Top women in real estate outline important trends you need to know — plus how to use several different tech tools to maximize your success this year in Part 2 of Bernice Ross’s two-part series.

What does good leadership look like in 2022? How can you put your best foot forward where you work, whether you’re managing a team or an entire company? In March, we’ll plumb the topic through Q&As from top-tier industry leaders, contributions from Inman columnists (the leaders in their field) and more. Then we’ll keep the leadership conversation going in person at Inman Disconnect in late March in Palm Springs, California.

This post was last updated March 24, 2022.

Last time, 11 of real estate’s top female leaders shared the success strategies that they’re recommending to their agents for 2022.

While Part 1 of this series was focused on who you need to be to succeed, our five experts in today’s column outline important trends you need to know — plus how to use several different tech tools to maximize your success this year. 

7. Where is the money going globally?

Janet Choynowski, founder and CEO of Immobel.com, is uniquely positioned to observe the trends taking place in global real estate.

Immobel provides listing translation in 19 different languages and serves many of the multibillion-dollar real estate brands, plus numerous MLSs and agents as well. 

Research current international trends

Right now, many Americans are buying homes in Italy. According to Bloomberg, “That’s because a range of tax incentives, relatively lower prices and the potential for working remotely has kindled their desire to buy second homes in Italy.”

We’re also seeing people leaving London, Paris and other high-priced spots where they used to have to be because of their work. Sometimes they’re going to the country where they can get the lifestyle they want for a very affordable price, or they may even move to different country.

Know the top 5 countries currently purchasing in the U.S.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ International Transactions in U.S. Residential Real Estate, $54.4 billion was the “dollar volume of foreign buyer residential purchases during April 2020–March 2021 (2.8% of $1.96 trillion of the dollar volume of existing-home sales).”

China is still coming in at No. 1, with the other top four countries being Mexico, India, and Canada and the United Kingdom, all of which are traditional trading partners with the U.S. 

8. Update your virtual presence to reflect the best virtual version of yourself

Lisa Fettner, founder of Lisa Fettner Consulting, is one of my favorite marketing mavens, especially when it comes to generating and receiving digital referrals. Here are her top three tips for updating your virtual presence online for 2022. 

Do a profile and online presence refresh

Go through each of your online profiles — your personal website, your broker’s website, all your social media profiles, plus any other place that you’re online, and update each of these sites. Consistency matters. 

Update your profile photos 

It’s important that people recognize you. Did you cut your hair or make other changes to your appearance? If so, update your headshots so your web presence looks how you look when you meet with someone in person.

Show your success 

Did you sell more properties last year than in the preceding year? Make sure you show your success across all channels because people are searching in so many different places today. What they see about you on one site must be consistent with what they see about you on all other sites. 

9. Put your lead follow-up on autopilot with a chatbot

Eleni Sommerschield, COO of WiseAgent.com (a past sponsor of my Awesome Females in Real Estate Conference), shared how the functionality of real estate chatbots has continued to improve due to advances in how artificial intelligence (AI) manages the lead follow-up process.  

Never miss a lead

Agents struggle with managing leads coming from multiple sources. AI-based chatbot technology responds to incoming leads 24/7. It then engages and nourishes your leads until they’re ready to talk to you. These systems also immediately notify you when a lead comes in. 

The chatbot does the legwork for you

The beauty of employing a chatbot to manage and qualify leads is it has no fear of rejection. It conducts a conversation via text message to determine if the lead is a buyer, seller, or renter. 

If the lead doesn’t respond right away, the chatbot continues to ask questions such as, “Are you still interested in selling your property?” or “Are you still interested in purchasing a property?

When the lead is ready to view a property, the chatbot turns it over to the agent. The chatbot is like a personal assistant that does all the legwork for you. 

Chatbots now integrate with your CRM

At least two companies are now offering cost effective AI chatbots tied to their CRM products in 2022. 

  • LionDesk allows you to add a chatbot to your current CRM and is reasonably priced ($42 per month for the pro version). 
  • WiseAgent (a past sponsor of my Awesome Females in Real Estate Conference) has just released a chatbot feature that integrates directly with their CRM avoiding the hassle of working with third-party CRM providers. Wise Agent’s chatbot is also able to conduct conversations in Spanish. 

10. Use Zoom to create a rich open house experience 

Annette Anthony, vice president of technology engagement for Exit Realty says, “Zoom is not dead.” Here’s how you can use Zoom to move from doing an ordinary open house to creating a rich open house experience. 

Draw your audience in when they can’t physically be with you

Due to the pandemic and the most recent surge of cases due to the Omicron variant, many agents are relying even more heavily on Zoom to conduct virtual walk-throughs, virtual showings and virtual open houses. The question is how to make your virtual open houses even more effective. 

Rather than doing a typical ‘open house,’ create an ‘open house experience’ instead

The industry has historically been focused on the agent marketing and selling the home. To create a “rich open house experience,” Anthony recommends using Zoom and having the homeowner lead the conversation about the home. 

Have the seller describe what it’s like to live in the home and the community

Here’s how Anthony suggests that you create this type of experience by asking questions like the ones below. 

  • What is it like to live in this home? 
  • What is it like to be part of this community? 
  • What the neighborhood like? 
  • Where do I go to take a family out to dinner? 
  • As we’re walking through the home, describe some of the special moments you’ve experienced, whether it was a birthday party or a wedding reception, how many people you had on the deck, how many in the backyard, where you set up for the food, etc.

Asking these questions allows the buyer to visualize the owner’s experience at these events. It really brings to life what it is like to live in this home. 

Most importantly, the people watching this do not feel like they’re being sold. Instead, they’re hearing about how great it is to experience living in this home as a homeowner.

11. How to use testimonials to grow your market share in 2022

Molly McKinley, executive vice president of marketing of RateMyAgent.com, is an expert at helping agents obtain testimonials, which in turn, can help them increase their market share. Here are her three key takeaways for agents in 2022. 

Words matter, but your client’s words matter the absolute most

We care about what other people say. When someone says something great about us, it has much more merit than if we say it ourselves. The reason this matters so much is that third-party validation is one of the most important factors when it comes to decision-making.

That’s what a review is — it’s a third-party validation. Moreover, 93 percent of consumers use reviews to influence their decision-making. 

Reviews help you to get found online

When someone is searching for you online, they want to see your third-party validations. Reviews are this beautiful intersection of who you are as well as what makes you different.

They also help you to be found online, especially since this is where your prospects are. Consequently, obtaining reviews is one of the most important things you can do to grow your repeat and referral business.

How to cope with your reluctance to ask for a review

If you are waiting to ask for a review until the end of the transaction, it’s already too late. Instead, whenever you receive a compliment from your client say, “Thank you — that’s great. I’d like to save that for the review.”

This strategy allows you to seed the idea of the client doing a review throughout the relationship. Once you get to the closing table and ask for the review, your clients are already expecting it. Using this approach enables you to have up to 100 percent return rate when you ask for a review.   

Of the 33 strategies in this series, which ones do you believe could help you have your best year ever in 2022? Remember, small, consistent steps taken over time produce major results. Commit to trying at least one of these strategies in the next week and get your 2022 off to a stellar start!

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

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