The future of real estate video: customer interaction

Accelerate is the Transform program the Elite Agent team run for LJ Hooker during March. Here, Accelerate 2020 Winner Michael Ziegler tells Kylie Dulhunty how the 30-day Accelerate challenge 2020 rocked his video world and put him on an innovative new path.

Before being crowned the winner of Accelerate 2020, LJ Hooker Devonport principal Michael Ziegler was camera shy. He couldn’t find time to film, and he felt awkward in front of the camera.

But people evolve, and it’s safe to say Michael Ziegler has put a unique twist on ‘70s new wave band The Buggles hit Video Killed the Radio Star.

The LJ Hooker Devonport principal firmly believes, “video fuels the real estate star”.

It’s this commitment to injecting video, including innovative interactive video, into his real estate marketing that saw the 17-year real estate veteran win the grand $5,000 in Accelerate 2020, a 30-day challenge designed to help agents create lasting habits and reshape their business.

“I went in trying to win, but I didn’t really expect it, so it’s been a bit overwhelming,” Michael reflects.

Before Accelerate, Michael struggled when it came to video content. He didn’t think he could find the time in his hectic schedule to create a video and he didn’t feel comfortable in front of the camera.

“If I did do any (video) it was very, very little,” Michael says.

“The biggest thing that helped me do video was Allan Pease’s body language bonus session, just before Accelerate started.

“He talked about using your hands in video and how it makes you look and feel more comfortable.

“Allan Pease changed my video world.”

Fast forward to 2021, Michael has done a handful of sold videos, about the same amount of sneak peek videos, and every Monday he films a market update.

The results have been instant, with Michael securing listing presentations and subsequently winning the listing after people saw his videos.

“The reaction has been amazing,” he says.

“Even my neighbour poked his head over the fence to say, ‘I see you’re really busy at the moment’.

“One of my friend’s kids has also said, ‘Wow, you’re all over the internet with your videos’.

“It’s all about perception and video puts you out there.

“Nothing has really changed. We’re the same, and we’re as busy as we were two months ago, before Accelerate, but we’re now being seen more.”

Michael planned to use the $5,000 Accelerate prize money he won to buy interactive video software called Interactr and use it to create content that lets the viewer choose their personalised real estate journey.

“It allows you to put a button in a video so a viewer can decide what to do or view next,” he says.

The initial video concept is to introduce potential clients to the LJ Hooker office and team before asking them to select whether they want to ‘buy’, ‘sell’, ‘rent’ or ‘lease’.

Depending on what selection the viewer makes, a tailored list of new options will then appear for them to choose from again.

For example, if the viewer says they want to sell their home, their next options could be offering them information on how to market their property or explaining how the offer process works.

“The options are endless,” Michael says.

“I believe interactive video is the next big thing for marketing real estate agents.

“For us to become an attraction agency, we need to be known as ‘the’ authority in real estate.

“The educators in our local patch.”

Michael says video is king, but only so long as you keep the viewer interested.

He says making the viewing experience interactive and putting the viewer in the driver’s seat will help keep them hooked.

“The first part of the video will be about 20 seconds long and from then on they are choosing their own path,” Michael explains.

In real estate for 17 years, Michael started his own business a little over a year ago, with a clear, strong ethos that every person in the real estate journey is as important as the next.

Whether you’re a seller, a buyer, a landlord or a tenant, you all sit on the same rung of the ladder at LJ Hooker Devonport.

“We’re very proud of the fact that we treat tenants the same as anyone else and I think that’s where a lot of real estate businesses fail, they don’t value or respect tenants,” Michael says.

“But tenants can become buyers, they can become landlords, and they can be great advocates for your business if you treat them with respect.”

In the past year, the LJ Hooker Devonport rent roll has grown from zero to 57 properties under management, and in 2021 the goal is to continue to acquire doors at the rate of one per week.

Currently, the team comprises six people, including Michael and fellow director Melissa Burtt, but the plan is to put on another selling team next year.

Michael says they prefer to hire a team of two agents that work together, as there are numerous benefits, including two points of contact for vendors and buyers and the ability to work multiple offers at once.

Michael says he learnt many things during Accelerate, not just about video.

He says his second key takeaway was the power of social media silence.

“I learnt to eliminate the noise (of social media) and become a creator, not a consumer,” Michael says.

“I unfollowed all other agents in our patch on social media, and now I am not distracted during the day.

“I have eliminated the distractions on social media for myself and my staff will be coached to implement this strategy as well.

“Positivity and mindset are not new concepts, but ongoing goals to strive for within our business.”

Open to all agents across Australia, Elite Agent’s 30-day Transform Challenge begins on February 2.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.