How do you differentiate yourself as a real estate agent in a market that’s totally saturated? Re/Max agent Vachi Udolkin in Miami has done it; with more than 45,000 agents in the city, he’s still managed to capture more than 15,000 followers on Instagram and sold $45 million in volume last year.

Udolkin will be one of the perspectives sharing tips and tricks at a panel discussion about approaches to building your book of business in a big city or small town; it’s happening at Inman Connect New York, January 29 through February 1 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.

We talked to Udolkin about his strategy for doing a lot of business in a competitive market and what he thinks agents who want to follow a similar path should be doing.

Tell us a little more about your session. How will it address how the industry can embrace the shifting market?

Everything is going digital. A lot of people used to spend money on postcards, which are very expensive. They work, but it’s very old-school. So we do a lot of digital, which is basically video ads, automation — you have to have a big structured organization and I’ll share how we manage it. Social media advertising, digital advertising and how to structure ads — which we do a lot of — and how to automate the whole system. You create these ads, create the landing pages, have a bunch of different funnels, and everything is done automatically; otherwise it would be way too much manpower. That’s really what separates me from my competitors.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities to focus on in the real estate industry right now?

I think they’re not branding enough. A big thing with older agents is the listing is the superstar and they’re really just a way into that listing, a door, where nowadays the superstars are the agents and the listings belong to them. That’s a shift, and now you’re seeing a lot of mega-agents, which you never saw before — now you have people with 20 people on their team. Personal branding is big, and a lot of people are not doing that enough.

To stay competitive, agents, brokers and companies need to execute quickly. What do you feel are key areas where quick execution can vastly improve the customer experience?

We do that in multiple ways. Obviously, we do electronic signatures and things like that, but besides that we do a lot of automation for that specific reason — to not have that gap in time. On our for sale signs, we’ll have a rider that says “text for more info” and people at midnight driving by will text that number and get a response to their cell phone with a link and we can start a conversation with them immediately. We’re working with chatbots now, too — we’re big on automation. And sparking a text conversation is very valuable; a lot of email rates right now and click-through rates are horrific. The average response rate on a text message is 60 percent to 70 percent, and Facebook Messages are at like 90 percent, so you have to also see where it’s valuable to get people. The people who are just blasting emails all day aren’t getting much results where if you try to get more text information, it’s more valuable.

What are your hopes for the next 12 months, and what will you be working on?

The goal for this year — I’m young; my aim is to make the Forbes 30 under 30 list, $100 million in volume, and my third goal is I want to give a TED talk.

Discover the opportunities in a changing market at Inman Connect New York, January 29 – February 1. Jumpstart 2019 with tactical takeaways, unlimited networking and thought-provoking speakers. Learn more.

Thinking about bringing your team? You may qualify for special group perks! Contact us to learn more.


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