First impressions are critical to success in a relationship-based industry like real estate because they open the door to all of the possibilities that follow. The stakes are high because you only get one chance to make that all-important first impression, which is why it's so important to practice and invest effort in developing the skill of making a positive first impression. Preparation, both in terms of learning about the person you're meeting in advance and practicing the necessary skills, is ultimately the key to making the best possible first impression.
Learn as Much as You Can in Advance
Sometimes a first impression happens with no opportunity to prepare, but in many cases, you will already have learned useful information about a potential client before you meet them in person. That information may come from a phone conversation, email exchange, online chat, or contact form. These initial conversations, which come before you meet for the first time, are excellent opportunities to learn more about what real estate goals the client wants to accomplish, find out what motivates them, and discover more about them as a person.
All of that information will help you prepare some talking points that will make that first impression go more smoothly. By remembering what the client wants, understanding why they're buying/selling a home, and having a plan in place to help them accomplish their goals, you can build trust and establish your expertise right away.
Find Common Ground for Conversation
In addition to learning about their real estate needs, it's helpful to learn as much as you can about a potential client on a human level. Finding any small connection between you and the client can make the conversation flow much more easily. Perhaps you went to the same school, grew up in a similar area, have children of a similar age, or share a common hobby. Any of those commonalities (and many more) can help you break the ice, build a real connection more quickly, and make it easier to transition into talking business as the conversation progresses.
Practice First Impressions with People You Trust
Even if you love making connections and look forward to meeting new people, there are always some nerves when it's time to make a first impression. But like with most things, practicing your first impressions can make it much easier to accomplish your goals when it's time for the real thing. Whether it's with someone in the office, your significant other, or a friend, role-playing first impressions with someone who will provide honest feedback is a reliable way to build confidence and find new ways to connect with potential clients.
Be Aware of Your Body Language
Saying the right thing is important, but sometimes body language can send a different message than your words. That's why it's so important to be aware of body language, dress for success, and practice projecting confidence. Make sure your posture is strong, that you make eye contact, and that your facial expressions are in line with the confidence that you're projecting. It can be helpful to practice in a mirror or to rehearse with someone you trust to provide feedback on body language.
Be Prepared to Focus and Listen
Practicing and preparing for first impressions is important in part because it makes it easier to focus on the person you're meeting. And focus is crucial because every detail matters when you're trying to make a positive first impression. One of the most dependable ways to stay focused is to make sure that you're actively listening to what the person you're meeting has to say and making mental note of important details along the way. Being a good listener makes it easier to be responsive to their needs and ultimately earn their business.
Know Your Strengths and Showcase Them
Confidence is key with first impressions, and your experience as a real estate agent should provide a healthy dose of confidence when you're meeting someone for the first time. Rely on your real estate expertise to show the person you're meeting exactly how you can help them build a plan that will allow them to achieve their goals and address their concerns. Ask the right questions to find out what they hope to accomplish, then explain how your skills, knowledge, and experience can help them achieve a positive outcome.
Making a great first impression starts with preparation and practice. It's all about understanding the unique needs of the person you're meeting and showing why you can be a trusted partner in helping them achieve their real estate goals. The more practice you have in making first impressions, the easier it will become to project confidence and earn new business.
When it comes to "Technology Adoption Rates," I have seen a plethora of articles from technology vendors as to what should be expected from brokers/owners. Some vendors in the marketplace boast an eye-popping 90%+ agent adoption rate for using technology tools. Other vendors settle for adoption rates as low as the 30% mark. After years of analyzing trends and data from brokerages utilizing the DeltaNET® tools, I believe that I can share what should be the honest, realistic answer.
First and foremost, we must address what the definition of "adoption" is. In the context of technology adoption, the definition provided by Merriam-Webster is "the act or process of beginning to use something new or different." The reason I bring up this definition is because you will find an abundance of varying opinions when it comes to technology vendors advertising their adoption rates. I am choosing to follow the worldwide accepted definition of adoption for this article.
I have found throughout my tenure educating real estate professionals that the word "training" has quite a strong negative connotation. Nobody wants to sit through another 2-plus hour training course detailing the latest technology being deployed by their brokerage. The fact of the matter is that real estate agents endured a bevy of technology rollouts over the last 20 years, all of them driven by dozens of factors. Asking your agents to sit through another new technology class to learn something new is an uphill battle. Our philosophy at Delta Media Group® is that technology needs to be intuitive, and it needs to work for you. The question isn't "How do I use this technology?" but "What does this technology do?"
Inside the DeltaNET® 6 CRM, which is the underlying technology I will share adoption numbers for, we've focused on innovating how agents think about technology tools. Most CRM trainings focus on the step-by-step process of conducting various aspects of the platform: Click CRM, select customers, select add new customer. Within the DeltaNET 6 CRM, that 3-step process is accomplished simply through our patent-pending "Quick Actions." Rather than the agent needing to know HOW to add a customer to the system, they can simply type into the quick actions bar "Add Customer," which will bring that feature directly onto the page they are working from. It transforms our training from a "Here's how you do
The other differentiator I wanted to share before I dig into our true adoption numbers is that our CRM is not a simple "what you see is what you get" solution. We designed our entire intranet platform to be customizable for each unique brand and brokerage partnering with us. That means if you want to "white-label" the DeltaNET to look and feel more like an internal tool developed by your organization rather than an out-of-the-box third-party CRM, that is possible. As just one example, one of our partners, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group, based near the Chicago region, launched the DeltaNET as the "Galaxy" platform. Their agents don't just have the DeltaNET CRM; they have a version called the "Star CRM." This type of customization encourages agents to utilize the unique tools provided by their brokerage as they won't find that same experience elsewhere.
So what is a realistic and accurate adoption rate for new technology being implemented throughout a brokerage? In my experience, the vast majority of brokerages follow what I call the "30-30-30 rule." 30% of agents are begging for new tech and tools to use. They are usually a part of the younger crowd and are the people who should become your champions of tech, pushing how amazing it is through the rest of your organization. This is the group that should be primarily involved in the decision-making of any new tools you are looking to bring into your suite of services.
The second 30% of users are what I call the inbetweeners. They could really go either way. Any adoption/training strategy should focus on getting as many of this group on board as possible. They are the career real estate professionals who fall right in line with NAR's standards for a real estate agent. They do a healthy number of annual deals and are committed and focused on improving their careers. Your job as a leader should be focused on getting this core group of users excited about your tech tools, as they are the crowd that focused training strategies will really resonate with.
The final 30% of users are the group that you are better off leaving to their own devices. Even as I write this, it sounds harsh. Still, any professional in a leadership position within a brokerage understands that the reality of running a real estate company means you will have a group of agents that just will not use the technology or marketing services offered by your firm. This group of agents is primarily made up of those holding a real estate license more as a hobby than as their career. They may have a handful of transactions each year, but they are not really focused on growing their own business. Being an agent is a post-retirement career or a second job for many in this group, so taking time out of their day to learn a new technology tool just isn't appealing. You likely won't ever get them to engage.
That last observation is not in any way meant to be disparaging to those agents or to display a defeatist attitude. I believe in business there is no better way to convey an open and honest conversation than by trusting the data and having a dialogue about what it shows. Logical thinking often wins out on emotion in the realm of business.
Something that I often hear in my "30-30-30 rule" conversations is a question regarding the remaining 10% I haven't already discussed. What I've found is that the remaining 10% of agents typically fit into one of those three categories I mentioned above, but where they fit changes based on the culture of the brokerage. Many smaller boutique brokerages have a stronger technology adoption rate because they have technology spread within the company's DNA. It's a part of their recruiting efforts. Many legacy independent organizations have a lower adoption rate because the top producing agents in the organization have been using a strategy that has worked in their business for 30-plus years, pre-dating the modern tech trends.
So what is the healthy and realistic adoption rate for a new technology offering within a real estate brokerage? Our data shows that 60% is the magic number you want to push your team to achieve. If you can get 60% of your agents logging into your technology platform and taking advantage of the services you provide, then that's a win. Many CRM's on the market have key automations built in that can help all agents capture more business, but we believe automation should be defined as "the process of using something new." Our automated technologies, such as automated newsletters like our My Customer For Life campaign, automatically-generated social media posts, automated task lists driven by agents' clients, and more, all qualify as something new.
I'll conclude with some real data from one of our brokerage partners that has been using our technology within their organization for the last three years. This firm has more than 600 agents in its company and ranked in the top 150 brokerages within the RealTrends Top 500.
In the seven days before this article was written, 455 out of 653 agents logged into the platform and performed CRM-related actions (70% of total users). In the previous four weeks, 567 of their 653 active agent accounts logged in and interacted with the technology tools within DeltaNET 6. That is 86% of agents regularly engaging every month with their brokerage-provided CRM/lead generation system. Do you see those types of numbers within your toolset? If not, please consider reaching out to me for a consultation.
When it comes to real estate leads, first-time sellers are in a class by themselves.
Consider a few of the things that make them stand out:
True, not everyone will sell their first home at a very early age. But the latest research shows that Gen Z, the youngest generation in today's market, is motivated to both buy and sell early. More than 85% of Gen Z respondents in a recent survey said they planned to buy their first home by the time they turn 35.
Nearly half say they expect to own a home no later than the age of 29.
As a result, 88% of sellers aged 22 to 29 are first-time sellers. What's more, younger sellers overwhelmingly say they prefer to use an agent to ensure their transaction goes smoothly. 94% of sellers in the 22-29 age group used an agent to complete their sale, more than any other age cohort.
Because most first-time sellers will be on the younger side, they have great potential to deliver a high lifetime customer value. An amazing 77% of first-time sellers did not use the same agent who sold them the home. This is true even among the sellers who had a very positive experience with their original agent.
By catering to first-time sellers, you have a unique opportunity to build a resilient, sustainable business that can offer value to a large and growing group of customers. The question, of course, is how to appeal to them once you have decided to do so. Delta Media Group has the answers.
Contact us at Delta Media Group to find out more or get started.
COVID is over! Well, maybe not completely over, but I went to the grocery store without wearing a mask the other day, so we must be getting close. At least close enough that it's time for us to start thinking about life after COVID and what that means for marketing our listings.
It's tempting to see all of this as "getting back to normal" and immediately go back to handling things the way you did in 2019 — as if the whole pandemic amounted to nothing more than a year and a half hiatus. Avoid that impulse. Because, despite all of the hardships, we really learned a lot too.
Speaking from a real estate marketing perspective, some of the technological solutions built out in response to the pandemic — like virtual showing request functionality and virtual open house presentations — continue to be valuable tools even when there aren't any mandates keeping us at home. It always made sense to adopt these kinds of solutions. The pandemic just acted as the catalyst to get them developed right away. Likewise, it was a catalyst for us to learn about new ways of using streaming video and remote conferencing technology to meet with clients we couldn't talk to in person.
There are still plenty of valid-use cases for being able to handle virtual showing requests. Keeping those options available post-pandemic allows you to provide remote personal showings for clients whose schedules may be too busy to accommodate an in-person showing. Especially in a market where homes are selling so quickly, you can hardly wait for schedules to align. There's also a use case for clients that are interested in relocating or buying a second home. For someone moving from Chicago to New York, for example, it might be much more convenient for both of you if you walk them through some properties using Zoom or FaceTime instead of them flying out to see it in person. It just makes sense to continue to allow them to request that you show them the property that way.
Virtual Open Houses still have a place as well. As it stands now, real estate agents can record themselves walking through and presenting one of their listings to the unseen guests on the other side of the camera. They can then define a date and time that that video will become available and present that information, and a link to the video, on the listing detail pages on their website. It may have been the pandemic that drove the need for us to add that functionality to the DeltaNET®, but the idea of creating a video like that and presenting it to prospective buyers on your
website was nothing new. Even though we can perform traditional, in-person open houses again, there can still be a lot of benefits to recording a video like this, setting up a time for it to premiere on Facebook or YouTube, then promoting that premiere on your website and through social media. Anyone unable to make it to a physical open house can still benefit from your walk-through video. Even if there's nobody there to watch the video when it goes live, you have one more piece of marketing material you can use to promote that listing. It doesn't hurt that viewers can sign up on your website to attend the virtual open house, either, allowing you to capture their contact information as a lead as well.
Another thing the pandemic got us used to was live-streaming and virtual conferencing. Those two things aren't really the same, but they more or less serve the same purpose when it comes to promoting a listing. It's all about a live presentation of the listing through a medium in which you can interact with your viewers in real-time. When the pandemic started, there were a number of agents out there already using this kind of technology with some real success. It's particularly nice when presenting listings for second homes or vacation homes, as those buyers tend not to be local, but there's a place for it when promoting any listing. For example, maybe I'm really interested in your listing, so I'd like to attend an open house and ask you some questions about it before thinking about a personal showing, but I'm not able to attend an open house in person. If you're live-streaming a virtual open house of that property, I can "attend" it on your website, ask my questions, and get live answers in real-time. It's just another way to extend your reach to those that might not have otherwise been able to be present and extend that listing to as many potential buyers as possible.
Live streaming and pre-recorded videos can also have the added benefit of building out content on a YouTube channel. That's just another social media channel for you to build a presence to ultimately build your brand and your business. Besides, what better way to find out if your true calling is that of a YouTube content creator? You could be internet famous before you know it. Even if that doesn't work out, at least you're driving more traffic to your website and your listings in the meantime.
This last piece of technology didn't seem to get as much of a push during the pandemic as I would have expected, but I still feel like it deserves an honorable mention. That would be 360 photos and video. It came to the forefront for some because a potential buyer with a VR headset could use it to view one of these photos or videos as if they're actually standing in the property and looking around. Even those without a VR headset can still use their phone or tablet to "look around" within one of these photos or videos. This is the closest thing we have now to actually putting a potential buyer in a property when they can't physically be there. What's more, as the adoption of VR continues to grow, this will only get more and more important. So the more you can learn about using it now, the better.
COVID has taught us a lot. We learned that it's nearly impossible to wear a surgical mask for any significant length of time without your glasses fogging up. We learned that we don't wash our hands often enough, or for long enough. We learned interesting and unexpected things about the availability of toilet paper in a crisis. More importantly, we learned how to run a Zoom meeting, host a Facebook Live video, and present a property to a potential buyer via FaceTime. Now, let's try not to forget.
One of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of leading your own business is finding new ways to make what you do even better. When you reach a plateau, it's especially important to look at your work processes in a spirit of experimentation. This is what helps you go to the next level.
A plateau is a situation where:
Plateaus can take many forms and look different for everyone. Sometimes, overcoming a plateau may be a simple matter of changing your time management basics. As time goes on, however, it becomes more likely a business plateau is driven by structural issues.
At that point, big change is needed to unlock your full potential.
Business Plateaus Tend to Strike in the First 3-5 Years
The first few years of any real estate professional's career are generally focused on finding and improving areas of weakness. There's plenty to learn, and you need a command of all of it to see a client through a transaction.
Once you have confidence in your skills and clarity in your brand, it's a whole new ball game. Years 3-5 are about putting reliable processes in place and finding ways to draw customers to you instead of chasing them.
There are two common ways to get stuck at this point:
Whatever a plateau looks like for you, there is hope.
The truth is, virtually every real estate professional will reach plateaus now and then. It often takes months before you realize you've hit one! And though the middle years are the most likely time to hit your first plateau, it can happen earlier or later. After all, it's just a signal to evaluate what you're doing.
Luckily, you can equip yourself to manage plateaus and reach ever-greater heights!
Making the Best Use of Your Time is Crucial to Overcoming Any Plateau
All plateaus require new ways of thinking. Thinking about your time is the best way to start.
Your schedule might be so jam-packed with urgent tasks – especially related to finding new leads — you can't do one more thing well. That's a sign it's time to prioritize: narrowing the scope of your attention so you spend most of your time on the things that yield the greatest impact.
"Easier said than done," you might think, especially as a one-person shop.
But there is a way to get more time in your day: automation.
Digital marketing automation with a high-performance AI-driven center of excellence can eliminate hours of work every single week. The right software provides a dependable, all-in-one marketing experience with seamless integration into the applications you already use. The results are twofold:
Let's examine some of the ways digital marketing automation can work for you:
Leave the plateau behind and contact Delta Media Group today to get started with DeltaNET™ 6.
In 2021, and most likely going into 2022, you need to be very intentional and have a strategic approach to getting new listings. In some of my previous articles, I've focused on more passive methods in getting new listings. The passive methods I described in those articles are still good methods for an ongoing strategic approach, but with the current state of the industry, you need to be more aggressive in getting new listings.
If you are in management at your real estate firm or you are a team lead, I am a firm believer that you need to take a proactive approach when it comes to attracting new listings right now. Because, unfortunately, if you wait for your sales associates to do something on their own, you will find that the majority of your sales associates will do very little. That's in the best of situations. And, if you are a sales associate reading this article, do not take offense to my perspective on this as it is purely data-driven. Instead, pause and think about why I am saying this and what you can do, or should do, to be more enterprising when it comes to attracting new listings.
One of the best methods that I have seen real estate firms take in the past year in getting new listings is by proactively reaching out to past clients. At Delta Media Group®, we have helped multiple real estate firms load their "old database" of past customers into the DeltaNET® CRM for the sole purpose of farming those past customers via email marketing and phone marketing.
An excellent first step that you can take in getting new listings is email marketing to customers that you have done transactions with in the past 10 to 15 years.
A simple approach to doing this is generating an export of your customers from whatever databases you have, such as transaction management platforms, or your financial software, etc. Pull from all sources that you have and upload those customers into one specific customer group within your CRM. If you are uploading from multiple databases, make sure your CRM can "merge contacts" as you upload them so you have one master database that you can use. This will take some time, but it is well worth the effort it takes to create this master list.
One thing I should mention is that most firms that I have seen do this typically don't add the customers that have done transactions in the past two to three years or so. In most cases, you shouldn't be marketing to customers that have transacted with you recently, prompting them to sell their property.
Next, you need to create an email campaign that fits your brand and your brand's messaging with specific verbiage and calls-to-action that also accurately reflects what is happening in your marketplace right now. Keep in mind that a campaign can be as complicated or as simple as you want. Here are two quick examples of how you can strategically approach your campaign:
First, you could build out an entire campaign that spans multiple months and load that campaign into your CRM. The downside to this approach is that it takes some time to build out because you have to think through everything up-front and build the entire campaign for the coming weeks and months. The upside to this approach is that once the campaign is created, it's finished; since all the work is done upfront!
Second, you could take the approach of doing a manual campaign that is assigned to a person with pre-set dates of when you will be sending out your emails. Then, on those dates, that person can send out an email blast to that group of past customers. The upside to this approach is that you can be more flexible in your process by watching how effective each email is and then making strategic changes in messaging on subsequent emails. Another upside to this approach is that markets are changing quickly, and we really don't know what the real estate industry will look like in the next three to six months, so building each email just prior to sending them may be significantly easier. The downside to this approach is that you have ongoing work to do, and this approach is dependent on a person.
Regardless of which approach you choose to take, you are going to have to work on the content of each email.
To best catch your recipient's attention, I recommend having a particular, short and precise subject, or title, to your email. The title could be as simple as "We Need Your Listing," or "Now is the Perfect Time to Sell," or "Thank You for Being a Past Client," or "Should You Sell Now?" I think you get the idea. You need to be creative, not misleading, and to the point.
As far as the content of the email itself, I recommend using one image or graphic that fits with the content of the email. Try and think through your brand's image as you use imagery. I also recommend being very precise in the choice of the words you use in your emails. This is where you can really stand out. As you write your emails, always remember that fewer words are better. Always strive to convey your message in the fewest words possible. I have seen some emails where there were only two or three sentences that were very effective where you thank the person for being a past client and tell them you would love to talk with them if they are thinking of selling.
Finally, every email needs to have calls to action and contact information. Make sure someone is monitoring the email address that these messages are being sent from. Also, make sure that the email signature has a phone number and that there is a link back to the contact form on your website. In some cases, you may also choose to build landing pages that you want to link back to.
I'll close out my article with one last observation, challenge, and action. I see very few real estate firms being intentionally active in farming their past clients, and those that do are having good success in generating listing activity. My challenge to you is that you start doing this and make it an ongoing part of your marketing plan. And, what I ask, is that you share your success stories with us, with me, so we can hear the good things that you are doing with your email marketing!
Social media is one of the most potent marketing, relationship-building, and lead generation tools for any real estate agent. Or at least, it should be. While social media is a powerful tool, success isn't automatic. It's easy to fall into common social media mistakes that detract from the value of your social presence, especially when you have so many other priorities in your busy day. With the right strategy, you can maximize the potential of your social presence. Start by taking a look at these common social media mistakes that every agent should try to avoid.
Failing to Fill Out Your Profile Completely
Engagement and content are so important to social media success that sometimes it's easy to overlook the things that you need to do before you share your social presence with the world. One of the most common mistakes that agents make is not taking advantage of all of the features available when filling out a social media profile.
In addition to being a great place to let people know what you're all about and tell them more about your brand, many social media sites allow you to link out to the rest of your online presence from your profile. This makes it so much easier for your social connections to find your website, your blog, and anywhere else that you showcase your business online.
Too Many Listings, Not Enough Variety
The simple fact is that if all you post to social media are listings, it will be very difficult to attract, retain, and engage with followers. While it's fine to mix in some listings on occasion, your primary focus should be on sharing a variety of content that informs and excites your audience. The best real estate content helps educate your audience and builds trust.
Share content that helps followers with the details of buying and selling homes, informs them about the markets where you do business, keeps them up to date on the latest real estate trends, and takes them behind the scenes of what it's like to be an agent. Ideally, some of those content links will lead to the blog on your own real estate website, where your audience can easily find your listings in a more organic way.
Not Planning Ahead for Social Posts
While there's no getting around the fact that social success requires an investment of time, it takes a lot more time when you don't have a coherent social plan for each week. Rather than scrambling to decide how to invest your limited social time each day, a clear strategy allows you to plan ahead, seamlessly schedule social posts in advance, and leave more time to engage with your audience. Planning ahead also removes much of the stress from organizing your social presence.
Posting Only Unoriginal Content
Sharing third-party content from trusted sources is a great way to educate your audience and generate engagement, but you're missing out on a big opportunity if you're not also sharing your own original content. Sharing original content allows you to showcase your real estate expertise, answer questions from your audience, and drive traffic to your blog/real estate website. Don't like writing blog posts, or looking for ways to mix up the original content you share? Remember that video content is also one of the most powerful marketing tools in any agent's toolbox.
Lack of Social Media Engagement
Social media helps you accomplish a wide variety of marketing goals, but at its core, it's a tool for building relationships with your audience. That's why engagement is ultimately one of the most crucial steps for social success. If you're not responding to every comment, answering every DM, following other accounts, sharing other people's content, and commenting on posts from your audience, then you're missing out on some of the biggest benefits of social media marketing.
Ignoring Analytics That Can Help You Improve Your Social Presence
Analytics can tell you so much about what's working well with your social presence, what could be improved, and how to best invest your time to maximize ROI. But analytics only have value if you pay attention to them over time. Invest some time in learning about and tracking the analytics offered by your favorite social sites.
Not Having the Right Tools for the Job
Your work as a real estate agent keeps you busy throughout the day, and some of the most common social media mistakes stem from not having enough time to invest in the task. That's why it's so important to have the right social media marketing tools, and access to the dependable, automated, AI-driven tools that can make your life so much easier. Maximizing your social media ROI starts with having a strategy, then utilizing the right tools for the job.
How much is your best customer worth to you?
Depending on your market, you may make anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 on a single transaction, which is nothing to scoff at. But, if you focus on developing a rapport with your clients and maintaining that relationship, you might ultimately earn many times more than that.
The key is engagement – building a connection that makes your clients see you as "their" real estate agent.
Unfortunately, real estate pros often have a problem with engagement and the repeat business it offers. Research suggests that most real estate experts are going about things backward, especially early in a career.
The real estate industry spends more money than any other on new customer acquisition, estimated at around 20% of all real estate marketing dollars. By comparison, customer retention gets a paltry 3% of the budget.
And this isn't because former clients are unwilling to use the same agent in the future. According to the National Association of Realtors, 91% of customers surveyed say they would use their agent again.
In the long run, however, only 12% actually do! So, in short, the relationship is allowed to wither on the vine.
Customer Engagement's Role in Building the Real Estate Practice You Really Want
It's been said again and again that new real estate agents need to shift as quickly as possible from chasing cold prospects to drawing warm leads to their door. Digital real estate marketing, combined with the right digital marketing automation, makes this process easier, more effective, and more affordable.
And while you shouldn't have to pound the pavement 24/7 to meet potential customers, your existing customers are in a class by themselves. Since they know, like, and trust you, the effort you need to invest in winning their business a second or even third time is a fraction of what it takes to nurture a new lead.
Let's go back to that earlier question – "How much is your best customer worth to you?"
While you can only have one best customer, you can have many ideal customers. These are the people who fit your style like a glove. Your value proposition resonates with them, allowing you to exceed their expectations while meeting their every need. At the same time, you feel energized by working with them.
Now, we all know that people don't often move – in fact, many will put it off as long as possible.
If you earn $5,000 working with an ideal customer at the start of your career, that could lead to $10,000 more in about five to seven years. If you're in real estate for life, the relationship can yield another $10,000 later on. In effect, one single customer has provided you with a lifetime value of $25,000.
However, it really gets exciting when you consider how that customer can influence your referral business.
It's common to follow up with former customers four times throughout the year – a week after closing, a month, three months, and at the end of the year. That said, some agents have found great success getting referrals by following up every month – with the goal of getting one referral per customer per year.
Just like that, the lifetime value of that same ideal customer skyrockets to about $275,000!
When your most satisfied customers become a lasting part of your business, their ongoing contribution means you spend even less time drumming up new business. That means you can focus more attention on sharpening your skills, delivering exceptional customer care, and experimenting with new ways to differentiate.
By reducing the effort it takes to get one referral, you "create" both time and money.
Designing Customer Experiences to Foster Engagement and Raise Lifetime Value
If 90% of customers say they would use the same real estate agent again, it might seem like a very low bar to reach. The question, of course, is how you can make sure none of your customers become the 88% you'll never see again.
The answer isn't just follow-up. It's about creating the best possible experience for every customer. When they have an amazing time working with you, they are much less likely to consider looking elsewhere in the future.
It might seem like there are endless ways to stand out and no clear guidelines on what matters most. But after working with thousands of agents and brokers all across the country, some methods come up again and again.
Here's where to focus your energy to make the biggest difference:
• Create a Concierge Pre-Move Experience
The closer you can get to orchestrating an all-in-one pre-move experience under one roof, the better. Mortgage, insurance, closing, and home warranty are all pain points. What if you're a solo act? You can still coordinate with third-party vendors to provide white-glove moving services, taking one worry off clients' plates.
• Share Useful Content After the Move
The biggest reason so many customers don't use the same real estate agent over and over is simple – they forget! Keep your name and story fresh by continuing to provide content on homeownership and other topics that matter to them. Maintaining a real estate blog is great for your brand and raises your online visibility. My Customer for Life emails, provided by Delta Media Group® through DeltaNET® 6, are also an easy way to stay at the forefront of client's thoughts.
• Help Your Past Customers Save Money
Saving money is on everyone's mind, so make it easy for your customers. Reach out with personal reminders through email, social media, or even text, letting them know about refinancing opportunities and tax savings that could apply to them. This reminds them you're looking out for their interests!
• Leverage Trusted Local Services
New homebuyers tend to go pretty quickly from their real estate success- es to the next big thing on their list ... home improvement! Creating a solid network within your community allows you to refer customers to local brands they can trust. You can also end up getting referrals directly from your commercial partners.
Effective real estate agents always treat customers as relationships, not transactions. The most successful go the extra mile, maintaining those relationships for a lifetime – and you can, too!
As a real estate agent, odds are you didn't pick this career so you could write the next great American novel.
But, just like marketing, writing is a skill that virtually all real estate professionals need to develop. In fact, you could find yourself writing several hundred words every month depending on your goals.
Don't worry — that's nowhere near as much as a full-time writer, who may need to put out 50,000 words a week to meet deadlines. But it is substantial enough that sharpening your writing skills will make a difference. After all, your ability to craft your real estate listings with the right words is one of the things that makes them so appealing. You have the opportunity to dazzle your visitors, capture attention, and engage all of their senses.
Often, this is the necessary first step before someone books a tour or registers with an open house.
Whatever the case, you don't need to have straight As in high school English to be an effective real estate writer. Even if you snoozed through Rhetoric & Composition in college, you can still bring your skills up to snuff.
After all, you won't be writing five-paragraph essays in real estate. Instead, you'll be conveying in words what you already understand about your ideal clients. If you know their interests, wants, and needs, you can reflect those in your word choices.
The same is true of anything you write about your brand and virtually any other topic. The question is this: how can you accelerate that learning process if you've never written actively before?
Getting Ready to Write: Tips to Put You in a Writing Mindset
Technology Tools for Real Estate Agents to Up Their Writing Game
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are not exactly the most interesting subjects. Even the vast majority of pro writers don't get energized thinking about them. They are simply a framework to help you communicate your ideas clearly. If any one of them is missing, it makes your copy harder to understand at a glance.
Once you have an idea, you need to execute it. These tools can help:
Writing can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Simply imagine that you're talking to a client face-to-face and you can go far. To learn more about using the latest digital marketing technology, contact us.
With so many digital marketing tactics available today, it can be easy to forget about more traditional tools for reaching your clients and potential leads. But when used correctly, tools like direct marketing can still hold significant value to your real estate business!
Direct marketing is a great way to re-engage older leads, keep in touch with existing clients, and reach people who might spend less time online, all while also diversifying your marketing plans. As always, any marketing success depends on understanding who you're trying to reach and offering real value to clients and consumers. So, it's crucial that you know exactly what to do – and, more importantly, in some cases, what not to do – when it comes to direct marketing campaigns. Let's take a closer look at the most common do's and don'ts of direct marketing, with tips that can help you maximize your return on investment.
Getting the Most out of Your Direct Marketing Campaigns
The Do's of Modern Direct Marketing
• Know Your Audience and Have a Plan for Reaching Them
Direct marketing works best when you have a plan for who you want to reach and know how you can capture their attention. A postcard or flyer that's too general is unlikely to make an impact. If you're trying to reach buyers, it's important to include information that appeals specifically to their needs. The same goes for sellers. It's better to create a variety of direct marketing materials than to take a one size fits all approach.
• Make Sure That Your Direct Marketing Always Offers Value
While there are many elements to consider in order to maximize the appeal of your direct marketing, offering value matters most when it comes to a return on your investment. So, how do you provide value? Provide informative content that shows your audience what they can expect when choosing your real estate business. Help them understand their local real estate market, how their home fits within that market if they're planning to sell, or the types of homes that are available if they plan to buy. In addition to capturing the attention of your audience, offering value also helps demonstrate the expertise of you and your agents.
• Avoid Clutter to Make Your Direct Marketing Content Easy to Consume and Absorb
The right mix of text, images, logos, and colors makes a big difference in how easy your direct marketing content is to consume. And when you make your content easier to consume, your audience is more likely to follow through by reading it all. There are plenty of ways to approach the layout of your direct marketing, so the real key is making sure that the page isn't too cluttered with information and images.
• Use Localized Information That Focuses on Specific Markets
If your direct marketing relies upon general, statewide real estate data, it's likely to end up in the junk pile before it even gets a cursory glance from your audience. That means it's critical to focus on specific markets with localized information that's relevant to the recipient. You can showcase a list of homes that an agent has sold, comparing the sale price and initial price. Or feature homes sold in a specific neighborhood, with accompanying photos and location information. For buyers, a list of historic home prices in a particular neighborhood that highlights recent trends in value can be a great way to add appeal. There are a ton of different ways to provide valuable information, as long as you remember to keep it as local as possible.
• Use Calls to Action to Encourage Your Audience to Take the Next Step
Providing contact information so your audience can connect with your business is essential, but it will take more than just basic info to achieve your direct marketing goals. That's why it's so important to include a specific, targeted call to action that actively encourages your audience to take the next step. The call to action should clarify what those next steps are and should be tailored to build upon the valuable information you include with your direct marketing.
What Not to Do with Direct Marketing Campaigns
• Don't Use Low-Quality Images
As with most types of marketing, capturing attention is crucial to success when you're sending postcards, flyers, or other direct marketing materials. You wouldn't use fuzzy, low-quality images to promote a listing, and you shouldn't do it with direct marketing, either. High-quality photos will make your direct marketing look more professional, appealing, and intriguing, so it's worth the investment to use professional-quality images for your campaigns.
• Avoid Getting Too Fancy With Fonts
While it can be tempting to use a variety of different fonts to highlight different parts of the text on your direct marketing, it's better to resist the temptation. Too many different fonts can make the text difficult to read and make it harder to focus on what you're trying to convey with your marketing. For a better chance of success, pick one or two fonts to use for each piece of direct marketing, then customize those fonts with bold, underlined, or italic text when you need to make something pop out from the page.
• Don't Overwhelm With Too Much Text
It's important to include valuable information with your direct marketing, but too much information can be overwhelming and leave your marketing sitting at the top of the trash can. When the recipient of your direct marketing sees a wall of unbroken text packed into a postcard, they'll be less likely to read it. Instead, use shorter copy in larger type, and break it up into easy to consume segments with clear headlines that help guide the reader. The easier you make it to read your content, the more likely you are to generate results.
• Don't Forget to Integrate Your Direct Marketing with Your Real Estate CRM
Direct marketing may be an old-school tool, but that doesn't mean that you can't use new-school tech to get it done. Your real estate CRM, like DeltaNET® 6, can help you choose who to reach through direct marketing and keep track of your results. The DeltaNET can also help you automate your marketing plans, meaning that's one less thing you'll have to worry about during your already jam-packed days.
How the Right Marketing Mix Can Help Grow Your Real Estate Business
Direct marketing can become a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy, so long as you have the right plan in place. It's essential to have a variety of ways to reach clients and cultivate leads because every person you're trying to reach has their own unique preferences. Even for people who do most of their research online, sending something via direct mail can help your business stand out from the competition and remain at the front of would-be client's minds when they start their next real estate search. The trick is finding the right mix of marketing tactics for your business in order to maximize both your audience and your potential for converting leads.
For years, CloudDelta™ has been a great resource for easily sharing secure files quickly with your team. It helps your company save time, money, and valuable resources when all the documents you need are accessible in DeltaNET 6™, the all-in-one solution for your real estate businesses.
Delta Media Group's secure cloud-based management tool ensures you don't need to email large documents to your agents, and you don't need to worry about yet another third-party system you have to support — with one login, you have all the tools you need for digital success.
Here are some of the features CloudDelta™ users already know:
At Delta Media Group, we strive to bring our clients the best products, which is why we're constantly listening to feedback and thinking of ways to make improvements. Even when we think we have something great, we acknowledge our products will evolve over time, as everything does. With CloudDelta™, we've targeted some areas where we could improve form and function, and we're happy to announce this tool is getting a big update!
Here are upgrades coming to CloudDelta™ you can get excited about!
We look forward to the feedback from these upgrades. If you have questions about getting the most out of your real estate technology, contact us today.
Most homeowners would be glad to work with their real estate agent again — but they never do.
It's true. The average homeowner will own three or four properties in a lifetime, with most purchases spaced out between three and seven years. But even when they are thrilled with the service their real estate agent offered, they often end up using a different one for every transaction.
How can this be?
Some of the reasons are purely logistical. If someone is moving across the country, odds are they connect with a real estate agent in their desired area as one of their first steps. But there is a bigger reason: traditional real estate marketing is focused on customer acquisition, not retention.
Customer acquisition can be an all-consuming part of any real estate agent's first year on the job.
After that, it's important to start building referral business. This means you can spend less time going after that next client and more time building the long-term assets you need for the kind of firm you really want. In the long run, retention is easier than acquisition, which can cost 25x more.
Long-term engagement is the key. And it can start with the clients you have right now.
Long-Term Engagement Turns Customers into Allies for the Life of Your Business
According to research from 2018, real estate agents are among the least trusted professions in America.
In fact, only 11% of respondents consider real estate agents trustworthy, placing them above only politicians and car salespeople. Responses varied by region, with those out west feeling most suspicion of the profession.
That's bad news, of course. But it means that when someone finds a real estate agent they trust, they don't really want to start over again from scratch. By recognizing and working with that reality, you can create lasting loyalty. That, in turn, has the potential to multiply the value of every customer relationship you hold.
Getting more transactions from a single customer is an obvious example. You could double or triple lifetime value from your customers if they keep coming back to you every time they're ready to buy a new property. But that's not all: you can also get dozens of referrals from each customer over the lifetime of your practice. From that perspective, having even a handful of strong relationships could drive your revenue goals for years.
After all, long before you have the opportunity to meet a client-in-waiting, that same person is expressing their desire to buy a home. . . to their family, their friends, and to just about everyone they know other than you.
Referral business is a hot ticket, letting you be the very first real estate agent to talk to any buyer or seller. That positions you to build trust and continue the cycle, helping more people while growing your business.
Set the Stage for Long-Term Engagement with Digital Marketing and Smart Follow-Up
Real estate digital marketing becomes easier than ever when you adopt the right technology. Good technology doesn't get in the way of relationships; it makes them easier — allowing you to check in with people in helpful, meaningful ways without wasting lots of time on data entry.
Here's how you can strengthen client relationships into real bonds of trust:
Contact us to learn more about how digital marketing fuels better relationships.
An important transformation takes place in the career of any real estate sales agent around their third year in the industry.
The first year is all about learning the ropes, and the second helps you focus on discovering your niche – both what you enjoy doing and who your ideal customers are. During those early years, you may find yourself putting in extra hours and spending lots of effort building a successful referral business.
From there, as your business continues to grow, it's often easy for agents to fall into a pattern of "chasing down" new leads.
To an extent, this makes sense. And it works for a while. After all, you need time to find yourself and define what your brand is all about. You won't be able to go after what you want with laser focus until you can decide what it is you actually want. While others can advise you, nobody can choose for you.
Soon enough, though, it's time to change how you approach lead generation.
• Instead of chasing leads, you need to establish ways to entice them to come directly to you
• Instead of a single transaction, you should build lead relationships to provide recurring value
Luckily, you can achieve both goals by consistently using the proper communication techniques. At its heart, expanding any business relationship comes from following up diligently and adding value consistently. The right real estate marketing automation technology makes this easier, like the features in the DeltaNET®, even with a busy schedule.
This transformation is essential for scaling and growing your business.
As you build a reputation in your community, you'll come into contact with more people who can benefit from your expertise. At some point, creating the business you want means shifting from quantity of relationships to quality. If you stay on the offensive, always chasing more, you may burn out.
Deepen or rekindle your existing relationships, however, and you'll always have opportunities to pursue.
Who Counts as an Old Lead?
Old leads come in two flavors:
• Those who became customers and had a successful transaction in
• Those who showed promise but didn't commit and dropped off your radar
Remember, just because a lead fades from the spotlight, it doesn't mean he or she rejected you. On the contrary, many leads talk themselves out of taking action because of changing conditions in the market. It's no reflection on you, but you still have the power to make a difference in what happens next.
If you're using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, like DeltaNET® 6, it's very easy to see where leads stand.
At a glance, you'll be able to see precisely where you first connected with your leads, the whole history of your interactions, and what their status was the last time you were in contact. This can give you the insight you need to choose the right timing and tactics for getting in touch.
In an ideal world, real estate pros would have the time and energy to follow up with every lapsed lead, to see if they have any ongoing needs, and check for the possibility of referrals. With a limited pool of focus every day, though, it's a good idea to optimize the process. There are two elements to that:
• Making sure you prioritize the leads most likely to generate real business value
• Using the correct follow-up techniques to match with their communication style
Seven Ideas for Reconnecting with Old Real Estate Leads
Let's look at some of the best methods for getting old leads back into the game:
• Develop (or Revisit) Your Customer Persona
Who is your ideal customer? Buyer or seller? What are their biggest challenges? What hopes and dreams drive them into the real estate market, and what holds them back? Focusing on your ideal customers has advantages for both of you: You'll each enjoy a longer, more beneficial relationship with fewer issues along the way. Once you define your perfect customer, look over your old leads to identify the closest matches, then reach out.
• Put Your Brand Promise into Words
A "brand promise" is a single, concise statement of what sets you apart from the rest. It's the central experience you strive to deliver to everybody who chooses you. By crystallizing your goals this way, you are putting your unique skills and values into action – and doing so in a way that's easy to remember and act on. "I make the home-buying process simple and stress-free for first-time buyers" is one example. What's yours?
• Forward Useful Blog Posts to Your Leads
Once you know precisely what leads are out there and who your brand promise might resonate with, it's time to get in touch. Adding value is the secret to positioning yourself as a trusted advisor, even when it takes weeks or months for leads to dive in. Don't just send a message to "see how they're doing" – link a relevant post from your blog with a re- minder about a past conversation, then ask if their needs have changed. Delta's My Customer for Life emails are a great way to accomplish all of this with just a few clicks.
• Use a Follow-Up Email Message
One of the best ways to manage a large number of old leads is to get them onto the right segment of your email list. A segment is a list-within-a-list whose members receive exclusive content. Most real estate agents have a segment for leads, one for current customers, and one for past customers. However, nothing is stopping you from writing a personal message to catch up with your missing leads any time you wish.
• Ping Your Leads on Social Media
If your leads follow you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even Twitter, you have an immediate "in" by sending them a direct message. Leads usually don't leave their DMs untouched, so you're likely to get a reply within 24 hours as long as they are still active on the platform. It can be a good idea to set your notifications so you can respond to their answer as soon as possible, potentially starting a 1-on-1 conversation.
• Check Up on Expired and FSBO Listings
Sadly, sellers who decide to strike out on their own usually wait longer for success and earn less money. If one of your leads went down this path, check up on expired and "For Sale By Owner" listings to see how they did. After the stress and disappointment of the DIY method, they are much more likely to take your expertise seriously. The sooner you can get them re-listed with appropriate guidance, the better!
• Ask Questions with Text Messaging
Did your leads opt into text messaging? Text offers you an even more intimate (and much faster!) way of communicating than email or social media. You'll be sur- prised how quickly lapsed leads you haven't heard from in months might pop out of the woodwork with a text message as simple as "Hi [Name], are you still looking for a home in Walnut Creek?" Since they only take seconds, many brokerages use SMS texts as a first option.
No matter what methods you decide to use, following up is the name of the game in real estate. Backed by the right real estate marketing technology, you can cover more ground and capture more business from contacts who might otherwise slip through the cracks. With these tips and a good CRM, you are on your way.
Millennials are still the largest, most active generation of homebuyers, but they are no longer the youngest. That distinction goes to Gen Z buyers, who are entering the real estate market for the first time and will represent a rapidly growing generation of buyers in the coming years. They count on real estate agents to help guide them through their first home purchase, which is why it's so important to learn what makes these young buyers tick.
The Newest Generation of Homebuyers
According to the latest data from the National Association of REALTORS®, Gen Z makes up about two percent of homebuyers in 2021 — but don't let that small number fool you. A few years ago, millennials were a small fraction of the market, and now they're the largest group of buyers. While they're adept at conducting general real estate research online, more than 90 percent of young buyers and sellers rely on their agent to guide them through the complicated process of purchasing their first home.
Gen Z homebuyers are very comfortable using tools like virtual tours and virtual open houses to research homes. Many of them have entered the market for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, so they've had no choice but to rely even more than usual on virtual tools. This generation of homebuyers is typically very active on social media and uses a wide variety of technological tools to stay in touch. They value home locations that provide a short commute to work, neighborhoods with plenty to do, and homes that they can grow into long-term.
From their agent, they want consistent communication, integrity, expert guidance, honesty, and attentive help with all of the details of closing the deal. With inventory low in many markets, they also count on their agent for help identifying homes that match their needs in their target neighborhoods. They value the experience that agents can provide during negotiations, especially in markets where most homes for sale generate multiple offers. So they're looking for many of the same things as buyers from other generations, but with the added needs that come with being a first-time homebuyer in an unprecedented time for real estate.
How DeltaNET™6 Can Help You Connect with Young Homebuyers
As the number of Gen Z homebuyers continues to rise, it's crucial to have the expertise to guide them through the process of purchasing their first home, along with the right tools to both earn their business and provide them with the best service possible. That's where DeltaNET™6 shines as a real estate all-in-one solution that helps you provide young homebuyers with everything they need to succeed.
While Gen Z homebuyers have their own unique preferences and processes, they are ultimately looking for many of the same things from a home — and a real estate agent — as the generations of young buyers that came before them. With the right tools, the right approach, and a deep understanding of the latest trends in the communities where you do business, you can become a go-to resource for Gen Z homebuyers in your market.