When I was first introduced to the world of real estate in 1995, less than two percent of real estate agents used computers. It was a world based primarily on interruptive marketing to a farm of unknown individuals. Today, relationship marketing is still very much alive, but now consumers have access to an infinite amount of information and multiple channels of communication. At the same time, real estate agents have greater access and insight into their clients’ lives than ever before. When used correctly, this can be a win-win for both agents and consumers.
“Over the next 10 years, the amount of both real-time and historical information available to a single person will have increased exponentially, as will the ability of a single person to instantaneously touch – and influence – a billion people in the time it takes to read this sentence.” – Intelligent Catalyst Blog
This is a pretty profound statement, but one that is quite believable when you consider how far technology has come in the past decade. What we have today is a generation of consumers who are hyperconnected via multiple channels, exchanging information every second. They now have a voice to the masses to communicate their opinions (good, bad, or otherwise), and information is readily available anywhere via smartphones, laptops, and iPads. This phenomenon is forcing everyone in real estate to shift their thinking about how they build and maintain relationships with consumers.
Many agents are beginning to understand that the mass marketing methods of the past are being replaced by a hyperlocal, customer-centric approach. Some do this by writing a blog on something they are passionate about, building loyal followers (and potential clients) with every post. They are mastering the paperless transaction and understand that knowing how to capture digital signatures can be used as a point of differentiation. They are learning how to repurpose data and content in a way that adds value in the eyes of their clients, and they know how to use these clients’ testimonials to enhance their SEO. Their websites are dynamic resources rich with real time information that simultaneously serve as a hub to their many spokes of social media.
Agents who have made the decision to embrace new technologies understand what hyperconnectivity means to them, their clients, and their business. They’ve seen first-hand how being active on social media can add significant value to their client relationships. These agents post regular updates on Facebook, tweet valuable community information, check in to their favorite spots using foursquare, and keep their LinkedIn accounts up-to-date. They understand that having the tools and hardware that allows them to do all these things is imperative – because their clients are doing it too.
This new world of technology and social media can be intimidating, so it’s important that agents have some level of support in their offices. If you aren’t comfortable being the point person, find someone in your office who can take the lead. Simply having an agent or staff person that agents feel comfortable going to for help is really all it takes. Those early adopters will help your office improve their proficiency while adding to the overall value of your organization.