If we look at the real estate market today and compare it to the now-bygone era of just a decade or so ago, we can see how much things have moved forward in this industry. With the Internet, smartphones and other technologies available to potential customers today, it becomes much easier for them to obtain information about what they need and in turn, this allows them to make more sound buying or selling decisions when it comes to their property.
As a result, the job of a real estate agent has also changed. Today, it is no longer enough pull out a file from the drawer and walk the client through the listings. They are no longer clay you can mold so easily, but now as a real estate agent you need to find a way to better communicate with your clients.
That’s where technology comes in.
Here is some that a tech-savvy real estate agent should implement in his business if he wants to stay afloat in this often unpredictable market.
1. Why a Website is a Must for a Real Estate Agent Today
There are few businesses in the world today that can exist and prosper without a good website. Perhaps some local ones, but even they can gain much with just a small exposure to the Internet. A real estate agent doesn’t have a luxury of not having a website though. And that goes for both big real estate agents and smaller ones.
Why is having a personal website so important for real estate agents? Primarily, because it can serve as a place where your potential clients can reach you more easily than calling you on your phone, or coming to your office. Of course, you shouldn’t neglect these methods either. Today, when we need something, we just type it in Google search and the search engine returns results it thinks are the most relevant to us.
So, for example, if you wanted to find a real estate agent in Los Angeles, you would type something like “real estate agents in LA” and you would see results based on them.
2. Your Facebook Page can Help Your Brand Immensely
Of course, the would-be home buyer or home seller today won’t rely on just a website to get information about you. They want a more personal way to connect with you than a contact form on your site.
Social media is today a normal way of communicating with your customers. This is why you should invest some time and effort into creating a good Facebook and LinkedIn pages, as they will serve an important role in your PR and branding.
Facebook is an enormous pool, with over 2 billion active monthly users that you can draw from. Even if not all of them are interested in your real estate business, that’s something you can’t ignore if you want your business to gain any success.
In order to create a Facebook page for your real estate business, you need to first select “Pages” in your left Facebook sidebar and then click on the “Create Page”. From here, select “Local Business or Place and fill in the details such as your page name (you’ll probably want this to be the same as your business and website name), page category (select Estate Agent), your address, city you’re in, postcode and phone. Once you have all of it ready, click “Get Started” and your new FB page will be ready and you can start connecting with your clients this way as well.
3. Harness the Power of Apps
Mobile apps are such a lifesaver and it’s no different if you’re in the real estate market. To make house hunting easier, a tech-savvy agent should download these apps on his computer or phone:
If you don’t have a Zillow account, what are you waiting for? Zillow is the number one real estate and rental marketplace and it serves to provide consumers with the information they need about the market and, more importantly connect them with real estate professionals who can assist them in buying or selling property. That professional can be you, but only if you are also using Zillow Mortgage Calculator. This free calculator app will allow you to give customers a quick estimate what their new home should cost them.
You’ll often need to scan a document or an agreement on the go and ScannerPro will allow you to use your iPhone or iPad as a portable scanner. All you have to do is point your smartphone to the document you wish to scan and the app will do its thing in just a few seconds. Who needs paper or hardware scanners with this?
So you’ve agreed everything and all that’s left is to sign a contract. What if the client is in another state or even another country? A paper contract can easily get lost and what’s worse, you don’t want important documents to potentially get into the wrong hands. The answer is DocuSign. With this you can send documents quickly and safely all over the world.
4. Keep Emailing Newsletters to Prospects Using MailChimp
Of course, that’s not the only purpose of having a website if you’re a real estate agent. Another reason is so that you can offer your clients a more convenient way to find listings. This is where you need to start about sending newsletters to your visitors and have them opt-in for them to receive listings.
Although there are plenty of automation services out there that allow you to send emails to your website visitors, one that tech-savvy real estate agents should pay close attention to is MailChimp. Simply put, it’s the best way to get newsletters to your customers, start a drip email marketing campaign and opt-in for your listings.
With MailChimp you can create a list of subscribers to your email newsletters, design a sign-up form that will entice your visitors to sign to your listings and much more. If you want to turn leads to clients, MailChimp is the way to go for real estate agents.
5. Communication is the Key for a Successful Real Estate Business
There are many ways a realtor can communicate with his customers. The basic involves face-to-face meetings and of course, phone calls. But since such methods are not always convenient for your customers, a tech-savvy realtor should also make sure that he is available to his clients through other means as well.
One of them is via Skype on Windows and Android mobile phones or FaceTime on Apple computers or iPhone, iPod and iPads. The two basically serve the same function and allow you to make an audio or even a video call with your customers. The latter can be extremely effective in building up trust as they can see your face.
A good real estate agent should also never leave his office without a smartphone in his pocket. According to a 2017 NAR Member Profile, as much as 95% of this real estate organization members use smartphones equipped with Internet and e-mail in order to communicate with their clients on a day-to-day basis. This means that fewer and fewer realtors rely on regular phones to communicate with their customers and neither should you. Just keep an eye on that battery.
Finally, you can say goodbye to all those back-and-forth emails between you and your clients. Say hello to messaging apps, with which you can call or text customers (and vice versa) free of charge). The two best known and most widely used apps are Viber and WhatsApp, but you should also check out Google Hangouts, Snapchat and, if by any chance you are looking for a Chinese buyer, look for WeChat. Whatever app you decide on, you’ll quickly see that it is a much more convenient and faster way of communicating than emails or phone calls.
Also, make sure that your website is equipped with a good chat or chatbot service. This simply isn’t a question whether chatbots are in the future of the real estate industry; they are in the future of every industry.
For RE, even though they can never replace the good old agent-client relationship, chatbots can still offer a great way to engage the customer in real time and provide them with information on what they are looking for. For example, a customer might ask the chatbot for information about available houses for sale in Tampa, Florida and the bot would be able to get that information from its database.
And, if you are looking for a good chatbot to talk to your prospects online, check Apartment Ocean. This AI-powered chatbot can be seen as a live chat widget and once it has finished the conversation with a client, it will convert the transcript into a lead you can later use.
6. Use CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to Streamline Follow-ups
Repeat business and staying in touch with your old customers is something that every real estate agent must strive towards. As a realtor, you need to make sure that you never lose connection with a happy customer. You never know when they could need your services again, or maybe they’d be willing to recommend you to a family member, friend or a colleague. That’s simply put, a source you can’t neglect.
A CRM or Customer Relationship Manager can help make this process much more streamlined and effective. It will allow you to cultivate relationships, establish repeat businesses and in turn, gain some new leads.
There are several CRM platforms real estate agents can use. Many of them, such as Hubspot CRM are free, but you should also take a look at some of the paid options like Follow Up Boss and SalesforceIQ. Both offer a free 14 day trial and are a great way to keep all your leads in one place. The bottom line is, if you want to grow your business (whether its real estate or something else), you should use a CRM platform.
7. A Picture Sells Houses Better than Words, but a 3D Picture Does it Even Better
Finally, you need to use the power of visuals as a real estate agent. Let’s say you want to sell a certain house to a potential buyer. What do you think will convince him more, you describing it or if you show him a picture of the property?
The picture, of course, but why use a 2D picture, when you can dazzle your prospects with a perfect 3D rendering of their future home and give them a virtual tour of the living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and all let them experience their soon-to-be house for themselves? With MatterPort, you can do all of this and more, plus it’s easy to create 3D pictures and share it anywhere.
Also, if a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a 3D model worth then?
Today, it’s very hard for a business to survive, let alone grow without relying on technology. It just makes our life much easier. The same goes for real estate business as well and by using the technologies I mentioned here, a realtor can establish strong relationships with customers and grow his business.