A Recent consumer survey supports a new marketing strategy for real estate agents.

Written by Gary Jackson, Updated 11/01/2016

 


If you’re looking to grow your real estate agency, a recent study will provide an impetus for a new strategic direction.   According to a recent National Association of Realtors survey, while over 92% of all consumers utilize the internet to find real estate information, astoundingly, less than 7% choose an agent based on information found online.    This would suggest that regardless of how impressive the quantity and quality of real estate information on the internet, when it comes to converting prospects to clients, internet sites fail dramatically.
Currently, there is an enormous void that separates the process of finding information on real estate, from the process of choosing a real estate agent.  It's important to understand, this void did not exist prior to the internet.   This is a relatively new phenomenon.  Armed with this information, agents have a choice, they can ignore the numbers, and the rather alarming consumer disconnect that the internet has created, or they can use the information to formulate a cogent marketing strategy.

 

This is actually good news for the individual agent.

Practically everyone looking to buy or sell real estate, utilizes the internet.   If consumers could decide upon an agent based only on impersonal internet information, large internet companies would have a stranglehold on the market.   Most individual agents would likely be forced out.

 

Why consumers cannot choose an agent from information online.

The reason is simple:  Real estate is a relationship business.   Always has been, always will be.   Prior to the internet, consumers had to walk into a brick and mortar office in order to find information on the real estate market.   They would meet with an agent and discuss their needs.  In the course of conversation, an agent-client relationship would naturally begin to develop.   The prospect would begin to see the agent as their agent.
Today on the internet, every agent website features the same impersonal content that every other real estate site is providing.   The prospect has no tangible way to even select an agent to communicate with – let alone bond with one.

 

Most agents are generally aware of this issue, but haven't the foggiest idea how to address it.

Most agents understand they need to make personal connections with prospects.   However, with everything revolving around the internet, they’re just not sure how to accomplish it.   Some agents are employing some interesting tactics in the attempt to make some kind of personal connection with prospects via their website -  like the warm and fuzzy tactic - posing with their beloved pet, touching family portraits, folksy bios, etc.  Others take a direct approach - normally a plea within a mission statement which attempts to covey how uniquely special their agency is.

 

What agents should be doing.

The days when prospects needed to visit the local real estate office to find market information are gone.   Today consumers rarely afford the agent the initial time necessary for a relationship to develop.  Obviously, placing warm photos on your site and hoping prospects will magically choose you over all the competition, is not much of a strategy.  In reality, the best way to develop personal connections with prospects, is to provide uniquely personal information.  This truth is at the core of I-Square.

 

I-Square is designed to address the relationship issue.

I-Square can do the impossible - develop unique personal connections with prospects via a website experience.   The ability to create personalized content affords you the opportunity to rise above the din of the impersonal internet.   Because you are treating the prospect as a unique individual, your prospect can begin to see you as a unique professional.  That's how relationships begin.  With I-Square, you can give the prospect what they are really in need of - a unique personal reason to work with you.

 

Our recommendations on how to get more real estate prospects and grow your business.

Utilizing Social media and Search Engine Optimization is good – not great.
We realize we are bucking the trend here, but while social media campaigns and search engine optimization is good and you should be doing it, there are inherent limitations:

1.   The mega-sites will always dominate the search engine results.  They have the SEO dollars to control the top search result ranking positions.
2.   The ranking positions that matter on a search result page are severely limited.  Consumers rarely search past a search engine’s first result page.  If your business is not ranking on the first page, it may as well not be ranking at all.

Don’t get us wrong.  When it comes to social media and search engine optimization, I-Square may be the best tool you can find anywhere online.  While I-Square is one website for you, it can morph into any number of sites, each featuring unique personalized content.   These multiple sites can be powerfully used for a myriad of Social Media and SEO strategies that can lift your business to the first page of a specific search.  Even better, once a prospect connects with your site, they will not be served generic content that has little to do with the search engine specifics they typed in.  Instead, they will be greeted with your target specific real estate site, featuring content that exactly matches their search engine inquiry.   (See social media strategy for more information on this).  An excellent start, but you can do more, faster, by working more traditionally, off-line.

 

So what's the off-line game plan for getting more clients?

I-Square recommends employing an entirely new method to market and grow your business.   We recommend applying a few longstanding traditional sales techniques and combining them with new I-Square technology.
Start with the prospecting contacts you come across every day.    Get in the habit of collecting the email address of every potential client you come across.   In circumstances where you would normally hand out a business card, request an email address as well.

When conversing with contacts, listen closely, and probe to discover exactly what they are looking to accomplish, and what their challenges are.   Pay attention to discover issues and activities that are important to them. (For those that are not familiar, this is a fundamental concept of the sale.)  Let your contact know you will send them a link to a site specialized just for them, so you can do a better job understanding and servicing their needs.   Do the very same thing for any prospects you acquire online.   (Note: From the prospect's standpoint, this suggests a much higher level of service and expertise than "visit the generic website on my card".  Perhaps you're that special agent they were hoping for!)

Send the prospects that specialized I-Square.    Use the information you astutely gleaned from your initial conversation with the contact, to include content that is especially interesting and personal to them – even content that may have nothing to do with real estate.  This could be anything (e.g. information on schools, daycare, bike trails, golf courses, restaurants, gardening, recreation, site seeing, staging, financing, etc.)

You also want to use your I-Square to address various prospect groups.  Create specialized I-Square sites that more closely address the needs of: college students, renters, first time buyers, investors, military, empty nesters, just looking, etc.

 

Why are you doing this?

In short, you are jockeying for the inside track with your prospect by personalizing web content.   You are laying the foundations of an agent-client relationship.   You know prospects are viewing the real estate websites of countless agents.   Any content you can offer to a prospect that is unique and personal to that prospect, will separate you from the din of agent choices the prospect has online.  Remember, numbers don’t lie.   Over 93% of consumers cannot decide upon an agent based on impersonal information found online.  Consumers need some type of unique personal connection to an agent, in order to choose that agent.    You are aggressively attacking this issue.

 

Personalization sounds like a monumental task.

It would be a monumental if I-Square was a website – it’s not.   I-Square was created to make web content personalization and the management of multiple sites, ridiculously easy and fast.   You can literally create a uniquely personalized I-Square site and email it to a prospect in less than a minute!

 

Is there an online strategy for getting more clients?

Yes.  If you looking to win prospects that you have had no contact with, other than visiting your website, you will want to use our unique landing pages. Our landing pages do more than provide the expected real estate information.  Our landing pages make it possible to present what we call "lifestyle" questions to prospects.  Buying or selling a home is a major event.  Most prospects are experiencing an unsettling uprooting of their lives.  They undoubtedly have a few pressing personal concerns.  Lifestyle questions go to the myriad of personal issues and challenges that may have nothing to do with square footage - concerns that are personally important to the prospect.  Now an agent that is only interested in commission, would never bother with such.  However a friend, or someone who is especially thoughtful, would.  Because I-Square is so simple and fast, you can provide a new, winning level of personal attention and focus to each prospect, in a time effective manner.


No doubt about it.  Web content personalization is the future.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and others are already employing web content personalization.   Aggressively get after it, and watch your business grow.

 

For more real estate tips and strategies feel free to contact us.

I-Square.org
800 979-5801



About Gary Jackson

In 1996, Gary Jackson founded Justhealthplans.com in Tracy, CA.  JustHealthplans.com was one of the first companies to sell high volume health insurance online and has received top national sales awards from Blue Cross and Humana.
In 2007, Gary Jackson founded JHPInsite.com (which offers I-Square).  Jhpinsite.com is a national online website creation and "instant-quote" technology software company.  The technology is leased to insurance brokers throughout the country.  It is one of only a handful of companies authorized to represent the new Affordable Care Act Health plans on behalf of Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Humana, and others.
Gary is the son of Troy L. Jackson Jr. - a longstanding prominent real estate broker and national real estate sales trainer.