Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How much did that lead cost?

A lead is only as good as it’s qualifications. When you purchase a lead from an online lead aggregator you are generally buying the contact information of a stranger that was surfing the web and landed on a website that was offering something (comps report, information, a giveaway) in exchange for their contact information.

With that in mind, how valuable is this lead? Generally, leads collected in this fashion are just barely warmer than contact data taken from the phone book. Why then do some real estate agents find great value in these leads while others feel as if they have been robbed after buying a couple of months worth of leads? I think the answer lay more in the effectiveness of the agent’s prospecting engine and less in the value of the lead.

Statistically speaking, 20% of your local population will move within the next two years. This number varies depending on location in the country, but is generally consistent. Given that fact, if you have a good prospecting engine that continually contacts a group of people, 20% of them will eventually be primed to become clients. If you read the posts and attend the seminars and conference calls of different agents that teach the value of these online lead aggregators, their stories of success generally revolve around the system of follow up that they use after receiving the lead. These prospecting engines are immensely effective, but these agents don’t need to spend their money buying monthly lead lists to be effective. In listening to their stories, it is immediately apparent that they would be just as effective if they took a random sample of contacts out of the phone book and applied their systems.

So what is the takeaway from these observations? Invest in yourself. Spend money on your own prospecting engine and develop systems that will make your list of contacts completely aware of your value proposition. Use different marketing tools to touch the same contact over and over until they become a client. You don’t necessarily need to buy leads to be successful. Invest in your own lead generation system and enjoy a continual stream of clients.

As a final note, we at 4MySales.com strive to give agents as many different marketing tools as possible to use in their own prospecting engines. If there are additional methods that you have found effective in attracting listings, please let us know.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New differentiator becomes new construction

I was reading a Realty Times article this morning about a company that has included new construction listings in their web search. Now their visitors can search the MLS from their site and also find out about new construction in their area. Here is the link to the article. The focus is on how this great new feature is going to differentiate the company’s services from their competition.

Now the company in question HER Real Living has more available resources than the average REALTOR®. However, there are some easy ways to incorporate a new construction section into your own site as a value-added feature for your visitors.

It is not hard to find out who is building in your general area. If you want to incorporate a new construction into your site, simply locate these builders and get a copy of their floorplans, locations and their marketing descriptions of their projects. Depending on the type of relationship that you propose, you may even be able to get them to subsidize part of your web costs. After you have their information, plug the data into a google map API (you may need the assistance of a web programmer to do this work) and link embed it in your site. Obviously, the back end work of programming and functionality is a larger project than just gathering the data, but it may be worth the investment as you expand your product offering to your clients.

BN at 4MySales.com A Simple System to Close More Sales

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blog marketing consultant for real estate agents

I had an interesting conversation with one of the principals of www.realestateblogmarketing.com today. They have a very intriguing approach to the field of online marketing. The company, Real Estate Blog Marketing, custom develops blog websites for their customers. These customized blogs are search engine optimized to increase the chance of higher search engine rankings for specific keywords. The company then helps their customer to increase their search engine ranking with the blog.

In discussions with this gentleman I learned that content is still the responsibility of the client. However, they do have a small ghost writing service if needed. However, their primary value proposition is that they feel that they can help increase the online visibility of your blog and its subsequent search engine ranking.

This is actually the first that I have heard about this type of service, where blog consultants help you increase visibility of your blog. This is a relatively new type of marketing service, and I found it interesting that they chose real estate as their niche. I’ll do a bit more investigating and keep you posted…

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Great example of a good prospecting engine

I am always on the lookout for great prospecting engines to highlight and to learn from. In reading one of my favorite blogs, I came across a summary from an training phone call that was hosted by Claudia Wicks of Agent CEO and presented by Dan Volker. The system that Dan uses and described in his conference call is the very essence of an effective prospecting engine. Here is the direct link to the Agent CEO post, but some of the high points are described as follows:

“* He takes a picture of every prospect property and any FSBOs he finds
along the way; creates a flier for the home and includes in the pre-listing
* Every prospect, whether from HouseValues or a FSBO, gets the same high
quality pre-listing packet.
* Every buyer is set up to receive listings automatically via email.
* Buyers from open houses are asked to tour the house prior to asking them
to sign in; this puts the buyers more at ease, and gives them a better idea of
what they are looking for.
* Buyers from open houses are asked if they would like to receive listings
via email; if so, Dan gathers criteria and price range, and does not ask for
phone numbers at this time.
* Dan trains buyers to drive to properties they like that they see online
before actually showing the properties so they can eliminate a lot of needless

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blogging for Money AND Realty Clients? Really?

I was reading an article in Business 2.0 magazine that details the explosion in online ad placement in Blogging. The article details a few web blogs, fark.com gizmodo.com, etc that have hundreds of thousands of page views each and every month. It turns out that advertisers have found the niche that effective blogs serve. They target a very specific demographic in a format that viewers are open to receiving messages in. The article goes on to say that people now spend more time on the net than they do watching TV. As a result, marketers are having to shift their ad spend to online mediums such as blogs.
Here is the link to the online article: Blogging For Big Bucks

So what does this mean to you as a REALTOR? Well, first and foremost it means that you need a blog to get noticed in cyberspace. It also means that blogs are no longer just hobbies or unique tools for techies. If large branding companies like NIKE and Banana Republic are making heavy ad spends on popular blogs, mainstream acceptance of the medium is already upon us. Your clients are now reading blogs as part of their daily routine. At least one of those blogs should be yours.

It also means that if you are good at expressing your views and have the ability to attract leads within your community you may also be able to supplement your income by selling ad space on your blog. Your blog should be a great tool to attract perspective buyers and sellers, but by serving your specific niche, you end up speaking to a select group of people that are not only yours, but potentially a number of other companies’ clients. These companies may pay you just to put a banner advertisement on your blog.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ralph Roberts 101 Reasons to Blog about Real Estate

Ralph Roberts posted an exceptional article on RealtyTimes on what blogging has done for his life, his mortgage business, and his notoriety as an expert on mortgage fraud. Ralph’s article, 101 reasons to blog demonstrates how important this new medium is and why you must have your own blog if you are a real estate agent trying to generate sales. The blog is a forum that serves a number of purposes in your community. It establishes you as a professional and expert in your field. It allows your prospects to understand a bit about who you are as a persona, and in Ralph’s case, it has led to international fame and fortune. Here is the link to his article. Please read it at your leisure.

4MySales.com A Simple System to Close More Sales

Friday, August 18, 2006

Search engines to get real estate listings, PPC or SEO?

The search engine industry now tops a billion dollars and the market cap of Google is enormous. All of this simply because every one of us wants to be the first on the list when a potential client types in the words real estate. The search engine market is making a fortune and the two most prominent sources of revenue are PPC (pay per click) and SEO (search engine optimization) advertising. With all of that money at stake, and your entire marketing budget on the line, how do you get a good rank on the search engines, but not waste a fortune trying to collect just a few listing leads?

I am continually asking myself that question and wanted to share with you a few online rules that I currently live by. To get a better rank on search engines (primarily Google) I try to adhere to the following guidelines:

1) Update the site with pertinent content on a routine basis. Websites get scanned by search engines several times per week and they seem to give more emphasis on sites that have varied content.

2) Well placed search terms. Have you noticed lately that if you type in a specific search term in google now the information fed back usually has a variation on the phrase that you typed in? Very rarely does it ever return a site with the exact phrase in the keywords of the site.

3) A lot of backlinks. I read a few months ago that Google now penalizes sites that have large link directories with reciprocal links. Conversely, I also heard that they give points to sites that have a lot of other sites referencing it; especially .org and .gov sites.

For search engine optimization, these are the guidelines that I currently live by. For Pay Per Click advertising, I spend a lot more time trying to calculate my return on investment. I pick terms that are relevant, generate traffic, but are not expensive. If you go the straight “real estate” route for a search term, you could pay over $2.00 per visitor. That’s two dollars just to get a person to your site. In the best sites, there is only a 30% chance that the visitor is a prospective client, and only a 5% chance that they will submit to you any data. If you look at it from a cost per lead standpoint, it is $40.00 per lead if your website is completely optimized. For most of us, a 2% response per visitor is exceptional. Therefore a $2.00 per click search term actually costs you $100 per lead. A little too rich for my blood.

-Barrett N.
4MySales.com A Simple System to Close More Sales

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where REALTORS® Learn Their Trade

I must admit that most of my knowledge for the last five years has been derived from three mediums: Internet, Magazines and Television. By far, the most knowledge that I have gained has been by learning from peers online. Articles, forums, discussion groups, blogs and virtual networks have all proven to be exceptional resources to gain expertise in many aspects of the real estate industry. In addition, recent advancements in technology and online social networks have increased access and adoption of information.

I know you’re asking yourself why this is important, and the simple answer is that it reflects how all of us learn our trade and apply technology to our business. For REALTORS®, access to guidance and information is more abundant than ever before. In the past, when you became a real estate agent it meant aligning yourself with a broker and going out into the world, unarmed, to sell. Once in a while you would have access to a meeting of your peers at a local or national association meeting, but other than that you were left to your own devices to learn the secrets of success in this industry. With very little feedback or guidance, you were left in isolation to make a living.

Those days of relative isolation are now long gone thanks to the tools that are now available to every real estate agent. Online Professional Networks like ActiveRain.com provide agents with a tool to network and learn from their peers. In addition, specialized real estate forums provide REALTORS® with access to discussions that focus on their specific interests. Forum sites such as Real Estate Webmasters or Agents Online feature a variety of discussions to help agents explore their own businesses and how to make them better. Finally, the NAR website has some exceptional tools to help individual REALTRS® as well as guide the industry.

So what does this mean? If nothing else, you now have access to the tools that will make you a more successful agent. If you haven’t already, sign up with ActiveRain.com and touch base with your peers. We are all in the same boat and this is an excellent tool to network and find the best practices that will work with you. In addition, stop by the Agents Online site and see if any of the discussions resonate with your areas of interest. If you are really into getting the most out of your web promotion, check out the Real estate webmasters. Finally, if you have not spent any time on the National Association of REALTORS® website, it is time to take advantage of the tools that it has to offer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Broker Agent News Published My Prospecting Article

I am very excited this because one of my articles is being published in in Broker Agent News this week. The topic of the article is Prospecting Engines, which I have tried a few times to explain on this blog, but ended up getting sidetracked. Anyway, I am very excited about the article, even if they did not capitalize REALTOR® in the text. Check it out and let me know what you think. It does explain in detail what a propsecting engine is.

Full Article Here

Prospecting Engines: Secrets of Top Producing Agents
By Barrett Niehus
Out of 100 people, one will be ready to use your services right now. Twenty will need your help within the next two years, and fifty will need your help within the next five years. Unsuccessful agents spend all of their time and money trying to find that one person. Many agents do this, and they end up overworked, underpaid, and eventually they leave the industry…
continue reading

Activities to Focus on in a Changing Real Estate Market

1) Increase your number of listings immediately. The days of having five listings and expecting to sell each property within the month are gone. You need more volume to stay in business.

2) Referrals and Repeat Clients. It is a lot less expensive to close an existing client than it is to find a new one. If you haven’t been in touch with your past clients in a while, it may be worth a phone call. They may not be in the market to move now, but may be in the near future. Also, they are a great source of referrals.

3) Focus on new niches. A few fairly non-competitive niches are served well by a handful of agents that make their entire business in these small spaces. Maybe it is time to evaluate if they fit your particular skill set. Establish relationships with divorce attorneys, bank loss mitigation departments, and assisted living communities. People move for a variety of reasons, and it is much better to have the good services of a professional REALTOR® than vultures that are out to make a buck on the backs of other people’s suffering.

4) Expand your service offering. Real estate is a complex and convoluted business. This means that there is money to be made servicing a lot of different areas and aspects. You may want to consider adding FSBO consulting and documentation management services to your value proposition. You may be very good a home staging and willing to consult in this capacity.

5) Develop a new plan. The market has shifted and it is time to re-evaluate your business and marketing plan and make adjustments that will be needed to ensure your longevity.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Thoughts on how to sell in this changing market.

lWe’ve all seen it. The market has shifted and houses are sitting on the market for a lot longer. Those houses that are selling are aggressively priced and sellers are motivated not to follow the market down.

I was thinking about how this affects a strategy that has been very effective in more stable markets. The strategy is to maximize the amount of exposure a property has instead of consistently reducing the price in order to get a sale and maintain commission. In a normal market this translated into pricing the property above market value and offering a commission premium on the property. We all know that regardless of perception, higher commission offerings get more showings which translates into more exposure to potential buyers.

Now what does this mean for the new declining market? My initial thought would be to change tactics and price the property to at, or just below, the median market value and boost the commission to above the standard six percent. Higher commission properties are still going to get more exposure than properties with discounted commissions. Your client will still get their target price and should not have to discount the property multiple times to get it to move…. Please give me your thoughts and feedback on this tactic.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Realty Biz Coach Marketing Advice

While searching the web this afternoon, I came across RealtyBizCoach. Their website is primarily a blog, but it deals with the various aspects of real estate marketing. Their most recent post:

Why Should I Choose You?
What makes you different from other agents? It's not your logo or catchy tagline. Here's how to meaningfully differentiate yourself.
Read More posted 8/3/2006 4:48:08 PM

Really caught my eye.

Cheers-Barrett 4MySales.com

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Back to the Real Estate Prospecting Engine

Take this example. You advertise one of your listings in the local PennySaver. You get a phone call from a potential client from the ad. The prospect asks you about the property and after your second sentence indicates that the property is not for you. You try to garner a prospect from the call by offering to mail the caller a free report on the ten things that every homeowner must know before they buy a home. Reluctantly, the prospect agrees to accept the report, but makes it clear that they are just “feeling out the market right now” and are not going to buy a home any time soon.

You send out the report the next day and follow up in a week to make sure that the prospect received the report. He says he did, thanks you for the data, but once again indicates that he is currently just kicking tires. During the discussion, you find out that he does have a stable job, owns a condo, and may someday move into a house, but has no immediate plans to take action. Once again, just kicking tires.

Now at this point, this caller is a moderately warm lead, but it may be some time before he is ready to take the plunge and buy a home. Instead of just letting him get away, or putting him on the monthly newsletter, make sure that he is touched often enough that he remembers you and will end up with you as his REALTOR.

Feed this prospect into your prospecting engine. Put him in the system so that once a month he receives your newsletter. Every other week make sure he receives your email updates, and if your MLS has the ability to send periodic listings that fit his need, sign him up for it. Ask if it would be okay to send him periodic market updates and add him to that distribution list as well. Finally, follow up every three of four months to re-qualify him and evaluate if he is ready to become your client. Chances are eventually he will

BN – 4MySales.com

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back to the outrage

I had posted a few days ago about the two border patrol agents that are facing a 20 year prison sentence because the US government sanctioned a drug smuggler and gave him amnesty so that he could testify against the agent. Well, Lou Dobbs on CNN featured the story last evening and I am asking anybody out there that can get a copy of the video to post it on YouTube and forward it to their friends and network so that the rest of America can become aware of this issue.

Separately, I found the Friends Of The Border Patrol webpage and they have directions and instructions on how to offer support for these two officers that are facing prison because they were trying to keep drugs off of our streets. The link to the Border Patrol Web Page is here

Articles and Key Info
To read the Exclusive Nacho Ramos interview by Sara Carter of the Daily Bulletin click HERE... To read the follow-up story by Sara Carter click HERE...
To read Andy Ramirez' letter requesting help for Agents Ramos and Compean click HERE...
To read the joint press release by FBP and Mrs. Ramos click HERE...
To read the DHS/CBP table of penalties agents face, click HERE...

Time to add video to your blog!

It’s time to add a VBLOG!!!! So we are all familiar with blogging as a great tool to generate leads and stay in touch with your community. Well, we have found the next step and should be able to implement it pretty easily. The concept is a VBLOG and essentially it is adding video commentary to your blog and giving your visitors the tools to add the same. I came across this company this morning and their service seems pretty compelling. Essentially, it is a flash plugin (most of us have flash and java already on our computers) that interfaces with your webcam (okay, most REALTORS® don’t have webcams yet, but explore the opportunity before passing judgement) and allows you to create and post a video message with only two or three clicks.

So what does this mean?

Well, you have your blog, you are playing with podcasts. Now you can add video messages to your blog to increase your “brand identity” with your clients. For the next step, you can allow your clients and visitors to record and post their own video commentary. Obviously, this creates a great opportunity to generate a personal relationship with a prospective client which may in fact lead to a listing and sale. The link to the vblog service provide is here If we can figure out how userpalane does it, we will implement a similar technology with 4MySales.com

Thursday, August 10, 2006

History of the blog and RSS feeds

This blogging phenomena is quickly becoming the marketing wave of the future. If you are a real estate agent and do not currently have your own blog, it is time to jump on the bandwagon… In fact 4MySales includes it as part of their services. Regardless, where did it all come from, why the rapid growth and what is next?

On of my favorite marketing newsletters, MarketingProfs http://www.marketingprofs.com/6/hill1.asp , has a great article by Brent Hill that gives insight into the history and future of blogging and RSS feeds.

Check out Brent’s article and the MarketingProfs website here

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

As an American Citizen, I am OUTRAGED!!!

Have you heard about this news story? Two border patrol agents in Texas HAVE BEEN CONVICTED and are facing twenty years in prison for CHASING a drug smuggler that had 800 pounds of marijuana on the border. The two agents chased a drug smuggler at the border and when they tried to detain the smuggler, a scuffle ensued and shots were fired. The smuggler escaped across the border into Mexico and disappeared.


Your American government tracked the smuggler down in Mexico and offered him amnesty if he would return to the United States and testify against the two border patrol agents. The drug dealer's testimony was what convinced the judge to convict these two officers.

The complete story is here: http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_4141562

The two officers: Border Patrol Agent Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean were CHARGED WITH VIOLATING FEDERAL BORDER POLICY BECAUSE THEY CHASED THE DRUG SMUGGLER!!!

Please read the article, and please WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN, Local legislators, state assembly, and the President if you feel that it is not right that these two officers are facing prison because they tried to ENFORCE THE SAFETY OF OUR BORDERS, and that our GOVERNMENT SPONSORED THE DRUG SMUGGLER AND OFFERED HIM AMNESTY so that he could come to the United States to testify against the officers.

For me, I am writing every politician that I know about, and using both email and the US post office. THIS WILL NOT STAND IN A COUNTRY where my taxes are supposed to go to keep me safe, not to sponsor drug trafficking!

Email the White House and Vice President about your feelings on this topic: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Email your local congressman: http://www.webslingerz.com/jhoffman/congress-email.html

Email your elected officials: http://www.firstgov.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

FINALLY, EMAIL THE BORDER PATROL: http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/press_officers/us_border_patrol_sectors.xml

Back to school niche marketing for real estate agents

Stephen O’Hara had a great article today in Broker Agent news about an interesting niche that is probably un-served by most communities and may be a great opportunity for other real estate agents. Stephen asserts that by focusing on relocating parents and aligning himself with the Parent Relocation Council, Inc. (PRC) http://www.schoolfolks.com/ he has been able to attract a steady stream of clients that are relocating to the area and want to know about resources for their children. By being able to provide information and access about local schools and more community detail, Stephen has managed to create a unique and differentiated niche in his community. He describes how his relocation and community knowledge has set him apart from his competition:

“Consider this scenario...I am making a listing
presentation and my local competition has already pitched their services - how
do I make me, and my presentation stand out from the crowd? The other agents are
also professional, well qualified, affiliated with a national branded company,
they offer all the same bells and whistles as I can, but with one significant
difference - they don't have in their pocket a segment of buyers that no one
else has...the relocating families who I have access to through the PRC program.
I always suggest to my prospective clients that the most important question they
should be asking is "what can you offer me that the other agents cannot?" and
then by presenting myself as a relocation expert, I answer that question by
demonstrating how I can expose the seller's home to more buyers.

While relocating clients are a small piece of my
overall production volume, as a top listing agent I use my exclusive access to
PRC relocation buyers to give me a position with sellers other agents simply do
not have.”

Please read Stephen's entire article here.

I have checked out the http://www.schoolfolks.com/ website, and it looks like a great tool. We just need to find out what type of traffic and draw it has.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Podcasts for REALTORS®

While it is true that blogs are a great tool to promote your real estate business and increase search engine rankings; podcasts can be an un-tapped marketing gold mine. Podcasts are audio or video recordings that can be syndicated and downloaded to any computer, MP3 or Ipod www.itunes.com for playback at a later date. These tools are no longer just for creating music and video play lists. Now various schools and universities use podcasts to record entire lectures for student playback and review.

So what does this mean to me, and more importantly, what should this mean to you? Essentially for a real estate agent, it is a way to talk to as many clients as possible and help these clients to feel like they know you on a personal level. Now REALTORS® can create podcasts to update their community on the market, community events, special services, news, opinion, and anything else that will bring clients to your door. To make this even easier, 4MySales.com will be rolling out a new feature that allows real estate agents to quickly record and post podcasts by the push of two buttons on their webpage. All the agent will need is a microphone that they can plug into their computer. In addition, after the agent records their podcast, they can announce it to their entire contact list, embed it in an email message, and post it to other websites for syndication and distribution.

Please leave comments and suggestions on what you would like to see in this new tool so that we can make sure to have as many useful bells and whistles as possible.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Using technology to expand your market

I was reading this article in MarketingProfs.com and found it to be a great explanation about how technology is changing how the value chain is perceived. The article is specifically about when two related technologies are bundled together to create a separate and new value-added product. The techy-term for this is a mashup. We just call it Zillow, Trulia, House-Values, 4MySales, or any other firm that uses available technology to create new and useful products for clients.

Here is a link to the article: Article Here
The description of the change in value chain structure is worth reading:

“Think back to the 80's and early 90's. The value chain examples used back then were Dell and Intel. Value was created in what seems a linear fashion. First a product was designed, then parts purchased, then manufactured, then marketed, sold and delivered. The one who could own the full design to delivery could generate most customer value. The goal in optimization back then was to look at how to get good customer insights early in the process, because you needed a long ramp to get to market.

In the mashup world, one company doesn't have to innovate all the development pieces. In fact, the idea isn't to think about the value as the "thing," such as a computer, is. Instead, customer value can become really about the usage of what someone needs.

In the new era, different parts of the value chain can operate as silos. Let's use a non-technology example. Safeway, a grocery chain, might think they are in the business of supplying groceries, and possibly meals. But the reality is that they are one part of a larger effort. Those who are going to throw a dinner party might use Evite to generate a list of guests and gather RSVPs, and they might use Microsoft Excel to put together the recipes and calculate the recipe sizes. Effectively, they would go offline to plan the meal. Then they would use Safeway to buy the food. Another part of the value chain is to clean the house (if you're into that kind of thing), cook the meal, and serve the meal. There is no one company in the chain that thinks of itself as serving this unique value chain. But the customers have a unique value chain they must assemble for themselves. Through mashups, it could be possible for Evite to link to recipes and recalculate the supplies needed based on RSVPs, and then generate a shopping list and complete the solution.

And that is the big idea. Through mashups, any one company can link easily to other parts of the chain. If Evite ends up delivering the full "party creation value chain," then Safeway could be circumvented. Any part of the value chain can end up connecting the dots for the customer and thus create the value the customer is truly trying to generate.

And disruptive as the idea of getting displaced by adjunct businesses is, know that parts of the value chain can be "free" and supplemented by the economics of another. Effectively, it's become a "mosquito world." Mosquitoes could surround the dinosaur's revenue stream, draining it of its nutrients. We don't have to go too far down the path to see the dinosaur being killed by mosquitoes that can survive and thrive on 10% (or less) of the dinosaur's take. “

Cheers – 4MySales.com

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good insight into the real estate bubble

I have continually maintained that the concept of the real estate bubble is relative. In areas of significant over-inflation a price correction is inevitable. Conversely, in areas where there is still economic growth, new jobs and people moving in, housing prices will continue to rise. Think of it as regional supply and demand; economics 101 without the real world caveats.

With that in mind, Al Heavens posted a great article in Realty Times today about the cyclical trend of real estate. A link to his article is here. Al makes a compelling argument that this is merely another part of a continual cycle:

“Real estate is cyclical, and, whether booming or slowing (the official housing industry word is "normalizing"), it, too, will pass.”

In my personal experience, the real estate industry cycles over a ten to twelve year period. How did I reach this conclusion? Just look at housing prices are rates of change over the past sixty years.

So now that prices have shifted, it is time to adjust real estate agent marketing strategies to take advantage of the shift in the market. More on this at a later data.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Real estate agent personal branding

We will explore the topic of creating a personal brand in depth at a later date. However, here is a great outline by Robin Good that details the features and the importance of using your personal brand to set yourself apart. Why is a personal brand important? What comes to mind when you hear the names Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, or Steven Covy? These gentlemen mastered the concept of personal branding.

A link to Robin’s branding blog can be found here:

REALTOR® marketing continued

Okay, so to continue with the topic of prospecting engines and real estate marketing. As stated below, it is a system or tool that leverages technology to maintain continual contact with prospective clients so that you are the first person that they call when the need a real estate agent. The difference between using this type of system and the activities of most agents is that most agents do not have a system to expose the same prospect to the same message using different mediums.

If we go back to our example of 100 random people and the seventy one prospective clients; most real estate agents will use individual marketing tools to touch all of those clients only once. Thirty out of the 100 will receive a piece of direct mail, another 15 will receive an email. Twenty will most likely receive a door hanger and six will receive a magnet or pad of paper. My point is simply that most real estate agents approach each marketing endeavor as a separate and isolated event. They touch a prospect very few times and almost never using different mediums. As a result, the typical real estate agent’s return on marketing investment is miserable. Obviously, if a real estate agent takes this approach to attracting clients, they will spend a lot of money, waste a lot of time, and end up leaving this great industry poor and frustrated.

So what’s the point? Well, the point is to create a system so that all 100 of those prospects receive a periodic and consistent message from the real estate agent through a variety of mediums. As their exposure grows, so does their familiarity with the agent and the value proposition that the agent puts forth. After a time, they will be able to recall the agent’s name, and the niche that the real estate agent serves by wrote. Now it’s only a matter of time before the prospect becomes a client.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For all of us that use technology to drive business and secure leads

This is a great NAR report on the use of technology by real estate agents to generate leads and manage their business: http://www.realtor.org/CRTWeb.nsf/files/2006_REALTOR_Technology_Survey_Final.pdf/$FILE/2006_REALTOR_Technology_Survey_Final.pdf

A change of tactics for real estate agents and marketing approaches

Robert DeNiro’s character in the movie Wag the Dog observed “well, I saw it on TV, it must be true.” With that sentiment, the Today Show this morning announced that the real estate market has officially slowed down. The link to their segment is here:
During their program this morning, Matt Lauer had a representative from NAR and a New York broker to address questions about what home sellers and buyers need to do to prepare for the shift in the market. However, the message of the piece was very clear; it is no longer a sellers market.

What does this mean for the average real estate agent and their marketing tactics? Well, it is time to shift gears and re-balance the number of listings and prospective buyers that they have. In addition, it is time to take steps to explicitly manage client expectations. Listing presentations should include expected timeline versus pricing charts so that the client can understand how long they will hold the property for a given pricing premium.
Manage client expectations up front and continually through the process in this changing market as the number of expired listings is growing daily… Expired listings, now there is a growing opportunity for new business.