Technology Tuesday is a publication of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®. The first Tuesday of every month we will cover at least one technology issue in depth. If you have any questions about these or any other technology issues, please contact the free MAR Tech Helpline at 866-232-1837.
Tools You Already Have to Sell More Homes
Here’s an quick thought that could have a profound effect on how REALTORS can improve their business: Use what you already have.
It’s amazing how many of us already have enough technology to list and sell homes for three careers. Yet for some reason, agents and brokers are always on the hunt for the “next silver bullet” to boost their sales. Now, I completely understand that we’re under a constant barrage of “use this, it’s new” marketing by tech companies and gadget freaks. But for a group that’s notoriously resistant to all of this stuff, it’s remarkable how agents are also the first ones to consider throwing their money away on the quick fixes.
Take, for example, online leads. Why do agents pay for them? It’s the modern-day snake oil sale, and it never fails, because the formula is so simple: “We had an agent who got a lead and it lead to a million dollar sale! That could be you!” Sure. If I remember, Ginsu used to “cut through a tin can and still cut a tomato.” Of course, nobody wanted to eat a tin-tasting tomato, now, did they?
Paying for leads from third parties is simply ridiculous. The facts continuously bear it out. More than 75% of listing appointments come from referrals and repeat buyers - no need to pay for listing leads when all you have to do is keep in contact with past customers. Use the tools you have - a phone, email, a newsletter - and you’re going to hit three out of four listing opportunities you’re likely to get anyway. The other 25% is easy pickings, too. Use the internet and MLS - again, you already have them - to locate expiring listings and For Sale By Owner advertisements. We know that both of those sources have an 80%-and-upwards likelihood of working with an agent. And let’s not forget all of the leads the broker is already generating for most agents - and hands them out to them usually at very little cost - which the agent simply gives up on after a couple of days because, well, “the customer didn’t email me back…” Pay for leads? Nonsense.
What about marketing your listings? Again, the lengths to which we go to market listings is bizarre, considering the tools we already have are vastly under-used. We’ll pay someone to do a virtual tour, maybe $100 or more, but the website only has five photos on it. Why not use that camera - which you already have - to upload 40 photos. Maybe you don’t even need a virtual tour - if you had 40 photos, would anyone really need the “spin me around and make me dizzy” video clip? Probably not.
My favorite “pay for something new, because I didn’t know I already had it” are those agents (especially those who are new to the business - who teaches these guys?), who think they need to spend $5,000 on a new website, domain and Google advertising campaign. First, agents web pages are largely self-defeating. Except for those agents who are in the 100% clubs, most agents working for standard-split brokerages are swimming against the tide with their personal websites. Other than the capital outlays, do they think they have enough money to out-compete their own brokerage for the web traffic? Never mind the competition - who do you think is buying the same keywords and ad placements as the agent? The broker! Duh! And when the consumer does a search online and sees a list of results, do you think they’re going to click on the “John Agent’s Website” or “Well-Known Company Website” ? Of course, every one of these agents has a broker-given profile page on their company site. That’s PLENTY - remember, only the TINIEST percentage of consumers said they search the web for AGENTS - FOUR PERCENT. That’s right: 4%. Sorry to bruise your ego; but it’s not ABOUT YOU, my dear fellows!
So, let’s see: We can find leads using the internet connection we already have. We can promote listings by clicking a few more times on the camera we already own. And we can promote our selves to the traffic our brokers are already purchasing and driving to our listings anyway. Can anyone think of a good reason for agents to be paying for leads, outsourcing video tours and building their own websites?
This article was authored by Matthew Ferrara of Matthew Ferrara Seminars, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of Matthew Ferrara Seminars, Inc.