Marketing

5 things ‘Back to the Future’ can teach today’s agents

Buckle up for a ride in the DeLorean
  • Be consistent across the board with it. Every bio you have should be the same from your website to your Facebook account. Because if people don't remember you, you will be erased from their existence.
  • Do you need help knowing what social platform will work best for you? Try Gary Vaynerchuk's books. Think of them as your Gray's Sports Almanac -- you can never lose, if you follow his advice.
  • Your potential clients want to know who you are on a personal level. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, your customers will go there to find out your likes, dislikes -- even your favorite movie.

Oct. 21, 2015. It might not seem like much of a date to many of you; to others, it’s a moment in time we’ve been waiting for. Flying cars, the Cubs winning the World Series and Marty McFly’s arrival.

Yep — that’s right, it’s the date when Doc Brown and Marty will arrive in Hill Valley. And while that might seem like an odd segue to a real estate article, hold on to your hoverboard — I’m about to take you there.

And it won’t take fame or money to ride this train into what you can learn from the cult favorite “Back to the Future,” just some humor and maybe a reality check.

It’s 30 years after that fateful date in 1985. What’s changed for agents, and what’s the same? And what can Marty and Doc Brown’s adventures teach us about the way we do business in 2015?

A whole lot more than you might think.

When Marty boarded his DeLorean back in good old 1985, the average price of a home was $102,700 compared to today’s whopping $353,400. And the interest on a mortgage 30 years ago was 12.5 percent.

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Great Scott! Thank goodness lenders don’t charge that now, or we wouldn’t be selling houses — that’s for sure.

And computers were just beginning to take off. (Internet — what the hell is the Internet?) As agents, our job was lugging around a giant telephone-book-sized binder with homes for sale.

As Marty would say, “Wow, that’s heavy.” All joking aside, thank goodness for the Internet, which allows us access to find dream homes and promote ourselves to everyone from here to Hill Valley and back again.

It’s 30 years later, and so much has changed, so here are five lessons Marty and Doc Brown would need to learn before beginning the practice of buying and selling real estate today, assuming they time-traveled here, of course — it’s not bad advice for you, either.

1. Google yourself.

Gone are the days of not being discovered, especially online. In fact, if you can’t be found, you’re the strange one. What are you hiding?

Your potential client is going to Google you, so you’d better do it first.

What comes up when you search yourself? Is your bio current? Does your website pop up right away?

You should be checking yourself out every few months. If your business picture shows your flashy new glamour shot from 1985 (umm … ), it’s time to update the picture — and the look — if you haven’t already.

Same thing goes for your business websites, Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com — are you closing out the listing you sold? Are you getting updated reviews from customers?

Don’t set it and forget it because you will be forgotten, like Lorraine’s poodle skirts of 1955.

2. Branding will make you.

Brand, brand, brand — it’s something every coach is talking about, but are you listening? It’s not just which real estate office or brokerage you decide to align yourself with; it’s about how you set yourself apart from other agents.

Personally, I prefer to be known as the wide-eyed, crazy scientist — I mean, real estate agent. But that’s what works for me. Maybe you’re the more no-nonsense and no-frills professional, so use that to your advantage. Embrace it. Any way you do it, just go all in.

Be consistent across the board with it. Every bio you have should be the same, from your website to your Facebook account. Because if people don’t remember you, you will be erased from their existence.

3. Are you with the program called social media?

Yes, some old-school marketing they did in the ’80s to sell homes might still work. But I really can only think of one — selling yourself first.

Build a relationship with your potential client, so they are loyal and want to use you again and again. Do you know how you do that today? Social media.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, your customers will go there to find out your likes, dislikes — even your favorite movie.

Can you guess mine? So be prepared to share it. Your potential clients want to know who you are on a personal level. So if you haven’t, you are going to be left — not in 1985 — in 1885.

Do you need help knowing what social platform will work best for you? Try Gary Vaynerchuk’s books. Think of them as your Gray’s Sports Almanac — you can never lose if you follow his advice.

4.  Video is here to stay, so get in front of it.

Even Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg recognized visual media as the wave of the future. We have TVs everywhere, and FaceTime calls from Needles and other friends. We might not be attacked by a Jaws holograms just yet, but it’s coming soon.

And you know what else we have now? Portable TV studios in the palm of our hand. So if you’re not doing videos yet for your listings, you are such a slacker, McFly.

I’m not talking about those virtual tours with the boring classical music in the background. I’m talking fun, entertaining videos. With apps such as Periscope and iMovie, you’ve got zero excuses.

Remember: If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

5. Be ready for change and embrace it — don’t fight it.

Who knows what the next 30 years in real estate will be like? Maybe we will abolish all lawyers and agents. But we must be ready to take on the changes, like possibly only one MLS system per state?

The millennial generation is getting ready to buy, but are you ready to sell to them? What do you know about their generation and how they communicate with each other?

Update your online profiles and start making videos. As Doc Brown said, “The future is up to you, so make it a good one.”

Sue Benson is the Pink Lady of real estate. Find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @sueispinky.

Email Sue Benson.