Random Thoughts from an Airplane in Flight

I went by the Homewood Suites in Sarasota today to check out the accommodations for the Tech Summit March 1 & 2.  It’s a very nice property!  Quite deluxe.  And there’s a McDonalds and a grocery store across the street and a nice she-she desert place next door.  I think our guys will be happy there.  They provide breakfast and dinner and have agreed to let us hang out in the dining area after dinner to chew the fat.

I really want some unstructured sharing and brainstorming time with the group.  It’s clear that the nature of the business today is having an impact on how we operate Help-U-Sell in local markets.  We can no longer feed thousands of dollars each month into direct mail like we used to.  We have to be smarter and we have to find ways to use new tools to generate leads more efficiently.  I want some brain pickin’ time to find out what our people in the field are seeing, what’s working for them, what they’d like to see from us.  Homewood Suites is kind enough to accommodate us so, Wa-Hoo!

We also have to find ways to use technology to accomplish our lead generating needs.  Of course, that’s what the Tech Summit is all about.

Listen:  The new broker websites are killer.  No doubt about it.  BUT, they will lay like cracked eggs, baking in the heat of the Internet highway, accomplishing little more than most other broker websites if they are not worked.    Robbie has made it easy for even the most non-technical of our members to do that, and the Tech Summit will be a Lab where we all learn how; but back in the office, the work will have to be done.

Of course, once the work is done, once doing the updates and revisions becomes part of the routine, once the websites begin to generate leads, there will be another challenge:  How do we incubate them?

Everyone tosses around the statistic that 90% of buyers begin their home search on the Internet.  What most leave out is the other part of that reality:  the internet buyer takes much longer between starting the home search and finally buying.  Very few Realtors have a solid incubation system that demonstrates value to the consumer while giving them access to the information they crave.  How will you develop a low-touch, high-value relationship with buyers who contact you early in their home search process?  How will you prove so valuable to them that they won’t be snared by another broker as they search around on their own?

Those of you who belong to MLSs with Listingbook have a leg up here.  I know of no better way to bind a buyer to you for a protracted period of time.  Best part is:  they really like it!  If your MLS does not offer Listingbook, what tools are available to you that enable home buyers to search on their own and how will you give them to them in a way that encourages them to continually interact with you?

The last thing you want is to have a web presence that generates leads . . . and then have no effective way to capture and convert those buyers into happy clients.

I know:  I’m painting this challenge as a great big deal — and it is.  But simple things will make a big difference.  For example:  are you and your team filling out a Buyer or Seller Data Sheet on every inquiry into the office?  Are you three hole punching them and clipping them into a binder?  Really:  effective leads management and incubation begins with capturing whatever data you can on every potential buyer or seller who contacts you.  Every single one.  We don’t trash those leads and pronounce them to be ‘no good,’ or ‘tire kickers,’ like the other guys do.  We go back to them again and again . . . and it’s remarkable how often the ones most agents disregard turn into closings for us.  So start there:  Data Sheets on every inquiry.  And then start thinking about how you can develop a strong but arms length relationship with that Internet buyer.  That’s our future.

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