If you want to know what approaches to marketing, technology, and business strategy work in real estate today, simply look to the people who are doing well. Four real estate professionals who have at least $20 million in sales volume per year shared the stage during Inman’s Real Estate Connect event in San Francisco and offered examples of things they’re doing to find success in difficult times.
In a panel discussion moderated by Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate President and CEO Sherry Chris, these young practitioners covered how they’re bringing in clients, managing teams, promoting properties, and more. Here are four key takeaways from that conversation:
1. Serve up sizzle and steak.
Raj Qsar, a REALTOR with Premier Orange County Real Estate in Southern California, markets his listings with polished high-definition videos and HDR photography. But, he added, that’s just the “sizzle” of his business. “The steak is being able to close with multiple offers at a higher price [than surrounding homes],” he said. Takeaway: Real estate pros need to be adroit negotiators and skilled transaction managers first and foremost. But good marketing helps a lot.
2. Go beyond Facebook and Twitter.
Speaking of sizzle, Linnette Edwards, an associate broker based in the Bay Area who has ranked in Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate’s top 10 agents nationwide each of the past three years, gave attendees some insight into how she’s creatively and effectively leveraged media that haven’t cost her a dime. Along with the usual social networks real estate pros use, she reviews local restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions on Yelp, which has become a steady source of leads. In addition, she was featured in an episode of House Hunters, which led to her most recent transaction. Takeaway: Facebook and Twitter can be effective tools, but they’re saturated with real estate practitioners. Try connecting with consumers through other channels.
3. Have a flexible strategy.
Matt Beall, principal broker and owner of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, started his business in June 2008, a couple of months before the financial collapse. “It’s been a wild ride,” he said, but added that the brokerage has thrived because of its ability to adapt quickly to change. “Our growth strategy is that we don’t have a growth strategy,” he said. “We navigate based on the current circumstances in the market.” This approach has produced a highly collaborative, supportive work culture. “We keep the same essence whether we’re helping someone buy a house or helping someone change their career,” Beall said. Takeaway: Don’t pine for the “good old days” of real estate, whatever era that might be for you. Stay attuned to today’s market, and be prepared to roll with changes.
4. Use past and existing clients to bring in new business.
Are your clients praising you to the high heavens? Ask them for a referral or a testimonial, said Lisa Archer, a broker and agent with Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. If they — and you — spread the word about their good experiences with you, you’ll be priming your pipeline. “If you’ve got one client, you’ve got a story,” Archer said. “Use that.” Takeaway: Don’t let the most effective free marketing opportunity pass you by. If your clients tell you they’re impressed by the way you did something, give them a way to share that with others.
By Stacey Moncrieff, Editor in Chief, REALTOR® Magazine
Congratulations to NAR CEO Dale Stinton, who was named today as 2010 Inman Innovator of the Year. The announcement came during the real estate technology conference, Real Estate Connect.
Dale was recognized for leading the charge on the Realtors Property ResourceTM, a database—currently in beta testing—that promises to put deep knowledge and insight on every U.S. residential and commercial property into the hands of NAR members.
Also cited was the association’s Game Changers Challenge, a program in which NAR affiliates and state and local associations were invited to propose game-changing ideas for their organization. In all, 200 ideas were submitted; in May 2010, NAR announced it was funding and providing coaching for 14 projects (plus, it partially funded several more proposals). The cool idea behind the Game Changers Challenge is that, theoretically, it will help associations around the country replicate successful programs that their peers are developing.
Houston Association of REALTORS® CEO Bob Hale also won an Inman Innovator Award today for best web service. His association’s REALTOR® Match, an open source application that helps consumers find a REALTOR®, was a winner in the Game Changers Challenge.
Sharing the Inman Innovator of the Year spotlight with Dale was Better Homes & Garden CEO Sherry Chris. We interviewed Chris in 2008 after she was selected by Realogy to restart the BH&G franchise. Chris has made a big splash in social media circles and her company has grown to 125 offices and 5,000 sales associates, operating in 16 states.
The Inman Innovator Awards were named for Inman News Founder and Publisher Bradley Inman, who also started Real Estate Connect.