With elbow bumps and virtual experiences part of our new normal this spring, sales associates are rising to the challenge of helping their clients and keeping their businesses moving.
The best sales associates know that sometimes selling a home means going the extra mile when prepping and marketing it--especially during tough times--but the results are so worth the effort. Here's how these real estate professionals are making it happen for their clients.
If you want a home to stand out in a crowded market, a slightly below-market asking price can be just the thing. By pricing a home somewhat lower than similar properties in the area, you can attract more interest, which ultimately means more bids. The goal isn't to sell the home for less than market value, but instead to attract enough bidders that the final sale price is at or above market. Not every seller will go for this strategy, but it can pay off big-time in the right situation.
"I advise my sellers that the number one factor in selling their home is ensuring that we have a compelling pricing strategy, which, in our local market, typically means pricing it in the 'sweet spot' for the highest overall contract price & quickest sale. No matter what price range a home is in, pricing it properly from the beginning is imperative."
As a real estate professional, you have a commitment to your seller to take the headache out of selling their home. It's up to you to be their advocate, their go-to source for help. Most homeowners want an associate they can trust and do everything possible to get the most money for their home in the shortest amount of time. Be that go-to associate for your clients.
"A seller wants a "Top Producer," an experienced, highly motivated and successful Real Estate Broker to partner in the sale of their home. My approach consists of 'servicing' the seller more than just the sale by having an intimate knowledge of the local market and lifestyles as well as partnering with a local custom builder and a mortgage lender. Build a team with a hands-on approach taking some of the pressure off of the seller. You must listen, be responsive, having a genuine interest, and communicate. Utilize multimedia and modern technology for marketing such as Email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach thousands of potential buyers. 'Get the House Sold' and gain customer retention and referrals."
"Thinking outside of the box in an age of continued technological advancement could be as simple as reverting back to a traditional way of doing business. What I mean by that is not just relying on Artificial Intelligence and things such as texting or emails. Recently, prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, I started picking up the phone more, stopping by clients' houses, and doing as many face-to-face interactions as possible. I feel that there is an unmeasurable value in personal interaction with our clients. Now, as we are facing unprecedented times and seeing people both nationally and internationally ordered to "shelter-in-place," qualities such as patience and compassion are essential. Being in the business for 20 years, I have learned to not just sell but also listen and realize that every transaction is different; therefore, how we do business is ever-evolving. We, as REALTORS®, are constantly being positioned to defend our value, to express to prospective clients why they should work with us versus an automated lead generation program or any number of new-age platforms. These platforms probably never boarded a house during a hurricane to my knowledge, probably never negotiated or coordinated repairs from a home inspection to my knowledge, and I bet had never mailed Timmy his blue moose when he accidentally left his home for the last time either. What I would say is that in a world of automation, be human. Be savvy and know how to conduct any necessary business utilizing technology, but be human."
"Find an agent who you can TRUST and TRUST in that agent's advice on the small and large things to do to help you sell your home. These things can make the difference between selling your home or having it on the market longer than it should be."
"When working with sellers who are also buyers, I try to get an entire plan laid out with them ahead of time. I recommend getting their entire home listing package with photos done and ready to go should they find a home they wish to purchase. Submitting a contingent offer with a home that can be put on the market within an hour is a lot more attractive to a seller than another offer where they can see nothing about the buyer's current home and have to wait a week for it to be listed."
"Have a plan! Don't wait until the eleventh hour to prepare your home for sale. When considering selling your home reach out to your real estate agent to help you plan out the process of selling your home.
Stress-free, above asking price and quick sales can happen when a seller has assistance in preparing for the sale of their home. Having a real estate agent come to your home a few weeks (or months) before going on the market can make all the difference. They will provide you a customized list of five to ten key things to do to help prepare your home for sale.
Don't have months to prepare? Your agent should make sure the list of things you can do is focused on items that really matter and make a large impact on a buyer's first impression. For your home, it may be light furniture staging, fresh mulch in the flower beds, or a new coat of paint on your front door. Sometimes it is the little details that make the biggest difference.
Creating this custom roadmap will pay off when you fall in love with your next home and need to get your existing home sold quickly. Preparing your home to stand out in pictures and impress people during showings leads to multiple offers and thousands more in equity when you get to the closing table!"
"My best advice to a homeowner who is thinking about selling their home would be to consult their real estate agent about a coming soon promotion. This way, your home can be advertised on the MLS and other real estate apps (before the status is considered "active") to create a lot of buzz and excitement amongst buyers who are actively looking for new homes coming out to the market. You would be able to share pictures of the home and the listing information so that buyers can preview the home online, and they can get a good idea of what the home's layout is. Agents are then able to ask questions about the upcoming listing but are not able to show it. This way, when the home's status is turned to active, sellers will hopefully have a line of buyers waiting to come in to see the house when showings are allowed! In my opinion, this is a great way to up a seller's chance of getting multiple offers!"
As you'll see in so many of our tips, presentation matters. A lot. The first step in prepping any home for sale is a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. That includes all of the hidden corners, unused rooms, half-finished basements, and packed-to-the-brim closets. Even if the home is otherwise in great shape, buyers will be turned off by dust, grime, and unpleasant odors.
"My best advice to sellers is to look at their home as if they were a buyer. People often overlook things in their own home that they would point out in a home they were considering buying. What things stand out? Make all those little fixes. Clean, organize, paint – whatever needs to be done. Buyers will always deduct more in their offer than it will cost you to make the repairs or improvements. Making your home look its best will result in a quicker sale at a higher price – the result you are looking for!"
Buyers love to check closets and lesser-used spaces in the home, to get an impression of how you have taken care of the property. Give them a positive impression by cleaning out clutter from closets, and arranging what's left in a neat, organized way. While you're at it, remove clutter from other storage spaces, and anywhere else that things have built up in the home.
"Think Model Home! That is my mantra when I first consult with my sellers. Today's buyers demand a home that is move-in ready and are willing to pay more for that luxury. The closer you can achieve the look and feel of a model home, the more successful you will be in this market.
Most sellers need to begin by decluttering: Pack or store personal items and closet contents; you are moving anyway! Ensure mechanicals are in good working order and recently serviced, door handles/knobs tightened, faucet drips corrected, address any roof issues. Consider a home pre-inspection to correct latent defects. Next, think about how each room with register online. Smartly edited rooms painted in soothing colors and lighted correctly is the key to drawing buyers' attention. Create outdoor "rooms" by anchoring furniture around an all-season rug—paint a lifestyle picture. Next up—clean, clean, clean! Greet your buyers at the front door with a new welcome mat and seasonal wreath. Indoors—live displays of fruit or flowers add the perfect finishing touch!"
First impressions are huge when selling a home, and buyers won't wait until they've walked through the front door to start forming an opinion. Make that first impression count by investing in curb appeal. Plant small, attractive shrubs to accent the shape of the home, and fill the garden with fresh flowers to add a burst of color. Make sure that the yard is clean, the lawn is healthy, and trees/shrubs are trimmed.
Yes, buyers love a new, updated kitchen, but undertaking a significant renovation project before selling is risky because not every buyer will share your tastes. Instead, focus on upgrading the little things, like replacing old hardware, purchasing new kitchen/bathroom fixtures, adding affordable smart home features, and repainting walls. When upgrading a home for sale, it's less about how much the seller spends, and more about how wisely they spend it.
The seller has likely taken a lot of time to make the house feel like home, but buyers want to be able to picture their own lives there. That's why it's so important to depersonalize the home by removing photos, mementos, heirlooms, and personal items. You want to provide buyers with a relatively blank canvas, rather than a finished picture.
Most buyers have negative impressions of dim, poorly lit homes. Be sure that any property you're showing is well-lit, the more natural light, the better. Open the curtains on sunny days, and make sure there's enough light indoors when it's cloudy or dark outside.
Removing large, bulky pieces of furniture can make a home feel roomier and provide the space necessary for professional staging. By staging key areas like the dining room, kitchen, and living room, you add extra appeal to the home while making it easier for buyers to visualize their own lives there.
Nearly every buyer starts their home search online, but many find it challenging to visit open houses due to distance or time constraints. Providing a virtual tour with an online listing makes it easy for a buyer to get a strong impression of the property, no matter where they are located. You can even take an extra step with virtual staging, which allows buyers to see what the home would look like with different furnishings and finishes.
Now is the time to make every upgrade, marketing tactic, and step of preparation count to achieve the ultimate win for sellers, a closed sale.
It's no news to real estate firms that the coronavirus pandemic is hitting in the peak spring real estate season. With many states instituting shelter in place or stay at home orders, the ability to show homes, hold in-person open houses, and meet with clients in person has been reduced dramatically, and rightfully so.
Consequently, real estate firms have seen a huge spike in demand for virtual home showings—some in the triple digits. Firms are adopting new technology and changing how they do business: video tours, drive-by closings, and more are becoming the new normal.
While COVID-19 precautions are keeping people at home, it hasn't necessarily lessened their interest in shopping for new homes. And while most sellers understand that closing the deal will be challenging during these times, they still want to market their property, show their home to potential buyers, and keep the ball rolling toward an eventual sale.
Real estate firms and sales associates are readying themselves to adapt to this ever-changing situation. For sales associates who embrace change, those lessons can lead to growth and better, more modern service to their clients.
Sales associates have long had their feet planted in two separate worlds:
Over the last few years, advances in digital real estate marketing have brought the two together like never before. Today's marketing automation tools create new opportunities for "always-on" relationship management that maintain the personal touch.
So, how do you adapt? If you've been following our marketing advice in the past, then you're likely familiar with the idea of virtual tours through Properties in Motion, which have long been a great way to help out-of-market clients tour homes from the comfort of their computer or mobile device.
Virtual open houses and showings take that concept to the next level, allowing you to lead a tour of the property in real-time or pre-recorded and released at a specific time, answer questions, safely build face-to-face relationships using technology, and get buyers excited about the potential of the home. The key is for sales associates to adopt these new tools, and put them to work for their clients.
At Delta Media Group, we saw the opportunity to help. Our team has been working hard to develop and roll out the tools and training needed for real estate firms to continue doing business during this period of uncertainty. These tools and training resources are available to all clients in the DeltaNET, making it possible to schedule, promote, and hold home tours remotely.
Here's what you can expect if you decide to adopt Virtual Open Houses and Showings into your real estate business:
Virtual Open House integration is now available across all 350 MLS markets, covering more than 90% of home listings in America. And we are continuing to work to make virtual real estate events even easier for you to orchestrate – creating true concierge experiences for your clients.
Throughout the U.S., there are still sales associates doing traditional showings. However, they are reporting a sharp drop in attendance: Events are seeing something like a third of the foot traffic they normally do. Plus, the health and safety concerns are massive.
At the time of the writing of this article, about 40% of respondents in a NAR survey had suspended open houses. Likewise, some MLS services have suspended the use of open house information or now require virtual events.
In-person showings now require strict attendance limits, "no touching" policies, social distancing, and, of course, hand sanitizer. Additionally, recent NAR guidelines remind members they are never required to risk their health to market a home.
Those are very real worries. Virtual open houses and virtual showings can put these concerns to rest.
I recently spoke with three Delta Media Group Sales Associate clients during a live webinar to learn about their experiences, successes, and hurdles hosting virtual open houses and virtual showings for their clients.
It was open; however, there were only two groups that came through live. I started thinking, 'Okay. I'm going to try to do this virtually.' Our company suggested trying it. Once the actual open house was over, I went live with a virtual open house to get as much information out about the house to as many people possible. So after I did the live Virtual Open House, I had probably almost 900 views on the live video from that was probably only a couple minutes long.
I used Facebook Live from my business page to run the event.
Something that I think is important when you're doing a video is to show off your personality. I start my videos by introducing myself, and then I move through the home—because, on Facebook Live, you can. You can have the camera on you, then you just push the button, and it goes back to where you can see the house.
I found it helpful to do research and have notes about all the updates the owner did, information about the local school district, the community, the parks that are nearby, so I can share it with people as I walk through the house.
I guess you can...I've taken advantage of Facebook Live as more or less of a virtual walkthrough. As you know, with Facebook Live, you can see who is popping up during the tour and talk with them right then. You can answer questions and respond to questions. Typically, people make comments like "it's a beautiful house" rather than ask specific questions. You'll also see emojis like a thumbs up, heart, or like."
Stephen Merkle, Cutler Real Estate
The Merkle Market Team - smerkle.cutlerhomes.com
"I recently scheduled my first virtual open house the first week that Stay at Home order was implemented. I told our seller that we would promote it on Facebook and utilize the tools that our internet vendor has provided with e-cards and other useful tools such as virtual open house banners on our featured listing page.
If you think about the virtual open house, there is some difference in promotion as far as on Facebook and online promotion through other social media channels. I also think there is a huge opportunity to engage your sphere of influence through the use of e-cards.
So, I sent an e-card out to my sphere of influence who I already have uploaded into our CRM and just invited them to take a look at it. It's my first ever virtual open house. This might be the new norm, come, and experience it. Even if they're not interested in the property, I'm happy to answer any questions that they have regarding the real estate market as a whole. I'm looking at it as an opportunity to connect with not only buyers but my past clients as well.
Other advice I might offer is not to be too salesy and be sensitive to the underlying feelings going on in our communities right now.
I've seen a lot of self-promotion on Facebook that's more look at me, I'm still doing business,' or it can be construed that way. You don't know if there is somebody in the community who is upset that they aren't considered an essential service and can't be working. I'm afraid of the backlash that we can receive if we come across as being too aggressive in self-promotion and not being sensitive to some of the community issues that are out there right now."
My team has recently started doing Facebook Live virtual open houses. I would say it's been a learning experience. The very first time, we started by just throwing one out there and walking through the house, and hoping some people join.
I think our most significant learning experience has been the need to preplan. I understand the importance of in-game experience, but if you preplan, it starts by getting some people you know to join beforehand. Have some questions mapped out, have a game plan ready, almost like you would do any type of interview, any type of movie, and you have a storyboard ready to go. Plan it with announcements, advertise those announcements. Get the people you know that are attending to participate in some interaction, so it's not just a generic video walkthrough that you can see without doing Facebook Live.
Initially, we promoted live events on our Facebook business page and shared them to our personal pages.
I've learned it's best to run it from a personal page and share it to the business page. We set
it up as an actual event that you can advertise beforehand, opposed to just randomly going live, and then you can set that live, that way, it's something that people can click on that event and see beforehand.
One of the hurdles we faced was familiarity with virtual open houses. I know people are very familiar with an open house on Sunday at 1:00, Sunday at 2:00, where they can walk into a home and see it. So the target market is a big issue. If you're going to advertise it, you got to get it in front of more people than your friends, and how do you go about doing that, whether it's through other association groups and other agents being able to see it as well.
So promoting it and having people familiar with the platform is one hurdle. Multi-platform use is another issue that I've experienced. Obviously I think most people are focusing on the Facebook aspect of virtual open houses and showings. Facebook is one avenue. Now, we need to take the same concept and share it on the Twitters and the Instagrams of the world. There's quite a bit of an audience out there as well.
A third hurdle is to be sensitive to the issue our country is experiencing with COVID-19 and its impact. We don't want to act like we think that real estate is above and beyond the current situation we're in, but at the same time, we need to serve and provide that opportunity to our clients and to other people's clients.
So to be able to portray this as something that is an opportunity to see a house without exposing people to a potential risk, as opposed to being overly business-focused and opportunistic is important."
Virtual showings were starting to catch on even before COVID-19. However, it's time to work together and take them to the next level and for all sales associates to embrace them.
Virtual showings can provide a full first-person, virtual face-to-face tour of a property, including panoramic views of all of its rooms and surroundings. Prospective buyers can explore the property at their leisure or join their sales associates via built-in videoconferencing for the true "guided tour" experience.
Even in the best of times, virtual showings are a wise move. They enable you to reach more people with each listing. You can serve those whose hectic schedule means they might otherwise not have the time to see a property in person. And more attendees means more leads.
Virtual showings and virtual open houses are exciting for everyone. So, what's slowing adoption?
The simple answer is perceived complexity.
A couple of years ago, virtual showings meant hiring a professional videographer, then stitching together a presentation from a whole series of unrelated software packages. This added expense and uncertainty to the process. Some real estate pros simply didn't have that kind of time to "wear another hat."
However, today this is not the case. Technology has rapidly evolved, and every sales associate possesses, in their hand, access to easy-to-use technology that makes doing virtual showings and virtual open houses simple.
The only thing lacking today is the sales associates learning how easy it is for them to create, host, and now promote these virtual events. We are addressing this now through expanded step-by-step training.
Despite all the economic uncertainty that comes along with the COVID-19 outbreak, historically low mortgage rates can still drive interest in buying – sometimes, without even visiting a home.
Sales associates must adapt! Now is the time to learn how easy it is to use this technology.
One of the best ways to serve your community – and yourself – in a time like this is to adopt virtual open houses and virtual showings. They are safe, effective, and great for buyers and sellers alike.
There will be a time after coronavirus. Things will start to go back to normal. Sales associates who embrace Virtual Open House today will be better prepared for whatever tomorrow brings.
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Looking back just a few short months ago, no one could have predicted the changes our world would face. The coronavirus pandemic upended, if not paralyzed, nearly every aspect of our economy, including the real estate industry.
While showings came to a screeching halt in some areas and new listings only trickled in, some real estate companies grappled with the spread of COVID-19. They seemed to disbelieve there would be a future after the coronavirus. However, others responded to the crisis in a positive fashion. Firms and associates who continued their outreach positioned themselves to help their clients and communities long after stay-at-home orders started to expire.
Adapting to all-new expectations is vital to success. At least, that is the outlook with the sales associates and management team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty. They embrace change and turn it into success.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty (BHHS Homesale Realty) is well-known across the real estate industry. With 30 real estate offices and over 1,300 real estate professionals, it continues to pave the way for the Baltimore and Southern Pennsylvania real estate markets.
BHHS Homesale Realty and COVID-19
We sat down with Rod Messick, CEO of BHHS Homesale Realty, and his team to discuss his company's response to COVID-19, their business achievements (past and present), and strategies for future success.
Messick says, "Our company's initial response to the virus was how to contain it to help stop its spread into our local market areas. We had already begun an orderly process to move our employee base to a remote working environment even before the Governor of Pennsylvania ordered all non-life sustaining businesses to cease physical operations."
He continues, "I've never been prouder of our Homesale team. Our leadership, employees, and agents stepped up in amazing ways. Our teams responded with an amazing can-do spirit, unparalleled teamwork, and a focus on serving our agents and their customers. The care and compassion they show for our customers is simply inspiring."
"We leveraged technology and our innovative spirit to develop procedures that allowed as much activity as possible while continuing to promote socially responsible public health practices and to comply with the Maryland and Pennsylvania's government directives and CDC recommendations," comments Messick.
"This is not a message of doom and gloom. In fact, it's one of optimism. The spirit and resiliency I've seen gives me great comfort that while COVID-19 will certainly cause significant physical, emotional, and financial hardships, I know that we will overcome it. And when we do, Homesale will be here to help our communities recover both financially and emotionally."
Homesale Realty's History
Homesale Realty's story is a lengthy one. Their story began in 1997 when two competing Lancaster County real estate companies joined forces to become the local market leader.
The years that followed saw the acquisition of new companies and two major brand changes.
In 2014, the company ushered in a new era of success for the firm, its sales associates, and their clients with their rebranding to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
Rebranding under a new name can cause significant hurdles for a company to overcome, especially when it comes to their online presence. However, this was not the case for Homesale Realty. Its conversion strategy had precision planning and accurate execution. The transition to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was seamless and the name created a newfound market advantage.
In an executive summary published by ReTechnology entitled, BHHS Homesale Realty Hits Bullseye with Technology, the report states, "The WAV Group encountered Homesale through a blind assessment of the top 100 real estate firms that revealed an impressive technology offering. Homesale Realty has conquered comprehensive real estate technology integration, driving increasing success. The core of Homesale's technology footprint is served by Delta Media Group."
BHHS Homesale Realty and Delta Media Group partnered in 2009. Working side-by-side as technology and online marketing partners, they are in it for the long haul. The two companies push through economic market fluctuations and changes in the real estate industry to remain at the top of their industries.
Messick states, "Delta Media Group took the time to understand our vision and marketing strategy. They created a marketing program that not only supported that vision but helped grow it with fantastic results. Their marketing technology helped us survive the economic downturn, and we came out much stronger on the other end. Now, we are more efficient, more knowledgeable, and more profitable than ever. We attribute a great deal of our growth to our strategic market partnership with Delta.
Michael Minard, CEO/Owner of Delta Media Group, states, "Homesale Realty is laser-focused on online marketing using SEO and SEM which have delivered exceptional traffic to homesale.com as well as tremendous leads and conversion. Delta is heavily invested in our partnership with Homesale Realty—we have been since day one. Their success is our success."
Sandra Lynn Troccoli, Vice President of I.T. & Digital Platforms of Homesale Realty, comments about their relationship with their former vendor, "The lifeblood of Homesale Realty is its agents. Ultimately, they are our customers. Without them, there is no business. Before we partnered with Delta Media Group, our vendor did not provide the platform, tools, and services we needed for them. We showed up on page seven, eight or nine in Google search results. That's not acceptable. Our agents couldn't find our listings, and they couldn't find our company. That's never good for your seller when they can't find their listing on Google. Our ultimate goal is to sell properties, and so when you can't find the property on Google, that's challenging."
Troccoli continues, "Delta focused on getting our listings on page one—and I am so happy to report that we are still there today. It's not every single listing, but I would say it's just about every single listing. Our sellers are happy about it, and our agents are ecstatic about it.
Our agents have confidence in us as a brokerage because we've partnered with the right partner to get results for them, and that's a win-win for everyone. When your agents don't have to think about a problem, that's a great place to be."
Taking a deeper dive into what drives the success of Homesale Realty, competitors might ask, "Why them and not us?"
There is a multitude of answers to that question. Homesale Realty embraces the real estate industry's continually changing landscape with an eye on the future, always ready to move from today to tomorrow quickly and accurately.
Their executive leadership team of Rod Messick, CEO, Pete Slaugh, Chairman, Regina Coia, President, Brad Dimmig, President of HomeSale Mortgage, LLC, Bill Dinkel, President of Title Operations, Rick Doyle and Ron Landis, Board Members, are leaders in the real estate industry both in their local communities and nationally. They are skilled at reading the current business climate and making appropriate adjustments to succeed.
Troccoli states, "Through our company's real estate journey with different vendors, our real significant growth came when we were able to partner with Delta Media Group. Their technology enabled us to increase lead volume and lead flow to our agents. It allowed us the opportunity to evaluate other areas that we could branch into as a company. Delta Media Group was our partner when we started looking at the Maryland market, and they helped us become a significant player in the Baltimore, Maryland area."
From time to time, real estate firms may experience pushback from their associates when changing to new processes. That's why Homesale Realty takes the extra steps to ensure their associates' success with the best websites, platform, tools, training, and services.
Laurie Minear, Vice President of Marketing and Agent Services of Homesale Realty, shares how her company presents new technologies to associates to better both their business and personal lives. "Our agents have all adopted at least some technology into their business. It's a matter of how much and to what extent. Our main goal is to help them get to the next level of knowledge for the technology they already do use. Our biggest challenge is showing them the value of new technologies so they will take time out to learn it."
Minear continues, "For those who are hesitant, we give them every opportunity to accept, integrate, and use technology into their businesses. We demonstrate the value of technology adoption through promotional videos, training videos, flyers, social media graphics, webinars, office meetings, and more."
Troccoli remarks about the technology adoption by sales associates, "Some people feel newer real estate agents are more receptive to technology changes than more experienced agents. That's not necessarily the case. It's more about the mindset of the agent, and their willingness to adapt to and adopt changes to streamline their days to create a better work-life balance."
Sales associates have seen unprecedented change in how day-to-day work gets done because of technological advancements over the last few years. More and more office tasks can be automated thanks to artificial intelligence giving associates the ability to refocus their energy and attention on where it matters the most.
For associates adopting technology changes into their practices, it's easier than ever to provide a personalized and memorable client experience. For those associates who aren't entirely on board yet with real estate technology, it's not too late to start.
Technology has revolutionized the real estate industry. Adoption of Homesale Realty's technology tools by current and new sales associates is a game-changer for the company. Unlocking more time for sales associates to focus on the parts of the job that they love most, without compromising on the daily tasks that drive new business is essential.
Minear discusses Homesale Realty's process of choosing new technology products and services, "Homesale Realty's Product Development Team and focus groups thoroughly vet each new technology vendor whose product we consider offering to our agents. If we don't have vendors who fulfill their promises to us and are companies we can believe in, we can't communicate that confidence to our agents and teams."
Minear continues, "Once we determine that we should add a tool or program to our Value Proposition, the 'training' of our training team begins. At no time are our sales associates trained by outside vendors. We want our agents to understand products offered to them are products we [Homesale Realty] believe in and use. We label each product with Homesale Realty branding to drive that message home."
Jennifer Jones, Vice President of Career Development for Homesale Realty, comments, "Our Career Development Team focuses on reiterating the "why," covering the "what" and working through the "how" so that our associates see the benefit and are comfortable navigating the tools and services that we provide."
Jones continues, "We complete each step of vendor training before presenting new products to our sales team. Vendors communicate their product's value proposition to us so that we can convey to our sales associates how it will improve their efficiency or increase their productivity. Vendors who are readily able to answer questions and are receptive to requests typically make technology adoption for our company easier."
"That's one reason our partnership with Delta Media Group works," says Jones. "When we present Delta Media Group with ideas to custom-tailor features to streamline processes for our sales associates, they hear our requests and welcome them. With the right technologies and adoption strategies in place, our agents become the dominant players in their markets."
Minear shares, "Sometimes the best way to measure agent adoption of technology is through the excitement of our sales associates. A new initiative that is working to increase the awareness of what we have to offer is 'Re-Engage.' Its purpose is to reacquaint associates with tools and technology they might not currently be utilizing or using to their fullest potential."
"We conduct in-person trainings at our Accelerate Centers, host Webinar Training Monthly Marathons, and create short training videos to demonstrate the benefits technology provides them to market and sell more homes," says Minear.
Troccoli says, "With the technology we have in place from Delta Media Group and the right motivation to adopt these tools, Homesale Realty agents will have a clear path to success."
Plain and simple, I'm a tech guy. The art of selling is just beyond me. Ask me to sell an old car on Craigslist and watch me go pale; it's embarrassing. Probably one reason I'm don't sell homes for a living. However, I do know about the tools and technology involved in helping sales associates succeed in the real estate business.
There's a lot of nuance and expertise involved when it comes to listing, marketing, and ultimately selling a home. As a real estate professional, your goal is to do everything you can to sell your clients' homes with the fewest headaches along the way.
I'm not telling you anything you don't already know when I say that, as a listing agent, every closing starts with getting the listing. Fortunately, I can tell you about several tools available to you within the DeltaNET 6 platform that covers all the bases of the selling process to get that next listing and set you well on your way to getting that next closing.
Automated Valuation Model (AVM) System
Our journey starts with the (AVM) system. This system is as much about obtaining your seller leads as it is about compelling a prospective seller to take the next step.
On the homepage of your Delta Media Group website, a user can enter a property address and instantaneously get back up to three automated valuations for their home from three different sources. If a homeowner is on the fence about moving, associating an actual dollar value with that decision can be all it takes to push you over the edge. Those values essentially validate themselves by coming from multiple sources and openly displaying their estimated ranges.
Market Watch Report
Additionally, the user can sign up for a Market Watch Report to keep them up to date about the property values in their area, see a rough number of buyers looking for homes like theirs, and even see historical market statistics all on that same page. As an added benefit, even if a prospective seller chooses not to reach out to you for more information or sign up for a Market Watch Report at that time, the property address they entered is still captured by the platform. Consequently, this allows you to send them physical mailings or flyers in case they decide to go through with listing their home sometime in the future.
Reverse Prospecting Report
The Reverse Prospecting Report provides a way for you to quickly and easily get a ballpark estimate of how many customers might be interested in a property before you list it. This report includes customers both in your database and the databases of any sales associate in your brokerage.
It doesn't show you the contact information for those customers, but rather a representation of them. When you make a listing presentation to a prospective seller, you can show them the number of actual customers who could see their listing via existing saved searches and Market Watch Reports.
All of that comes from just entering their property address and letting the DeltaNET6 system do the legwork.
Pre-Announced Exclusive System
The Pre-Announced Exclusive System takes the concept of a Reverse Prospecting Report to the next level. It allows you to enter a property address along with the other standard information for a listing (beds, baths, price, home size, etc.). It performs a search for customers that would be interested in that property if it was listed.
The Pre-Announced Exclusive System allows you to take the process one step further by contacting those customers via a system-generated, automated email presenting the property to relevant customers before being placed on the market. The system sends the email on behalf of the customer's agent with the proper verbiage indicating it's an automated email, so there's no confusion for the customer or their agent.
Once the property is listed on the market officially, those customers will see it again when it shows up on their saved searches and Market Watch Reports.
The Seller Report updates your client regularly with information about what's happening with their listing. Once the listing is on the market, you can automate the sending of these reports to sellers to communicate traffic stats from your website and the company website, including search engine crawlers.
Depending upon options and integrations chosen by you and your company, you can include traffic stats, marketing information, competing listings, area open houses, showings, and showing notes you've recorded in DeltaNET 6.
Your Delta Media Group Toolbox
If you are already a Delta Media Group customer, you have these tools and more available to manage your website, CRM, and marketing using the DeltaNET 6 platform.
And when it comes to landing your next listing presentation, you have all the tools necessary to demonstrate to prospective sellers that listing with you means that they already have buyers waiting on standby to buy their home.
You have the best tools to effectively market their listing, the resources to target the right buyers, and the expertise to get them the highest price the market will support.
After all, you're working with Delta Media Group. What shows a better level of expertise in real estate marketing and technology than that?
When it comes to real estate websites, I have only ever heard of two primary goals that real estate firms and sales associates want to accomplish. NUMBER ONE, they want their website to generate business or leads. NUMBER TWO, they want their website to showcase their unique brand and be a place for their company to have a powerful identity online. In my opinion, the only way you can truly accomplish both a powerful lead-generating website that also speaks to your brand is to offer the most robust search functionality in your market with an easy-to-use design.
As a real estate sales associate, would you rather spend all day sending emails or selling houses? As the leader of a real estate firm, do you want your associates to focus on restocking your prospect pipeline or converting existing clients? When used correctly, real estate automation eliminates those tough choices and allows sales associates to focus on what they do best. Automation can handle so many of the tedious, time-consuming, necessary tasks that are crucial to lead management and conversion. Here is how real estate automation can make life easier for everyone.
With so much more time free to focus on the big picture, what could your sales associates accomplish? Automation gives every sales associate more time to achieve their goals, without compromising on pipeline management. The trick is simply finding the right tools and putting them to work for your real estate firm.
As I write this article during the last week in March, we are deep in the throes of the Coronavirus pandemic. We are attempting to navigate the disruption that the virus is having on our daily lives and businesses. My hope is by the time you are reading this article, the disruption is in the rearview mirror, and everybody is getting back to normalcy.
Looking at online data for the first few months of the year, I felt that we were in store for another great year in real estate. Traffic and leads to our clients' sites were up over the previous year, and there was great momentum heading into the selling season. Unfortunately, the outbreak caused some to pause a bit, which was understandable.
Many times, events such as the Coronavirus outbreak push businesses out of their comfort zones of how they run their professional, as well as personal lives.
Disruption drives change, and I believe it was for the good. Delta Media Group, for example, always kicked around the idea of working remotely. One, because the software space is heading in that direction, and two, to allow us to pull from a larger pool of staffing talent from across the country. The trigger was never pulled on the initiative because there were always other pressing matters, and from a logistics and technology standpoint, it would be a challenge. Can you imagine the logistics involved in moving the phone systems and other communication tools for an entire tech support department to work remotely?
Welcome the Coronavirus, it challenged us to get it done. Hats off to Shane Rogal and Josh Ritz in our Systems Department, who stepped up to the challenge and made it happen. Our entire team, including tech support, was able to work remotely, and it was a seamless transition. I, for one, always thought working from home would be a challenge, but I had to step out of my comfort zone and found that I am more focused and get more accomplished versus being in the office.
Everyone faced those challenges. For example, teachers had to step out of their comfort zones to adopt new technology and processes for remote learning initiatives. Small business owners set up e-commerce storefronts or doubled down on their online strategies by investing in paid advertising to drive traffic to their existing online stores. Restaurants switched to carry out and delivery when dining areas were closed to inhibit the spread of the virus.
You, as real estate professionals, faced similar challenges. With social distancing being enforced, traditional networking opportunities were no longer an option. It was the perfect time to step up your game with social media. People used social media channels to not only stay up to date on breaking news but also to stay in touch with family and friends they couldn't see in person. It was a great time to get better with social media, grow your audience, and become the local expert.
Having the right tools at your disposal allows real estate firms and sales associates to react accordingly. Without them, it's difficult to stay the course and keep marketing your brand effectively. Here are a few tools found in our DeltaNET platform that are beneficial to firms and sales associates anytime, but especially during a crisis situation.
AS OPEN HOUSES AND SHOWINGS WERE PUT ON PAUSE BECAUSE OF COVID-19, associates hit the play button with Virtual Open Houses and Showings. Video Open Houses and Showings expand interest in a listing at any time. As many people practiced social distancing, video is a welcome respite from all too familiar surroundings. Plus, you don't have to be a videographer to create a great virtual tour.
In the early days of the outbreak, brokerages operating on thin margins were scared, and they expressed thoughts of trimming online marketing budgets or cutting them out altogether. I advised exercising great caution with that strategy. My opinion was that marketing is the last thing you'd want to chop, especially since the market usually recovers in times like that. I suggested looking at other areas of the business to cut before anything to do with an online marketing strategy. Marketing would be the absolute last area I'd consider. What happens when the market comes roaring back, but you have essentially disappeared online? That is a scenario that no brokerage wants to experience.
While the way back to calmer seas is going to take time, we all need to remain steadfast and stay focused on positioning our businesses for that recovery. We need to embrace the discomfort and look at it as positive.
CONTINUE TO HELP YOUR SALES ASSOCIATES WITH TRAINING, EDUCATION, AND PLANNING. Re-evaluate your online presence, clean up your contact list, and create email campaigns you're ready as the market ramps back up.
John R. Wood Properties distinguishes itself in Southwest Florida's real estate market as an established leader representing some of the finest luxury properties around Naples, Marco Island, and Sanibel. As a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, John R. Wood Properties reaches over 200 countries across the globe. John R. Wood Properties was founded in 1958, making it the oldest brokerage in Southwest Florida. It also holds the distinction of being #1 in Southwest Florida for closed sales volume and has 18 office locations in a two-county area.
The Southwest Florida Real Estate History Museum
With its reputation as being "more than just a local brand," John R. Wood Properties combined its long history in Naples with its commitment to the local community. The firm has recently opened the Southwest Florida Real Estate History Museum, located at 824 Fifth Avenue, South in the heart of downtown Naples. The Southwest Florida Real Estate History Museum celebrates the founding and growth of Southwest Florida's real estate area. It provides historic information about the Naples area. It takes a closer look at the key players and events that led to the area's significant subdivisions like Port Royal, Bonita Bay, Pelican Bay, Grey Oaks, The Moorings, and Park Shore.
JRW - a Part of Local History Giving Back
Phil Wood, President of John R. Wood Properties, comments about his company and the Museum, "Our footprint in Southwest Florida isn't just broad, it's also very deep. We've been here for over 60 years, and our success as a company is very intertwined with the area's history. That makes this Museum and the preservation of that history a very personal thing for us, which we are excited to now share with the public."
The Museum is located on Fifth Avenue, South. Naples answer to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Fifth Avenue South is a pedestrian-friendly street filled with elegant restaurants and bistros, art galleries, and stylish boutiques. Wood continues, "It [the Museum] also ties in well for us, since we are the oldest major brokerage in Collier and Lee counties. We have always been interested in preserving local history, and this gives us a good opportunity to further that goal."
Local historian and former Marco Island real estate executive, Jack Joyce, conceptualized the idea and played a large collaborative role in bringing the Museum to fruition. Joyce comments, "We worked closely with the Marco Island, Naples, and Bonita Springs Historical Societies as well as the Collier County Museums, and its Director, Amanda Townsend."
"I met John R. Wood in 1975, and we became great friends. He's now retired, and his son, Phil, runs the business. My love of history is such that I saw this space on Fifth Avenue and thought it would be a great place for a museum on the history of Collier County, namely Marco Island and Naples," says Joyce.
Local Historians Played a Role
"I approached Amanda Townsend, Director of Collier County Museums with the idea of partnering with JRW to open a museum dedicated to the history of Southwest Florida real estate. We met Phil, and he quickly fell in love with the idea," continues Joyce. In conjunction with some professionals, Joyce and the John R. Wood Properties team guided the design and layout of the Museum's detailed displays of historical information and photos obtained from a variety of sources in and around the community. Many pieces gathered were from JRW's archives, which included a collection of materials accumulated during the firm's six decades doing business in Southwest Florida. The idea for the Museum was so well-received by the firm's 500+ sales associates that when the call went out for volunteers to serve as docents, over 150 people responded.
Can't Miss Exhibits
The Museum, occupying about 800 square feet on Fifth Avenue, is designed to be an opportunity for everyone from locals and visitors to history buffs and those "just curious" to learn more the driving communities that shaped Southwest Florida. Wood adds about the Museum displays: "Almost everyone likes to learn about how different subdivisions occurred, and what prices used to be 25, or 50, or 100 years ago." JRW vintage real estate ads showcase those prices throughout the Museum on large placards. Another display features a Monopoly spinoff named WOODopoly.
"We recently added a new relic to our collection," tells Joyce. It is from 1887, and it is the first check written for a real estate transaction in Naples. It was for 24 lots for a whopping price of $240 total!" The Museum is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Its mission is "to preserve the past for generations to come," promises updates and new displays via signage, documents, photos, and videos for the Museum.
About John R. Wood Properties
John R. Wood Properties is the leading residential real estate brokerage in Southwest Florida, consistently holding the #1 position in closed sales volume. More than a local brand, they are a highly revered organization with over 60 years of industry and market experience offering best-in-class training and data resources for agents, broad international exposure to buyers, and highly-focused luxury marketing resources that drive results for sellers. John R. Wood Properties has over 550 real estate agents and actively serves Marco Island, Naples, Ave Maria, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Sanibel/Captiva Islands. For more information, visit www.JohnRWood.com.