Robert Watson, a broker and a sales manager for First Team Real Estate in San Clemente, Calif. — an independent company that is among the largest brokerages in the nation — has some advice for real estate professionals about their online presence.
Watson, who also is a world traveler, national trainer and social media consultant, will share his expertise on online content and reputation management during a one-day Agent Reboot event in Houston on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
He will be joined on stage by Krisstina Wise, broker-owner for The GoodLife Team in Austin, Texas.
The Houston event is the latest in a series of Agent Reboots scheduled across the country through October.
Inman News posed a series of questions to Watson:
1. What is the most important business lesson you learned in the past year?
Freely sharing with no expectations of a return is great for the spirit and for business. I started Social Media Mastermind Orange County (in California) as a way to share and give back to my community, and the "return on inspiration" has been tremendous as well as helping me to build my influence network several times over.
2. What inspired you to pursue your current career path?
I owned a sales business in Europe selling imprinted sportswear, class rings, yearbooks and multimedia programs to international schools from Iceland to Cairo. I realized that I could return to the United States and sell real estate for a better return on my time investment.
3. Share a personal experience or anecdote about buying, selling, owning or renting a home.
When I worked in Potomac, Md., we had listed (boxer) "Sugar" Ray Leonard’s home. It was when he was moving to California and he was selling his chrome universal gym since he did not want to move it.
I purchased it from him and ended up moving it to California myself when I moved!
4. What the coolest technology you’ve discovered this year, and how are you using it?
That would have to be the iPad. It’s a tool that can really set you apart as a broker or an agent, which is exactly what we have to do now. If you don’t have and cannot articulate a very unique value proposition for consumers, you might as well leave the business.
Some of my favorite real estate apps are Smarter Agent, miniListings and Realtor.com. My favorite non-real-estate apps: Kayak for travel; Visit Paris for an amazing experience in my favorite city; SoundHound makes it easy to identify music from any source and add to my music collection; and Evernote for keeping all my ideas and projects organized.
5. What is your advice for real estate industry professionals to thrive in this market?
This is the best opportunity market for real estate professionals who actually want to work!
Build your database with A, B and C (categories for) clients. Have a plan to sell to those A clients who are motivated to buy right now, set up a drip e-mail campaign with valuable market and housing information for those B and C prospects to maintain top-of-mind with them until they are ready to buy.
Select several local neighborhoods and become the go-to agent for those areas for the owners. Set a goal for listing inventory and make a commitment to maintain an active inventory of listings.
Create a technology and Internet budget and implement the tools you need to survive in real estate; a WordPress website/blog with a customer relations management (CRM) solution, a dual HD (high-definition) video camera, a smart phone, an iPad, a laptop.
Increase your visibility and influence using social media channels.
6. What is your favorite non-work-related hobby?
Traveling to Europe to buy antiques and ski the Alps.
7. Who is your hero, and why?
That would be my father. He lost his father when he was a teenager and was legally blind for most of his life. He, his brother and mother struggled to pay for the funeral, and then he set his sights on attaining his goals and persisted through adversity to make those goals happen.
He was a scholar, an adventurer and a very loving person.
8. What do you view as the biggest problem facing the real estate industry today, and how would you fix it?
1. Lack of oversight and accountability: of brokers over their managers; of managers over their agents; of agents over their prospects and clients.
2. The creation and execution of a viable and workable business plan by all!
The real estate industry is too big to be fixed. There will be a natural metamorphosis of companies and agents as a result of this new economy to brokerages who service local communities with professionals who understand today’s consumers and connect with them.
9. What do you hope to learn at the Agent Reboot event?
I look at every networking event as an opportunity to share and learn. Agent Reboot provides an opportunity for everyone to learn best practices.
At each event I personally commit to meeting IRL ("in real life") at least 10 people I know online, and pick up a few best practices that I can implement in my business plan.
10.Tell us something we don’t already know about you.
What you see is what you get. No hidden agendas.