Although several other excellent books for realty agents show how to profit from Internet home buyers and sellers, by far the best one is “Real Estate Rainmaker: Guide to Online Marketing” by Dan Gooder Richard. This very detailed book, written by an experienced real estate sales agent and consultant to many of the nation’s most successful realty agents, shows how to capitalize on home buyers and sellers searching for reliable local agents.

The author explains virtually every topic savvy realty agents need to know to understand the fundamentals of Internet real estate marketing and how to convert Internet home buyers and sellers into lifetime clients.

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Richard doesn’t emphasize one-time quick realty sales. Instead, he shows how smart realty agents use the Internet to locate lifetime buyers and sellers, promptly answer their questions, and serve their needs whether they want to buy or sell now or in the future.

What makes this innovative book very special are the dozens of Web site examples of successful realty agents and techniques they use to become top agents in their communities. Whether you are an Internet-savvy realty agent, or a beginner, this book has the vital detailed information you need.

To illustrate, I never fully understood the difference between Internet Data Exchange (IDX), and virtual office Web site (VOW), plus the difficulties involved for individual agents who want to use local MLS (multiple listing service) listings on their Web sites. The author explains the distinctions in clear, easy-to-understand language that even I understood.

Equally valuable, Richard shares his recommendations for software and Web site features that his realty agent clients have found to be most profitable. Richard also shows how successful agents use the Internet, plus phone and mail to contact and keep in touch with their prospects who originate online and offline. He obviously knows his topic extremely well.

Although real estate Internet marketing is less than 10 years old, the author explains how it has radically changed in that short time for real estate agents. Each chapter begins with the old rule, such as, “Your name is your brand,” and the new rule, such as, “Your brand should never be your name.” Richard emphasizes why it is critical for realty agents to focus on client benefits rather than agent accomplishments.

Although the author explains the most important technical aspects of Internet marketing, he doesn’t get bogged down in details. Rather, he presumes realty agents will hire a Webmaster to operate their Web site but the agent will become capable of making simple update changes as needed.

Richard makes the reader feel he has the agent’s best interests in mind as he explains what it takes to find, acquire and convert Web traffic into long-term clients, whether buyers or sellers. The book has so many practical and profitable tips that it requires several readings to absorb all the authoritative suggestions and where to obtain further detailed information.

Chapter topics include “20 New Rules of Online Marketing”; “Eight Technology Truths That Could Kill Your Business”; “Eight Proven Rainmaker Strategies for Success”; “Website Techniques That Work Big for Little Cost”; ‘Buyer Follow-Up: Converting Website Visits into Contracts”; “Seller Follow-Up: Turning Online Leads into Listings”; “Planning Your E-Mail Marketing Strategy”; “Creating E-Mail That Gets Response”; “E-Marketing Plan: Six Steps to Effective Online Marketing”; and “E-Operations Plan: Streamlining with Virtual Assistants.”

This book is like a “coach” for realty agents who want to grow their business by using the Internet, where more than 70 percent of today’s home buyers begin their searches. Dan Gooder Richard has many years of successful real estate sales experience, which he now focuses on helping other agents to grow their business by use of the Internet. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding book rates an off-the-chart 12.

“Real Estate Rainmaker: Guide to Online Marketing,” by Dan Gooder Richard (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, N.J.), 2004, $27.95, 289 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

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