This time around, instead of offering some advice or action items related to running a real estate business (I'm hardly an expert in that regard, anyway), I wanted to explore some of what goes into developing new functionality in the DeltaNET®. Specifically, we run into hurdles when designing the functionality before any technical ones even come into play.
We love to build out new functionality based on customer feedback and requests. After all, our customers are the ones actually using the platform and working in the industry it's meant to support, so they are the ones most likely to see its shortcomings or where the opportunities for growth lie. However, some challenges to this software development approach weren't immediately obvious to me as my role at Delta Media Group® changed from one related to support and training to one that is more deeply ingrained in the direction of the DeltaNET itself. Simply put, "you don't know what you don't know."
My time in technical support has made me deeply familiar with the concept overall. If you really don't know anything about an issue or a process that's having a problem, you don't even know what questions to ask to troubleshoot it. It turns out that the same concept applies to designing new functionality. For example, if I wanted to design software that simulates the flight path of paper airplanes, but I knew nothing about paper airplane flight mechanics, I wouldn't know what the software should take into account when creating the simulation. This is where the research begins.
If there is some existing software out there that does something similar to what I'm trying to do, I can start my research there. Not to make my own version of what they're doing (because what would be the point?) but to gain some insight into the context of the problem I want my software to solve. This isn't always an option, though. Sometimes, you are designing something completely novel, so there's nothing in existence with which you can compare. In that case, you move straight to the next step, and you consult an expert.
Software developers are experts in developing software, not necessarily the industry where that software is meant to be used. Therefore, they need to rely on the expertise of people that work in that field to know what to build and how to build it. It sounds straightforward enough, but in practice, that's where some interesting issues come up. It turns out that, in addition to not knowing what you don't know, when you're an expert on some subject matter, you often don't know what you do know either.
To stick with our paper airplane example (because who doesn't love a good paper airplane?), if you're out there designing and flying paper airplanes every day, much of what you do to make one fly well has become automatic to you. Suppose someone came to you and asked, what are the most important elements to consider when designing a new model? In that case, you might be able to point out the shape of the wing and the weight distribution from the folds in the paper immediately, but you've been folding in the tip of the airplane on every model for so long that it's become second nature. You then leave out that detail because it's just so obvious to you that it doesn't come to mind. This leads to version 1 of the software leaving it out, too, so nothing flies quite right. This is why it's so important to think through every element of a feature in as much detail as possible when designing something new.
Try as you might, but you'll never think of everything the first time around. That's why it's important to create things with as much flexibility as possible. And even if you do manage to think of everything the first time around when designing new functionality, times change. Maybe a few years down the road, a new kind of paper will hit the market that turns the whole paper airplane-making convention right on its head (it's a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea). We need to be able to account for those kinds of changes.
Even though many of our features and revisions come from customer feedback, unfortunately, not everything can make the cut. Keep in mind that something that sounds like a good idea on paper might either not work or not be particularly useful in practice. More commonly, ideas will come in that just lack insight into the bigger picture. It's a great idea by itself, but when it comes to implementing it into the larger platform, it either doesn't make sense or just doesn't make sense exactly as presented. In an ideal world, everyone would get exactly what they want, but when it comes down to it, leaving out some things will result in a more reliable and well-rounded system overall, to the benefit of everyone using it.
We have to make this tradeoff to have the best overall platform. So just remember, if you're one of those customers sending us your feedback and good ideas, even if we don't implement your idea, that doesn't mean there isn't value in it. Elements of your idea influence the platform and how we think about what we add to it. Also, consider it an idea that might not be a good fit today but could still become one in the future. We may never find perfection, but we'll never stop striving for it, either. And every idea, suggestion, or bit of feedback gets us closer. So, keep them coming.
Everyone knows what it's like to spend your first year or so in real estate "chasing down leads."
New real estate agents need time to learn the ropes, figure out which side of the transaction they like to be on, and identify their ideal customers. But after the adjustment period, you need a shift in thinking — especially about how you keep your pipeline full.
Many a real estate agent identifies as a "people person," so a robust schedule of in-person networking and events might seem to make sense. But even if they are energizing, there's no getting around how time-consuming those engagements can be.
And when they're not delivering real business value, you can end up running yourself ragged.
Whether you're new or experienced, the key to bringing your practice to the next level is to reimagine how you build relationships with prospects and leads. Most agents go furthest by leveraging resources they already have in fresh, new ways.
By combining these two approaches, you'll spend more of your energy and focus on high-value activities that move you forward toward your goals. That boosts motivation for individuals and teams alike since you spend less time grappling with the frustrating feeling that you're "going nowhere."
What does it look like in practice? Most real estate professionals don't need to completely transform their workflow, make big investments, or learn a completely new skill. Instead, focus on the wins you can get by incrementally changing your relationship with the people and tasks at hand.
Let's look at some examples that can offer worthwhile wins at any stage of your career:
Get Used to Asking for Referrals
Some of the most successful real estate firms in the U.S. get 50% of their business from referrals or even more. That isn't necessarily because they're so good people are beating down their doors. They make asking for referrals a top priority, doing it consistently and much more frequently than the rest.
Every time you ask for a referral, you're reminding the customer that you exist – and that itself is a win. While the majority of people report favorable experiences with their real estate agent, most forget that person's name within just one year. Requesting a referral keeps those embers of recognition burning.
Agents develop their own follow-up cadence, but it's clear most aren't connecting nearly as often as they could be. Instead of reaching out to former clients every three months or every six months, think about doing it every month. In time, they may start to proactively send opportunities your way.
One way to streamline this process is to use a real estate CRM for clear visibility into your network.
Revamp Your Real Estate Website
With Millennials and Generation Z making up the majority of today's homebuyers, more than 90% of all home searches start online. Your real estate website is your digital first impression – and it's the most versatile tool you have for deepening relationships with people who haven't reached out to you yet.
You already know it can take months for someone to go from their first thoughts about buying or selling to actually talking to an agent. Your website gives you the power to add value to others' lives. A modern, well-designed website positions you as a trusted advisor whose insights can make a difference.
Your website's design is essential to success. It needs to be polished, professional, and easy to use. One standout feature is responsiveness, where the appearance and navigation adjust automatically for ease of use with mobile. That's a must-have, as more people are browsing property listings on their phones.
Publish More Online Real Estate Content
Most of the time, when people go online, they're trying to solve a problem or answer a question. That problem might be something as simple as "I'm bored." For those browsing home listings without the intent to buy soon, the question could be, "what's around in my local area, and how much does it cost?"
As people grow serious about buying or selling a home, the questions on their minds get more precise. They turn into things you can help with, like "which is the best neighborhood for me?" or "how can I get financing?" Helpful, informative online content lets you share your expertise.
The core of any content marketing strategy is the simple blog. Blogs not only give readers a taste of the wisdom you can offer but also make it more likely you'll appear prominently in online searches related to your business. Consistency counts, so aim to publish one blog a week to start.
Use Email Marketing to Stay in Touch
With more than $30 of ROI for every dollar spent, email marketing may just be the most cost-effective digital marketing approach of them all. And those figures relate to all industries: When an email might lead to a $200,000 home sale, it's an even more attractive investment.
Most people are happy to get an occasional email from a brand like yours as long as they agree to it upfront and know what they're getting. Trade them a sophisticated piece of content, like a local market report, then contact them weekly with your most helpful new content.
With email marketing automation for real estate agents, you can deliver a high-touch experience while skipping all the hours of work. After initial setup, it might take only a few minutes a month to send out a bevy of potent, personalized email messages that retain a humane "one-on-one" feeling.
Define a Focused Social Media Strategy
Of all the professionals doing business online today, real estate agents stand out as the ones who can harness social media's potential to the utmost. Some agents source most of their clients from social media, and a few hours of online engagement every week results in a busy calendar.
In the world of social media, doing "a little bit of everything" results in a whole lot of nothing. Making the most of social means zooming in on the specific platforms where your customers are most likely to be found. A good place to start is Instagram, a hub for top-quality real estate photography.
If you're dealing with commercial or luxury property, LinkedIn can be a good way to find high-net-worth individuals ready to invest. Facebook, on the other hand, is a good all-around selection for building your own community through your branded business page, a terrific opportunity to stay in touch long-term.
Whatever you choose, social media automation is crucial. It lets you plan posts in advance, timing their release for whenever your audience is most active. It also makes it easier to see at a glance when your input can help guide a conversation — resulting in less time spent scrolling and more time connecting.
Technology equips you to dig deeper into existing relationships and plant the seeds of new ones. With the right tools and a winning mindset, you can achieve more than ever in your real estate practice. Contact us to learn more today.
We all admire forward thinkers: people who envision what others are incapable of seeing.
When I think of forward thinkers, I think of people like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, and Elon Musk, just to name a few. I still remember back in 1997 when Steve Jobs put an end to the Newton. I loved the Newton but didn't like how it had to be docked to a computer to synchronize all the data. Later on, when Steve Jobs opened up about why he put an end to the Newton, which was very popular at the time, he said that it was because he envisioned a device that could be connected wirelessly and synchronize wirelessly in real-time. And, since the Newton couldn't do this, it didn't make sense to him. That sounds funny today, but in 1997 it was crazy thinking, and Steve Jobs got blasted for getting rid of the Newton. We now know that he was envisioning something much bigger. That something ultimately turned out to be the iPod and then the iPhone. It was certainly forward thinking in 1997.
So, what does forward thinking mean to you and me?
For me, forward thinking is about all aspects of my business, including the products we develop and the market we serve. For you, I want to focus on forward thinking about our market: the general real estate market.
I recently had a conversation with someone I know that's in the real estate business, and we discussed how he believes that home ownership has dramatically changed for Baby Boomers. We also talked about how it will have big effects on the real estate market for the next 10 years because of all the conveniences available today. Think about someone in their 70s or 80s. Just five years ago, if they couldn't get around very well, they would most likely sell their home and move into some sort of assisted living facility. However, today, with the ability to have groceries delivered, see the doctor virtually, have medication delivered, meals delivered, etc., their lives are very different, and they have choices they didn't have just three or four years ago.
So much has changed in how people live, and those changes have lasting effects on the real estate industry.
I used to joke a few years ago that I'm not sure that homes will continue to need garages because of self-driving technology. Someday, I'm not sure exactly when, but someday when self-driving technology gets mature enough, many people will choose to no longer own vehicles because there will be ride-share services with self-driving cars. So, when this day comes, does it mean that the average suburban home no longer has a three-car garage and only has a one-car garage for the "classic" non-self-driving weekend vehicle? Will the homes have more living space?
Who would have considered that people would become interested in homes with two offices two years ago? Yet today, it's quite common for people to want a home with one formal office and another room (usually an unused bedroom) that acts as the second home office. This is because two people now work remotely instead of from office buildings.
I could continue giving examples, but what you and I need to do is look at all the changes going on around us and think about how these changes can affect the real estate market. Even though you may not be able to predict the future, just thinking about it on a regular basis makes you more prepared for the changes when they come.
To close out my thoughts, I challenge you to envision home ownership in the year 2030. What features does the home have? What services do the homeowners want? At what age are people buying and selling homes? Envision all aspects of home ownership in 2030, then envision what kind of business you need to have to serve the real estate market and how this may change the scope of your business.
One thing is certain: things are changing.
This video demonstrates how to disable automatic social media posts for listings on a per listing basis.
With so much to manage every day as a real estate agent, juggling everything you need to get done while managing client expectations can feel like a tall task. Time management is a valuable skill for any agent, and it's not something that you have to handle all on your own. There's so much technology available that can make your life easier, add value, allow you to meet client expectations, and save plenty of time in the process.
Educate Clients on the Topics That Matter Most to Them
Savvy, modern real estate clients crave data and strive to make informed decisions. While there aren't enough hours in the day for you to directly inform every client about every detail of every real estate market, technology can help you bridge the gap. Educating clients is easier when you're able to provide them with AI-generated newsletters targeted to their needs, along with key market data from tools like our automated My HomeFinder, Market Watch, and Seller Reports. These types of tools allow you to educate clients with dependable data and minimal effort on your end, which is key to managing time as an agent.
Build a Great Website That Serves Client Needs
Your real estate website is often your first point of contact with clients, but it can be so much more than that. When you integrate the right features, your website can be a resource that clients return to again and again throughout the process. It's a place where you can create content that informs, educates, and builds trust with your audience. It also provides an easy way for clients to browse listings, get to know neighborhoods, and discover all of the services that you offer. The best real estate websites have the dual benefits of educating clients and saving tons of time for agents.
Make Staying in Touch Easy and Convenient
Above all, clients want their real estate agent to be available. So much of their time is consumed by the process of buying or selling a home, so they want you to be available when they need you. But not every conversation requires a phone call or in-person meeting. Tools like SMS text messaging, bulk email blasts with templates, and instant messaging apps can help you provide the reliable access that your clients want while minimizing the time required for you to stay in touch.
Automate and Outsource Key Marketing Tasks to Leave More Time for Clients
Do you find yourself investing so much time in attracting new clients that there's not enough left over to serve your existing clients? Marketing is vital, but it can also feel like a chore when you have so much else on your plate. Leave more time for meeting expectations by automating some key marketing tasks and putting others in the capable hands of an experienced marketing team.
Listen, Learn, and Remember
Ultimately, meeting expectations comes down to understanding the needs of each client and helping them achieve their goals. Using an all-in-one real estate solution like DeltaNET®6 makes it easy to keep all of the client information that you need in one place and be ready to serve clients when they need you.
Choose the Right Tech to Make Life Easier for You and Your Clients
In the end, real estate technology is the key that unlocks more opportunities to meet and exceed client expectations. The right tech can make your life much easier, simplify time management, and help you provide the best possible service to clients. Why choose between meeting expectations and saving time, when you can have both?
Technology is becoming the key that separates the most successful real estate agencies and brokerages from all the rest. You do not need to be part of a huge team to take advantage of the latest artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning, however: It is within your reach right now.
Real estate agents have always faced this critical issue: When someone wants to buy, it isn't always easy for them to tell the difference between one agent and another. With the right technology, applied in the right ways, you can meet their needs proactively — that's the ultimate differentiator.
Making the Most of Today's Technologies Starts with Knowing Yourself
One of the most quoted aphorisms in history begins, "Know your enemy and know yourself."
It may seem counterintuitive that in a world overflowing with tools that aim to uncover more about your customers, you must focus on knowing yourself. But this is the step agents should take if they want to build a thriving practice that offers them the best work-life balance possible.
If you do not strive to know yourself, even the best real estate marketing software will not unlock your full potential. But when you begin by understanding exactly what kind of business you plan to build, technology becomes the facilitator you need.
That begins with two key questions:
In their first year, agents may spend all of their time chasing down leads in an effort to understand these two questions. They are learning the ropes, trying out various transactions and client types. Once you're ready to identify your core customers, then technology can equip you to exceed their expectations.
What Are the Most Important Technologies in Real Estate Today?
Thanks to the forward-looking innovation of top real estate thinkers from decades ago, our industry has access to vast quantities of data. Before anyone else realized just how important that was, the MLS was making virtually all U.S. properties and real estate transactions available at a glance.
Much can still be done to improve on and optimize listings — features like virtual tours, to give just one example. But improvements in individual listings are truly only the beginning. You must embrace a technology-driven shift in how you conceptualize your workflow and business.
Three emerging pieces of technology are transforming real estate as you read this:
Let's take a closer look at them and what they mean.
Adopting an All-in-One Real Estate Center of Excellence for Your Practice
Not that long ago, even basic artificial intelligence was the stuff of science fiction. It was worked on in the most exclusive universities and think tanks, and no products took full advantage of it. Today, your ability to use AI is limited only by your ability to envision a better future for your business.
At Delta Media Group, our all-in-one real estate solution puts the most powerful artificial intelligence available in the industry directly into your hands. Our customers are already using it to save time and money, zero in on opportunities with their leads, and help properties close faster and at better prices.
The centerpiece of our strategy is in real estate marketing automation.
Marketing is crucial to defining and growing your business, but it often falls down the priority list. Our seamless, AI-driven approach ensures machine learning integration in every aspect of digital marketing.
From email marketing to social media and everything in between, Delta Media Group customers can deliver highly valuable content targeted to the precise needs of their leads and customers. Once you're set up, you'll often spend only minutes a week ensuring helpful, informative contact that gives a "high touch" experience to your network — without the hours of effort on your part that high touch implies.
Contact us today to find out more or get started.
Assisting buyers and sellers from Northport to Stony Brook to Garden City, Coach Realtors has been providing luxury on Long Island for nearly 70 years.
In 1954, two friends who met during World War II created a small one-office firm called Coach Realtors. Around 1980, Coach Realtors merged with another small firm, Northport Realty, owned by Lawrence and Georgianna Finn. Now led by Lawrence and Georgianna's children, Whitney Finn-LaCosta and Lawrence P. (LP) Finn, Coach Realtors lies on a foundation of both friendship and family.
Coach Realtors has come a long way since the merger. Today they have 19 offices throughout Long Island and more than 700 high-performing agents. They also have luxury partnerships with a number of organizations, including LeadingRE®, Mayfair International Realty®, Luxury Portfolio International®, Christie's International Real Estate®, and Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate®.
Innovation in Recruiting
A major factor in the growth of Coach Realtors has been their ability to recruit the right people in the right way.
"As far as bringing on agents, I always said that we brought in more agents to our company because of the good agents we already had," says Whitney. "We have really wonderful people that work for our company and like attracts like."
First-time agents at Coach have had immense success in starting their careers. Coach Realtors is a mentor company: they take in new people and help them develop their real estate careers. Many of their recruits have now been in the business a long time.
"We've been very good at taking in new people and developing a real estate career they've had for a very long time," says Whitney. "And we've had people that have been very successful in our company, started their careers here and been with us for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 30 years plus."
To attract new agents, Coach Realtors recently set up their very own recruitment website, Join Coach, through Delta Media Group®. This site allows potential agents to get a sense of Coach's culture and the resources that would be available to them as an agent. It also gives them an easy way to get in touch with the leadership team.
Time to Teach
Over the years, Coach Realtors' leadership team has taught and mentored hundreds of sales agents. This comes as no surprise considering the company's core values and background in education.
"My mother was a teacher, and I was a teacher. So, the importance of education runs deep throughout our company," says Whitney.
As soon as an agent signs on, the training process begins. Coach Realtors has a comprehensive two-week program to get agents integrated into the company, the technology, and the real estate industry.
"We have a professional start program that we call Pro Start," says LP. "It's about a two-week program for when agents first join the company, and it's to get them associated with Coach and start to understand social media marketing, the DeltaNET®, and those aspects of the business. Then we also go into tips and tricks for listing presentations and how to prospect for business, so it encompasses a lot."
Although Pro Start ends after two weeks, the education at Coach never does. Whether achieved through mentoring, weekly training sessions, or bringing in top-level speakers and panelists, there are endless opportunities for agents to continue learning.
"The training in our industry is never-ending, and it has to be consistent and ongoing," says LP. "There's always an opportunity to learn and grow in our business if you've been in it for two days or you've been in it for 20 years."
"The Best Work Comes From the Heart"
The motto at Coach Realtors is "The Best Work Comes From the Heart." The staff has used this saying to create an environment based on unparalleled positivity and support. The team not only believes in providing this for their customers but for each other as well.
"I always say the company and office environment should be an environment where when you have your worst days, you should be able to walk in and they pick you up, and they dust you off and help you get back out there." Whitney continues, "And when you have your best days and your biggest successes, they should be clapping and championing you and championing those successes."
In an industry like real estate, where there are endless obstacles to overcome, optimism can be hard to come by. But Coach Realtors understands that it is much easier to have a positive outlook when you feel supported.
"I think that positivity is when you have support, and you feel supported, and you know that there's someone there at any level no matter what you need, may it be from marketing, technology, your CRM," says Whitney.
At Coach Realtors, they aren't just selling homes. They're selling luxury. And that means more than just showing a well-appointed home. This sense of luxury also includes how they treat their customers, the experience they give them, and how they make them feel. It's a whole package. This level of care remains the same no matter the property's price.
"We do have some high price points on Long Island, but it's important to realize that no matter what home someone's selling, whatever home anybody is buying, that is usually the top of what they can afford," LP says. "And they deserve to have that luxury experience, no matter the property price."
Along with providing a high level of customer service, selling luxury is also about selling something special. That's why every house Coach Realtors sells comes with a story.
Whitney says, "We make sure that we deliver a story, something unique that talks about the property and talks to the potential buyer, tells them why that property is special."
Delivering Through Delta
To assist them with their technological and marketing efforts, Coach Realtors has been working with Delta Media Group since 2018. They chose Delta for several reasons and feel that they made the right decision with the company's future in mind. What initially drove them to Delta was that, unlike other tech firms, everything they needed was all in one organized place.
"A lot of the service providers out there are like an ugly ball of clay, just kind of bolting stuff on, and you have this big bumpy, lumpy mess at the end," LP says. "The ecosystem Delta has created is all in one spot. It's a nice, small, clean round ball that plays well. There's no need to keep bolting things on."
Not only are they satisfied with the product and find it easy to use, but they are also fond of Delta's leadership and how they are always looking out for their business and their agents.
"It has to do with the leadership of Delta too, their willingness to listen to what the needs of the companies are and then to create new products or make changes," says Whitney. "And it's about the agent and what the agent needs to make their business better. And I think that Delta has a really good understanding of that."
The Coach Realtors team is also pleased with Delta's responsiveness and ability to both accept and implement feedback.
Coach Realtors' Communications Director Shannon Heyman says, "I've worked with a lot of different types of technology platforms, but Delta Media Group is the first company I've worked with that is so responsive and encourages feedback. And they not only accept the feedback, but they make the changes that the feedback is requesting. At Coach, we also put focus on listening to our agents' wants and needs, and we try to make the necessary changes to accommodate those requests. I think that is why our partnership with Delta Media Group works so well. Both companies prioritize the customer and agent."
A Vision for the Future
With a proactive approach, Coach Realtors constantly uses new technology and innovation to think ahead and plan for their future. From the very beginning, Lawrence and Georgianna Finn had a vision for the company's future.
"My parents always had good focus and a good vision for what they wanted to happen," says Whitney.
Coach Realtors has recently used their "vision" to launch Coach Video Studio. The studio is run by professional videographers who work with their agents. To create it, they converted one of their conference rooms and added backdrops and props.
Delta Media Group assisted with this recent development by creating the Coach Video Studio website, where agents can sign up for appointment times with videographers. So far, the video studio has been a huge success and proven beneficial for Coach agents in their marketing efforts.
"We understand the importance of video, and that's really where a lot of marketing, especially in real estate, is going," says Shannon.
Ideas like this are what sets Coach Realtors apart and ensures the company will be prepared for the industry's future. If you have a vision for where things are going, you can never get lost.
"Coach has been around for quite some time, but a large part of our continued success is the ability to see where the industry is going, the marketing needed to get there, and then acting quickly to provide our agents with the necessary tools to adapt and continue to grow their business," says Shannon. "This part of who we are is something we're really proud of."
This video demonstrates how to create and email blast populated with listings. The listing can be defined based on any search criteria you choose.