Affter a year in real estate operations, I’ve chosen to return to the ranks of real estate software. I hope to put my experience to use helping improve technological efficiencies and engagement across the industry. I continue to be drawn to organizations that focus on leveraging technology to enhance ongoing consumer-engagement. Why? Because many brokerages and real estate professionals focus more on lead generation than on lead engagement. The life of a lead can be for the life of your career, but we often focus too much on the shiny penny rather than the power of continually engaging our database—people who already know and like us or have worked with us in the past.
NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers outlined that 69 percent of sellers would definitely use their agent again, but only 24 percent do. Homebuyers: 74 percent would use the same agent, but, still, far fewer do. Where is the disconnect? A simple question with a simple conclusion: It is far easier and less expensive to keep an existing relationship than to build a new one.
They say the best CRM is the one an agent uses. A CRM is designed to keep your contacts organized, but it’s also designed to help keep your communications, follow-ups, and tasks organized, as well. That’s why a quality CRM is arguably the essential tool in your marketing tool belt. However, all too often we pay to capture leads, engage them with a few manual emails, and then stop following up because we think they don’t want to work with us. Alternatively, we get the opportunity to help them with the biggest purchase of their life and give them a closing gift hoping that they’ll remember us years later during their next sale. Brokerages need to train their agents on how to leverage their technology infrastructure to develop and automate an effective follow-up cadence that generates repeat and referral business.
Technology can’t replace a personalized note from you, but it can help automate other valuable ways to stay in front of your customers. Drip marketing campaigns can nurture your leads before they’re ready to buy or sell, sending a series of emails with useful information based on where the lead is in the process. You can use the same drip marketing tools to send out coordinated and timely information post-transaction as well. Do you want to send a follow-up after your buyers have been in their new home one month? Three months? Send monthly market insights? Provide a complimentary comparative marketing analysis (CMA) on the purchase anniversary for customers each year? Absolutely! But as our database grows, all of these manual follow-ups start falling by the wayside. We need to use the technology at our fingertips to make sure we’re replicating our recipe for success and continuing to stay front and center with reduced manual intervention.
Third-party services can be beneficial in saving time and improving engagement as long as they’re branded to the brokerage and agent. There are a wide variety of options to share helpful content that reminds your past customers that you’re still here to help them when they’re ready for their next purchase or sale. Groups like MooveGuru send your leads free home-related, money-saving offers during the home buying/selling process and then continue to deliver branded offers related to home-ownership month after month. Service for Life generates and sends monthly or quarterly branded newsletters to your leads and past customers.
One solution isn’t going to work for your complete database. I am an advocate of multi-channel marketing and engagement. By combining manual touch points with various automated ones, brokerages can keep their agents front and center with content that is timely and valuable both pre- and post-transaction.
The life of a lead is continually evolving, and the content we send them at various points throughout the relationship must be timely and useful. It could be years before we help a past customer with their next purchase, so leveraging technology in the right way will help improve lead conversions, repeat business, and most of all, it will help save your agents a lot of time!
Warren Dow is the VP of Business Development at Peabody & Smith Realty based in New Hampshire. Warren has over a decade of leadership experience in real estate software and services. With a degree in behavioral neuroscience and a back-ground in technology, consumer engagement, and marketing strategy, Warren offers a unique perspective in brokerage efficiencies with a client-first mentality.
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