The real estate industry has been led astray by advertising portals. Today, there seems to be a shift happening in syndication strategy, MLS strategy, advertising strategy, and CRM strategy that puts brokers and agents back on course– and it’s about time. Let me share this perspective with you.

To follow this perspective, you need to consider these three statements:

  • Just about every home ever traded in America has been with the help of a Realtor® or two. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® reports a market share of over 90%.
  • Over 80% of all transactions are with a repeat or referral customer of a Realtor.
  • The #1 reason why a customer does not use the same Realtor is their Realtor did not stay in touch. (IClient retention  think that the #2 reason is that their Realtor retired.)

Strategically, the very first dollar invested in supporting your business should be spent fixing the leak of repeat and referral customers lost due to a failure to stay in touch.

Somehow, that focus on customers is not happening in our industry today, hence the claim that the real estate industry has been led astray. I blame the advertising portals for this. They have done an excellent job of selling agents on how to drive online leads so convincingly that agents forgot to spend money on maintaining the business relationships with their current customers. I am not suggesting that investing in online lead generation is bad, but you are a fool if you invest more in that than you do on supporting 80% of your existing business. Take care of the relationships with current customers first, invest in new customers second.

I remember my first conversation with Jed Carlson of Adwerx, Inc. His company started out helping music bands connect with their fans – websites, newsletters, social media, pimp your myspace page, whatever. He knew then, as he knows today, that the social capital – er….. “relationship” between a band and their fans is everything. If a fan downloads your song, likes your Facebook page, goes to your concert, or sees your video, you want to make them a fan for life. His company specializes in advertising to your customer base. When Jed told me that he was bringing this sauce to real estate to help agents and brokers stay connected to their clients, I knew that he would be successful immediately.

The real estate industry has been out there spending their entire wallet on trying to find new customers or taking customers away from someone else, and doing little to shore up the relationship with their existing customers.

The Shift

A shift is visible in our industry as brokerages and agents come out of the proverbial fog.

Adwerx is growing remarkably because they help brokers and agents stay in touch with their fans (facebook custom audience advertising). This consumer-agent connection is what companies selling Facebook Boost Ads are missing.

CRMs such as Commissions Inc, Inside Real Estate, Contactually, Boomtown, and IXACT Contact, are experiencing widespread adoption because they organize the customer record for agents to prevent them from losing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Syndication is viewed through the lens of the Fair Display Guidelines, whereby an online listing is treated as a yard sign. Only the listing broker and agent are displayed. MLSs are being recognized for their value in this regard, leading the way with data licensing agreements that follow better principles. The Broker Public Portal with Homesnap is a perfect example of this improvement, although there are several others.

The takeaway is simple: preach first to the converted. Make sure that you are staying connected to your existing customers first. Worry about new customers after you have done that job to your satisfaction.