Gaining Momentum

IN APRIL AND May this year realestate.com.au and News Corp Australia combined to create an exclusive national event series for real estate professionals – Momentum. Industry leaders Steve Carroll and Tom Panos shared some of their best tips on current and future industry trends and how to strategically incorporate print, social and digital platforms into your advertising campaigns to achieve maximum results. Samantha McLean was there to note down some of the top takeaways from the event.

AS YOU WOULD expect from these two powerhouses, this event started with plenty of energy and some mind-boggling statistics of how the speed of change, driven by the internet, is getting faster and faster. For example, did you know that more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush, that Google’s driverless cars are likely to hit Sydney by next year, and dating app Tinder has a total of 13,000 swipes per second and approximately 300 matches?

First piece of advice: Disrupt yourself rather than waiting for disruption to happen to you.
Steve’s presentation focused on the three marketing aspects of the agent’s role:

  1. Attracting prospects
  2. Getting selected
  3. Becoming recommendable.

Approximately five millionAustralians log on to realestate.com.au per month; they may just be browsing, or they may be sellers or buyers.

Realestate.com.au have done many studies to try to define a pattern of consumer behaviour from the start to the finish of their buying and selling process. They have found that 76 per cent of property owners who use the website and who have decided to sell still have not selected an agent. Based on a survey, they have also found that the most stressful part of selling a home is selecting the right agent.

This, says Carroll, is why the digital interview is so important. It is not necessarily about who has the biggest ads; it’s more about who dominates the area. Consumers take note of agents that seem to be good at marketing in that area and will look at things like five-star reviews and who has sold in their suburb of choice. What constitutes good marketing? Good photography, copy and video.

Realestate.com.au have also looked at the answer to the question, ‘What would make you give a one-star rating to an agent?’ and the answer is clear. Withholding information is the number one issue for consumers, says Carroll; their priorities are transparency, urgency and availability of data right now. “Consumers of today have no time to look at listings that are badly thought out or incomplete.”

Carroll also noted that the digital interview will continue to evolve and it is ongoing 24/7.

Getting selected is about being at the top of the search results. This part of the session started with Carroll asking us to turn around and ‘Google-stalk’ via our mobiles the person sitting behind us as far as it related to real estate. This was a pretty interesting exercise (nice to meet you, Greg Brown from Coastlink in Budgewoi!).

I had assumed there might be many Greg Browns in Google, but my new friend’s name came up first; and while there were a few other Greg Browns, his agent profile on realestate.com.au came up first too. After tapping on a few others and having done a bit of research myself on this through Transform where Carroll coached our ‘Super Six’ I was interested to find my friends Agent Profile on realestate.com.au appeared to be more complete. The reason for this came up in Tom’s presentation, where he talked about SEO and SEM. Looks like a little effort goes a long way in getting found.

Bearing in mind I am not a real estate agent, when Greg googled me, my personal website samanthamclean.com came up before eliteagent.com. Over the last five years I have published hundreds of articles on eliteagent.com, so it surprised me that samanthamclean.com (with much less content) came up first. But that should tell you something. As a way of getting found, if you don’t own your name as a dot.com you should do it now; and it should be a mobile-friendly website as Google will reward when your potential audience is searching for you on their mobile. One of the stats we saw quite early in Carroll’s presentation is that 50 per cent of web traffic is now initiated on mobile.

Next up from Carroll were a few tips on professional networking site LinkedIn. Carroll noted this is not a professional choice; it’s an essential, a personal billboard to the world. He also gave us a prospecting strategy that has worked for a number of agents, which goes something like this: Post a useful article. When people like, share or comment on that article, connect with them and send them a friendly message to thank them for connecting. This builds your network; these new connections will automatically keep getting your new posts and start the nurture process for new prospects in the future.

Lastly, some statistics on agent profiles on realestate.com.au – 12,000 agent profiles would have been viewed that morning during Momentum, with 300 email leads being sent to agents on behalf of consumers. The average agent only has 40 per cent of their profile complete (that is, seven out of 13 fields). A recent Harvard Business Study found that 57 per cent of decisions are made before any contact is initiated, so it is a good strategy to give consumers the information they want – with no gaps.

Carroll noted that the cheapest form of advertising is recommendations. Make your interactions with your customers worthy of positive comments on social media. “It’s important to do more than a bottle of wine or a cheese platter,” says Carroll. So if you want customers to talk about you on social media, it really is the thought that counts.

While it seems customary these days to start a Tom Panos presentation with push-ups, this one started with a stern message from Panos about agents needing to do better on social media. “People are not interested at all in the food you’re eating. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves, and the net figure in their back pocket!” (But then came the push-ups.)

As always you have to write quickly when Tom speaks because the one-liners (I wish I could remember them all!) come pretty thick and fast. But here are a few gems I managed to get down which you should remember when times get tough:

“Never let a bad day feel like a bad year.”

“Make rejection your best friend and fail faster.”

“If you don’t know the alarm code and you’ve never been first in or last out, things like Facebook, letterbox drops and cold calling are not your problem; motivation is your problem.”

“A million-dollar agent has been rejected more times than you have probably tried.”

“Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle.”

And then a few tips on time management and goal-setting. “Make a list of three things that are must-do’s for the day”, says Panos, “and get them done. Don’t get distracted by noise. Something unimportant done well does not make it important.”

Panos strongly recommends something he does himself. “Write your yearly goal in your diary at the top of the page every morning; this gives the tasks you write underneath it meaning.” He notes it helps him to stay focused.

The rest of Panos’ presentation was also focused on the digital interview, as he has a new book being released at AREC 16, There Are No Blind Dates In Real Estate. A couple of Facebook tips from Panos: firstly, if you have done a good job for someone, ask them politely to say so on Facebook tagging you into the post. That way both your friends and their friends see the post, and new listings have been won through this technique.

Secondly, download your database to Facebook so that you can create ‘lookalike’ audiences and promote your posts to them on social media. That way you can start being strategic about who you want to reach over social media. And then he added a new one-liner: “Don’t build a billboard in the forest!”

The session ended with a few roleplay shenanigans with the audience; again some great suggestions for scripts; one that stood out for me was the question, “Who referred you to me? We like to thank anyone who refers us.” Not only does this create positioning that your business comes by referral, but also allows you to measure ROI on your marketing and prospecting activities.

After an action-packed couple of hours, another one-liner from Panos seemed like a good place to close on an upbeat note. “The past does not equal the future”, said Panos. “It can be better, and you have the power to make it so.”

1. 5.5 million property seekers log on to realestate.com.au each month. Source: Nielsen Digital Ratings (monthly) – March

Tom Panos new bookTo grab a copy of Tom Panos’ new book There Are No Blind Dates In Real Estate visit the News cafe at AREC 16. To update your agent profile visit the Agent Marketing Centre at agent.realestate.com.au.

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.