to time to sift through hundreds of messages to find the two that make sense. They just want the two that make sense. That’s the beauty of what I call the pre-framing process with ActivePipe.
I’m particularly interested around branding and how you maintain brand integrity. How can an agent maintain their individuality without jeopardising the Buxton brand?
Nathan: So for us, it’s all about freedom within boundaries. We create the boundaries of the email templates, and some are tighter than others. With ActivePipe we’ve been able to lock down as much as we feel we need to in terms of branding and logos. In terms of content, we create an absolute truckload of it on a daily basis that we encourage people to use. We don’t limit or cap how much or how little agents use but at least they don’t have to go out there and try and create it themselves. We have a range of blog posts, social posts, local business interviews, photography and trends. Anything you can think of, our social and media team create. Then it’s up to the agents to drag-and-drop what they want.
There’s so much to talk about in terms of technology and training your agents around this technology that we will talk about in our next catch up. Is there anything more you’d like to finish off with today in regards to personalisation and the methods you’re implementing to ensure it?
Nathan: Just that in all honesty the number of non-direct inquiries to our website has been significantly reduced post-ActivePipe, even though our traffic volume has drastically increased, thanks to clicks from the properties and content in our ActivePipe emails. The communication is so targeted that without knowing it, our agents are building a one-on-one relationship with clients and when these clients are clicking on emails they’re just going straight to the agent.
We deliver both automated and customised content, so irrespective of individual agent time constraints, we know at a minimum that we control a certain level of communication with our clients and contacts. Every single email comes from the individual; i.e. John Smith at Buxton, not an impersonal ‘no reply’ at Buxton. It’s as simple as that.
Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for part two of my interview with Nathan and Fiona.
If you’d like to speak to someone from ActivePipe about how you can personalise your communications and increase website traffic, get in touch 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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Craig Leo: Acumen and Accolades on the Peninsula
When I stumbled across a Facebook video of Craig Leo, the renowned director of Barry Plant Rosebud speaking on the benefits of ActivePipe, I was stoked to see such a superstar sharing his excitement with the world.
Craig is a well-respected and sought after leader on the Mornington Peninsula. He’s also the recipient of numerous accolades that celebrate his business acumen and his dedication to establishing and maintaining relationships that last a lifetime. I think that Craig makes the perfect spokesperson for our platform, so I couldn’t wait to catch up with him to learn more about how he and his agents are harnessing the power of ActivePipe.
Hi Craig, thank you so much for sharing your video. We love nothing more than a happy client! I want to talk about the beginning of your ActivePipe journey. When were you first introduced to the platform and how receptive were your agents to the new system?
It was part of an initiative from our corporate group. We were given training on it and we certainly found it beneficial and the agents were really supportive of it. They recognise that it’s something that’s there to help them, so it’s really been fine.
Can you tell me a bit about how you incorporate ActivePipe into your daily routine?
One really good example is a couple that we missed out on a listing for. They didn’t sell with the current agent they were with and they ended up heading off for a holiday. Whilst they were away they were still searching for properties, so we knew they were a genuine buyer. Through ActivePipe we could see that as we alerted properties to them they were clicking on them multiple times. We always contact a buyer if we know that they’re clicking multiple times, so I was on the phone to them everywhere they stopped at as they travelled up the coast of Queensland!
By the time they were back from their holiday, they were looking to relist. They invited us in unopposed because they liked the fact that we’d kept in contact with them and that was with the help of ActivePipe. We ended up selling at auction which was great and from there they bought from us. So, by keeping in contact we were able to facilitate a buy and a listing unopposed.
You’ve received an amazing 24 appraisal requests so far. How many of those have turned into listings?
When we have a prospective vendor or an appraisal request, 9 times out of 10 we’ve listed and sold that property.
Wow, that’s incredible. Would you say that ActivePipe is allowing you to have better conversations with your prospects and that’s why you’ve been so successful in turning them into listings?
Well, first of all, it’s relevant conversations because we know, first of all, that their active in property. Secondly, we know the conversation is a relevant one because we can see what we’re sending them which results in a far better conversation. Thirdly, I think it’s the consistency of the conversation that ActivePipe is allowing for as well.
It’s not just a typical database call where you’re trawling through your prospective vendors. We’re making as many warm calls as possible.
As a director, do you find that ActivePipe helps you in managing your agents?
Getting reports back from ActivePipe that we can sit down and talk to the agents about is great. More importantly though, it’s giving them direction. Rather than coming in of the morning and making a series of cold calls or prospective vendor calls off a database, they’re able to have a really relevant conversation.
So now when I talk to agents I find that the majority of the conversation is, “What has been happening on your ActivePipe. Who’s clicking on what?” It’s not just about the vendor referrals or request for appraisals or finance referrals.
Have you had any feedback from clients on your communications with them?
I make people aware when they come through our opens that we are going to provide them with a series of updates that are relevant to their needs. I also tell them that if they’re not happy with it they can unsubscribe.
What’s really cool about the system is that when we’re doing an appraisal, we can generally do what we call a ‘buyer match’. This is where I go into ActivePipe and determine how many people are looking for say a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, double-garage home. I can show the prospective seller the results and the search history of the buyer. Then I’ll say, “Let’s give them a call now” and I’ll dial them up.
So, it’s just one of those really neat systems where you can actually show the vendor that you’ve got relevant buyers who have a search criteria that’s relevant to their property and that I can call them as easily at that. It’s actually hilarious.
So, do you use ActivePipe as a marketing tool when you are meeting with prospective sellers?
So many agencies say to their vendors that they’ve got “this buyer” in their database and “this red alert system” and they print off a list of ad hoc buyers. To me that’s just a number and anyone can do it. But when you actually show someone that a buyer has clicked on a property that’s similar to theirs, in a price range that is similar to theirs, and in their area, that’s really powerful.
Every agency says, “We’ve got the buyer”, whereas we tell our clients, “Look, everybody has the same buyers.” The difference between us and the other agencies is that we’ve got a much more accurate way of determining who the buyer is and we actually demonstrate that in a follow-up rather than just pulling up a list of names that may not even be real people.
What would you say to other directors who are thinking of giving ActivePipe a go?
I can sum that up in one sentence. It will change your business. Off the back of a really good market in the 2017/2018 financial year we made a 61% growth in our business. There was good training and marketing and all the things that we implemented in our business but ActivePipe was certainly a catalyst for that. So yes, do it.
That’s an incredible achievement that we are so happy to be a part of. Thank you for taking the time to chat today. Before we finish, is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d say, just try to be consistent with your training, and consistent in updating your database.
One more thing! We were alerted by one of your team members that we were sending out far too many emails and that feedback helped us to cut down on some of the unsubscribes that we were seeing.
So I have to say that the service we’re receiving from ActivePipe is really good as well.
Check out Craig’s original video:
How Edward Smyth Uses Cold, Hard Data to Sell with a “Human Touch”
How can an agent with under three years in the real estate game win awards, become a Director and feature on the cover of Elite Agent Magazine?
It sounds like an urban myth but Edward Smyth and the team at NGU Gold Coast are a force to be reckoned with and Edward has indeed ticked all these boxes in just three short years.
Edward started his career in the fast-paced game of international finance. Joining forces with business partner Karen Stewart, he’s gone from trading stock to trading houses and brought with him an expertise in big data to help nurture leads and build a fit database.
Central to his method is an eagerness to increase user ‘touchpoints’: points of customer contact, such as Facebook ads, a phone call or email.
We managed to steal some time with Edward, who told us how capitalising on user touchpoints with clean ActivePipe data helps the team convert leads.
This is how Edward Smyth uses a human touch.
In your recent interview with Elite Agent, you spoke about the human touch being so important to selling real estate. How does ActivePipe help you personalise the emails you’re sending to keep that human touch alive?
If you liaise with marketing specialists, they will tell you that it’s normally six touchpoints before you call to action. In my opinion, it’s probably closer to 20, based on the evolution of social media and the internet and associated ways to get to market quicker.
Having something like ActivePipe, where it creates a lot of the touchpoints, is crucial because it provides a real estate agent with a shortcut to touchpoints.
What layers of automation are you using across the platform? Do you have any sort of methodologies?
Yeah, my belief is that technology and automation increase the probability of the human touch. If you find an upsizer or a downsizer through the ActivePipe dashboard, jump on that, right away. I mean, if you don’t jump on that get out of real estate.
Somebody’s asked for an appraisal; it couldn’t be more black and white.
Deliver that and deliver it quickly.
ActivePipe gives us enough alert so that we can deliver that within seconds of receiving the inquiry, and we do. Our rule is that no lead will ever sit in our pile for longer than eight hours.
In terms of efficiency and time management, how’s ActivePipe helping you and your business colleagues?
It takes a short amount of time to come up with the data for each weekly email. My secretary, Shannon Greaney, will pin an alert on my calendar and put in a time, saying ‘ActivePipe blurb’.
It’ll take about 30 minutes to come up with something because there’s enough information circling around the real estate sphere. It doesn’t need to be your own idea. You can show the biggest story in real estate from the week and talk about that.
How do you leverage your ActivePipe Dashboard to have those better conversations?
We have to digitally stalk everybody before we engage in conversation with them.
You digitally stalk them by doing a name search in RP Data to see what homes are associated with them. Then you go to LinkedIn, then you go to Facebook and you learn a little about them.
What I try to do is not make a phone call until I know everything that I can. What ActivePipe does is, it alerts me to somebody who’s active in the area, then the rest of the job is on me.
ActivePipe is an alert system.
It doesn’t do the job for you, but it alerts you to a possibility.
The way we kind of look at it is we give the agents the ammunition and the insights to be able to have those superior conversations, but it’s up to them to make the phone call and be proactive.
That’s right. If someone tells us, through ActivePipe, I’m a downsizer, looking for a townhouse that’s around 500, 600 grand, you don’t call them up and say, “Hey, you’re a Downsizer looking for a place that’s 500, 600 grand.”
What you do is you think about it. You look around and you consider somebody who might sell within that rationale.
You call the seller, the potential seller and say, “Look, would you sell at the right price?”
Then the seller says, “Yes.”
You call the ActivePipe buyer and say, “Look, I might have something for you, would you like to come and have a look on Wednesday?”
Then they say, “Yes.”
You match your buyer and your seller because that’s what real estate is.
Why Email is Still the King of Real Estate
There’s so much noise around social media and its lead generation capabilities that you’d be forgiven for thinking the medium has overtaken email as the ultimate online marketing channel for real estate agents.
From Facebook to LinkedIn and beyond, there’s an expectation to pimp your product across all platforms, at all times, leaving the more traditional efforts of email marketing billowing in the dust behind you like a rogue tumbleweed.
For those of us in the industry, following these trends and analysing the data is essential for our development, and my marketing team have spent hours trawling the numbers in an attempt to discover which marketing channel reigns supreme.
What we’ve discovered is that despite the hype around social media, when it comes to converting and nurturing leads, email comes out on top time and time again. This could really throw a spanner in the works for the agents who are progressively looking to social as the backbone of their marketing plans.
Do Your (Number) Crunches
The data coming out of leading technology market research firm Radicati speaks of the superior organic reach that email provides compared to social. They’ve discovered that an email is 5x more likely to be seen than an advertising message delivered via Facebook and that 98% of top rating agents in the US (earners over USD $100,000) tout email as the best real estate marketing channel for converting leads.
These are some mind-blowing figures which are backed up by research coming out of The Digital Marketing Association, who’ve found that email has a whopping 66% conversion rate – far higher than social and direct marketing.
In the Mix
One should never disregard social media as part of a holistic marketing mix. It’s an excellent and well documented way to showcase your personality and create an environment of trust with your contacts. What I’m saying is that it might be time to start refocusing your efforts back into email – a medium which transcends the mere realm of ROI and truly engages the more than 4.5 billion email accounts out there patiently waiting for your delivery.
So how can a pragmatic agent use this information to their advantage? It might sound like a corny analogy but you should think of email as the engine of your car, fuelling the rest of the mechanics along your road to success. Let email power the rest of your channels and not only will your lead conversion rates increase but you’ll be engaging the existing leads in your database who don’t necessarily have visibility of your social presence.
Use It or Lose It
Speak to a professional about how to make email work for you. Just because the data tells us that it’s is a winner doesn’t mean you can bang out any old thing and expect to be crowned Agent of the Year.
Get it right though and you’ll be left with no doubt that email is still the king of real estate. (more…)
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…)
Why Every Agent Needs to Leverage PR
As ActivePipe’s Public Relations Coordinator I have the pleasure of speaking with a cross-section of agents from across our global network each week. I love learning what makes an agent tick and through these countless discussions have cultivated some pretty incredible insights into the universal pain points and aspirations of real estate professionals across the board.
Every agent I speak to knows the importance of leveraging their profile but where they can sometimes come unstuck is in knowing which methods are worth investing their precious time into. Being time-poor can lead to a lack of creativity, resulting in lacklustre exposure and a dreary publicity program.
Sometimes it’s best to leave these things in the hands of a professional, which is why I’ve enlisted the help of Diane Falzon, the PR extraordinaire behind FalzonPR, who’s a mentor and expert in helping agents position themselves as leaders in their field.
Here’s why she believes traditional public relations should not be ignored by the modern agent.
Why Every Agent Needs to Leverage PR
As the news cycles change in the blink of an eye, storytelling and creating digestible pieces of information to readers, viewers and listeners has become the necessary fuel for all.
You may say that the onslaught of social media has diminished the need and value for traditional public relations and media exposure.
The truth is that public relations continues to play an intrinsic role in working with clients to craft and disseminate news and angles for journalists to consider and pursue.
For the real estate space, and in particular, agents, leveraging from PR can be a valuable tool in not only maintaining a presence with your relevant demographic but also celebrating and showcasing your street cred in the industry.
Creating a connection to your clients and potential clients through the media will help personalise your business and connect-ability with your intended audience. You are more than the person who creates listings online. You are more than the bricks and mortar you are trying to sell. As an agent, you are a wealth of industry knowledge and through an effective PR campaign, you can outshine and outdo your competition.
Let Your Success Do the Talking
Through effective and strategic PR initiatives, you can showcase your successes and milestones, as well as provide advice to your customers. As a learned voice in this space, you can tap into information hungry clients and share your expertise. It is through your tenacity and intriguing storytelling that customers will want to know more about the PR savvy agent in their local area. Some possible PR ideas for you to pursue may include creating a narrative around, “Tips on how to present your property for sale”, “When is the right time sell”, “How do I choose the ideal real estate agent” or “Top five mistakes when selling your home.”
There is no room for humble in the real estate game. Create a space and narrative where you can be heard or read about so that you shine amongst your competition. Whether it is your local print, radio or online, shine a spotlight on what you want to share with your customers. Believe me, they want to hear from you, not just when you want them to sign on the dotted line.
Call in the Experts
If DIY PR is not your thing, don’t despair. Hiring a PR professional to help you is also a great option. Look out for a PR consultant who can get ensconced in your world and can articulate what you want to share to the media. Their job is to showcase you, your business and your story in a way that will enhance your brand, expertise and sales success story.
There is a saying that “all publicity is good publicity.” Call me old fashioned and conservative, I tend to shy away from negative publicity and prefer to create sound and robust stories which generate positive outcomes. A story about an agent found guilty of underquoting does not sound like the sort of publicity you would be after. Be selective in what you disseminate so journalists know that quality content is heading their way.
It is the business which boasts its uniqueness that will be seen the most. Think about it. There is a suite of restaurants in Australia – but it is the ones that showcase their unique cuisine or chef to the media are the ones that get the good word of mouth going. Be that shining star in your suburb.
Be involved in your community, show your altruistic side within that community and then share it with the media. Being a part of your community does wonders in enhancing your authenticity. Also, don’t be shy in celebrating your real estate wins. From achieving a record sale price in a plateau market or winning an industry accolade, share your story far and wide.
Go on, switch that PR light bulb on, NOW!
0430 596 699
Reece Prewett: Recruitment, Retention and the Power of the Database
Reece Prewett is the proud business owner and principal of Ray White Papakura, New Zealand. A master of the corporate world, Reece’s career has seen him in senior executive positions spanning four continents and nearly twenty exceptional years. His ability to drive global teams through significant growth and transformation makes his insights into the benefits of ActivePipe incredibly valuable.
We were lucky to catch up with Reece to chat about the improvements he’s seen in his business and in his agents since joining the ActivePipe family.
AP: Hi Reece, thank you for taking the time to chat today. Even though your office is pretty new to ActivePipe you’re already seeing some fantastic results. Can you tell me a little bit about how are you using the platform and how you are finding it so far?
RP: We’ve had the immediate benefits of appraisal requests and loan market requests coming through, which is fantastic! But the real juice is coming from those who mine the data in the ‘Hot Leads’ category. It’s the people who are clicking on properties multiple times, revealing their intentions about buying and selling and putting their details in through the website. We are loving that.
AP: Do you find that the information that is coming through is allowing your agents to have better conversations with these leads?
RP: It’s giving direction. You may have 1000 people in your database but when it comes to 10am Monday morning, who are you going to call? You want to start your day by making ten calls and what ActivePipe does is make those ten ‘hot calls’ as opposed to ten ‘hit-or-miss’ calls.
You’re making the right calls, at the right time, to the right people.
AP: How does AP help you train and manage the agents in your office?
RP: We have 25 agents in our office and ActivePipe helps us to work out which of those need some support. In my experience, agents can be highly effective at their jobs but not run a good database. The truth is, they could make twice as much money and have twice as much leisure time if they utilise the platform to maximise their database. They might even get their weekends back for themselves.
I’ll give you an example.
Our Number Two salesperson has 500 people in his database but it’s not well constructed. ActivePipe has allowed us to see that this is a problem and we’re now able to use it as an opportunity for him to improve his business. The guy’s already getting really good numbers so we wouldn’t necessarily have noticed his mismanaged database but he could be doing so much more and in half the time!
AP: How do your agents feel about using this new platform?
RP: I’m now using ActivePipe as my recruitment tool! This is because agents want leadership, support and something to help them deal with being so time poor. A lot of agents are time poor, so if you told them you’d organised a PA for them, they’d literally grab you with five arms, give you a hug and say, “Where do I start”?
That’s not a particularly cost-effective thing to do. With ActivePipe, I’m effectively giving them half a PA for free and it does all that work for them in the background.
For example, I’ve just recruited one prospect who was sold by the platform. At first he was going to wait until next year to join us but he ended up saying, ‘‘Yep – I’m done”, and he literally joined us the next week.
AP: Let’s talk about the technology side of things. Has there been any resistance to learning the new system?
RP: Absolutely. People just don’t like change, right? People who say that they like change are bullshitting you.
I think the young, smart agents coming through know that they don’t need to be tech-savvy but they do need to be using technology wisely and properly. The good thing about ActivePipe is that you don’t need to be an IT savvy individual, you literally just have to walk up to it, turn it on and make the phone calls.
Once you’re in and swimming around it’s like ‘Wow’.
AP: So you obviously think that technology is important for the future of the industry but do you think it is, specifically for your business?
RP: I think it’s important for every business. I think other small to mid-sized businesses out there won’t embrace it and that’s good for me because I know those people will drop off over time.
You don’t have to be that far ahead of your competition. It’s just like running away from a cheetah – you just need to be that little bit faster. So whilst ActivePipe is a great recruitment tool, it’s just as much a retention tool. Once they’re in and setting up their stuff each week and checking their database it’s almost like they can’t leave. How could they?
AP: So it becomes a very sticky product?
RP: Yeah, but in a good way, right! If you can have steak at home why would you leave and have hamburgers next door.
AP: You’ve had some really good appraisal request numbers coming through your account. Has that helped in terms of numbers of listings?
RP: Has it improved our business? Yes, absolutely. For example, since we’ve started my Top Agent has received two listings through the platform which equates to $30-40,000 NZD that’s coming in the front door. It’s probably paid for ten years worth of ActivePipe!
AP: So, it’s actually giving you as a business owner the chance to not only help your agents but to improve your business as well?
RP: It’s a total win-win. With ActivePipe, you’ve got recruitment, you’ve got retention and then you’ve got the ability to squeeze the juice out of a lemon. You’re presented with another money spinner by being able to generate leads that are not being managed and because they’ve been presented the way ActivePipe does, it’s very easy for the company to pick that up.
AP: Thanks Reece. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
RP: I’d just like to say that we were a bit timid about turning it on but you’ve just got to jump in the cold water and have a swim. ActivePipe has made a real impact and it’s a really positive one. I can’t think of any downside.
How to Turn Your Online Leads into Contacts, Quickly!
We all know the first place a buyer goes to check out real estate is the internet. On many levels, this is a win-win situation for you and your prospects, as you both enjoy the ease and affordability of showcasing listings online.
The downside to our tech-led world and the source of many an agent’s frustrations is the curse of the dreaded ‘missed lead’. You know the one. A prospective buyer or seller has browsed your website, clicked on a few of your properties and if you’re in luck they might have even sent you a quick email. No phone number and certainly no essay on their intentions to purchase or sell. You’ve been busy the last few days but finally, you’ve got a spare moment and are ready to reach out out with a return email but ‘Bam!’, they’ve disappeared faster than a toupee in a hurricane. No reply, no first date.
There’s nothing you can do to eradicate lost leads forever but there are steps you can take to minimise churn and turn your online leads into customers for life.
The secret? Think quick.
86% of potential buyers use online as their main tool to search for property. If you can reach out to them on the same day they visit your website, you’re in good stead to capture their attention and garner a response. If you can get in quick with an email, over 30% of those inquirers will get back to you on the same day. Considering the real estate industry has an average email open rate of 27% these are damn good numbers.
I Don’t Have Time For That, Do I?
Well, it’s time to get organised. Yeah, the stats sound impressive but how can a time-poor agent honestly spare the man hours to contact every single online lead immediately? It doesn’t sound like a realistic expectation. The hard truth is that speed to lead is a huge indicator of whether a successful conversion will take place, so you have no choice but to put the time aside every day to follow them up. Make it your new rule. I’d recommend making it a ‘first thing in the morning’ habit as most people scroll real estate sites at night. This way you’ll give yourself the best chance of being the first agent in their ear.
Make Tech Your Mate
Implementing smart technology like intelligent CRMs or software like ActivePipe will take the hard work out of nurturing your online leads. Once you’ve captured a lead in your database, you can start sending out content tailored to their preferences. Not only does this give buyers and sellers the personal touch they crave but you’re far more likely to stop them in their search for an agent (or dream property). ActivePipe kicks things off by sending any new contact in your database a ‘Welcome’ email. Too easy!
Stopping the Search
Your primary goal in all this is to stop your leads in their search for… well, you! You want leads to stop in their tracks, send you an inquiry and bang down your door, insisting that you’re the one for the job! You don’t want them window shopping then disappearing into thin air. Attract, capture – convert.
Sounds good, how do I do that?
Keep driving traffic back to your website. Consumers today are looking for a personalised online experience – which means you need to consider their trigger behaviours. Look at what properties they have interacted with, how often they are visiting your site and where they’re located. If you can send them content that matches these behaviours, they’re going to keep coming back for more. You’ll have them in the bag.
Summary: The 3 Step Plan
To improve the ROI on your lead generation strategy and start turning those online inquiries into customers for life, you just need to follow these 3 simple steps.
- Make Online Lead Nurturing Your New Morning Ritual
- Be Proactive in Getting into Contact
- Use ActivePipe to Send Tailored Emails That Send Traffic to Your Website
Get in quick and the conversation will be flowing in no time.