So you hear the stories of the broke realtors. I have heard many state they can't sell or rent the homes. I know the economy stinks, there is a surplus of foreclosures. However, there are still some people buying and renting homes, townhomes, apartments, condos and office space.
The question is are realtors really doing all they can to help sell the homes? I think overall the answer is no. Read on to learn why.
We are in the process of a potential in State move of both our office and home. Today I started to look at options for both our residential home and office. I was literally shocked at what I found.
Let me tell you I am not searching in a po-dunk community. We are searching in a nice neighborhood in Orlando, Fl. An area where most residents are quite affluent. I would bet most people who are buying in this neighborhood have a computer, a smartphone and probably at minimum leverage Google and other realtor sites such as Realtor.com, Trulia etc. to research the community, schools and of course the homes.
What I found during my search left much to be desired.
- Many of the realtor profile photos look like they were taken in the 70's.
- Only two sites were leveraging video.
- 90% of the listings had no more than one photo.
- Many of the photos were blurry.
- Photos did not highlight the positive benefits of the house. They looked like they were taken by a 2nd grader riding a skateboard in the dark.
- Basic descriptions didn't exist on many listings.
- Very few included any selling features such as if the home has a sunroom, den or pool.
- No real call to action on most realtor and leasing sites.
- Many sites had broken links.
- No content of real value for me, their audience and prospective buyer.
- Only one site included links to content about the community.
- None were leveraging social media or even invited me in a way that was noticeable to join their social platforms.
Overall Grade: D- to F
Come on folks this is 2011! You can take a decent photo or even video with your iPhone or flip camera! Take the time to help your client (the home owner) sell their home. Provide basic descriptions, good photos and something that inspires me to call you, look at the house or take some kind of action.
So what would I do if I were a realtor? Here goes…
1. I would become the MOST social savvy realtor within my sales area. When someone thought of a realtor in my community my goal would be they would think of ME!
2. I would brand myself in a big way. I would come up with a theme and rock it out! Maybe the most honest realtor on the planet. The one who shows you the huge spider web in the garage or the hole in the back of the closet. Or how about the fastest realtor in the state. I would focus on getting your house listed with all social media bells and whistles within a short number of days.
3. I would be the social realtor video queen. I would take a flip video camera everywhere I went. Bottom line, when you thought of a realtor with a video camera in hand you would think of me.
4. I would become the travelling realtor reporter. I would take the flip video camera every where I went. I would give kudos to the local businesses. I would give them the opportunity to shine. I would post their videos on my YouTube channel and feed them to my blog. I would invite them to my Twitter page, Facebook page and blog. I would help them build an online presence by starting with a guest post on my blog. I would build a community by helping others achieve their goals.
5. I would help others get social savvy. By doing all of the above plus partnering with a local social media consultant, trainer or agency I would teach free or low cost social media classes. I would ensure their first step was joining my social network communities. I would scratch their back and show them social love above selling my own stuff. The word of mouth from genuinely helping others would far out reach my own word of mouth talking about myself.
6. I would create a rockin' blog. The blog would include tons of photos and vidoes of the local community and business leaders. It would include guest posts with food, entertainment and business reviews. Eventually it would grow into a community site or portal and become the one stop shop for community information. All of the videos would feed from YouTube and photos would be loaded via Flickr into my blog.
7. I would teach my clients how to get online and get social. I would offer a one pager to show them where to start and how to best leverage the social platforms where their house is being marketed. I would teach them via recorded webinar or cheat sheets how to get on Facebook if they don't know. Basically I would “help them help me” sell their home.
8. I would build a video testimonial database. I would film happy clients closing on their house, selling their house and moving into their house. I would come back in a couple months and let them show off their savvy design or painting skills. If the home owner owns a business I would let them talk about what they do and how how they can help others.
9. I would partner with other local social savvy business and realty leaders. I would partner with designers, moving companies, mortgage companies, title companies, welcome wagon folks and more. I would engage them on my blog, YouTube, Twitter and more. I would partner with them to give away a free package once a quarter that included a small set of services from each one. It might include a free interior design consultation, free meal at a local restaurant, discount on a haircut and who knows what else. Most partners would donate the giveaway for free given the value of my community, network and social platforms!
10. I wouldn't accept status quo. Just because everyone else is accepting status quo to build their realty business I would not! I would shoot for the stars and never look back. I would take others on the ride with me. I would never get too focused on myself. I would always ensure it was clear I brought more to the table than just me. My goal would be to bring highlight to a rockin' community and team members. That in itself would set me above the status quo of most realtors in a tie and suit and boring website!
So how can you get there?
1. Develop a plan. Accept that you are not going to be able to become the social savvy realtor maven over night. It will take learning, time and effort. Spend some time learning the ecosystem, your audience and what others are doing. Then develop a plan for success. Integration is key and avoid random acts of marketing. Set clear objectives and goals to measure your success.
2. Take a Social Savvy Profile Photo. I know you may like the photo from the 70's with your Leaf Garrett or Farrah Fawcett hair as you did look 30 years younger. However, taking an up to date photo will do you justice and help you better connect with your potential buyers, promise!
3. Know your audience. Who are they? How do they search for information on the homes you sell? What information are they searching for? What information is going to help them make a decision and why?
4. SELL the house! Don't be afraid to sell. Tell me WHY I should come look at the home you have for sale. Why should I do the double click to learn more?
5. Sell YOURSELF! Tell me why I should hire you as my realtor. I didn't notice any site that encouraged me to take a next step at engaging with the realtor, the broker team or other.
6. Take GOOD photos. Seriously folks, this is 2011. Buy yourself a $100 flip camera or Kodak and take some photos. Don't just stick up a photo of the smallest bathtub in the house for a 3500 square foot house. Take photos that will help sell your house, not turn me away.
7. Brand yourself. Spend some time on developing your own brand. If you don't know how to do this hire a consultant or small agency who can help. Developing a consistent brand and message you can use across multiple social networks and web properties will bring exponential return on your investment.
8. Focus on standing out from the crowd. I don't think this is going to be as hard as you may think given how few realtors are doing this. Do a quick study of your competition and determine ways you can be unique. How can you better communicate with your readers and website visitors? How can you more easily provide information they are seeking?
9. Setup at minimum a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube profiles. Set these up, add your social savvy profile photo, include a consistent brand and look and leverage them to connect and communicate with your audience. If you don't know how to do this hire a consultant or agency. If you don't know the first thing about social media, then take some some media training courses online or in your local community to get your skills up to speed.
10. Consider a blog. Blogs are a great way to provide valuable content that will help your audience. You can include content on local communities you focus your sales efforts on, tips on moving, design ideas and more. Leverage your network and invite guest bloggers to provide content. You'll be amazed at how many people will contribute content to your blog if you simply ask!
What are your thoughts?