In this episode of Top 5, Liondesk founder and CEO, David Anderson, shares his top 5 tips for Realtors to leverage their database to grow their business.
A couple of weeks ago I published a blog post lamenting the poor or, more often, non-existent follow-up practices of most agents by offering the option of using political advocacy as an opportunity for providing resourceful, topical content to clients and prospects. This week, as I started planning out my post, I ran into what some people might consider a little bit of writer’s block. So, I went back to the topic of follow-up for agents and the one thing I hear most when coaching my agents.
What do I send to a client or prospect? How do I do it without being annoying or invasive?
Coming up with consistent, relevant, topical content is tough. There’s no doubt about it. I’m a huge fan of both Chris Smith of Curaytor and Dan Stewart of Happy Grasshopper. I think that both of them are truly experts in not only putting together plans for quality content, but more importantly, in my opinion, understanding the psychology of agents, clients, and prospects. This understanding of the way agents and the public think allow them to formulate and fabricate follow-up programs and content, whether original or curated that can be game changers for agents. They are truly content kings, and if you’re interested, available for hire to help you with your marketing.
So, I’d like to take a few minutes and discuss content in general and then discuss why it may or may not be important.
In my opinion, here are the 3 C’s of Content, because I’m clever like that:
Curated content is non-original content that can come from any number of sources. It could come from social media, the news, other people’s blog posts, and/or just about any source you can imagine. For example, last week in our local market there were news stories from several outlets about how the calculation of people’s credit scores would be changing towards the end of the year as FICO adopted a new scoring system. This would be a great story to send to clients. It’s topical for real estate, it’s relevant to just about anyone in your database, and it sets you apart as a resource to your clients and prospects.
Curated content is perfectly fine for any agent out there. I find that curated content is awesome for social media, but certainly has a place in more traditional follow-up media like mass or programmed email. You could use several curated articles in a monthly newsletter setting or just a scheduled “touching base” email. The only real negative to curated content is if you’re trying to use your content to drive SEO to your site. It just won’t work as well. Which brings us to…
Created content is totally your original content. You create the content, publish it to your website/blog/whatever and then link your email topics and social media posts to that content. Created content really gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise. However, the big drawback to created content is the time and effort it takes. Trust me, writing this blog, even just once a week, can be a drag to come up with good content and present it in a readable format. If you’ll recall, the second sentence of this particular post was lamenting my writer’s block before it turned it into the absolute gold you’re reading right now!
That being said, I am extremely particular about my content and create it almost exclusively for my follow-up. About the only time that I use curated content in my marketing or follow-up is on social media. For most everyone else that isn’t a total control freak on this stuff, I think a healthy mix of curated and created content is a pretty solid plan. There is, however, never a time for…
That’s right, there’s never a time for crap content. What is crap content, you ask? Crap content is stuff like the garbage HouseLogic content that NAR provides for you as part of your membership. Here’s a bunch of completely generic articles that don’t really pertain to anyone at all and are going to bore the shit out of your clients so much that they’ll unsubscribe from your list and you’ll never get a referral again. That’s crap. That’s a do to, not for action. Your goal with follow-up, and everything else, should be to do for, not to. I don’t care to see your dancing leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day or some cheesy ghost gif on Halloween. That’s total garbage and I already have like 50 other assholes sending me that crap every holiday. Don’t do crap content.
Why Content Matters
It may seem like a pretty simple answer, but it really goes beyond the surface. The simple answer is because you need to be doing follow-up and if you’re going to send stuff out it might as well be relatively decent. But the truth of the matter is that your regularly scheduled, consistent follow-up is going to be the thing in front of your clients’ eyes more than anything else. As such, it is probably your number one brand extension. So, if you’re sending canned crap content, people are going to think of you in similar terms. If you’re sending resourceful, personalized, topical and relevant content, you will be seen in the same light. If your goal is to be the resource to your clients and prospects on all things real estate, then be that in your service, in your marketing, and damn sure in your follow-up.
Why Content Might Not Matter At All
On the other hand, it totally might not matter at all. As I’ve lamented on here more than once, Realtors, in general, do a horrible job at follow-up, if they even follow-up at all. Just about every measured and measurable statistic on Realtor communication, follow-up, etc. clearly shows that next to none is the norm in the industry. So, at the end of the day, maybe just sending something at all is enough. I mean, I’d much rather see a really cool video clip of how they turn the Chicago River green on St. Paddy’s than your dancing leprechaun, but, hey, if you’re the only one sending it to me at least I got something. The fact that you are doing anything is better than probably 90% of your competitors. So, while I’d certainly love to see you send something that isn’t crap, your crappy message is better than nothing.
So, I guess the bottom line, 1000 words after my writer’s block lifted, is that if you aren’t doing follow-up or CRM touches or social media marketing, please start. No, seriously, stop reading this and start right now. If you don’t have a CRM and aren’t using it you aren’t running a business set for continued growth. If you are, good job! If you’re sending crappy content, that’s ok for now, but promise me you’ll work on curated and created content. You don’t have to be an expert writer to create and you don’t have to spend hours scouring every inch of the interwebs to find good curated content.
I often joke with my new agents, somewhat facetiously, that I’m not sure there is an industry with more people trying to make money off its practitioners than real estate. Every day, there are calls and emails from this company or that offering the latest marketing/technology/service/(insert item for you to spend money on here) to help you become the next “Mega-Agent”. 99% are a joke. The 1% that aren’t are only useful, like anything else, if they are actually acted upon by the person paying for it. If you are a believer in Pareto’s Law, that means that two-tenths of one percent of the calls and email will result in something worthwhile.
In today’s market, technology is king. This is not a post bashing technology, but at some point you have to ask,
“How much technology is too much?”
I am a firm believer (and there are stats to back this up) that 75% of an agent’s business should be driven from their Spheres of Influence and Past Clients. The other 25% should come from new business sources. The problem I see on a fairly regular basis is agents spending inordinate amounts of time and money chasing the 25% of the business because they are so enamored by their new marketing/technology/service/(insert item for you to spend money on here). As a result, they lose repeat/referral business that is rightly theirs. These statistics are shown pretty clearly in the 2013 Profile of Buyers and Sellers from NAR.
So, how can you make the most of all the new technology out there and do it without breaking the bank or breaking your business?
I would argue that the most important piece of technology available on the market today is a CRM system. Nothing really sexy about that, so I apologize in advance. A good CRM system, which is defined as one you can operate easily and efficiently, will make more of a difference in your business than anything else. To make the most of your CRM system, you must have solid systems and processes in place first. You have to know how and how often you want to follow up with your base of business in order to automate your client relationship manager. Once you have that in place, set up your CRM, plug in your systems, and automate your follow-up with past clients and your Spheres.
Until you’ve done this, I would not ignore new technologies, but I wouldn’t focus on them. Don’t chase the 25% at the sacrifice of the 75%.