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Do You Know Today’s Real Estate Customer?

By: Matt Jones
 

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The National Association of Realtors® recently published its 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers — 120 pages of great information about our customers.  If you haven’t taken time to read it I highly recommend you do.

But buried deep within those pages are what might be the two most important statements in the entire report.  Not only are they critically important, but when taken together, should be a major wake-up call for every single real estate professional. Here they are:

  • “Age of buyers shifted slightly downwards in 2012 from 2011. The median age of home buyers fell from 45 to 42-years-old… The largest share of buyers remained in the 25 to 34 age group, which rose to 30 percent from 27 percent in 2011.” (page 9)

  • “Ninety-six percent of homebuyers under 44 years of age used the Internet in their home search.” (page 42)

Translation: Our customers are getting younger while we are getting older, and they have different shopping habits than we do.

Many of us think of today’s real estate customer and we project what we might do if we were shopping for a home, and that’s a huge mistake.

But why should we care?  Because our most important job and our single largest expense is attracting today’s customers to work with us.  If we are from Mars and they are from Venus, it should be no surprise if our real estate practice is in decline as is the case with many of us.

Today’s customers have grown up with computers and are more comfortable searching online than offline.  Most don’t even have a phone book.  Most use their smart phones interchangeably with their computers and tablets.  Most have to look to even find a pen or piece of paper to write on.  For them, online is a way of life.

That makes today’s real estate shopper a lot different from many of today’s agents.  Just how different?  Check out the following ten real estate marketing methods and see if you are guilty of any of these next generation marketing faux pas.

  1. I rely on my yard signs to bring me business.  Sure, for years that was the largest source of new customers, but today’s shopper has already engaged an agent he found online by the time he begins riding neighborhoods looking for houses.

  2. My circle of influence is where my customers come from.  Today’s customers network, but are statistically more independent than in times past.  They are actively involved, first hand, in online research and they are sceptical of the opinions of others.

  3. My website doesn’t bring me any business.  Today’s customers are happy to use your free home search and feel no obligation to use you as their agent to list or buy a home.  The typical real estate website is not designed with this in mind.

  4. I use open houses because they are free.  Most of today’s customers don’t read the local newspaper (the place we have typically publicized our open houses) and they are typically committed to another agent by the time they actually begin previewing homes.

  5. I use homes magazines to find shoppers.  Today’s customer searches online because it is a better, and more comprehensive source of information, pictures, virtual tours, etc.  A snapshot in a magazine that contains less than 5% of the current inventory is of little value to them.

  6. I like to sit new construction model homes.  Today’s customers are still working when you’re leaving the long day in the model home.  It is much easier for them to look at new construction virtual tours online where they have access to subdivision covenants, upgrades, and no pressure from a hungry agent.

  7. I have always relied on direct mail.  Today’s customers sort their mail over the trash can and are very unlikely to contact a stranger from a postcard or  newsletter. Instead, they are quick to use the internet to find what they are looking for when the time is right.

  8. My broker tells me I should have a geographic farm.  You broker clearly doesn’t realize the demographic shift over the last 10 years.  Today’s shoppers would much sooner trust an internet search than a stranger who showed up at their door with a refrigerator magnet.

  9. I get my business from floor duty.  There was a time when customers had to call the office listed on the ad or the yard sign to get information.  Today’s customer can have more and better information using the internet and not have to talk to a pushy agent on the phone.

  1. My customers like my newsletter.  No they don’t.  They much prefer following you using online social media like Facebook and Twitter.  Today’s real estate shopper rarely looks at direct mail pieces. Your time would be much better spent posting personal pictures and comments on Facebook.

So if your old-school marketing is not  having the same effect it once did, the reason is simple.  As the old song said, “The times they are a changin’.”  The demographic shift and the technology revolution have forever changed our business.

Today’s customers want an agent who can send them a text message.  Who sends emails and instant messages instead of leaving voice mails.  Today’s customer is comfortable with technology and uses it non-stop — almost like breathing.  And most importantly, today’s customer wants to work with someone like him — someone online.

But thankfully, it’s not hard to be that agent.  Most of us are already part-way there.  According to the latest statistics, though, most of us are not generating much if any business from online sources.  Instead, we are hanging onto what feels comfortable to us and not making the effort to meet our customers where they’re comfortable — online.

So if you feel like you need to improve your online marketing, why don’t you check out my LCM technology.  This simple system can take you from no online business to mostly online business almost overnight, and best of all it includes all the hand-holding required to get you up to speed and comfortable using it.

The cost has never been lower and with no long-term contract you can give it a try to see if it is right for you.  Start working smarter and not harder.  Start being that agent who gets new customers while you’re sleeping instead of wasting weekend after weekend hoping to pick up a customer from an open house.

Does the thought of making this transition seem overwhelming?  Believe me, it’s not.  But check out my interactive demo and see for yourself.  And feel free to call me if you have any questions.  I’m always happy to help. This could be the year you reinvent your practice, and with all your new online business it could easily be your best year ever!

Take The Test Drive!

Have you ever wondered what the best system for creating new business from the internet looks like? Want to see it in action? Finally, an interactive demo that allows you to sit in the driver's seat and check out the system that has revolutionized single agent lead generation for the real estate industry. Begin the Test Drive


Matt Jones PhotoMatt Jones is the founder and CEO of FavoriteAgent.com, nationally syndicated columnist, broker, and best selling author of LCM: The Secret to Success in the New Age of Real Estate, The Ultimate Listing Presentation, Traffic: How to Sell Fast and Net More, Becoming a Mega-Producer, The Science of Online Marketing, 10 Steps to Real Estate Success, 20 Questions: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Real Estate but Were Afraid to Ask, The Virtual Office Model, Max-Bang!, and The NEW Ultimate Listing Presentation. Jones' North Carolina-based company has been profiled by major media outlets as an innovator and a pioneer in the industry, and CNN's Pulse on America claimed FavoriteAgent.com is "changing the way real estate is being done in America." This article is syndicated in the following locations: iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, BlogMattBlog.com, RealBlogging.com, NewsGeni.us, TheCommissionCheck.com, RevampedAgent.com, and now Amazon Kindle.

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