Date Archives: April 2021

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April
29

Any sound business starts with a plan. But what is a business plan, exactly?

A formal business plan can be comprehensive, investigating many aspects of the business and how they work together, or it can go deep into a single subject: most successful real estate agents have a marketing plan, for example. But if you've never written a business plan and have no idea where to start, it's not too late.

According to Harvard Business Review, you should spend no more than three months working on a business plan. Developing a business plan has a tangible effect on your results, making your practice much more likely to grow — but you don't need three months. In fact, you can get started in a fraction of that time.

Five steps get you the basics of a business plan you can continue to expand.

Step 1: Write Your Summary

The executive summary provides a capsule view of the problem your business was formed to address. It must be specific enough to demonstrate your basic market positioning. It should also include the basic strategic goal that you want to achieve with your business and the timeframe for reaching it.

For example, a real estate executive summary might say:

Next Nest Realty is a Nebraska-based real estate firm specializing in downsizing and retirement homes for retirees and those preparing for retirement, aged 55+. Next Nest simplifies the process of selecting, closing, and moving into a single-family residence for retirement. Sales are projected to reach $500,000 in Year 1, $1 million in Year 2, and $2 million in Year 3.

From the perspective of an investor or other reader, this establishes:

  • You understand precisely who your business will serve and how

  • You can translate your real estate insights into tangible goals

  • You have considered what products and services will be successful

Naturally, your text will vary considerably based on your interests and specialties. But giving deep thought to your market niche will help you hit the ground running with marketing and advertising that resonates with your ideal clients. That helps you stand apart from other real estate pros in your area.

Step 2: Define Strategies and Tactics

Strategies describe your overall objectives and the messaging and audiences that relate to those goals. Tactics are the specific initiatives that you use to realize your strategies. (All tactics can be broken down further into business projects and processes — but these are too granular for a standard business plan.)

If your strategy is to improve brand recognition among your target audience, your tactics might include joining a professional association, attending networking events, and launching your first marketing plan. Within that plan, you would then need to decide which methods are most likely to connect you with your target audience.

As more Millennials buy their first home, the vast majority of new home searches are starting online. Adoption of digital technology continues to rise among older buyers and sellers, too. So, no matter what kind of client you're targeting, it's a wise idea to include digital marketing in your plan.

For example, if you wanted five warm leads to contact you through your website each month, that strategy would be backed by tactics like SEO, blogging, video marketing, and social media.

Step 3: Assign Deadlines

Sometimes, deadlines may feel stressful. But deadlines aren't the enemy — in fact, they're your allies.

That's because deadlines are what turn wishes and hopes into action.

Assigning a deadline to a goal gives it a sense of urgency. Since many tactics are process-based, however, it is not always easy to know what a reasonable deadline might be. In cases like these, following the process is more important than using a specific amount of time — for example, publishing one blog post per week on your blog.

Step 4: Estimate Costs

Calculate projected income and expenses as best you can for the four quarters after your business plan goes into force. Not only does this help you get the best return on your business investments, but you will also hone in on areas where you need more information on cost versus value before you make a purchase.

Step 5: Measure Results

Measuring your results can take several forms. In the most basic sense, check in with your goals every week to ensure you are following the right processes. This helps you stay aware of results as they develop and course-correct if you get off track.

In some cases, as with digital marketing, measuring results might mean using analytics software to see how your campaigns are affecting your online visibility, including visits to your website. DeltaNET 6 is the powerful real estate solution that makes it faster, easier, and even fun. To learn more about making marketing a strategic priority, contact us.

April
27

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April
27

Social proof is one of the most important elements of your real estate marketing mix because testimonials and reviews play a key role in helping potential clients decide which real estate company to choose. When a prospect can easily find out what satisfied clients have to say about your business, they will have more confidence that they can trust your agents to help them achieve their own real estate goals. If you've been wondering how to make the most of the testimonials that your business earns, you've come to the right place. Let's take a closer look at maximizing your testimonials and using social proof to earn new business.

How to Maximize Your Testimonials

  • What Testimonials Are and Why They Matter
    Maximizing the value of testimonials requires an understanding of why they are so important for potential clients who are researching real estate businesses. When someone is shopping for or planning to sell a house, there's a natural level of anxiety that comes with such a major decision. While other elements of your marketing are sure to pique their interest, there's nothing like the real words of a satisfied client to help soothe that anxiety. They're the modern version of word of mouth, providing a natural way to build trust and eradicate doubts for prospects.

  • The Best Testimonials Include Specifics
    Getting the most from your testimonials starts with knowing what to ask for, and details are key. A very general testimonial that simply says your business is great to work with doesn't have the same value as a more specific testimonial that details exactly why and how you helped that client achieve their goals.

    So when you ask for testimonials, don't be shy about requesting details. Ask specific questions about why they chose your business, how you helped them overcome challenges, what surprised them about the process, and what their favorite part was about working with your team. The client giving the testimonial likely had their own concerns about the real estate process initially, so showing how you helped them overcome their concerns and challenges is a compelling form of marketing for prospects who may share the same concerns.

  • Showcase Your Testimonials Front and Center
    To earn a glowing testimonial from a client, your agents had to do a great job of helping that client with their real estate needs. That's certainly something worth celebrating! When you get a great testimonial, make sure that it's showcased prominently — ideally on the home page of your real estate website. You can also create a landing page dedicated entirely to testimonials to display all the best ones in a convenient location. Integration of testimonials is a dependable way to add value to your website and increase conversions.

  • Authenticity Matters
    Social proof works best when it's authentic, and that's certainly true for testimonials. Prospects will encounter many heavily edited or even fabricated testimonials during their research and will tune out those that don't feel authentic. A testimonial that includes specific details and examples will feel much more authentic than a more general, impersonal example.

  • Add a Name and Face to Testimonials
    If you want an easy way to increase authenticity, try adding a photo of the client to the testimonial (with the client's permission, of course). Being able to pair a face with the name at the end of the testimonial helps build trust. You can even take your social proof to the next level by requesting video testimonials. While recording testimonials does add some extra work, it's worth the effort. A video testimonial is an incredibly powerful form of social proof, and it's tough to top the authenticity of a client talking directly to the camera about your business.

  • Integrate Testimonials Throughout Your Real Estate Marketing
    In order to maximize the value of your testimonials, you need to maximize the chances for prospects to see them. So while displaying them on your website is a great start, you will also want to sprinkle them in with the rest of your real estate marketing. Start by sharing them to your social feeds and encouraging other clients to engage in the comments with their own experiences. You can add testimonials to your profile on many of the most popular national real estate websites and integrate them with your email marketing. Don't be afraid to innovate and find new places to display your best testimonials.

Maximizing your testimonials is so much easier with the right real estate marketing team on your side, and we'd love to help you make the most of all your marketing tools. Contact us to learn more about DeltaNET 6 and how we can help you grow your business and take your real estate marketing to the next level.

April
23

Real estate has changed quickly over the last year. There are new technologies and new marketing techniques. Some of them leverage trends that were already percolating in the background, accelerated by the pandemic. Others are all-new, the byproduct of the collective ingenuity and creativity of a highly adaptive industry.

Whatever the case, real estate's evolution won't end with COVID-19. On the contrary, agents and brokers should prepare for a fresh era of change — one in which they'll need to draw on recent lessons while connecting with how they can best communicate their unique value to clients.

That's because the time is now to start Zillowproofing your business.

Big or Small, 2021 Is Pivotal to Zillowproofing Your Real Estate Future

Zillow is no longer "just" a place for listings — it's a real competitor.

But don't panic! Zillow has a big budget and even bigger aspirations, but you have competitive advantages that it can never take away. More than that, it can't even come close to replicating them.

Only local real estate pros can:

  • Develop deep and personal relationships with their leads and clients and maintain them for years
  • Deliver the highest quality of responsive, professional service to help clients navigate transactions
  • Recognize and respond to changes, both individually and within your community, and react fast
  • Craft a brand narrative that attracts your own ideal customers, not just "anyone and everyone."

In sectors of the economy from accountancy to roofing and everywhere in between, motivated professionals and small or mid-sized brands have always found ways to compete successfully with "the big guy." Zillow's brand recognition is a double-edged sword: millions of would-be clients will soon be turning up their noses at the name everyone knows and looking for a local real estate expert who truly cares about their needs.

Meet (and Beat) Zillow on Your Terms: 7 Ways to Get Started Now

  • Leverage Customer Relationship Management to Get More Done, Faster
    An all-in-one real estate solution like DeltaNET 6 gives you visibility into the activities of your contacts, leads, and clients. It keeps track of interactions with your listings and helps you know when and how to follow up. DeltaNET 6 will save you hundreds of hours of manual work so you can focus on building your business.

  • Adapt to Real Estate Trends that Show Signs of Staying Power
    After 2020, the real estate industry has changed forever. Video is more important than ever for real estate marketing, and that includes virtual tours: they're convenient and effective, helping buyers broaden their search radius without long road trips. Properties in Motion and the Virtual Open House platform make it easy.

  • Carve Out Spaces Where You Can Compete Effectively
    Zillow is big, but results still come down to one-on-one personal connections. In many cases, that means making life easier for your clients. Local Showings is Delta Media Group's solution. You can easily check availability and schedule a showing for any listing on the MLS — it's like Zillow, only better.

  • Double Down on Your Branding, Niche, and Individual Appeal
    Your ideal client is eager to work with you, not anyone else. Be sure you're 100% clear on who that client is, what their pain points are, and why you can serve them better than the competition. Then, repeat that message loud and clear throughout your website, blogs, social media, and anywhere you meet people.

  • Make a Personal Connection Before You Even Meet
    Video isn't just about making homes look good. It can also put you in the spotlight. People trust video — it's the next best thing to being there, and helps newcomers to your brand feel like they know you. Introduce yourself with a video on your website. Enhance your blog and social media posts with video whenever you can.

  • Leverage Your Existing Network for More Referrals
    Referrals are the name of the game early in any real estate pro's career. If you keep relationships strong, that well never runs dry. Be disciplined in following up after closing day: one week, one month, six months, and a year to the day. Circle around to clients you haven't heard from recently and find out if there's more you can do.

  • Make Your Website the Core of Your Lead Generation
    On the flip side, your website can develop into a lead generation engine that's always running. Zillow has been on the scene for years, but real estate agents still get excellent online visibility with SEO and content marketing. Follow best practices and publish helpful, informative content for your target audience.

What's the biggest takeaway? Don't get spooked! Stay calm, think things through, and make informed choices about your options to stay ahead of the curve. To learn more about real estate digital marketing, contact us today.

April
20

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April
20

There are more tools available than ever before to market your real estate business, but finding the right marketing mix doesn't always feel easy. In order to generate the best ROI with your real estate marketing, it's important to understand both the tools available and how each tool fits with your audience. It also requires a willingness to set goals, and a commitment to tracking results. We'll cover it all, with a closer look at how to generate great ROI with your real estate marketing.

  • Set and Track Your Marketing Goals
    Whether you track ROI down to the decimal or take a more general approach, there's no doubt that setting goals is crucial to both identifying what you want to improve and achieving what you set out to accomplish with your real estate marketing.

    While general goals like becoming the go-to source of real estate information are helpful, the most effective goals will be more specific to different types of marketing. Do you want to earn more website traffic, generate more social media engagement, or increase the success rate of your email campaigns? Set specific goals for those areas, and track your results over time to discover what works best for your business.

  • Know Your Audience and How to Reach Them
    In order to achieve your marketing goals, you need to understand the target audience you're trying to reach. A small, boutique real estate firm that caters to luxury buyers seeking a second home will naturally have a different marketing approach than a brand that aims to pair first-time buyers with the ideal starter home. Of course, some real estate businesses cater to a wide range of clients, and that's okay too! With a powerful real estate all-in-one solution like DeltaNET 6, you can gain a better understanding of your existing clientele, segment your audience, and discover the data that you need to make informed decisions about your marketing.

  • Create Content That Speaks to the Needs and Interests of Your Audience
    Generating engagement with your real estate blog and social media pages starts with understanding the needs of your audience. The best real estate content informs, educates, and inspires your audience, so ROI with content depends on a deep understanding of what your audience wants to see. With custom content creation from Delta Media Group and all of the data you accumulate, you can deliver content that positions your real estate team as local experts that your clients can trust.

  • Tailor Your Email Marketing to Specific Segment of Your Audience
    One of the biggest challenges for generating ROI with your email marketing is simply getting people to open your emails, and tailoring your email content to specific segments of your audience is a reliable way to get them to click. A buyer, seller, or someone who's just looking will all be seeking different content to help them make important decisions. Our AI-driven email newsletters and targeted email marketing campaigns make it so much easier to reach each client with the most relevant information.

  • Make SEO a Priority
    Most real estate prospects start their search for a real estate business online, and search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for making sure that they find your business first when they visit their favorite search engine with real estate questions. Local SEO integration is a dependable way to stand out within your markets, increase traffic to your website, and position your business as the go-to source for real estate needs in the places that matter most to your brand. Generating great ROI with SEO starts with having a plan. With custom website design, custom content, and a deep understanding of local SEO, Delta Media Group can help you achieve your SEO goals.

  • Make the Most of Paid Online Advertising
    SEO and content creation can help you attract clients organically, but reaching some members of your target audience will require a more direct approach. Paid advertising is a great supplement to your other marketing tools, allowing you to reach more potential clients through ads targeted to specific demographics on search engines and social media. Setting goals and tracking results are especially important for improving paid advertising ROI, which is why DeltaNET 6 makes it easier when planning paid advertising campaigns.

Generating great ROI with your marketing is virtually seamless when you have the right team on your side, and we'd love to help you achieve your marketing goals. With all of the tools in DeltaNET 6 and the help of an experienced real estate marketing team, you can accomplish your goals while making the most of your marketing budget. Contact us today to learn more.

April
14

How do you keep track of everyone you know who might someday buy or sell a home?

Real estate agents need to maintain strong relationships with the people in their orbit. At first, that may mean connecting with family and friends so everyone knows you are there for them when they enter the market. Gradually, it becomes a bit more complex.

You craft and solidify your brand, then extend it further. This helps you shift from your personal network to the community at large, an essential step toward lasting success. It's around this time that traditional methods of staying organized start to get strained. Who in your neighborhood is most motivated to buy or sell? When did you speak to that person last and under what circumstances? When would be the best time for you to follow up to move a transaction forward?

In the old days, keeping track of all these facts and more was a slow, imperfect process.

Luckily, there's a technological solution that can replace the overflowing filing cabinet forever. Not only does it keep your contacts, their details, and your observations in one place — it can help you predict and influence behavior using data captured when people interact with your website.

That solution is Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Customer Relationship Management Helps You Do More in Less Time

Customer Relationship Management software can save you thousands of hours a year.

With a CRM suite, you gain complete visibility into the activities of all your prospects, leads, current customers, and former customers. You can see at a glance precisely where they stand on their way to becoming clients or, if they are active now, exactly what's going on in their transaction.

Plus, much of what a CRM application does requires no manual data entry on your part.

That's because your real estate CRM can be linked with your website or other aspects of your digital marketing strategy, allowing data to be collected the moment it's entered. That includes any registration forms you post for events such as an open house or a virtual showing.

Real estate agents all over America have discovered a good CRM is the key to work-life balance.

If you want to say goodbye to a huge part of your manual workload, Customer Relationship Management for real estate is imperative — and DeltaNET 6 has all the features you need. Built with input from thousands of real estate professionals, it is the world's top real estate CRM. It also goes beyond what you expect from even the best CRM.

DeltaNET 6 Is More Than Customer Relationship Management

DeltaNET 6 delivers a unique, handcrafted real estate CRM experience, but it also does more.

It is an all-in-one, AI-driven center of excellence for all your real estate digital marketing. Let's take a closer look at some of the many ways DeltaNET 6 can exceed your expectations:

  • Schedule Showings for Any MLS Listing in Just a Few Clicks
    Local Showings is a powerful new feature and one of the most requested updates in DeltaNET 6. It provides a full calendar of available showing times as well as convenient notifications whenever a showing is requested or confirmed. You can view and modify active listings, see feedback and activity, and monitor your contacts, too.

  • Automate Social Media with Facebook Connector and LinkedIn Connector
    Want all the benefits of social media without feeling tethered to it 24 hours a day? Facebook Connector is the answer. It empowers you to send out event-based social media updates, like important listing updates and new event announcements, whenever they happen. LinkedIn Connector provides the same features on LinkedIn.

  • Do Online Advertising Magic with Ad Wizard
    Paid advertising can bring traffic to your listings overnight — literally. Ad Wizard is the self-service tool that finally makes it easy, equipping you to increase your ads' ROI in just minutes a day. With Ad Wizard, you can create ads fast, manage them with a simple interface, and keep sellers looped in on their campaign results.

  • Leverage Virtual Tours with Properties in Motion
    Buyers love video content, and digital home tours are a new fixture of the way they search for properties. With Properties in Motion, you can take advantage of this powerful new trend. Send branded, high-definition voiceover videos to your Facebook and website, track leads, and elevate your search engine results.

  • Generate Compelling Buyer and Seller Reports
    Staying informed is the name of the game in real estate. Your local expertise is what sets you apart. No matter whether you work with buyers or sellers, DeltaNET 6 has you covered. Tap into our accurate, comprehensive database of real estate information to create My HomeFinder, Market Watch, and Seller Reports.

Contact us to learn more about what DeltaNET 6 can do for you.

April
13

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April
12

Don Walston didn't begin his career in real estate.

Nearly 50 years ago, Walston, who grew up in rural Wilson, North Carolina, was working as an insurance salesman in the Raleigh area when he realized the city's booming growth required one very important thing: a steady presence in the real estate market. And he was more than willing to step up to the metaphorical plate. Teaming up with home builder Howard Perry, Walston started the company that would become Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston to provide people with the best home-buying options possible.

Now, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston is not only the leading residential real estate agency in the still-growing Raleigh market, but is also a steady presence in the community, providing clients with an accomplished leadership team and outstanding real estate agents. When locals in the Triangle area are ready to make a real estate move, whether they're buying their first house or their forever home, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston is more than ready to take the jump with them. 

GETTING TO KNOW COLDWELL BANKER HOWARD PERRY AND WALSTON
Long-Standing Tradition Breeds Long-Lasting Success

When Walston first started Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston in Raleigh in 1972, his goal was simple: provide the community a trustworthy partner in the home-buying experience. Those core values haven't changed in the last four-plus decades, but the company itself has grown by leaps and bounds, well beyond the Capital City. Since those early days with a handful of agents, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston now boasts more than 900 agents and 16 offices across North Carolina. From Alamance County in the west to Wayne County in the east, CBHPW has cemented itself as the go-to real estate brand in the state. In recent years, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston has done more than $2.4 billion in annual sales and more than $2 billion in mortgage origination. They've also ranked as the top relocation division in the nation, according to Cartus Global Network. 

Matt Horton, who was named Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston Chief Marketing Officer in October 2020 after initially joining the company in 2016, explains how culture has played a large part in the company's growth and how, if a customer needs something, someone will make sure it happens — no matter how high up the ladder that someone might be.

"The culture that's been here from day one is that we'll help anybody with whatever they need help with," Horton says. "Our whole goal at CBHPW is to help our agents grow their business, and their goal is to help their clients throughout one of the biggest transactions of their lives. So, it's funny, if you need Don Walston, his cell phone number is anywhere you want to get it from. And if you call him at nine o'clock at night or nine o'clock in the morning, he'll return a phone call, and he'll talk to you, and he'll meet you.

"Our entire executive team is like that; our CEO David Jones, our CFO, Robert Weisenberger," he continues. "If you reach out to one of our folks, our goal is to have you grow a business, and we're going to pick up the phone and help you. That's why we're here."

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF CULTURE

Committing themselves to the company-wide culture has also allowed Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston to continue growing without losing sight of their core beliefs. Because, no matter how many agents join the company, the key is finding the right fit. People are at the very center of everything CBHPW does, and that includes the people who work within the company.

"We're looking for leaders," Jones says. "We look for folks who want to help people, who have a good head on their shoulders, and are service-oriented. We're not looking for people who will push papers and put up roadblocks. When it comes to our agents, it's the care and dedication that they have to the industry and the care and dedication they have to their clients."

And while balancing the search for consistent growth and evolution with the sort of personal relationships that have defined Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston for nearly half a century isn't always easy, Horton says the company has made a habit of it.

"I think it's kind of how we're built," Jones adds. "We're not a very stagnant company. We're always changing with tools and ideas and different things like that. But I think everybody's mindset here is to roll up their sleeves and let's get working."

Of course, working and succeeding in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country drives growth as well, and evolving out of necessity is far from a negative for Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston. Instead, building off the initial drive Walston brought when he first started the company, CBHPW executives and agents now share a very similar, even more important trait: They're always reaching to take the next step.

Challenging themselves to do better, searching for the next goal is as much a part of the CBHPW culture as anything else. It's that focus that has helped separate the company from its competitors over the years.

Says Digital Asset Manager Travis Thomson: "There's this constant hunger to stay one step ahead. We're comparing ourselves to ourselves. That's a constant culture that I'm really proud to be a part of. So that also keeps us one step ahead, multiple steps ahead, really, on technology. And I think that's been a big part of standing out and differentiating ourselves in the marketplace." 

Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's collective drive has also made them an attractive landing spot for agents who are looking for their next big real estate chance. Not only does CBHPW offer one of the best reputations in the Triangle area, but they give agents the confidence to know they've got the backing of a company that is always looking to, as Thomson says, "outdo ourselves."

"When that new agent comes in, it's apparent to them that we eat, sleep, and breathe what we're doing, and we're constantly trying to improve," Thomson explains. "And so, when they come in, and we train them on what we've got, it usually just blows them away. They're always, like, wow, they've never seen anything quite like that.

"It's critical to us, from a recruiting perspective, for making our agents happy, which is our primary goal," Thomson adds. "Then our agents have the same mentality. They always want to grow. That's a big part of why they're here. They want to grow their business. And so when they've got a broker in their corner that thinks the same way, it helps them accomplish their goal."

With more than 900 agents, it would be easy to imagine that some get lost in the shuffle. That's not been the case for Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston. This is a partnership and one that CBHPW wants to use to support their agents in any way they can. According to Thompson, it's CBHPW's "job to make sure [agents] never have to worry about selling the broker [to clients] because we've got that part covered, and they're never going to be wanting for anything they need to get the job done."

Part of CBHPW's success — and their ability to assist so many agents at so many times across so many different markets — is the company's willingness to inspire some give and take. Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston always wants to listen to their agents and, whenever possible, provide those same agents with every imaginable tool to do their job well. Often, those tools are a product of CBHPW's partnership with Delta Media Group® and the options available in the DeltaNET™.

In fact, Horton says he probably gets "two or three phone calls a week from agents, like 'Have you seen this tool? Have you looked at this?'"

Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston even has a digital booklet of tools available for agents. It's not printed because it's changed and updated so often; it simply wouldn't be cost-effective to have a hard copy. Building on that relationship between corporate and the hundreds of agents who call CBHPW their professional home has only led to consistent growth and even more accomplishments over the years. CBHPW wants to hear from their agents; they're the ones in the field, after all. And when it comes to discovering and using the tools that will turn on-the-market homes into closed sales, they know best.

There's also enthusiasm every time an agent finds their groove. Whether it's settling into a new role, evolving from a fresh face at CBHPW to a seasoned producer, or getting a brand-new listing, the support agents receive is unparalleled.

"It's kind of like being a parent and seeing your kid grow up," Horton explains. "The excitement from us and us changing things all the time and wanting to be better, it helps that natural growth. It's a catalyst for natural growth, honestly."

It's also a process that not only keeps CBHPW's business model fresh but helps them stand out across all of North Carolina with agents who are always well ahead of the real estate curve.

TAKING CHANGE AND GROWTH IN STRIDE

Change is never easy, but it's the building block of everything Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston has done since the company made its very first sale. Growing and being prepared for whatever shape the real estate market takes is the calling card of CBHPW, and they have no intention of altering that mindset any time soon.

"Our goal is not to be the same company we were two or four years ago," Jones says. "Part of our mindset is don't ever get comfortable, whether it's in your office, at your computer, on your website, with our tools, don't get comfortable. It's always striving for more, striving for better."

That thought process has played a large role in attracting so many agents to Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston. And it's those agents who will inspire the next generation of change within the company. Some of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's top agents detail the reasons they chose CBHPW and how that decision has helped shape their careers:

TOP SALES ASSOCIATES

Making the choice to move to Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston was an easy one for me. Though having been in the business for nearly 24 years and being at my last firm for almost 10 years, I knew that I needed more. More technology, more motivation, more leads, more support, more leadership, and more opportunities for growth. The support and training for brand-new agents are unprecedented, and there is room for established agents like me to flourish and come in without interruption in business. My move was seamless, and I have not been happier in years! - Heather Dunn

Like so many people, I was forced to really reevaluate the way I do business during the pandemic. I was thrilled when I started looking around to find CBHPW and was blown away by the tools and the services they offer. I'm so happy to be here and so happy to share with my clients all of the new tools and services that I can provide. - Jennifer Walls

I worked at a few other firms before coming to CBHPW, and as soon as I walked through the doors, I finally felt that I was home. Everything I've wanted and didn't even know I needed is at my fingertips! The moniker "Helping People Win" really describes what it's like working in this firm. Instead of wading in a pool of sharks as other firms were, I have seasoned experts and colleagues always willing to answer a question or be of assistance. It's a true family feeling, unlike anything I've experienced elsewhere. - Cindy McIntyre

I joined CBHPW after interviewing with multiple agencies. CBHPW felt genuine from the beginning, and they helped me get started, even before I agreed to sign on. I knew they had my best interests at heart. - Noah Chase

I didn't have the usual shopping around experience that many new agents go through. Once I had my license (and after having worked in the office for a few months), it was a no-brainer to stick around and affiliate with CBHPW. First, the wealth of experience and knowledge that is so freely shared among agents means that I never find myself reinventing the wheel. There are people who have traveled this road before me, and being able to lean on them as a new agent is extremely valuable. Second, the commitment to training and keeping agents as equipped as possible to be as competitive as possible is profoundly empowering. I am able to confidently provide top-tier service to my clients, thanks to the firm's ability to keep us current and knowledgeable. Lastly, the access to leadership has been highly valuable for me. I love that I can text my BIC on a weekend or find an always-open door for any reason. There is a real human quality to the culture at our office, and I am grateful that I get to be a part of it. - Ken Cannon

A TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIP THAT WORKS
Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston and Delta Media Group

With so many moving parts across so many different locations all over North Carolina, one of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's most significant challenges was finding the right technology partner. That's why, nearly three years ago, Delta Media Group® came into the picture. Following a wide-scale search, CBHPW held phone interviews with eight different vendors before, once again, narrowing the field. After a handful of live demos, chats, and webinars with the remaining vendors, Delta made the final cut because, as Horton explains, "you guys are structured like us."

"If we need something and we ask for something, you guys are there to jump through hoops with us to make it happen," Horton adds. "You're not like, 'Oh, it's going to take forever to program that, and it's going to cost a lot of money.' Our relationship with Delta was built on the fact that you guys are very similar to us in that you want to help. That's why we chose [Delta] versus other companies that were saying, 'Here's your in-the-box website, and you can change this or this."

Delta Media Group CEO/Owner Michael Minard also played a large role in cementing Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's choice. In one of their first meetings, Horton recalls how Minard was more than willing to make any technical changes CBHPW wanted. Whereas other companies might have pushed back against giving up that much control, Minard embraced it. And, by extension, CBHPW embraced Delta.

"[Michael said], 'We can make that. We want to make this for you guys, and we'll make it right. And we want it to be yours,'" Horton says. "And that was part of what drew us to [Delta Media Group] was the openness, the customization, all of that stuff. You know, the culture, honestly, the culture fit."

Bolstered by that immediate familiarity between the companies and the desire to make everything go off without a hitch, CBHPW and Delta Media Group® began working together to create what, at the time, was truly an unprecedented project.

Thomson and current DMG Technical Support Manager Harley Wolfarth, who served as the project manager, built an original onboarding, one of Delta Media Group's first "fully custom" projects with a unique design and custom DeltaNET™, all within a 90-day launch window.

Wolfarth details the initial process of CBHPW's partnership with Delta: "When CBHPW came onboard with Delta, they came with a myriad of 'custom' project ideas. It was really a little intimidating at first, just thinking about all of the one-off functionality that we would need to keep track of and support just for them. However, as we worked through the onboarding process, we were able to work together to find ways to integrate the vast majority of that new functionality in a way that made sense for everyone on the platform. Over time, our ability to hear each other like that has led to a strong relationship and a DeltaNET™ that's better for everyone using it."

Allowing for changes in real-time, both to any of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's sites or how agents can interact with the DeltaNET interface, is still one of the most important factors in the company's long-standing relationship with Delta.

"We consider [Delta Media Group] more of a partner than a vendor," Thomson says. "And when an agent says to us, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if it did this?' We can turn around and say that to you all and say, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if it did that?' Then you go, 'Yeah, I think it would.' And you go and do it. Not all vendors are like that. Most of them aren't. And so, the way that the system has evolved in the past few years has been extraordinary. We appreciate that when it comes to working with you all." 

Wolforth echoes the mindset, adding that CBHPW's requests also help make Delta Media Group "build a product that better addresses real-world issues for everyone using it."

"I'd say we're a little like old friends too," Wolforth continues. "Travis knows he can call us out on some functionality that doesn't look right or doesn't work in a way that makes sense, and we'll work through it with him without taking it personally. Well, not too personally anyway. At the end of the day, I absolutely believe that we make each other better."

Previous experiences also helped shape Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's current approach to working with Delta. In the past, CBHPW's website wasn't much more than "duct-taped together," as Horton put it, with an index page and not many other options. Shifting to Delta Media Group® changed all of that. Suddenly, CBHPW didn't just have a single landing page for potential customers. They had dozens of options with minute customizations available in ways that even they hadn't thought of before.

"I was blown away by the level of it," Horton says. "That was a lot of fun, building the site with you guys."

Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston still has scheduled meetings with Delta Media Group and Wolfarth every few weeks, going over any possible updates or changes, and DMG's support team is always available between calls. In addition to the tech work produced by Delta, DMG has also helped integrate other vendors that CBHPW works with across various platforms. Keeping everything running smoothly, even when they might not come from the same source, allows CBHPW to conduct business without any hiccups, and Thomson credits Delta for making that happen.

"All of our platforms are evolving in this direction where they all work well together," he says. "And the agent doesn't have to think about how they interact with each other. That's been huge for us."

Of course, making any sort of changes or implementing anything new is not a singular effort when it comes to CBHPW. Even with their expansive presence throughout North Carolina and the Triangle area — as well as literally hundreds of agents, all with their own needs and opinions — the company is always looking for feedback. Every month, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston holds a webinar with everyone in the company, providing instruction for the latest tech tools. More often than not, those tools are provided and created by Delta, and after learning about what's new, CBHPW agents can make their wish-lists for what's next.

"That's how we keep evolving," Thomson says. "We don't just guess. We go: 'What do you need? You're the one on the battlefield trying to figure out what's going to make your life easier and more productive. Tell us what that is, and we'll go build it.' And that loop of getting the feedback from the agent to us, to you, and then delivering it back to them is a really powerful system for us."

Thomson continues: "That feedback loop, I've never seen that exist anywhere else. We've got something really special with that, as far as our relationship with our agents and our relationship with [Delta Media Group] to complete that cycle. That's a core part of how we keep evolving in the right direction, and that's manifested itself in all kinds of ways. We've created new drip campaigns with [Delta]. We've got different Customer Relationship Management tools that have evolved dramatically since the day it was built. And it's mostly powered off the feedback of the agents."

In the last few months, Delta and Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston also teamed up to create an open house blog. Now, a process that was once a two-day manual operation is automated to finish within a few minutes. As always, customization played a significant role in the project, with Horton detailing the process. "We said, 'Hey, we'd like to have a little more customization,'" Horton explains, "and Harley's like, 'Oh, not a problem. Give us a couple of weeks.' So everything has been changed, and when we customize or change any little thing, it's not a problem. It's never an issue."

Automation has become another crucial part of CBHPW's growth. By making things easier, no one is tethered to a computer for hours on end. Things are done simply and almost immediately, allowing agents to focus on customers and CBHPW executives to focus on agents. Thomson actually likens the process to a surprising company: Walt Disney World.

"They train their people incredibly well. So that there's no thinking going on in their head about how to do their job, they're focused entirely on the customer," Thomson explains. "Automation is a big part of that for us. We don't want to be thinking about the day-to-day minutiae that can be automated. We want to think about our customer, which is the agent. It's the same kind of philosophy." 

CHANGING WITH THE TIMES

Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston's mindset of embracing growth and evolution has also served them well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With things shifting almost every day, if not every other hour, CBHPW's ability to take each obstacle in stride has let them keep pace with their goals well into 2021.

"I think that we were very quick and nimble when things happened, and we turned into a resource guide for agents," Horton says. "We were showing them how to do things virtually, but we were also being a resource for them and bringing in a top infectious disease expert to talk about safety protocols."

For CBHPW, the focus was on quick instruction and adaption. So, whether it was showing agents how to host events on Facebook, Zoom, and Google Meet, or holding a virtual town hall with the CEO of Coldwell Banker National, once again, CBHPW raised the bar by providing every feasible tool for every arm of the company. And while there were pitfalls — housing inventory might have suffered the most — work didn't stall during the pandemic. If anything, those hectic months in 2020 helped push CBHPW and their agents to the next level of technology and its uses in the real estate world.

"We had been laying the groundwork for years to deal with that," Thomson says. "All the technology that we've been working on with [Delta Media Group] put us in a position to do everything we still wanted, and it didn't hurt us when [COVID-19] happened." 

REAL ESTATE THE RIGHT WAY

Occasionally, change comes from the very top as well as within CBHPW itself. Early in 2020, Coldwell Banker underwent a large-scale rebranding campaign that CBHPW then ran with, and, as Horton explains, the company was able to "kick it up a notch" and establish "a new look, a new identity."

"Howard Perry and Walston is known here in the area," Horton adds, "but getting a new look to it and putting TV behind it, also redoing the website, making it quicker on the front end was big. The logo change was really big for all of us [since] we belong to a company that's 49 years old, but we also belong to a franchise that's over a hundred years old." 

Horton credits CBHPW's longevity with their ability to embrace change, but it's not only about accepting growth as it comes. Sometimes, it's about inspiring that sense of growth in others as well. For years, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston has worked at the very center of the communities they serve. More than simply helping individuals and families take the big step of buying a home, CBHPW also wants to help full-stop. In the late 1990s, the HPW Foundation was established to foster opportunities for employees and sales associates to support charitable and non-profit organizations throughout North Carolina.

From Habitat for Humanity to The Me Fine Foundation to UNC Lineberger Cancer Institute, as well as local rescue missions, the HPW Foundation has given over $1.4 million since its inception. The Foundation also sponsors Turkeys for the Triangle, an annual event during the holiday season that partners with local charities, homeless shelters, and churches to annually give away thousands of turkeys to those in need.

Turkeys for the Triangle has expanded every year, and Horton doesn't see that changing in the future. If anything, the HPW Foundation has its sights set on eventually delivering a record number of turkeys in a single day.

"We started by buying 200 turkeys," he says. "Now, we're raising enough funds [that] this year, we gave away 5,029 turkeys to our community over two drops. We say, we're here in the Triangle and central North Carolina, and we prove it."

Horton adds, "It's not just about real estate and moving on to the next transaction. It's about being a good neighbor and helping our community be better. We want to be community partners; it's not just lip service."

And it's not just turkeys, either. In addition to donations to a handful of charitable organizations throughout the area, in 2005, the HPW Foundation gave over $100,000 to assist with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

"I'd venture to say, there's not another real estate company in our area that believes in our community as much as we do and gives back as much as we do," Horton says. "And we're not going to disappear when the market goes bad. We're here. We've been here. We're going to stay here, and we want to help our community." 

TAKING THE NEXT STEP

There's no set plan for growth, no map for Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston to follow. What there is, however, is the constant desire to do better. To offer the latest tools for their agents to succeed, whether they're virtual or otherwise. There's the near-tangible drive from everyone involved in CBHPW to provide customers with the best possible experience, no matter what market they live in.

"I think it's very important for us to grow naturally, and we have the feeder systems in place to naturally grow," Horton says. "The biggest thing for me is when I see the agent who is with us, and they were in our new agent program two years ago, and now they're doing $10 million in business, like how are you doing it? And wanting to talk to them and it's the personal touch, but it's also, what do we do to help you grow? What did you do to help you grow? And what can we do to help you grow more?"

And while there are goals — of course, they'd like to continue outproducing their next closest competitors — there aren't many checks to them. Continue growing agent retention until more than a thousand associates are working with CBHPW? Why not. Expand to even more offices? It's entirely possible. Extending their reach with SEO is also in the works for the rest of 2021, bolstered by the support of Jones, who is always supporting fresh ideas and new takes on old habits.

For Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, the sky's the limit, and they're only just learning how to fly.

"As long as we continue to focus on making our agents more successful, the growth falls into place," Jones says. "They want to come work with somebody who cares about them and helps them succeed. And it never ceases to amaze me the lengths that they're willing to go to do that for each other. It's so great because I don't know how you purposely build that. It comes by having the right people and the right culture, and it's really evolved into something special."

April
8

The trend of rising home prices from 2020 has continued with vigor in 2021, and it feels like every month we see a new record high in median home list prices. To say that we're living in a seller's market is a major understatement, as there are simply not enough homes available to meet demand in most markets. While high home values are good news for sellers, buyers feel frustrated with the lack of options available and the premium they must pay to land a home. Why are home prices rising, is there an end in sight, and how can real estate agents manage this unique market? We'll cover it all ahead.

How the Pandemic Has Impacted Home Prices

The COVID-19 pandemic is the elephant in the room when it comes to rising home prices, with both direct and indirect impacts on real estate markets around the world. High demand is a key ingredient nearly any time that home prices start rising, and being required to shelter in place in so many communities throughout 2020 has motivated many people who weren't previously in the market for a home to reconsider the benefits of owning over renting. For people who already owned a home before the pandemic, the challenges of 2020 made it less likely that they would be interested in selling.

While the real estate industry has continued to function throughout the pandemic, both buyers and sellers have had to navigate the necessary safety precautions in place. Virtual tools have helped connect buyers with homes, but both buyers and sellers have been wary of in-person visits to properties in many communities. Many potential sellers have chosen to wait until conditions improve to put their homes on the market, and buyers have been forced to choose from a limited inventory.

When Lack of Inventory Meets Low Interest Rates

The lack of inventory caused by the pandemic coincided with record-low mortgage rates that have put owning a home within reach for a wider pool of potential buyers. Of course, those interest rates dropped largely due to the economic impact of COVID-19, and they presently remain at record lows. When you mix together a paucity of inventory, the lowest interest rates of our lifetimes, and an especially motivated pool of buyers, you have all of the ingredients for the meteoric rise in home prices that we've seen over the last year-plus.

And it's not just the prices that have been so favorable to sellers. It's also the speed with which homes are selling and buyers' willingness to overlook issues with homes that may have made them look elsewhere in less of a seller's market. Buyers are more willing to waive contingencies and purchase homes as-is, while still often making offers above asking price in order to beat out the fierce competition. In the most competitive markets, homes barely have a chance to hit the market before the seller receives multiple high-quality offers.

A Look at the Near Future of Home Prices

Even as home prices continue to rise, there are signs that we will start to see a return to a more balanced real estate market in the relatively near future. COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available, and more communities are beginning to open up as the number of vaccinated people rises. Many potential sellers who have been hesitant to put their homes on the market will feel more comfortable doing so as communities re-open, and an increase in inventory will be a huge factor in stabilizing home prices.

The low interest rates that have motivated many buyers to search for homes in such a competitive market are also likely to rise, as the overall economy begins to return to normalcy. With higher interest rates and more inventory available, we may see more balance between the number of buyers and the number of homes on the market. The when of all this happening is the tricky part during these uncertain times, and individual real estate markets are likely to evolve at their own pace.

How Real Estate Agents Can Navigate the Trends in Home Prices

Whether home prices are rising or falling, the best way to serve your clients is to have the right tools for the job. With DeltaNET 6, you will have all of the tools you need to unlock inventory, market homes, manage relationships, and keep your clients updated on the latest market trends. The right real estate tools help you make the most of the current seller's market, maintain the interest of buyers who are waiting out high home prices, and prepare your clients for what's to come as markets begin to normalize. Contact us today to learn more.

April
7

Success is all in the family for Burgan Real Estate.

The largest locally owned and operated real estate company in Ohio's Mahoning Valley, Burgan Real Estate first opened its doors in 1977 with John Burgan and Leon Turek at the helm. After working at a different brokerage together, the pair decided it was time to start their own business with a shared set of ideals and the highest standards of integrity, honesty, and transparency. For the last 40-plus years, Burgan Real Estate has grown into a trusted partner for its community, providing support for those looking to buy or sell homes.

Now, second-generation owners Patrick Burgan and Sue Filipovich have taken up the mantle, staying true to the foundation their fathers first established. With years of experience and a dedication to every person they do business with, the pair have helped Burgan Real Estate become an integral part of the Mahoning Valley. Whether it's buying a first home or settling into a space that will see families create a wealth of memories, Burgan Real Estate hasn't altered its course or core values: Doing business with Burgan doesn't merely make you another customer; it makes you part of the family. 

GET TO KNOW BURGAN REAL ESTATE

Growing up in the real estate business, Filipovich saw first-hand just how important the family element has been to Burgan Real Estate's success over the last four decades. Sales are not simply nickel-and-dime transactions. They're relationships, long-standing partnerships that have stood the test of time and helped open doors, literal or otherwise.

"The family element—and you can say the caring attitude or the caring approach to everybody—it's more than part of a corporation," Filipovich says. "I think with [Burgan Real Estate] being family-owned, we're really involved and engaged in the business. Both of our parents were, as are Patrick and I. It was more important to have those good relationships versus just having numbers."

"The mindset around here would be that a high tide raises all ships," Burgan adds. "Everyone's trying to always be better and always doing something bigger and better. It's competitive, it's results-oriented, but it's also a bunch of fun."

Establishing that neighborhood-focused mindset and fostering Burgan Real Estate's familial culture has been one of the company's defining characteristics since its inception. It's also helped bring in like-minded people who, at their core, want to help and work with the community. After all, they live there, too.

"That's really important, that this culture we have matches with the values that they have," Filipovich says. "Bringing in people who share that is a big part of our success."

Buoyed by that focus and determination, Burgan Real Estate now boasts over 40 agents and two offices, and, in 2020, Filipovich says they had "probably one of our highest growths as far as agents and volume go."

It's a trend Filipovich is confident will stay true throughout 2021 as well. Burgan recently brought in an additional trainer and hopes to continue hiring with plans to have a new, larger office building by the end of the year.

"That's going to give us a new, bigger footprint in the area," Filipovich says. "We'll all be under one roof. We'll be right in the community, in a busy intersection. We want to be as easily accessible as possible."

The COVID-19 pandemic also inspired some change within Burgan, and while there have been plenty of challenges in the last few months, Filipovich has been impressed with the company's ability to take it all in stride. And, in some cases, evolve after overcoming those obstacles.

"[COVID-19] enabled us in a way to do things that we would've never even thought about doing," she explains. "As much as it is important for us, and how we want to be face-to-face and in-person with our agents, with people, we have got to realize the safety of everybody first.

"I would say [the pandemic] did open the doors for us to do some things more efficiently, whether it's online sales meetings for a while and doing some training online," Filipovich continues. "Realizing that, when we do have that good solid foundation and there are phones, and computers, and emails, that we can still be effective that way."

Even with all that upward movement and expansion, Burgan hasn't ever strayed far from its fundamentals. Both Filipovich and Burgan are hands-on owners, keeping the heart of the company as locally-driven as possible, with a personal approach that makes them feel more like their clients' neighbors rather than just their real estate agent.

"We've been very fortunate in the past 12'ish months," Burgan says. "I miss the human interaction, seeing the agents in the office, having sales meetings together, but it's also brought us real quickly into using different technologies and changing things around, having virtual trainings and virtual showings, virtual listing presentations. Some of those things that were in the back of our minds but not really on the top of our list quickly became a top priority. It's been ever-evolving with the technologies we're using and how to help the agents with their careers while they're not face-to-face with us."

A LOCAL LEGACY

Being part of the community is at the center of everything Burgan Real Estate does. Since 2017, they've contributed over $15,000 to local schools, non-profits, and various organizations, from Every Dog Matters Rescue Group to Rotary International to Akron Children's Hospital. And while Filipovich and Burgan have helped spread the company's charitable wings in recent years, Filipovich is quick to credit their fathers for setting the baseline years ago.

"Our fathers engaged in the community and made those marks," Filipovich adds. "They did set the stage and set such a wonderful example of giving back. We wouldn't be here if the community hadn't done business with us and worked with us through all these years. What better way to do it besides being involved in giving back that way? It is about relationships."

By building those relationships, Burgan has also built up its customers' trust because buying a home is not just any purchase. More than the walls and the windows and the floors that make up every one of Burgan's listings, customers are buying into their future and making that future a reality is one of the most meaningful things Burgan Real Estate does.

"It's not just a financial transaction at all," Filipovich says. "It's one of the biggest transactions that someone's going to make in their life. The importance of personal relationships and treating people right; with integrity, honesty, fairness, attention, the community involvement adds to that. It goes right along with it. If we can have relationships with people and organizations in the community, they both go hand in hand."

In a real-estate world filled with sites like Zillow, or even big-box brokerages that gloss over the more individual aspects of the home-buying experience, Burgan's dedication to keeping things close has served them especially well. Clients know who they're working with from the moment they make that very first phone call. They've met an agent before, might have even done business together in the past, and then probably saw each other at the supermarket. Burgan Real Estate brings the sort of one-on-one approach that other companies simply cannot match, and it has helped separate them from the rest of the pack for the better part of a half-century.

It's also helped the company grow. People come back to Burgan because they know the service they'll get. They tell their friends to buy with Burgan, suggest that their family members reach out to an agent when it's time to sell their home. And while the internet is a crucial part of any business in this day and age, Burgan's ability to toe the line between digital and human has made all the difference.

"By even just looking at the stats of our agents that have been in the business more than a couple of years, the majority of their business is coming from referrals," Filipovich says. "These are people that they know, past clients versus the internet, versus the Zillow and the realtor. com. People are more comfortable with those they know, and people that they like, instead of a name and a face on a screen." 

FROM THE GROUND UP
Partnership Between Burgan Real Estate & Delta Media Group®

One of Delta Media Group's first clients, Burgan began the partnership in 2002 before Filipovich joined the company in her current role. But that hardly means she hasn't seen the impact of the relationship. With so much growth over Burgan's history, Delta has been there nearly every step of the digital way, as Filipovich puts it, "to react and work with how technology has also grown."

Just like with every partnership though, Delta and Burgan's working relationship has gone through some changes. Burgan split from Delta a little over a year ago, opting to work with another tech provider, but it was quickly apparent that the new company couldn't service their needs efficiently. Burgan returned to Delta this past December, more confident than ever in the pairing.

"We didn't find that ease of use with the system [of the other company]," Filipovich says of the mindset in coming back to Delta. "The engagement was down. The time that it took to get up and running individually took a lot longer. Efficiency-wise, it wasn't sufficient for us. I think it does boil down to that relationship, that long-term relationship, being able to call Delta and say, 'Hey, you know what? Let's work it out again, and we'd love to come back.' Having a sense of comfort with that. Feeling like, okay, the door is always open. We know that you guys know that as well."

Once again, Burgan is all in on its partnership with Delta. The two have teamed up for a website and SEO work, in addition to a Customer Relationship Management system with DeltaNET™. Filipovich likened coming back to Delta to "going back home," adding that Burgan is "very, very thankful and appreciative to be able to have this relationship so that we can do that."

TURNING TOWARD THE FUTURE

With a strong history behind them, Burgan Real Estate isn't shying away from the future. In addition to a brand-new office building, the company also hopes to add to its agent roster throughout 2021 and expand the commercial division they opened last year. Property management could also be on the not-so-distant horizon.

"Real estate is constantly moving," Burgan says. "That naturally makes us look within ourselves and our business models and say, alright, where are skating to next year? Next month?"

No matter what happens next, Burgan's community-based culture will be the foundation of everything the company does. Burgan Real Estate is part of the very fabric of the Mahoning Valley. Not only are they real estate agents, they're the people next door. They go to the same restaurants, cheer for the same local high school teams, and want to sell houses that will eventually become homes.

"We never stop," Filipovich says. "There's always something to strive for. That's what I love about this business."

April
6

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April
6

Helpful, informative content is the bedrock of any real estate agent's digital marketing strategy.

In a nutshell, "content" is anything you publish in the hopes of helping current and future clients make informed decisions about real estate. Good content showcases your expertise and previews the value you offer. Content is vital to building a relationship, especially with leads who have not met you in person. Once a lead is on your radar, it might be months before that person takes the next step. Content keeps you in touch.

Blog posts, e-books, and videos are the most common types of real estate content. While you normally publish most content directly on your website, you can always use social media to amplify it further.

Content doesn't just entice visitors to your website, however. It also helps convert leads into customers. As leads do more research, they look for deeper, more specific content. By aligning your content marketing with their needs at different times, you position yourself as a trusted advisor.

Real estate content is indispensable to three critical conversions:

  • The conversion between new website visitor and social media follower
  • The conversion between social media follower and email list subscriber
  • The conversion between email list subscriber and active buyer or seller

Sure, someone can go directly from social media follower to customer. It's even possible for a prospect to visit your website, fall in love with one of your listings, and schedule an appointment right away.

In many cases, though, people follow this predictable path from prospect to lead to customer. You must have the right content available to move them forward.

Engaging with social media followers is crucial because they may be actively comparing real estate firms. The jump from social media follower to email subscriber is big: Email is much more direct and intimate.

Consider this: In recent years, social media platforms have created algorithm-driven "bubbles" that show users only content they are most likely to respond to. In almost all cases, this results in diminished reach for brands.

On the other hand, email subscribers see your messages every time.

Well-designed real estate lead magnets create the bridge you need.

Lead Magnets Set the Stage for a Lasting and Lucrative Relationship

A lead magnet is a piece of real estate content specially designed to move the relationship forward. It does this by meeting your social media followers precisely where they are and giving them highly valuable information and insights they can't find anywhere else.

What distinguishes a great lead magnet is this: It is something they can use right away.

Master this formula, and you'll turn your social media feed into a lead engine. Followers get lead magnets for free, but they must join your email subscriber list to receive one. This uplevels your relationship.

Let's look at the most effective real estate lead magnets on Facebook:

  • Buyer's or Seller's Guide
    Buyers respond especially well to step-by-step guides that let them know what to expect and where to look when exploring a new community. Buyers and sellers alike benefit from advice to help them prepare for their transaction and smooth the path to success. A free home evaluation is highly attractive to sellers.

  • Local Market Report
    Your local expertise is your biggest differentiator. Market reports are popular for would-be buyers, who often seek them out a few weeks before they start actively looking at homes. You can motivate buyers to take action sooner by putting market performance in context. DeltaNet Market Watch Reports make it a snap.

  • How-To
    A how-to guide is a natural next step once you have enough data from your website to know what answers your prospects are searching for. First-time buyers frequently ask about the financing process, for example, while sellers often express curiosity about timing a sale, increasing curb appeal, or staging a home.

  • Local Favorites
    What is it about your area that makes it truly special? What are the top attractions, restaurants, and things you simply can't see anywhere else? It may seem like this content is overly broad, but it can help buyers kindle a clear vision of the kind of lifestyle they want. That motivation is what gets them to dive in.

  • Exclusive Property Lists
    When buyers find themselves adrift in a sea of listings, they might find it difficult to navigate. That's true even if, individually, the properties are very impressive. Curate your own exclusive property lists to meet the needs of certain kinds of buyers, and you make it easier for them to discover the home of their dreams.

Social media lead magnets work best as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Marketing automation makes the whole process faster and easier for you. To find out more, contact us at Delta Media Group today.

April
2

Being a real estate agent often means wearing many hats, and it's so easy to feel like there's not enough time in the day to tackle every task. Fortunately, managing relationships, marketing, inventory, and leads is so much easier when you have the right tools for the job. That's why every agent and real estate firm can benefit from a customer relationship management (CRM) system. The right real estate CRM can be a true boon to your business, allowing agents to convert more leads, unlock inventory, maximize marketing, and free up more time for closing deals.

Unlock Your Inventory With DeltaNET 6

  • How Every Real Estate Agent Can Benefit from a CRM
    The best CRM offers solutions for real estate agents' diverse needs and streamlines the many daily tasks that drive new business. It's both a centralized hub for collecting key client information and a suite of tools for putting that information to work. Perhaps most importantly, it's a major time-saver, with seamless integration of all the tools that agents need to manage relationships from the "nice to meet you" stage to closing day.

  • Make the Most of Your Marketing and Save Time with Automation
    Without the right tools, marketing can be a massive time-sink. The right real estate CRM helps agents save time with AI-driven marketing automation and all the most important, reliable tools for generating new business. Whether it's managing social posts, creating content, setting up online advertising, blasting bulk emails, earning online reviews, or collecting testimonials, DeltaNET 6 makes it easy to manage all of your marketing in one place. With less time spent on marketing, agents can spend more time connecting clients with homes.

  • Nurture Existing Leads and Uncover New Opportunities
    In addition to its many other functions, your CRM is also a repository of information on clients and leads. The more you learn (and remember!) about a lead, the easier it is to earn their business. Your CRM makes it easy to record information on leads and put that information to work. With DeltaNET 6, agents can harness the power of AI for drip email campaigns, newsletters, and follow-up action plans that turn leads into clients.

  • Connect Clients with Homes and Manage Your Inventory
    Real estate clients want to work with agents who "get" them, and connecting clients (or prospects) with the right homes shows that you understand their needs. When working with a new client, you can record all of their home preferences in your CRM and connect them with homes in your inventory that check all of their boxes. Sending listings that perfectly match the client's preferences is an easy way to show them that you're the right choice for their needs.

    DeltaNET 6 makes it easy to collect client information so that it's always there when agents need it, and it even provides monthly market reports on all of your market areas for clients who want to stay informed. Our Open House Connector helps agents register clients for open houses through automated marketing campaigns, generate reports from open houses, and follow up automatically after the open house is completed.

Why DeltaNET 6 Is the right Choice for Your Real Estate Success

DeltaNET 6 makes it easy for agents to handle the real estate sales process from start to finish, with tools for marketing, generating leads, nurturing those leads, and unlocking your inventory by connecting buyers with homes. Agents love the intuitive, easy-to-use platform and automated, time-saving tools. With so much time saved on daily tasks, agents have more freedom to do what they do best. Contact us today to get started.

April
1

The last several years have seen massive changes in the overall landscape of both the real estate industry, as well as the real estate technology sector. It got me thinking; looking back over those same last couple of years, what led to all of these different mergers and acquisitions, and ultimately was it the right move for their business?

The general theme of the month's issue of Real Estate Marketing & Technology is "growth." That being said, some acquisitions aren't always a good thing. Let's first take a look at some different technology acquisitions and the impact that brokerages in the real estate industry felt. 

In March 2018, an announcement was made that booj/The Enterprise Network had been acquired by RE/MAX. At the time, booj was powering some of the largest brokerages in the nation, almost exclusively independent companies who were members of The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network. Overnight, nearly 30,000-plus agents were displaced, and 40 real estate brokerages needed to begin looking for a replacement solution immediately. After all, most firms wouldn't want to be using the same technology stack as one of the largest franchises in the country with franchise brokerages in nearly every major market in the United States.

In RE/MAX's 2019 Q3 earnings report, they noted that booj had 40 clients account for nearly $7,000,000 in annual revenue. By November 1, 2019, however, they reported that only around $3,000,000 was left in the billing of legacy booj clients. By 2020, that number dropped even more significantly. This shows that within just 20 months of the RE/MAX acquisition, more than half of the clients adversely affected had already left and found new providers. As of my writing this article, I believe only nine brokerages remain on the platform that are not affiliated with RE/MAX.

To date, Delta Media Group® has worked with nearly a dozen clients to migrate from booj to the DeltaNET™ all-in-one platform. This gave us an intimate look into how these brokerages were burned by a technology vendor who decided to make an exit, rather than continue to service their customers. 

Let's take a look at another technology example. In February of 2019, another major tech shakeup rocked the industry. Contactually, largely considered one of the best up-and-coming CRM's for real estate, was acquired by "technology" real estate agency, Compass. For years Compass had touted that they were a technology company first, a real estate agency second. Despite these claims, they could not develop a solid in-house solution for their CRM needs, so they used some of their raised capital (more than $1.5 billion thus far) to acquire Contactually.

Contactually's acquisition caused many brokerages to re-evaluate their options. They had just seen what happened with booj and RE/MAX only one year prior, and they didn't want to get stuck on a platform with weak support. Again, many brokerages had to disrupt their normal business cycle to conduct a lengthy search for a new technology provider. These searches can be costly, both in time and in investment.

One last "technology" acquisition that I have to mention — Zillow acquiring ShowingTime in February of 2021. This is absolutely major news in the industry. We are still in the early stages of this move's ramifications, but brokerages and MLS boards are already scrambling to find replacements for the service. Something so pivotal in an agent's business — scheduling showings of a property — was instantly disrupted by the biggest name in real estate. I believe this is only the first of many technology acquisitions Zillow will make this year as they continue to drive farther and farther into the lane of becoming a traditional brokerage themselves.

These three significant events showed me, and the rest of the team at Delta Media Group®, that there was a major need for true independent technology companies in the real estate sector who could help take care of traditional brokerages. Big money in technology is disruptive to traditional real estate firms, and we wanted to be different than the rest of our competition in this space. That's why our CEO Michael Minard has repeatedly denied raising millions in venture capital dollars, so we could continue to operate as a true partner for our clients.

After all, the majority of our growth comes when our clients share our story, and their experiences using our product, with the rest of the real estate industry. Those stories don't get told unless we deliver excellent service.

There is one tell-tale sign that a merger or acquisition is on the horizon for technology firms: Raising large amounts of dollars through VC funding rounds. The investors will always expect to see 3-5 times their money, typically within 3-5 years of making their initial investment. For many tech companies, the goal after raising money is to grow at all costs so that you can conduct a successful exit for your investors. This cycle has been repeated again, and again, and again. That's why it is so critical to know who exactly it is you are trusting a significant part of your business to.

Let's shift gears away from the technology side. Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) are widespread on the real estate side as well. I wanted to share a few snippets of acquisitions that some of our clients have made over the last couple of years. It is always a pleasure to see our clients expand and grow and I've had a front-row seat to witness the hundreds of different moving pieces that come with a major acquisition. Luckily, thanks to our automations and experience dealing with these mergers on what feels like a weekly basis, we can alleviate the technology challenges that generally come with a migration of hundreds of agents to a new technology platform.

In December 2020, one of our partners, Latter & Blum, Inc., made the blockbuster acquisition of Gardner Realtors. Latter & Blum and Gardner Realtors were No. 1 and No. 2 for market share in New Orleans, Louisiana. With more than 700 agents from the Gardner team, this acquisition transformed Latter & Blum into one of the largest brokerages in the country. Following acquisitions of CJ Brown Realtors, Van Eaton & Romero, and Realty Associates, Latter & Blum now boasts more than 3,700 agents and is the second-largest female-led brokerage in the country.

Another one of our partners, Coldwell Banker Bain, is also no stranger to acquisitions. They added to their impressive catalog of offices throughout the Pacific Northwest by acquiring Coldwell Banker Morris (100 brokers in Bend, Oregon) at the tail end of 2019. That acquisition marked their fourth office location in Oregon, giving them 300 brokers in that region. Coldwell Banker Bain also has more than 1,200 agents servicing the state of Washington and is the top-ranked Coldwell Banker brokerage in the nation by sales volume (more than $6.28 billion).

Finally, a long-time partner of ours, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty, completed multiple mergers in 2020. Homesale has more than 1,400 real estate agents across the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. They are the No. 29 ranked brokerage in the United States for transaction sides - with 14,523 transactions in 2019. Homesale first acquired Preferred Properties Real Estate, Inc. out of York County, PA. Later, in September 2020, the team at Homesale finalized a deal to acquire RE/MAX Sails out of Baltimore, Maryland. These acquisitions marked the thirtieth and thirty-first offices opened by BHHS Homesale. 

These are just three examples out of nearly 40 acquisitions completed by our customers over the last 18 months. One thing is certain; there will be no slowing down. If you are a smaller brokerage thinking of retiring or making an exit out of the business, I don't think there has ever been a better time to start that conversation inside of your business. Large enterprise brokerages are looking to acquire smaller firms and do whatever possible to gain enough size to pose a threat to Zillow and prevent disruption in their business.

In my experience, one of the primary reasons why a real estate agency would move forward with acquiring another firm is typically to gain market share or to move into a new market altogether. One of the major benefits of growing your companies into new markets and expanding your company's overall footprint is that "size matters" when it relates to SEO. The more IDX data you have on your site and the more communities and neighborhoods you highlight can directly translate to an increase in your site's overall SEO value. 

All three companies I mentioned as growing through acquisitions have also seen massive growth online with their lead generation strategies powered mostly by Delta Media Group's internal marketing team. Latter & Blum has seen an increase of more than 79% traffic to their site from organic (search engine) traffic. The Latter & Blum website had more than 3.5 million visitors over the course of 2020, and this increase in visibility accounted for an increase of 20% in their overall lead generation through their site. In 2020, Latter & Blum generated more than 22,000 leads on their website.

Coldwell Banker Bain saw even greater increases in visibility and lead generation. Year over year, comparing 2019 to 2020, Coldwell Banker Bain saw a 98% increase in leads generated through their website and more than a 143% increase in search engine generated traffic to their site.

Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty also saw continued growth online, with a 21% increase in organic traffic to their site and a 12% increase in lead generation. Homesales' website saw just shy of 4,000,000 visitors to the site throughout 2020 and had more than 48,000 leads generated for the year.

To conclude, mergers, acquisitions, and companies' overall growth in the real estate industry will not slow down. I fully expect to see a massive INCREASE in acquisitions both in the technology sector and real estate throughout 2021. If you are a small to mid-sized brokerage, there has never been a better time to talk about potentially merging with other firms in your market. However, if you are evaluating potential technology partners for your business, I would recommend doing additional due diligence and research on who your prospective tech partner's true owners really are.

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