RETechCon Chicagoland 2010 reminded REALTORS® that change is inevitable but growth is optional.
With that, the day-long seminar, June 29, armed more than 200 real estate professionals with tips, tools and how-to plans to integrate new technology into their businesses. Today. With immediate steps to put into action.
Emceed by Matt Dollinger, Performance Coach, @properties, seminar speakers shared their personal experience with the techniques they presented, conveying a sense of urgency to “get with the program” concerning new technology but also to enjoy some of the creative new ways in which technology can help tackle some of the same-old, same-old tasks of real estate.
Highlights of RETechCon Chicagoland 2010 included:
- Keynote: Stefan Swanepoel, Author & Speaker: Trends, Opportunities & Endangered Species
While the business of real estate hasn’t changed much in 100 years, consumers have – specifically in their level of media intake (lots more) and their trust of traditional advertising (lots less). Much of this difference is generational, which causes a disconnect within the industry. Those with the savviest tech skills are in the same bracket as most homebuyers: 25-45 years old. Yet the majority of REALTORS® are beyond that age, and getting older.
What’s a REALTOR® -- of any age -- to do?
Engage with new technology. For one thing, age doesn’t matter when you communicate online. And for another, new technology provides excellent vehicles for establishing your trustworthiness and solid reputation. Nearly 80 percent of today’s consumers say they trust peer recommendations. Establishing your expertise through your Web site, social media and other online tools can help you connect with more consumers, give them information they want, and earn their business and referrals.
REALTORS® are already better than most people at cultivating relationships and trust. Yet while these skills remain essential offline, they are becoming essential to master on-line, as well, to be successful in real estate.
Seven strategies for adeptly adapting to social media include:
- Give more than you take.
- Add value.
- Be respectful.
- Listen and respond.
- Build relationships.
- Be authentic and transparent.
- Don’t be a nuisance.
With that, go forth. Online social networks like Facebook and Twitter offer the potential to connect with millions of people. Size-wise, no other types of networking can compete.
- Peter Krause, Founder, Terradatum: Understanding & Communicating Market Data Using AgentMetrics
REALTORS® have sobering news to deliver to home sellers in this market. In that light, it’s critical to know how to access accurate, timely data and, even more significantly, interpret it. Clients turn to REALTORS® because they are hungry for trusted sources of market insight. Whereas “data” is raw facts and “information” is data that’s been put into context, “insight” is being able to apply what you know with a forward-looking perspective.
AgentMetrics, a free tool available to REALTORS® who subscribe to Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), provides you with data that can help you acquire insight and prepare visually compelling client presentations. To really use this tool, though, it’s incumbent upon REALTORS® to know their markets. Visit each new listing that’s in your area. Have a true understanding of the comps. Be able to help your clients compare their initial impressions with reality.
Good information begets good decisions, good outcomes and happy clients. Happy clients means a good reputation for your skill.
- Emily E. Bader, Partner and head of Zócalo Group's B2C practice: Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth is buzz we hear from friends, family and experts – and our most reliable source for tapping into services and products. It is important to know who is saying what about your business and manage those messages as well as possible.
One good way to manage word of mouth about your business is to meet with people and share stories that they can relate to, in their own language, that demonstrate how you solved a problem or otherwise served a client’s needs. Develop your own “shareable stories” that promote your brand’s difference from others. Share those stories personally with people in your network who you know can be good “brand evangelists:” those who like to communicate with others and share insight and advice.
Not all contacts are created equal! Keep a spreadsheet of people you rely on to share your stories. Track what you’ve shared with them, and when. Make keeping in touch with your most influential contacts a top priority.
- Ginger Wilcox, Vice President of Business Development, Social Media Marketing Institute: Integrating Social Media
Social media tools won’t explode your business on their own. To be used effectively for business, social media must be one element of an integrated marketing plan that builds on the same key messages. Your “hub” – your online home base – is the most significant element of a successful social media marketing system. Your hub contains your bio, current photo and words about who you are, where you are, what you do, what you like and what you know. Social media can serve to drive your contacts to this page.
Develop an expertise and make it evident throughout your online presence, making it easier for people who don’t know you to find you. For instance, if you work in a certain neighborhood, demonstrate your expertise in that neighborhood. Online researchers looking for the neighborhood will then most likely encounter your materials.
Blogging can be a great tool for expressing your expertise regularly, generating fresh content that can draw new and repeat visitors. Be sure your blog and your profiles on social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, link back to your hub. Include a link to your hub in your e-mail signature, as well.
Your online image doesn’t come together by itself! It is critical to keep it active and plan, plan, plan.
- Kelley Koehler (Housechick), Associate Broker, Thompson’s Realty: Converting Web Visitors Into Clients
How does social media use translate to dollars in your pocket? If you can’t answer that question, social media is not worth your time. If used strategically, however, social media can lead Web site visitors through a 10-step “tunnel of conversion” that results in a sale.
The ten steps include:
- Blogging, using social media and traditional advertising to help people FIND you, on the Web.
- Using compelling words or offers to entice people to CLICK and enter your site.
- Providing market data or other expert information that encourages visitors to STICK to your site, once they’ve found it.
- Making it easy for site visitors to INQUIRE about you by e-mail, phone or contact form.
- CONTACTING them in return, as soon as possible.
- Scheduling APPOINTMENTS for regularly communicating with those who’ve reached out to you. Use tailored, timely content that’s valuable to each individual, not canned information.
- Demonstrating your expertise to prompt an AGREEMENT to work together. This can be aided by third-party recommendations and your “expert” appearance on other Web sites.
- If your clients crowdsource a purchasing decision via social media, joining the conversation. You already have a working relationship with them at this point of considering a CONTRACT, which makes it okay.
- CLOSE on the sale, after proactively addressing clients’ concerns.
- Asking for REFERRALS, which will serve you down the road.
RETechCon Chicagoland 2010, hosted by the Community Alliance of Chicagoland REALTORS® (CACR), emerged from the 2009 NAR Game Changer Challenge through which it received a grant and consultant assistance to explore the regional capabilities of CACR.
Comprised of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, Main Street Organization of REALTORS®, Northshore Barrington Association of REALTORS® and the REALTOR® Association of Northwest Chicagoland, CACR strives to provide high quality programs that help increase professionalism with consistency of messages and processes throughout the Chicago area.