In 1986 Ferris Bueller told us “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
In the case of technology, that statement couldn’t be more true. Technology has moved so swiftly and made such incredible advancements in the past 10 years that where you were then with your areal Estate business and where you are now are not only not in the same ballpark, they are on entirely different planets.
With this hyper speed growth of technology, we’ve seen a couple of fundamental shifts in methodology. Today I’m going to address the two biggest shifts, and how offering your clients and prospects “Value Added” services will ensure you are one step ahead of the curve, and always at the forefront.
Shift #1: Technology & Free Information Means Realtors® No Longer Hold All The Cards. Enter “Value Added”.
Not all that long ago, Realtors held all the cards. If a homeowner was interested in a home for sale and wanted information about it, they either had to call their Realtor®, call the agent that listed the home, or call their local Real Estate office and talk to the floor agent to learn about the property. In doing this, would be buyers would have to give up information to the Realtors® to get this information (e.g. their name, phone number and email address for example).
Today, the tide has shifted. Information is widely available online, in many cases completely free and able to be accessed anonymously, without hassle or obligation. This means that a prospective buyer or seller does not necessarily need to contact a Realtor®, or even go to their website for that matter. Companies like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, as well as websites from mega-brokerages like Coldwell Banker and Century 21 have massive websites, giving away all the content a would be buyer or seller could possibly want.
So the question for Realtors® becomes this: If these major corporations and mega sites out on the web are giving this stuff away for free, what do you do? Well, you could stick your head in the sand and do nothing (A HORRIBLE idea), or you could dig in and fight back. In this case, fight back with Value Added content.
Value added content, is content that gives your clients and prospects “something extra”. It isn’t necessarily something “world shattering”, or “nobel prize winning”. It is though something that is useful to your audience, appreciated and will be thought of in a positive light.
Shift #2: The massive advancement of technology and online offerings has created “Technological Sprawl”
One of the side effects of this breakneck pace of new technology is actually what is also one of the massive benefits of this “new world of discovery and offerings”. It is what I often refer to as Technological sprawl. If I were a gambling man (and I am), I would bet you $10 that there is very little you can think of, that would be great for your clients and prospects, that hasn’t already been created, in some form on the internet. Maps of neighborhoods and local restaurants and businesses? Created already. Maps with schools and school scores? Created already. Directories of local service organizations for a particular neighborhood? Created already. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
All of these things have been created. All this information is out there for your clients and prospects. Knowing this, and knowing that your role as a Realtor® and provider of information has changed, one fantastic way to move to value added is to organize all this data that will be meaningful to your clients, prospects and those in your farming area(s).
The dawn of cloud computing, WordPress, plug-ins and widgets have made consolidating some of this information a little easier to do. Even if you won’t want to do it yourself though, there are some companies out there that have some pretty cool, unique and interesting offerings that you can customize to your clients, prospects and farms needs. Some of my favorite services are:
Altos Research- If your clients and prospects are of higher social economic status, or perhaps more highly educated than the average group, these statistics are fantastic. Not only that, they have built into their system an automated monthly market trends email, a wordpress plugin, and even third party integration options, like we’ve created with our LeadingAgent CRM/Business Practice Management tool.
Google Street View Plug-In For WordPress- Do you have a wordpress Real Estate website and frequently post articles about your new listings? Why make a visitor leave your website to go and find a map of the neighborhood? Why not give them a virtual tour of the neighborhood, instantly and easily, using Google’s plug-in? This is slick, will increase the number of minutes spent on your site and can be used with ANY listing.
MyStreetViewer.com- For those that are faint of heart when it comes to messing with code, or for those that simply do not have time, MyStreetViewer.com has a really slick service that will help you to include the Google Street View Maps directly on your website. They are based in the UK, but because this is an internet offering, within 24 hours of your order, they can create the exact street view map you need. Think how powerful this could be if you have a website devoted to a particular housing development or part of town?
Leading Agent Neighborhood Capture Pages- For anyone looking for an out of the box, interactive system that “just works”, our solution is perfect. We have eliminated any “set up time”, and have thought ahead to give it full IDX and CRM integrated capabilities. For anyone that doesn’t have the time or desire to put together a solid value added website for their clients or prospects, this is definitely worth a look.
As you can see, there are some pretty slick ideas out there to add value to your client’s and prospect’s experiences. The trick is to find the ones that most easily integrate with your existing systems. If you are not looking for ways to add value to your interactions with your clients, YOU NEED TO BE. If you do not know where to start, we are happy to help. Contact us anytime and we would be more than happy to help brainstorm on some ideas that are suitable for your market niche, and give you advice on how to make your ideas a reality.
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