We need to nurture customers throughout the entire process of purchasing a property, from beginning to end.
Provide value for important moments in a customer’s life
Customers use reviews as a verification system to gain trust in real estate professionals. Set-up a process to make sure reviews are written to make yourself more valuable.
Work with customers in tough market using P-E-N. Proccess, Expectations, Saying No with a Smile
Focus on one or two social media platforms and then expand on those to amplify results
Make your Facebook ad specific and relevant to the customer.
This year’s NEXTGENre, A Canadian Bar Camp Experience conference kick-off was remarkable, with a sold out crowd of over three-hundred professionals. Virginia Munden and Kelley Skar and a super Calgary Committee, Nick Profeta, Kirsten Faverin & Kelly Kimber kicked-off NEXTGENre, by discussing the importance of connecting with people and the significance of preparation and execution by emphasizing using content gained from this conference to take action. To this Team, it is about profitability & sustainability, you can't just wing Real Estate. You must treat it like a business!
There was so much great learning at NEXTGENre with more than 50 sessions happening throughout the day, it was an information packed day. This certainly is a must go to event for any real estate professional who wants to keep up, stay relevant, knowledgeable of the changing landscape in the Canadian Real Estate Industry.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the three sessions I attended including Seth Price, Karri Flatla and Andrew Fogliato.
SESSION 1: CONTENT MARKETING & SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Seth Price, an inspirational author, speaker and educator and one of the most well respected names in for our industry. Seth began the key note discussing the importance of content marketing & SEO. Seth is also currently VP of Sales & Marketing at Placester. Seth emphasized “It all starts with keeping customers focused and aware of how you can help them.” I loved Seth’s analogy of "planting breadcrumbs of your awareness for clients to prevent them from being distracted."
Be part of the customer’s journey
Seth demonstrates the importance of nurturing customers throughout the entire process of purchasing a property, from beginning to end. This results in repeat buys and referrals. You also need to provide value for important moments in a customer’s life when they don’t need you and when they don’t need to buy a house. If you can make that connection at a time when they don’t need you, then there is more likelihood they become a loyal customer when they do need you.
Find your niche
Seth makes a great point that efficiency occurs by focusing on a niche.Think about what your customer cares about. To discover your niche, look at your past clients and see if there are consistencies and patterns in their wants.
Do they dine out frequently?
Do they value going on vacations?
Gather the information and use this to connect with them. Ask yourself, how can you make your customers live healthier, richer and happier? You want to be efficient so make your website a destination for your audience to find answers to their most pressing problems about real estate, but also about the community.
Using tools and reviews
Seth highlighted how Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. He asked “How can we use tools to help manage social media and make our lives easier?” A few recommended social media automation tools from Seth include Hootsuite, Buffer, and Edgar.
Seth also recommended to set up Google Analytics which will measure your effectiveness at closing transactions and show if you are getting value for what you are spending on. Moreover, Google Webmaster Tools allow realtors® to optimize visibility on their websites. If there is something that isn’t working on the site, it can be sent to you.
By having these tools put in place, either by yourself or hiring someone to do it, you can spend more time to connect with people to scale trust. “Reviews hold great importance in SEO as well. 72% of online consumers say they will only do business with a company if they read positive reviews. Customers use it as a verification system to gain trust in realtors®.” It is beneficial to set up a process to make sure reviews are written to make yourself more valuable says Seth.
We couldn't agree with Seth more here. :)
Content marketing should serve a purpose
Another great insight by Seth during his discussion was about Content marketing as a strategic approach to distribute valuable and relevant business results and differentiates itself from blogging.
Content marketing is about how to connect with your audience by using videos, pictures, and written content but it serves the purpose to make your customer aware you are looking out for them. Content marketing can be directly related to answering customers’ questions but it also can be about fostering community feedback. Seth suggests ask yourself, what are people asking over and over again? Turn it into a communication experience by segmenting your topics and paying attention to creating answers to what people want.
Connect, Attribute and Co-create
These three key words are good reminders in improving SEO. “Connect implies connecting with customers through social media, sharing their posts, commenting on their content to show them you care by making them look good.
Attribute reveals customers best qualities so call attention to their best ideas, link to their sites, and showcase their success. Co-create shows the positives of collaboration of content. This means to create content in the form of collaboration and boost others up, including realtors®. Help others become the focus and as a result, you will be the hero. Don’t be afraid of complimenting your competition!” says Seth.
Finally, Seth emphasized to not do too much at once, but instead have a strategic approach to marketing. A good piece of lasting advice is to start small: create one epic piece of content geared towards your most important customer segment and spend five times more time promoting your content than you do creating it. Once you create it, you have to actively promote it. Content creation is the easy part but getting people to read it is the heavy lifting. Your team and you need to promote it or it won’t get noticed. For further inspirational ideas by Seth, you can get his book, RECOGNITION is an a to z guide to personal branding, building a tribe, creating influence and getting found on the web.
SESSION 2: TOUGH CONVERSATIONS IN A TOUGH MARKET
Karri Flatla is a real estate professional with RE/MAX Real Estate – Letheridge and author of Real Estate playbook. She brings her knowledge of the tough market in both Calgary and Lethbridge. Karri received a lot of wonderful mentorship in the past and chose to speak to give back to others at NEXTGenRE.
Karri introduces the session by referring to an inspirational book, Sway, which outlines the fear of loss when making decisions. Karri explains that in the book, people make irrational decisions based off of fear. In this tough market, the more there is on the line, the easier they can be swept into making an irrational decision.
Having a long-term plan and not casting it aside is the key to dealing with the fear of loss. Karri outlines a three prong approach to working with customers in a tough market and how to deal with their fears. She uses the acronym “PEN” which is to have a Process, set and manage Expectations, and say No with a smile.
Here is “PEN”:
Karri mentions the value to having a professional and predictable process. “Customers are scared in this market and your process will give you and your client comfort.: How do you set the process? Don’t let your customer make assumptions about the process, but instead take the time to explain it including having a pre-listing package and kindly asking them to read it ahead of time. This will help to alleviate the stress of having a difficult conversation because many of their questions have already been answered in their pre-listing package. It is suggested to include a sample listing agreement with the consumer guide attached. As well, set the agenda, in a simple bullet proof format, for the meeting so customers know in advance what the plan is.
“Have an excellent communication plan because customers want their property sold with the least aggravation for the best price. Communication allows for repositioning of the property to get more aligned to buyer’s expectation for this market. It is recommended to give your customer feedback after each showing. Furthermore, assure customers you will stay in touch with them on a weekly basis. In this tough market, your customers are looking for a differentiating factor from other realtors.” Karrie says. Having a communication plan and communicating with the buyer and seller every step of the process helps to make you better than your competition.
SAYING NO WITH A SMILE
This last suggestion by Karrie does not always mean saying no but opening dialogue to give customers alternatives. Uncover the customer’s motivation of wanting to sell or purchase at the very beginning and remind the customer of this. Sometimes you need to ask a lot of questions to discover a customer’s motivation. Explain that you are on their side as we know both buyers and sellers can be afraid during tough economic times. Moreover, return to the motivation as to why the customer wanted to sell the property. Lastly, give them time to think and process information.
With this approach, Karrie says we should be aware that the fear of loss can help us structure tough conversations with people. Customers can be fear dominated in this market which can explain why people will run away faster from losses than they will run to achieve gains. To ease the worry, talk about these issues with your customer at the beginning and use the three prong approach, PEN. By laying out the groundwork and expectations in this market from the get go, the seller will feel more comfortable and at ease as a result.
SESSION 3: LEADS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
Andrew Fogliato, an educator, trainer and founder of Just Sell Homes, presented his session with his wealth of knowledge of using social media to foster leads. Andrew’s session was set up in a question and answer format where people were able to pick his mind on his wealth of knowledge and experience of digital marketing and social media. Here are some suggestions he has shared with us:
Focus on one or two and then expand
Usually people have a lot of social media platforms but it is better to focus on one or two platforms and then expand on those rather than trying to expand on all of them. Andrew recommends Facebook as one of the more useful platforms. Although there are many newer platforms, the people leaving Facebook are younger people who are rarely buying homes. For first time buyers, Instagram is useful but Andrew has found that he can receive many likes on his content, but it doesn’t necessarily bring in leads. Your platform of choice depends on your demographic. For example, if your target audience is women in their thirties then Pinterest is useful. Figure out your audience and go from there.
Make your presence noticeable
There are two types of traffic, paid and organic (non-paid). With paid traffic, it can cost you based on the number of clicks. A cost effective away to run Facebook advertisements is using targeted ads and blast those ads in a one mile radius of the property you are trying to sell with your picture so your face is recognizable. Andrew has done a lot of door-to-door greets with people so with the one mile radius strategy, people recognize him when they see him. Another way is to zoom in and drop a pin on the first three digits of your postal codes so that the ad is targeted to a certain area. This cuts costs on the side of the real estate professional.
Make your ad specific and relevant
Ads should speak directly to customers. The more specific you can make it, the better, so it feels like you are talking to them directly. Customers will be more likely to click on it if the content they click on matches exactly what the hyperlink describes. Moreover, if you have a database of emails, you can upload all the emails onto Facebook, then you can target an ad so only those on the email database will see a targeted ad you created through Facebook power editor. Also, with any links they click on where they are searching for an answer to real estate, provide a phone number for those who want immediate help so they can message directly, but also have a form or page where they can input their information so you can have that lead. Finally, when you run an ad, include local images so they can connect to it instead of using stock photos where people have no point of reference.
Lastly, Andrew touches on some key messages emphasized from the keynote speaker, Seth Price where he mentions many people only rely on their mobile and tablet devices so having your website be mobile optimized is very important. Andrew concludes the session by emphasizing the importance of differentiating the content of your business page with your personal page.
“With your business page, it can provide direct real estate information, but with a personal page, people want to read less about business. A great example of using your personal page indirectly for business is posting something along the lines of, My client just moved to the area and has their anniversary. Any suggestions for a nice restaurant in this area?
People do not want to be bombarded with pushy sales on a personal site so think of ways to soft sell and remind them of your presence that you are an agent. “ Andrew says.
NextGenRE in Calgary was an amazing learning opportunity for all! The next stop is Vancouver. Learn more on NextGenRE's Facebook Group Page. This is a must go event for any realtor® that wants to stay on top of the latest strategies, advice from thought leaders in our industry.
Tickets can be purchased on EVENTBRITE here.
Written by Elaine Leung , RankMyAgent Team