Realtors who use today’s hottest mobile marketing tools will see results in sales. The following is a brief description of three ways to use technology to boost your real estate business.QR CodesImagine one of your home-buying clients driving around, looking at prospective properties to purchase. Suddenly he sees his dream home. He pulls over, gets out and looks around. He wants to check out the interior immediately, but no one is available. He will have to settle for peering into windows and checking for an unlocked door. But wait… what is that strange, black-and-white square on the For Sale sign? If your client is tech-savvy, he will recognize it as a QR code.QR codes (Quick Response codes), while just coming in to the American public’s awareness, have been used extensively in Japan since 1994, where they were invented. QR codes were first used by Denso-Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. Today, it is one of the most popular two-dimensional bar codes, holding much more information than a UPC code, which most of us are familiar with.Here’s how a QR code works: your client takes out his mobile phone and uses an application to scan the QR code. The code is interpreted and his screen displays information, such as a web link to a virtual gallery of the interior of the property. What an amazing marketing tool! Re/Max International uses QR codes to give prospective clients information about houses, neighborhoods, and local schools.Google ServicesMore than 56% of all Internet searches on “real estate” and related terms are conducted on Google and partner sites. The giant that is the Google Network reaches over 80% of Internet users. For realtors, Google offers some free and some paid services to help you achieve real estate sales.Start by providing your real estate listings to Google (a free service); doing so will broaden your distribution. Through organic search results, your website will naturally receive more traffic and leads.Google Maps will display real estate search results, helping the user quickly locate available properties.Google Earth, a paid service, will zoom your clients from space to the sidewalk outside of the front door with satellite images. Incredible… this is one technology you have to see to believe.Optimize Your Website for Mobile DevicesMake sure that your real estate website is compatible with and displays properly on mobile phones. More and more users are accessing the Internet on the go; searching for addresses, businesses, restaurants, and real estate… you name it. How can your website best succeed in this new arena?Begin by taking note of the type of phones your potential clients are using. Because mobile phones have different sizes of screens and resolution, your website is likely to look different on other mobile phones. Common screen resolutions include 128 x 128, 128 x 160, 240 x 320, and 320 x 480.Keep your website’s layout simple. With mobile phones, a single column is works best. Be sure to avoid horizontal scrolling, which is never a good idea by website design standards. Use large navigation links to direct users.There are many other tools and technologies for real estate agents to use for mobile marketing. The difficult thing is keeping up with the latest and greatest.
I have put together this post as a basic run through for creating a business plan and a growth plan for a real estate business. I got the ideas for this by talking to some of the smartest people I know in and out of real estate from huge computer companies, college president, software developer, to commercial property owner and more. In business the basic rules and steps apply and being a real estate agent or broker needs to be run the same way in order to be successful and save a lot of headache and wasted time.First step whether you are new or a real estate veteran looking to build a better business creating a timeline is mandatory. Create a goal and make it lofty to build a model with a larger capacity. With that goal make a timeline to reach it. Example, I want to close X volume with Y input of new leads and clients weekly by Z date. A lot of agency focus on closed deals, real estate being about the only industry teaching this when the focus should be incoming pipeline load because it focuses on the future of the business and forces you to create dependable lead generation techniques that will keep you in business.The second step is to create what I will call an open source model. One that is easy to install additional sources of income and build on. In real estate this would be buyers’ agents for example. You have a pipe of leads, you are getting big and you obviously don’t want to put 500 miles on the car everyday while working 20 hours a day. Have agents do this for you and pay you for it. You have to create personal brand that is likable and attractive to get good agents on board though. Good sources, education, leads and guidance. Intel builds a chip you can put in almost any computer and people still demand to have it, so computer manufacturers use it. It’s about building an attractive versatile platform. Donald trump puts his name on everything. Same way agents will know being part of your brand will make them successful also.Part three is something you will always need in business, which is a business partner, a mentor, or any group of people smarter than you to bounce ideas off of. This will give you a new perspective and allow people to challenge your way of thinking while pushing you to always be better. You should always feel like you didn’t know something 6 months ago because you are constantly evolving and learning, pushing yourself to perform at a top level. Having a partner also lets you maybe take a few days off now and then so you don’t get burnt out.Part four is to create your systems and infrastructure for handling your business with steps for handling a new lead and who does it, to clearing the file at close and storing it for the legally required time. Systems are important because it increases efficiency and cuts down on human error. Imagine if Amazon, the military, or a doctor had no protocol or systems. You would probably never get your antique looking picture frame, Normandy would have been a disaster, and you may walk out the hospital missing a spleen after going in for a broken arm. I think real estate business should handle this aspect with a lot of care when dealing with other people’s money and sensitive information. Make sure these systems are easily scalable and can be easily outsourced to avoid growing pains. The last thing you want is to stop growth due to yourself. Anyone use Friendster?Part five is your target market and what solution you will provide to get going. This could be buyers, sellers, investors, or a geographical location, but the smaller your focus the more success you are likely to have as you will be more specialized and be known for something but make sure it is a large need and solve a real problem. Don’t pick one lake front area, but all lakefront communities in your area so you have a real market to focus on. Once you have this, you can decide what kind of market saturation you need. How many units are bought and sold each month? How many units are available? What’s your demand? Decide what percentage of that market you will need to reach your goals. If you need 100 percent to make it your market is too small. Can you succeed with 10%? Then you have a market and you will succeed. You will then know exactly how much you need to market and as you begin to get returns you will be able to gauge how many angles are needed to reach your 10%, and it will be sustainable.Part five is to keep adding. What you will have is version 1.00 of “you real estate” platform. Make some upgrades, add some referral partners, or great new marketing angle and you have version 1.01. Add some buyer agents that bring some respective returns in your market you have version 1.1. Add an entire second market with staff to support you will be in version 2.0. You may have noticed these on software updates you install as the programs are upgraded and made better. This is a useful tracking system to see your progress and decide what business version you want to be at. It will also show what you need to get there. When you see a hole that is holding you back, or an opportunity to grow, it’s time to upgrade.That’s it! It works for businesses all over the world and made the people I spoke with very successful. I believe these same systems transfer into real estate because it needs to be treated like a business not some fly by night operation because that’s how you end up just another face in a sea of agents running around.
It’s no secret that the real estate market is going through some rough times, and agents need to look at every available option to get more leads and sales. Profitability is more important now than it has ever been.Many agents are using call capture systems to keep their profitability up, and ensure a steady flow of new business. Call capture systems work on existing phone lines, and provide numerous methods for developing new business. Special extensions are set up for each new property, and callers can be taken through guided audio tours of houses and apartments, given pricing information, and more without actually speaking to a real estate agent.Call capture systems log each call, and don’t interfere with business the way that traditional automated systems sometimes do. If a caller wants to speak to an agent, he or she can do so by quickly hitting a certain extension, but each caller can also access a wide variety of information quickly and easily. This approach quickly translates into better efficiency and profitability, because it cuts several steps out of the process of buying, selling, and marketing a property.All real estate agencies spend a good deal of time finding and developing new leads, cold calling, and knocking on doors to find new sources of business. It’s a necessary part of the business, as without new buyers and sellers, the talent of a particular agent doesn’t make much of a difference. It’s difficult to envision a market without some amount of lead chasing, but call capture can help decrease the amount of time that agents spend on these fairly mundane tasks. The systems track the numbers and general information of callers, providing a list of verified leads that are seriously interested in buying or selling properties.This allows agents to contact and interact with their clients in new ways, as the information provided by a call capture system provides a great way to develop a tailored approach to each sale. Before even picking up the phone to call a lead, an agent knows what types of property that lead is interested in, where the lead currently lives (as the capture system keeps track of phone numbers), and more. Each potential client can be addressed quickly, with a personable approach that motivates them to take action as quickly as possible.All of this means that call capture systems directly lead to more sales, and more commissions for agents and agencies that use them effectively. Less time is spent following up on dead leads, and promising leads are easily prioritized. Real estate agents that use call capture systems can spot weaknesses and strengths in their selling techniques more quickly, and can turn more sales each month.Some agencies have gotten particularly effective at incorporating call capture numbers into their advertising, which allows for a more specialized and effective approach that can be quite engaging to customers. Rather than sit on hold, new customers instantly gain information about homes–at the same time, their information is logged and stored for follow up. A single ad in the right publication can therefore turn over far more leads than it might have with traditional advertising methods. Agencies can also easily determine which advertising efforts are resulting in the most leads, leading to smarter, more balanced advertising investment. As ads are a huge cost in the field of real estate, this further improves profitability by cutting a major expense. Budgeting is easier, and as the call capture systems are themselves a fairly minor cost, they’re absolutely essential for agencies operating on a budget that can’t afford to sacrifice money advocated for advertising efforts.Call capture is certainly an important technology for real estate agents as well as sellers and buyers, and its simple effectiveness is making it a popular new option. The right approach to a call capture system can make it a formidable tool, and when combined with smart advertising and talented agents, it can provide a huge boost to an agent’s profitability almost instantly.