Intuition tells us that a person who easily adapts to changes is more successful. The same—again, intuition tells us—holds true in real estate. Agents who are in constant search for techy tools to improve their sales and marketing process get more leads and close more deals.
But how can we know whether this observation is true. Good thing that Inman News conducted a survey with American Realtors (1,368 of them to be exact) and came up with, well, the same observations; that is, technology has a huge influence on the earnings of a real estate agent.
Specifically, the survey uncovered that technology has a huge influence on the earnings of a real estate agent: about a quarter of high-income agents (those who earn between $100,000 and $200,000 per year) invest at least $2,500 in technology (websites, software, and other tools) for their business.
We can therefore conclude that the time, effort, and money one spends on technology contribute to return on investment. But before cutting a check or handing over your credit card, here are ways that you can maximize technology to your financial advantage.
1. Got a Blog or Website? Update It Regularly
The advent of the Internet has brought a slew of web design companies who promise everything from marvelous design to high traffic. But sadly the “build-it-and-they-will-come” idea doesn’t work in real estate websites. Many brokers make this mistake: they spend a fortune on a poorly designed, cookie-cutter website and expect high traffic. This is not the way to do it, people. Like a physical office, a website needs to be updated and maintained.
Take for example the aforementioned survey by Inman News. Almost half of those agents surveyed in the $100,000/year income bracket updated their websites or blog at least a couple of time a week, while 39 percent of those earning $30,000–$50,000 per month did so only once a month.
So, if you regularly get new listings, why don’t you publish them at your website or blog. Make sure, though, that the photos are impressive and description clear. Also take advantage of email marketing solutions such as MailChimp or iContact to email-blast your contacts. Alternate listings updates with useful news and advice.
2. Invest in the Right Tools
The Inman News survey showed that 25 percent of those categorized as high-income earners and 18 percent of middle-income earners make use of Mac computers. No, this doesn’t say that Apple products are more awesome than others; it merely shows that tech-savvy agents invest in the right hardware to help them in their business. Hence, your gadgets need not be solely be Macs and iPads; devices that run on Android work just as fine.
3. Have the Right Search Function
Having a website and investing in the right tools are not enough. Your website should also have a solid home search option. According to the National Association of Realtors, 90 percent of home search begins online, so if your website doesn’t have a good search function, your listings will be uselessly sitting in your backend for all eternity. An online home search option is the most important weapon in a techy realtor’s arsenal, so make sure as a broker you’re well equipped.
4. Be a Social (Network) Butterfly
According to the Inman News survey, activity levels in social media contributed to the earnings of the surveyed Realtors. For instance, one-third of high-income earners have more than 1,000 Facebook friends, while two-thirds of middle-income ones have at least 500. In addition, up to 82 percent of high-income earners and 67 percent of middle income earners were likely to have accounts on YouTube.
Social networking sites then form an important element of getting prospects and it’s not a surprise that many agents use them. But are you using it correctly?
With social media, agents should be first and foremost listening and helping, and then—and only then—selling. Selling without listening or helping is probably the worst sales strategy, says Chris Smith of the Tech Savvy Agent.
“It’s like you went to this party, and the first thing you do when meeting people is to hand out flyers. Those flyers will automatically find themselves in the trash bin.”
So how does one go about social media?
With Facebook, Smith always recommend the 10:1 rule: for every one time you update your status, there should be ten times that you comment on somebody else’s status. This is a potently useful way of nurturing relationship and, in the process, nurturing a lead.
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