There has been a lot of griping and boasting in the real estate industry about technology: Who came up with it first? Who does it better, faster, more efficiently?
In the end, real estate is — and always will be — a business based on personal relationships and good data. Although the emotional factors that go into homebuying aren’t quantifiable, the housing market is.
The key to a truly successful real estate career is marrying the qualitative and the quantitative to better serve your clients. Here are three ways I encourage my agents to use “sentient data” to increase their business:
1. Look back, stay current
Most brokerages offer some type of “state of the market” report outlining what’s sold and for how much in different areas. Real estate is hyper-local, so what’s happening in one neighborhood may be completely different than what’s trending just a few blocks over.
It’s in every real estate agent’s best interest to know the playing field. Not only should you study up on historical data but also current contract data.
Contracts tell you what’s happening now — and it’s about as up-to-the minute as you can get. In fact, I believe in contracts so much that my company invested in a live data center that tracks these transactions in real-time so agents are prepared to show their clients exactly what’s going on in their market at any given time.
2. Track your communications
Blasting out newsletters to clients is a cornerstone in most agent marketing plans, but without great content and knowing your audience, you won’t know whether any of this is paying off.
Use a mail service that allows you to track who opened your emails, what they clicked on, and where your audience comes from. You should also note if anyone unsubscribes from your newsletter — but hopefully with great content, you won’t experience too many drop-outs!
3. Invest in a really great CRM
Whether you’re hosting an open house, emailing your networks or simply reconnecting with past clients — these are all opportunities to collect important data.
There are dozens of programs out there, some better than others, that can help you log, contact and track your customer relationships.
Even though the real estate industry likes to brag and flaunt its technology prowess around, at the end of the day, if you don’t have great people skills, you won’t close deals.
You can provide potential homebuyers with all the data under the sun, but if they have their heart set on a sentimental ideal and you aren’t working with them to understand this, then you’ll likely lose.
If you constantly spam your clients’ inboxes with irrelevant and impersonal newsletters, you’ll probably find your networks will stop opening your emails. And, you can have the greatest CRM in the world, but if you don’t take the time to write personalized notes to your clients on certain occasions — closing on their first home, birthdays, holidays — your clients won’t have any reason to remember you, work with you or recommend you to others.
Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan is the president of Stribling & Associates.