One of the hot topics at the 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo was RISMedia Power Broker Forum: New Strategies for Engaging Consumers.

The panel was moderated by John Featherston and included Steve Baird, Gino Blefari, Helen Hanna Casey, Felicia Hengle, John Murray (Realty Pilot, Phoenix) and Paul Wells. Below are some highlights.

Featherston: Consumer success strategies are always changing…the one thing that doesn’t change is the fact that our consumers are changing and they need to be engaged. (Here are) some of the points you can utilize to make a difference in the buyers and sellers that you’re trying to influence.

Personalize customer communications / Connect customers through social Q&A

Wells: Seventy-percent of the business we close this year will come from people we already know. Yet, we’re reaching out to all these people we don’t know, and not keeping in touch with the people that we do.
     What we’re encouraging our agents to do (before) they call people that are in their databases, is to first go on their Facebook page; find out what they’re up to. If they just came back from Mexico, ask them how Mexico was. Forget about talking about real estate because they’re not gonna work with you until they know you care.

Create useful content

Baird: What does a consumer want? They don’t care about lawyers, they don’t care about mortgages. (They want to know,) “What do I need to do to buy or sell a house?”

Listen to what others are telling you

Hengle: (Consumers) still want our professional advocacy. They still want us, their trusted advisors, to help transact with them. How do we engage with those customers early in the process in a meaningful way that’s relevant, so that the consumer is drawn to us? How do we insert ourselves into the transaction early enough, (so) we stay connected throughout?

Share customer reviews on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Blefari: It’s not just cute or nice to be on social media. Now, suddenly, social media is the Yellow Pages, the billboards, the bus stop ads, it’s the direct mail and the TV commercials.
Featherston: Be proud of the reviews you’re getting, because your customers are voting with their wallets every single time they go and list a home. They’re choosing to list it with one-of-you 88 percent of the time. We should be aiming towards 100 percent…by promoting ourselves and the reviews that you’re getting.

Leverage and utilize predictive analytics to your advantage

Hengle: CBx is a proprietary platform that uses predictive analytics and aggregates big data to be able to accurately pinpoint and target the most likely consumer for a listing that we might have. You take that information and partner it with Facebook advertising, and the exponential reach you get is overwhelming.
Murray: Maybe go and try to do it yourself, like go to the CoreLogic or HouseCanary, or some of the big data providers and start buying your own list to see if you can get better results.
Blefari: Giving an agent a lead, you feed him for a day. Teach an agent to process a lead, you feed them for a lifetime.

Be the source, be relevant, be engaged and connect

Casey: Less than 13% (of clients) go back to their agent, if there’s no ongoing relationship.
Wells: One of the most effective forms we’re communicating with people now, on a regular basis, is by texts. There’s a program out there that’s so inexpensive but works so well, it’s called Group Text!
     So, if rates go down to 3.75, I email, “Hey, by the way, rates went down to 3.75, great time to buy a home!” It’s amazing. I’m gonna get five to ten responses on that every time.

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