A few thoughts from last night’s social media conference I had the great honor of being a part of last night. While there was the usual rant on Facebook and the usual suspects there were a few points that stuck in my mind and that I wanted to share-
- The main message of the conference was that the paradigm for marketing is changing. You can no longer keep “bankers hours” and expect your clients to come to you when it is convenient to you. Real estate has always been a 24 hour job and now that has become the rule and not the exception in most business. Make sure your clients know that you are available for them in the parameters that you are willing to speak with them- If you close up shop at 10:00 PM let them know that hopefully they will respect your boundaries.
- One of the panelists (an academic in social media) mentioned that his college students think of Facebook as old fashioned- when they asked him about a change in the class schedule he mentioned that he posted it on Facebook and the student replied –oh there!-(with eyes rolling) for them that is like the yellow pages to us- it’s what our parents use to communicate. While this may not be your market right now it is where the market is going. They won’t read a paragraph when a sentence will do and if you can make that sentence 140 characters the better. If this isn’t your market it will be- you aren’t a member of Top 5 because you are behind the curve but because you are out in front of it and this is what is coming.
- Consistency is a huge part of social media as well as knowing your audience. Top 5 provides RSS feeds for you to post information to your Facebook page- twitter account and linked in page automatically. Is that the most personal way to greet your sphere of influence, probably not but is it keeping your face out there every day with something relevant and timely to say? Yes it is. So why not have an rss feed posting to your social media outlet on a daily basis and perhaps once a week you take one of the articles you receive as a member of Top 5 and post it to your social media outlets adding your personal comments or hyper localizing the content. Your new goal is not to make a sale but to build a relationship and that like a cathedral takes time to build and can’t be destroyed in a day.
- It’s great that you are posting to social media but you need to make sure that you listen as well as talk. There is an old saying that you have two ears and only mouth as you should listen twice as much as you speak. Social media is a great tool for talking but a better tool for listening to what your clients need and want and positioning yourself to listen to their concerns and respond.
- Many people think visually- they may not Google you by your name but by the images connected to your name. Make sure that every image that you post to the web has your name or your brand attached. In this way whenever someone searches for your brand they will not only see your postings they will see the images as well as the content you provide. Will that help to increase your SEO- of course, but then it’s not about SEO – is its- it’s about being there for your clients – of course new clients can’t find you if they don’t know your there…..
As they say the only thing that stays the same is change – and the best way to be ready for change is to be informed. Keep curious and stay in the game!
You need to start embracing the power of mobile advertising. Smartphone and tablet use are on the rise, and mobile is proving to be the best way to reach customers and get them to take action. Plus, since most consumers are using smartphone and tablets, they’re able to gain more information while on the go, perhaps while they are standing in front of your listing. Look at these statistics and see if Mobile Marketing is something you can ignore.
- Adults spend more time accessing media through a mobile device than they do with magazines and newspapers combined.
- The average response time to an email is 90 minutes. The average response time to a text message is 90 seconds.
- 1 out of every 6 smartphone users will scan a barcode to learn more information..61% of smartphone users use their smartphone to make local searches.
- By 2015, more people will access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet than a PC.
- In 2011, the use of mobile devices to read emails increased by 34% while the use of desktop PCs to read emails went down by 11%.
- In 2011, 7.8 trillion text messages were sent.
- 8.91% of smartphone owners have their phone within 3 feet at all times.
- The average person will wait 26 hours before reporting a lost wallet. The average person will wait 68 minutes before reporting a lost phone.
- 62% of smartphone owners will use a search engine at least once every day.
- 59% of consumers have been influenced by a mobile advertisement.
As Verl Workman is fond of saying marketing today is a beauty contest and a price war and you have to win both- Here is a great tool to help you win the beauty contest -Google Business Photos.
This is essentially the same as Street View technology used in streets around the world - for your listing. You can create a high-quality, interactive, 360-degree experience for your listing inside or out. For a quick example clickhere.
Users can now simply drag and drop an orange Pegman on the Map, on a business with available interior photos. Businesses participating in the program are indicated by small orange circles on the map.
Doing so allows users to see a 360° panoramic view inside the listing. It’s like a virtual walk through that can bring your listing to life on line. This could be either the interior of the property or a walk around the exterior. The process is simple. You can join the program by hiring a Trusted Photographer to shoot the interior of your listing. They are located around the country and you can search Google’s database of Trusted Photographers, orsubmit a requestif none are available in your area.
Using this tool your clients can walk around, explore, and interact with your listing like never before. Not only does this tool allow you to show people more of your property on line it allows more people to find your property on line. These images appear on Google searches, Google Maps, and Google+ Local, and you can easily embed Street View on your own website, social media pages, and more!
For more information try http://maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos/index.html
You know that one of the highest complements you can receive is a referral from a former client who sees not only the great job but the value of your experience and expertise. Here are five tips to help you harness the power of social referrals; so that you can tap into a new, high-value marketing channel.
1. Make it easy - for clients to share your services with their friends. Include relevant sharing options (email, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.).
2. Promote across channels - Leverage your social media networks, —Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.—to request referrals and encourage a high participation rate.
3. Increase participation with incentives - Give your referral network a compelling reason to share with their friends. This could be gift cards or charitable donations.
4. Make it personal - Providing a simple, personalized experience for referred friends ensures the highest level of trust and engagement. Ensure that your messages and landing pages are personalized, concise and have a clear call to action.
5. Use a Press Release - and send a Thank you note. Attached is the text of a Thank you note that you can cut and paste and send to former clients, reminding them of the great service that they received from you. Feel free to customize this letter- it can be used with or without a press release.
Social media gives you an enormous opportunity to foster your former clients to create an incredibly powerful marketing channel for referrals. Make sure you have all the success tools you need to make the most of this powerful marketing tool!
About a week ago, I had a young couple looking to buy their very first home come interview me. I was quite impressed they were actually doing an in-depth interview to find the right agent to represent them in such an important transaction. It was a welcome surprise, and brought back memories of my experience with a consumer focus group that NAR had me observe. Those buyers had realized they hadn’t interviewed potential representation and had simply gone with the first agent they met.
I was really impressed with the preparation that this couple had put in to asking the right questions. We spent almost an hour together and I enjoyed every minute of it. One of their questions was of particular interest to me. They asked me if I was willing to give up some of my commission if they found the home they wanted to buy on their own and I just handled negotiations and contracts. I explained to them that I was not willing to do that. I told them that where I earn every penny of my commission is in the negotiations, the contracts and in protecting them throughout the process.
I continued by explaining that very rarely do I even get involved in the home searching process, that buyers know what they want better than I do and that using the various online tools allow the consumer to do that quickly and easily. I also made the point that someone who didn’t feel their services were worth every penny and would give up some of their commission for the most important aspects of the transaction, probably wouldn’t be the best negotiator on their behalf.
Fast forward a week… I just got off the phone doing a follow up call with these potential clients. He hesitantly informed me that they had decided to go with someone else. I told them that’s okay and that the most important thing is that they found the right agent for them who would represent them they way they wanted to be represented. At that point he admitted that he had made a grave mistake and had not taken my advice. He told me that they had selected the agent willing to discount their commission and that already, within just one week, they were seeing what a mistake they had made. He confided that he wish he had gone with me and been more concerned with quality over savings.
While I am happy that he complimented me, and even said he planned to refer me to friends and family, I am so sad that once again a consumer has to learn the hard way. There is a difference between cost and value. Clearly this buyer is learning that while they saved on cost now, they lost out on long-term value, which may in the end cost them even more.
My reason for sharing this story is that I hope it helps you stand strong next time someone questions your value. Don’t ever discount your value!
There’s an interesting story from the Middle East I want to share with you. A dying man leaves his 17 camels to his three sons. To the first son he leaves half, to the second son he leaves a third, and to the third son he leaves a ninth. Well as the three sons do the math they find that none of their portions divide very well into 17 camels. Arguments ensue and before blood is shed they decide to consult a wise old woman who tells them she’s not sure if she can solve their problem, but instead she offers them her one camel, thus giving the three sons 18 camels. This gives the first son 9 camels, the second son gets 6 camels, and the third son gets 2 camels. Well… 9+6+2 = 17 camels, so the three sons return the 18th camel to the wise old lady!
In real estate, life, and in leadership positions I often find myself searching for that 18th camel. It’s interesting how we as humans tend to focus our time, energy and thoughts on the problem versus the solution. Getting to yes shouldn’t be as hard as we tend to make it on ourselves.
I used to work at The Little Nell hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain in Colorado. This amazing resort hotel is owned by the Aspen Skiing Company and is rated a 5 star/5 diamond property. Guests pay top dollar for just a standard (insert luxurious) room. With that, they expect amazing service (insert treatment). One of the challenges posed to us as employees was to never, ever tell a guest ‘NO’. This gave us the unique opportunity of always finding ways to say yes, or offering different options/solutions that kept us away from the dreaded ‘NO’. Unfortunately, that experience was many moons ago and I have sadly fallen away from the practice of always finding the yes or solution and avoiding the ‘NO’.
Much of the difficulty in getting to yes is our mindset. Lewis Pugh, who swam at the North Pole and also at the base of Mt. Everest (check out his TEDtalk), shares three interesting thoughts on the subject of mindset. First, there is nothing more powerful than the made up mind. Second, just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the future. And finally, what type of mindset do I need to have to complete a task? Remember the three brothers and the camels – their mindset was focused on the fact that 17 camels can’t be dived by 2, 3, or 9… thankfully the wise old woman gave them an 18th camel, which she knew she’d get back!
This real estate market is ripe with opportunities disguised as problems. I would suggest that the most successful REALTORS® will be those that can find those elusive 18th camels!
I just got back from some meetings in Orlando, Florida. There are many beautiful golf courses in the area, and I had the opportunity to drive by Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and see this phenomenal golf hole.
Surrounded by water and sandwiched between two sand traps, this hole could easily be summed up as “challenging”! But is it really? Interestingly enough, the green is no different in size than a standard hole without the water and the sand traps. In other words, it’s not any more difficult to get the ball on this green than on any other green at your local golf course.
Why then, when we look at this hole, do we automatically add the words challenging or difficult to its description? It lies with where our focus is centered. If we are focused on the goal or objective (aka the pin and hole), and not on the visual distractions (aka the sand traps and water waiting to gobble up your golf ball), it’s much easier to get the ball on this green. Golf course designers like to add these obstacles because they understand that the principle of target fixation will distract the golfer and increase the difficulty of the hole.
How often do we allow external challenges, like the water and sand traps, to cloud our vision and block our approach to our goals and objectives? By simply changing our target fixation and focusing on the desired results we can in effect block out the external challenges and chart a course leading us to success. It’s interesting to note the agents who are finding tremendous success in this market. They’ve been laser focused on finding opportunities and closing transactions despite the difficulties and challenges surrounding them.