“I am probably 80 percent desktop and 20 percent mobile,” says Candi Looney. “However, I do use my phone all the time at my desk to see how marketing material will look to real estate agents, since many of them are using mobile devices most of the time.”
Is your phone an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone? Why?
I have all three. One I use for business, the second for personal, and the third is a paperweight. I’ll give you one guess which one is the paperweight.
How do you split your digital time: how much mobile, how much desktop?
Since I work in an office during the day, I am probably 80 percent desktop and 20 percent mobile. However, I do use my phone all the time at my desk to see how marketing material will look to real estate agents, since many of them are using mobile devices most of the time. I understand how busy agents are during the day, so if the material isn’t engaging on a mobile device, then I don’t use it.
Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?
Every day, I determine and implement the best marketing approach to introduce the Quantum Elite platform to real estate agents around the country. Rather than spending a ton of money on advertising like many tech companies, I like to be creative and use technology to my benefit. My strategies often involve using data that I get from analytics, such as email open and click rates, bounce rates, Web page duration, operating system and so on. Agents are busy and time is money. I know that if I can get their attention, the platform will sell itself. It’s really just a matter of helping agents to understand it’s worth half an hour to have a discussion about what we offer.
Ultimately, our technology offers a service to agents that we know can improve the industry as a whole. Technology supports my job 100 percent, and we are receptive to the fact that demand changes all the time. My boss always says, “Well, if they want a new feature, then we will build it.” In this industry, innovation and adaptability are absolutely crucial. Using analytics keeps me informed of what agents like, new features they want, and how to keep making the improvements that they need.
Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?
Five years ago, I would have said that I wait to see what’s working for others. Today, I have become an early adopter. Both personally and professionally, if I can’t keep up with technology that advances every couple of months, then I’ll be left behind. Sometimes I struggle when it comes to understanding new technology but I do know that it’s crucial to embrace it. Luckily, I work with a tech-savvy group! I usually have at least one technology question a day that they help me with. They keep me educated, for sure.
What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?
Probably the misconception with online lead generation. I think there are so many companies out there that generate bad leads and, as a result, the industry’s name is tarnished. No, not all of the leads you receive will be converted to sales. In fact, the majority of them won’t.
I have no problem being completely transparent about that to my clients. There is no silver bullet in selling real estate. It’s hard work, and it takes a lot of time and effort. The bottom line is that this type of advertising is an investment. You start a campaign like this knowing that the conversion percentage is usually low but that the return on your investment is usually high. Your ROI (return on investment) is really the only number that matters.
How do you feel technology is changing the real estate industry? Are these changes making the industry better or worse? Why?
The introduction of the Internet has changed so many things in all industries. For real estate, I would say it’s better in some ways and worse in others. Twenty years ago, MLS (multiple listing service) data was printed in a book and real estate agents received new listings only once a week. Today all that information is updated online nearly instantaneously.
I can’t imagine any agent would be happy flipping through 1,000 pages of data to help a client find the right home. But on the other hand, the Internet introduces so much power to consumers that agents may question how much their role has changed in the process.
Then there is the role that sites like Zillow and Trulia play. It’s true they sell advertising and not houses, but I can understand the frustration that some agents have. Real estate has become “nationalized.” Zillow can give you an estimate of a home’s value but can’t tell you that the house next door has an elevation that puts it into a bad flood zone or that the neighborhood pool is too crowded to use. With the steady stream of information available at our fingertips today, it’s naturally becoming commonplace for consumers to consult their search engine before reaching out to a professional. I’m not saying its a bad idea to do your research; I search new things all the time. I’m just saying that the level of technology we have tends to make people a little unindustrious.
As wonderful as it is to be empowered, I think many times buyers and sellers end up creating opinions and ideas that are less than informed. I feel like real estate agents are going to have to take the reins back a little bit in order to keep their stake on the industry. Word of mouth is a good way to stream business, but it can only take you so far. Since consumers use the Internet so much to collect information, digital marketing is really the best way to get your name out there. AdWords campaigns can direct people to your site. Drip emails keep your prospects reminded of your name and service. Analytics can be utilized to target, track and strategize. And social media portrays your business as a little more casual and approachable. Technology has absolutely staked its claim in real estate today. It’s here to stay, and the faster you can adopt and execute, the better your outcome will be.
What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?
Gmail. Everything we do is synced with Google. It’s super easy to share documents and keep up with appointments, and I love that editing is autosaved. We also use the chat feature all the time. Usually our programmers are busy building websites for new clients, so if I need something I just send a quick chat message, and I know they will respond when they come up for air.
Which websites do you visit every day? Why?
Definitely my email first thing. Then I look at the Quantum Elite website and check analytics to see how my traffic has changed and what people are looking at. It helps me understand what content is helpful and what isn’t. I love Google News; business, technology, and science are my favorite sections.
What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?
Google Analytics. Seriously! I am weird like that. I love to look at what people do when they go to a website. Behavior is really fascinating, and with analytics it’s all put into charts and graphs for you. It’s interesting to see what content people engage with and what causes your bounce rate to go up. Since many of our website visitors are real estate agents, it gives me a great insight on what, as consumers of our software, they are looking for and need the most of from their platform.
What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?
Reading a hardcover book. I don’t own an e-reader and never will. That is one technology I won’t adopt. I love the feel and smell of a real book and go to the library all the time.
Read Candi Looney’s article: Nurture real estate client relationship with tech tools you already use.
Would you like to participate in Inman’s technology profile series? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.