Today’s Real Estate Agent is more than just a home finder. With the constant changes in technology and the way consumers operate, it seems a Realtor must be a tech savvy, marketing and social media guru, with lightning fast turn-around time and constant community involvement, in order to keep clients happy. This is what makes them successful in the industry. More importantly, today’s Real Estate Agent cannot be stationary.
When I use the word stationary, I mean it both literally and figuratively. The agent that avoids technology and constant growth is missing out on potential business – the same way that the agent without frequent interaction with their community is missing out on face-to-face networking that cannot be replicated online.
In a recent survey of several Brokerages nationwide, we took a closer look at the Agent of Today to see how they were spending their time and how they were using technology on a day-to-day basis. Here’s what we found:
(See infographic below post)
Am I an Agent of the Future?
As you can see, the two things agents value in a brokerage are their websites and marketing tools. Then next in line comes training on proper use of these platforms. However, when you look at time actually spent on social media, the vast majority of agents are only spending, at the most, 5 hours per week on one of the most effective and completely free marketing tools out there.
While 90% of agents use Facebook more than any other social platform, over half said they don’t have a business page for their business. Those that are attempting to use their personal Facebook accounts to market themselves, for the most part, are sharing only their current listings rather than generating more personalized, engaging content.
For those that wait to jump on the technology bandwagon, until it is forced upon them, run the risk of these technologies being so far out of their reach that keeping up would be nearly impossible. Sure, it took a while for us to learn to trust the mobile phone and to give up those old AOL accounts, but look at how far we’ve come! The Agent of the Future knows this NOW and has already started preparing for the extinction of Agent of the Past.
How do I become an agent of the future?
Start Small. Don’t feel the urge to open the flood gates and bite off more than you can chew – this can be extremely overwhelming and lead to a fast failure. Take baby steps. Learn to navigate and optimize your website. Once you’ve become comfortable with that, start your business page. Now that you’ve built up some confidence, learn to use twitter. Eventually, your name and face will be everywhere and each task will come as easily to you as answering a phone call or checking an email.
Adapt & Grow. Getting comfortable should never mean content. When Steve Jobs spoke the wise words, “stay hungry, stay foolish”, he wasn’t just referring to the constant adaptation of the iPhone. Stay hungry for constant growth and never believe you’re too wise to learn. If you don’t continue to adapt and grow, you’ll end up being a Blackberry in a world of iPhone 5’s.
Optimize Your Time. We all wish there were more hours in the day, but let’s face it – there isn’t and there never will be, so we have to learn to optimize the time that we do have. If you only have a few hours to focus on new technology per week, then you need to make them count. Focus on quality over quantity. Sure, we all want to see your new listings, but are those listings driving traffic back to your site? Invest the time that you have into creating engaging content that everyone wants to share, Realtors and non-Realtors alike. Don’t just post a photo of a house; make a video or graphic that shows the lifestyle you could have by purchasing a home.
Specialize in Your Community. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in work that we completely neglect the community that we are supposed to be serving. By allowing yourself to become a community specialist (both online and off), you appeal to potential clients as more than just a Realtor, but as an information source of all things local. Since the entire world is not actively searching for a home at every given moment, you need to appeal to the inactive searchers. Let the world know why they should choose your community for their next home.
Be Mobile. There’s no need to confine yourself to your office while working. Almost 60% of agents say response time is the most important aspect in lead management, yet only 32% respond to online inquiries in 5 minutes or less. At the same time, 78% of agents say mobile technology is crucial to their business and the #1 reason is that it gives them the ability to work anywhere. With these advances, response time shouldn’t be a problem. The agent of the future has catlike reflexes and can keep their online presence current while networking face-to-face. If you want to be the agent of the future, you’re going to have to get moving both online and off!
How do you see the agent of the future and what can we change to better serve client needs?
Kortney Campbell, Social Media & Enterprise Coordinator
Smith & Associates Real Estate