Parkbench is an online marketing and coaching service for real estate agents that builds neighborhood websites to market real estate services to local business owners.
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Parkbench is an online marketing and coaching service for real estate agents.
Platforms: Browser; iOS, Android
Ideal for: Agents looking to win more local business and referrals; agents comfortable with video marketing
Top selling points
- Alternative to Nextdoor
- Encourages content creation
- Hyperlocal, community-driven
- Dashboard activity tracking
Parkbench’s success will rely on its ability to promote its local neighborhood websites, which can be tough in the face of Nextdoor, Facebook groups and other mobile-ready sources of local information.
What you should know
Parkbench is a real estate coaching service.
However, on the surface, it’s a localized marketing platform for agents to share news, listings, local happenings and host ads for preferred vendors.
The primary content to be hosted on a Parkbench website are video interviews that agents conduct with local business owners. The idea is for agents to use the interview as a way to get in the door to pitch for a referral or their business down the road.
In return, that local business will be featured on the agent’s Parkbench site, and be able to run an ad, post coupons to the main page or be considered that agent’s recommended auto shop or cafe.
Grant Findlay-Shirras of Ontario, Canada, is the founder of Parkbench, and a career sales professional with a background in marketing mobile fitness franchises. He promises to double the refund to any agent who follows his system exactly for one year and does not see a return.
Findlay-Shirras coaches clients on how to win an interview appointment, what to say during it and how to close the lead.
His company provides scripts and one-on-one mentoring to help agents land more video interviews, and thus, more leads.
He told me that he advises clients to remind the interview subject upon completion that they’re an agent, and they’d like to work with them when they need to buy or sell.
The company’s intent is to blanket the country with Parkbench websites, helping each agent spread the word through high-volume content marketing, such as articles, social media posts and newsletters. Parkbench also partners with Yelp to integrate local business reviews.
Groupon, according to Findlay-Shirras, is Parkbench’s toughest competition.
Agents begin promoting their Parkbench website on their Facebook pages and through newsletters to their contact list. It’s also encouraged that agents use Nextdoor to push their Parkbench site.
Parkbench provides all the localized news and articles, as well as stuff like “10 things to get your home ready for spring” or what have you.
Findlay-Shirras is confident that a site can deliver for an agent within one to two years, especially when combined with his “interview-based prospecting” tactics.
On the backend, agents can log in to a sophisticated dashboard with robust website engagement metrics. It’s a sharp, intuitive interface that can help agents make better decisions about content on their Parkbench site. It includes interview tips, content templates, contacts and a place to manage listings, too.
On average, the complete package will run an agent between $3,000 and $5,000/year, depending on the population of their community. A target area of 100,000 people could cost upward of $7,400/year.
I was told Parkbench is working with 900 agents in the states. Here are a few working websites:
My concern is Parkbench’s ability to overcome the current avenues for local content and information online, including VAI appliances such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Additionally, in small communities, local ties run deep, and Parkbench users may be asking to interview business leaders already connected to an agent.
There is certainly a great deal of value for agents to do more video marketing, and if Findlay-Shirras and his team can get more agents comfortable on camera, it will only be better for the industry.
For areas of the country with defined, branded communities, I can envision Parkbench gaining traction.
If not in need of interview and sales coaching services, I feel most web-savvy, enterprising agents can accomplish similar results with their own websites and online identity.
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