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Great Technology Emphasizes Great Agents – Not Replaces

Great Technology Emphasizes Great Agents – Not Replaces

It’s a topic covered exhaustively at every real estate conference, every coaching call, every new agent orientation: Technology is your friend, but it isn’t your replacement. New tools, apps, and systems can help you win more deals by making you more productive and engaged. But they can’t bridge the gap between a brand-new lead and the closing table.

What tech can do — and can’t do

We know that’s a strange thing to hear from a real estate technology company, but at SmartZip, we’re acutely aware of the advantages and constraints of technology.

Our predictive analytics can help you identify sellers from your farm and from your sphere. Our automated marketing campaigns can help you build your brand and identify selling intent from predicted prospects. Our mobile CheckIn app can help you find the right time to call, email or doorknock these top seller prospects. And, our Reach150 referral and testimonial management platform can help spread your great reputation around for more business.

Each component together or separately helps an agent and team free up their time to focus on developing a relationship with a prospect or feeding the relationship with a client. Technology can help warmup and organize your introduction but only you can start that communication. Only you can learn the personal and financial factors that may be motivating a seller, and only you can build a relationship of trust and shared goal-setting. And only you can win their business and ensure they get to the closing table safely and with all their needs met.

Keeping the agent at the center of the transaction

Can outreach and lead conversion be a hassle? Sure.

But if an app or system replaces the relationship-building of the industry, how long before it replaces agents altogether? That’s a reality that none of us want, and all of us have to fight against.

Instead, the focus should be on systems that organize and consolidate, tools that boost production and efficiency. Let the machines be machines and the agents be the human advocates for buying and selling real estate.

How can you make this happen? Here are our top four ways to ensure you pay for technology that solves real problems and avoid the tools or systems that over-promise and under-deliver.

1. Don’t pay for leads you won’t follow up with

Bulk leads can be enticing. Who doesn’t want to have a pipeline of 250 potential buyers to work with? But for the average agent, bulk leads present two main issues:

  • Any company with that many leads can’t possibly be vetting them, so the quality tends to be pretty low.
  • There’s just no way to follow up meaningfully with that many leads. And when you know the leads are low-quality, you won’t have much motivation to follow up anyway.

2. Don’t pay for a farm if you can’t go “all-in”

Farming isn’t something you can check off a list. It’s an all-encompassing strategy that should inform your marketing, outreach, events and community engagement.

And if you’re working with a company that promises to handle your farm’s marketing or seller lead generation but never mentions that you’ll also need to engage deeply in the area, beware! The leads are likely to be from FSBOs or Expireds that you could drum up yourself, and the marketing is likely just a mass-produced flyer sent to a local ZIP code.

At SmartZip, our SmartTargeting platform automates as much as possible — from predicting sellers to sending smarter, targeted marketing campaigns to those most likely to sell — but we also have outreach tools that help you close the gap with your top listing prospects.

We know that farming takes a combination of automation and real-life follow-up and we make it as easy as possible to hit those top targets at the right time.

3. Don’t buy lists that hundreds of agents have access to

Psssst, lean in close so we can tell you a secret: the vendors who offer “seller lead lists” are usually just condensing FSBO, Expired and Probate data into one place.

And when you contact sellers who have shown a specific “trigger” in county records — like taking their home on and off the market — you’ll usually find that they are bombarded with calls from eager agents who have the same data as you do. If a new tool or system makes you come off more like an ambulance chaser than a trusted professional, you may want to reconsider it.

4. Don’t pay for generalizations

We’ll let you in on a little secret: Building technology is a very specific process. To create a new tool or platform the parameters of the service have to be clearly defined upfront — and sold on the other side.

We’ve never been afraid to say that SmartTargeting was built primarily to help real estate agents win sellers identified by predictive algorithms. It’s our main focus, and the underlying features and offerings all support that focus.

If you’re speaking with a sales agent who speaks in generalized promises, and who can’t answer your questions with screenshots or a live demo, then be cautious about proceeding. The best tech companies know what their product is, but they also know what it isn’t. If the product is impressive enough to drive in real results, their sales team won’t be afraid to share its limits.

For more helpful tips from our partners at SmartZip, check out their blog!

7 Ways to Win More Listings Regardless of Market Conditions

7 Ways to Win More Listings Regardless of Market Conditions

A changing market, summer selling season, low inventory, high inventory, queasy economy, fluctuating interest rates… are all, without question, factors affecting your production potential. However, regardless of current conditions and circumstances beyond your control, the question remains, what can you do to find more sellers and get more listings?

Here are seven ways you can rise above the rest and win in any market

1. Create the ultimate customer experience: In today’s world, everyone has gone paperless, mobile and social. The more technology enabling easier communication the less connected we actually become. All the more reason to it roll back. By all means, establish a robust digital presence in your prospecting territory, and let clients know that you are accessible via email, phone, text and even Facebook message. And then, take it a step further. Back up your digital ads, social media posts, and emails with hand-written notes, cards and letters. It’s so unusual these days to find something personal in your mailbox. Be the one who does that and stand out. Make it personal. Then circle them back to your digital efforts. Give them a “don’t take it from me” challenge and lead them to your custom testimonial, and referral page. Peer opinions speak volumes. (see tip #6)

2. Go hyper-local: Content is still queen/king! That’s why creating a blog or content specifically to suit your market, and its residents are essential. Create significant content that serves your audience and make it relevant. Providing value is always a good idea. Whether you’re writing about housing trends, market updates, or the lunch spot downtown now serving the”impossible burger”. Make your content matter!

3. Employ the 80/20 rule: Focus on the Top 20%! It’s the classic Pareto Principle which states that “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.” If you could focus on those with the highest likelihood to sell, wouldn’t you drive your marketing efforts toward that specified group? Focusing your efforts on a set group of people not only helps your marketing budget, but it will make you a more efficient agent. It just makes sense to build deeper connections with a select few than shallow associations with many. There’s so much value in making yourself memorable and creating trust.

 

 

4. Predict & Target: The ability to predict homeowners who are most likely to sell and focus on them is key (see above)! Whether you get most of your business from your sphere and want to keep it that way. Or if you’re expanding your database with prospects in your farm knowing who to go after will tremendously impact the way you spend your time and effort.

5. Leverage current listings: Current listings help you shine! Advertising your clients’ listings is your best marketing tool. Employ circle marketing and target the geographical area surrounding your listing with “Just Listed mailers. Show your work in action. Give a sample of what you can do for them. Better yet, target the homeowners in the surrounding area showing signs of selling in the next 3-9 months.

6. Social Proof: Create your very own testimonial page and let prospects know how others feel about you. Reportedly 84% of consumers research products and services they are considering before they take the plunge. Make sure those researching you online not only FIND you but see the TRUE you. By creating a testimonial and referral page, you have control over your online presence. Ask your clients to write you a testimonial or refer you immediately upon the close of your transaction. Check out Reach150 and see how with one click you can request a testimonial. Far too often we overthink the request to a point where we put it off and then even let it go. You don’t need to do that. Make it easy on yourself and your clients to promote you. Quite honestly, your clients will love to praise you. However, they may need to be prompted. For whatever reason, the knee jerk reaction to leaving online and in person reviews is to share the negative. The positive stuff is too often kept to ourselves. Give your sphere the chance to share. They will feel good and so will you!

 

 

7. Think outside your comfort zone: Don’t be afraid to do things you’ve never done before. Not a door knocker? Well, picking up the phone is still a useful way to introduce yourself and foster relationships with prospects. But, foster, you must. So choose what fits your style. Alternatively, hire someone to do it for you.

Nurture not drip! Nurture means giving prospects relevant and contextual content, depending on where they are in their homeownership life cycle. Merely putting your brand in front of your prospects won’t get you where you need to be with your business, but sparking meaningful conversations will! Foster relationships with homeowners and establish trust. When the time is right, you will be the one they turn to.

Last note, have fun, remember why you went into this business in the first place and close more business!

For more helpful tips, visit the Smartzip blog!

Getting New Business From Old Clients

Getting New Business From Old Clients

We spend so much time talking about the importance of repeat business and referral business… but the reality is that MOST agents have still not come up with the right way to keep in touch naturally over the long-term. The result?

Will your clients hire you the next time you buy or sell your home? Are you sure?

After closing, 70% of sellers say they would “definitely” use their agent again — but only 25% of repeat buyers and sellers actually do.

We aren’t here to lecture you. Creating one client for life relationship is tricky enough, and aiming to keep in close touch with every client you’ve ever had is nearly impossible. Still, there are a few low key ways to ensure that you don’t break a bond that could end up paying off — both in business and in friendship — after you walk away from the closing table.

Below are four tactics you can employ to create more long-term, business-boosting client relationships.

1. Rank your clients

You ask for reviews and testimonials after you close, but do you ever bother to ask yourself how much YOU liked working with a client? If you want to focus on creating “clients for life,” then the first step is to wean out the clients who you have loved to work with. Not only will you be excited to keep in touch with them over the years, these people are also more likely to recommend other like-minded friends and family members to you in the future.

Consider adding a “Client Rapport” ranking to your CRM. After each closing, rank the client from 1-5. Anyone who scores at a 4 or 5 should be who you focus on as you create your “Client for Life” relationships.

2. Offer special treatment

You can continue to send the same refrigerator magnet to every person in your sphere but think about upping the ante for the “4 and 5-ranked” contacts in your database. Consider hosting a VIP wine and cheese event for past clients who love to mix and mingle, send young families a coupon to the local Six Flags, offer up a gift certificate to your past buyer’s new favorite neighborhood restaurant on the one-year anniversary of their home purchase.

By showing you care about them, remember their interests and are willing to spend money or time on them after the sale, you’ll be reinforcing a bond that can continue to grow even as you move further and further away from their initial transaction.

3. Watch for social cues and keep in touch with personal outreach

Many (and maybe even most) clients hire you as they are on the cusp of major life changes. Whether they are prepping to expand their family, downsizing after the kids move away or simply shifting to a neighborhood that better suits their long-term needs, the reason for their move can act as the primary way you keep in touch for the first few years after the sale.

Comment on their baby announcement on Facebook (or better yet, drop by with a branded swaddle blanket or onesie after they have settled into parenthood). Call to ask how their kids are enjoying the teachers in their new school. If you see that a coffee shop has opened up in their new condo building, ask if they would like to meet up for a cup of joe, then ask how they’re settling into their new neighborhood.

As the years go by and you get to know more about them than just their reason for moving, you can settle into a more natural conversation groove. But for the first few months or years after you work with them, don’t worry about focusing on the “safest” conversation topic around — their reason for moving (and hiring you) and how that decision is working out.

4. Give them an easy way to review and refer you

Many agents are afraid to ask for referrals directly because it can feel awkward and aggressive if not done in the right way. And while most have a way to generate testimonials or reviews, a lot of the platforms that promise to “syndicate” these reviews are clunky; they require an ironclad login and clients may feel turned off having to sign up for a site they never plan to use again. In the age of cybersecurity threats, not many people want to open up new accounts that require their email and other contact information.

When it comes to asking for reviews and referrals, it can be helpful for agents to ask for client feedback that:

  • Doesn’t require a login
  • Can be syndicated across the web
  • Can be used to generate a review, testimonial or one-to-one referral
  • Is sent on behalf of the agent, but doesn’t come directly from the agent’s email address

Agents who need such a service can peek at Reach150, a client feedback and referral management system from SmartZip. Reach150 is a low-key, no-nonsense way to automate your requests for referrals and reviews — and you can even turn your positive testimonials into marketing content to help win even more business over time. Get more details on Reach150 here.

For more helpful tips, visit the smartzip blog!