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Internet Consumers

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What Buyers and Sellers Want in 2013

October 24, 2013

Author: Diane Bravo, Director of Technical Training at Alain Pinel Realtors.
Do you know today’s home buyers and sellers expect from their real estate agent?

I recently attended a real estate conference in San Francisco, Inman Connect, where various types of home buyers were represented in a panel.  While listening to the seven panelists needs, common themes began emerging which I’ve classified into 10 categories.  If you take a look, you will see just a few simple things can WOW your clients if you choose to practice them.
10 Things the Modern Home Buyer and Seller Wants from their Agent 2013:

  1. Communication – Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Some of these panelists weren’t getting calls back from their agent for days.  Same day call back is a must, but within a shorter timeframe really shows a level of dedication that is appreciated by clients today.  Today more than ever, the early bird catches the worm.
  2. Professional Photos – Let’s face it, if the photos aren’t professional, the home is not being presented at its best. If you are a listing agent and are not displaying high-quality professional photos, you are behind the times.
  3. A Full-Time Agent –Every panelist wanted a full time real estate agent! Gone are the days when a part-time agent adds full service value. Buyers want agents who have the contacts, know the tools and have the time to commit and respond quickly.
  4. An Agent with a Smartphone – Some clients prefer a phone call, some an email, and almost the entire “y” generation wants a text!  Whoever you are and whatever your age, you need to know what your buyers prefer – and  they need to know you have the technology to communicate the way they want. This multi-generational home buyer group was tricky, but one thing they were sure about – no flip phones please.
  5. Teamwork & a Game Plan – These 2013 home buyers are ready and willing to pitch in and help with their search. All they want is a plan of attack, carefully assembled with their real estate agent. Not too much to ask, right?
  6. Pocket Listings – This may be specific to certain markets, but those who mentioned it like to feel they are getting the inside scoop.
  7. Quarterly Statistic Reports – While clients have access to lots of information on the internet, they want to get market reports from their agents.  Regardless of your technical skills, it can easily enough be done with an automated tool.  At APR, agents have access to weekly Altos Market Reports that can be sent automatically to their contact database.
  8. Weekly Inventory Newsletter – This may be the most time consuming of the lot and may pertain mostly to listing agents. The idea was to get a simple list of homes available, from all of the different sources the real estate agent has, combined into one communication. Sellers want to know what else is out there.
  9. Customized Service – This may sound complicated, but really it does not have to be. Know what they like to drink? Have it already in the car when you go to show them homes. One example that was given was an agent who arranged a private showing for the prospective buyer’s mother.  This meant the world to the buyer!
  10. Gifts – Oh, the gifts! Most favored gifts included show tickets, game tickets, expensive bottles of wine, or even dinner.  A dinner accompanied with their agent topped the list! If you’re giving your clients what they want, they will enjoy spending time with you – working or otherwise.

Are you giving your clients what they expect?

About Author:

Diane Bravo brings 20 years of technical training and implementation experience to Alain Pinel Realtors. In her current capacity as Director of Technical Training, she is responsible for helping all APR agents improve their business through the use of real estate software. Before moving to APR, Ms. Bravo worked for Integrated Device Technology as Business Systems Analyst.

Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights

ALERT: Google Yourself

October 17, 2012

Do you Google yourself?

For many of you (hopefully), the answer is of course.

If the answer is no – do it right now. What comes up? Does your LinkedIn? does your website? Does a negative review on Yelp come up?
In a previous entry, I talked about reputation and Yelp. However, Yelp is not the only place we show up. You need to be on top of everything that’s being said about you online. You need to know what photos are out there. You need to know if after Googling your name, someone is going to want to work with you.
I’m 26 years old. I grew up surrounded by the internet – so for me I Google everything:

  • In college, I Google’d my professors before signing up for classes.
  • I Google new restaurants before I eat anywhere (and if I can’t find a menu online, I’m disappointed).
  • I Google festivals and events before I decide if I want to go to them.
  • I Google’d TV’s before I chose one.
  • I Google’d dentists before choosing one.

This is normal. It is the new normal – and you better believe that your clients are Googling you. If they Google all these silly things before deciding what park to go to or what camera to purchase, when it comes to buying a home – an incredibly important event in life – they will be Googling their potential Realtors® before deciding on one.
Google provides an awesome tool that searches your name FOR you and helps you manage your online reputation. It’s called Google Alerts. You can set them up here:

What Google Alerts allows you to do is set up search words that Google will then search for you and email you the new results. You can choose what type of content you want it to search, how often to search, how many results you’d like to know about and what email you’d like the results to be sent to.
Name show up in the paper? You get an email alert. New review on Yelp? You get an email alert.
I use it everyday – I have multiple Google Alerts set up: for my name, for Alain Pinel Realtors, for my old employer, for my old boss, for my siblings, and more. This way, I’m always on top of the latest stuff that’s hitting the internet about me, my professional connections, and my family. It is the easiest way to begin proactively monitoring your online reputation.

Every PERSON, not just Realtors®, should have a Google Alert set up for their name or their business name.

If you don’t have it set up already GO NOW and do it. It takes seconds.

It isn’t fool-proof – you should still actively be Google yourself to see how different content about you is ranking in search results. Also, some site (personal profiles on Facebook, for example), block search engines from accessing them. However, setting up Google Alerts is the first step in beginning to have more control and awareness of your online reputation.

About Author:
Andrew Violante is the Social Media and Communications Coordinator at Alain Pinel Realtors where he oversees social media strategy and implementation for the brokerage. 

Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Sales Insights

Early Bird Gets the Lead

October 12, 2012

The evidence is in – when it comes to internet leads – the early birds gets the worm.
Often salespeople argue that if you’re a strong salesperson, even if you call a lead late, you’ll have a higher chance of closing a lead than someone who contacts them earlier – but so far, the evidence suggests otherwise. Internet consumers not only want, but expect almost immediate responses to their inquiries – and any response over 15 minutes greatly reduces the chance of closing that lead.
Let’s look at the internet consumer:

  • Internet consumers often submit 3-5 lead forms, creating multiple “leads” for multiple agents
  • In a 2011 California Association of Realtors survey of buyers, when asked why they chose their agent, responsiveness played a major role in two of the top five factors named:

What Determines How Buyers Chose Their Agent:
1. Most responsive (28%)
2. Worked with agent before (18%)
3. First to respond (17%)
4. Most agressive (16%)
5. Most knowledgeable (6%)

  •  Additionally, the CAR survey showed that 36% of buyers expected an instant response from agents on internet requests – and 96% expected a response within 4 hours
  • According to MIT*, the odds of contacting a lead more than 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 100 times. From 5 to 10 minutes the odds decrease by 5 times.
  • The first to contact a lead increases conversion 238%, speed of response is THE best predictor of a closed transaction
The statistics are clear – the modern internet consumer moves fast – and expects you do too. When they choose to submit any sort of lead from they want information right then. If you aren’t providing it for them, not only are those leads quickly dying, but they’re likely to be picked up by another agent. In that same CAR survey, 86% of leads felt that response time was “extremely important” when deciding their real estate agent.

While perhaps it’s true that not too long ago, a better salesperson could close a lead more frequently even if contacting a lead later – in this rapidly changing industry – that is not what consumers want. An easy way to increase your business and start closing more leads today is to decrease the waiting time before responding to leads. Every agent should make it their goal to respond to any lead within 15 minutes.
Photo Credit: Corn Exchange Clock Bristol (Rick Crowley) / CC BY-SA 2.0
* Research Study by James  Oldroyd, PHD, MIT, October 16, 2007