In the rapidly-changing, ever-evolving world of real estate, Real Estate Professionals frequently ask: How can I better connect with my clients?
Top agents are constantly learning and willing to embrace new concepts, a belief system Kelowna, B.C. real estate agents and sisters Tamara and Shannon Stone wholeheartedly cultivate.
Nowhere is this more evident than their website. Stonesisters.com brims with warmth and confidence, displaying unique features that serve their clients well. One tool prominently displayed on their front page is RankMyAgent. “As soon as we heard about it at a conference, we loved the idea,” says Tamara, a 20-year industry veteran who immediately grasped its advantages. “Our industry is changing and people want to react with you. Reviews are really beneficial; unbiased, satisfied client reviews build credibility.”
Like many agents, they’ve always featured testimonials in their marketing. Still, they noticed their website testimonial page didn’t generate a lot of traffic and over time, the page appeared somewhat static. Buyers were not always certain such endorsements were genuine.
They integrated RankMyAgent into their website in December 2014, and for the Stone Sister Group, the tool has provided a way for buyers to read candid reviews about their agency. People choose a service based on a variety of factors, but RankMyAgent “…conveys the truth and lets people know you’re an open book,” Tamara points out.
There was never any hesitation in having frank assessments of their work so easily accessed. Most clients routinely utilize social media through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other platforms. “People are going to talk about us anyway,” she notes. “Online reviews keep it under control.” The reviews thus far have been glowing for an agency that works extremely hard on behalf of its clients. Should a negative review ever appear, Tamara sees the online tool as an avenue to provide a professional and respectful rebuttal if needed.
Ten years ago, Tamara and Shannon Stone united to form the Stone Sisters Group. Formidable players, they have carved out the number one spot in a tough, competitive market crowded with over 900 realtors. For the Stone sisters, real estate is in the blood. Their parents were agents, and it wasn’t uncommon for them to learn negotiation skills around the dinner table.
Tamara and Shannon have built their brand on honesty, integrity and sincerity, characteristics learned from their parents. And they’re not afraid to express honest opinions. “You have to be confident in what you’re doing,” she says.
Tamara observes that one of the biggest complaints in the industry is from buyers who say there is little communication from their realtors. “Our goal is to not have our clients phone us,” she says with a smile. “We love to hear from them, but we call people at least once a week, even if nothing has happened, just to stay in touch. We might ask, ‘have you noticed people slowly driving by your home?’ Or, we may inform them about current events that impact them. When someone chooses us, it’s a partnership; we are working together to sell their home. We work hard to keep everyone involved included in the process.”
Their website’s front page features the sisters, who radiate warmth, friendliness, and serenity, belying their reputation as very tough negotiators. So much so, other realtors often groan when they turn up. “People see us as nice, sweet blondes who shop for shoes,” Tamara laughs, “but we’re like a dog with a bone. We never give up on anything; we never throw in the towel.” Many of their clients have been RCMP officers, and more than one has wryly noted: ‘I’m glad you’re on my side!”
We know how to sell, she remarks, and we figure out who’s selling, why they’re selling and establish ways to make an emotional connection with clients. They understand and appreciate the emotional attachment a person will have to their home. A seller may worry, for instance, about the beloved tree house built in their back yard. What will happen to it? In this case, the sisters looked for ways to reassure the sellers that some things would remain untouched.
With demanding schedules, it’s not always easy to stay current, but the Stone Sisters Group performs a great deal of research to enhance their business. The sisters and their agents attend numerous conferences; they belong to the Real Estate Professionals Mastermind Group; and they frequently brainstorm with other agents. Data collected from other industries bolsters research on how to best serve clients. For example: How do clients buy cars? Where do they bank?
More importantly, they’re not afraid to try new things. The more cutting edge, the better. In addition to RankMyAgent, they’ve recently incorporated a live chat feature into their website, the first agents in their community to do so. Tamara, Shannon, or other agents in their office always answer the live queries, vowing to reply in one minute. Already the feature has yielded new clients and leads. They’re excited about these innovations and on the horizon, they plan fresh lifestyle features that will include videos that will emphasize a home’s personality rather than a static presentation.
“Our parents taught us to be honest with people, to bring value, to negotiate really well, and to help people,” says Tamara about qualities that will never go out of style. Smarts, tenacity, and highly-polished skills have kept them at the forefront, and a willingness to employ new and innovative technology to enhance their services have kept them on top.
“It keeps us on our toes, but we’re passionate about what we do,” she says.
“We’re thrilled with RankMyAgent and its service; we’re happy to sing its praises!”