Emotional connections in real estate: one thing the portals can’t compete on
Tired of losing leads to real estate portals? Here's what you need to know to beat Zillow and maintain a human connection with your leads.
Real estate portals. They weasled their way into what was once considered off-limits to all who didn’t hold membership – the MLS.
They took what was ours – what we worked out hineys off to obtain – and used it to build mega-billion-dollar corporations.
Then, they demanded we pay them to get it back.
“They” are the mammoth real estate portals whom we shall, for convenience sake, lump together in one giant, putrid pile we’ll call “Zillow” (just for convenience sake, remember?).
It didn’t take long for real estate consumers to find Zillow and similar real estate portals. In a heartbeat they not only seemed to immediately trust the portals, but to rely on their suggested home prices when selling their homes.
It’s amazing, in a country where so many despise “big business,” how easily they throw their trust to a faceless corporation, while agents have to work overtime to earn it.
There is, however, one thing at which the real estate portals and iBuyers cannot compete with you: they can’t offer the emotional connection that today’s real estate consumers crave.
I wish I had a dollar for every doctor I’ve been to and never returned. Then, I found “THE GUY.”
I threw my back out and he came highly recommended by a friend. Dr. Bertoli actually got down on the floor to show me how he uses a pillow to ease back pain while he sleeps and various sleeping positions that have helped him.
The man spent more than 45 minutes with me – unhurried, listening and creating a genuine human connection. I will never visit another doctor and if he closes his practice, I’ll go ballistic.
The real estate industry talks a big game about building rapport and trust with both existing and potential clients. Some agents feel that all those letters behind their names instill trust. Others (and rightfully so) rely on testimonials.
But those are only part of your story – a fraction of the characteristics that you offer as a trustworthy real estate agent.
Listening so that you are really hearing and responding: that’s the backbone of an authentic relationship. And it’s wrapped up in one package, labeled “Communication.”
To connect emotionally, you need to build a world-class real estate experience and it starts with your real estate lead generation strategy.
Not just the medium. After all, “the medium is the message,” according to the late Marshall McLuhan, who introduced the term into our lexicon in his 1964 book “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.”
“The message[s] of a newscast are not the news stories themselves, but a change in the public attitude towards crime, or the creation of a climate of fear,” according to Mark Federman, the chief strategist at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology.
The message on your postcards, door hangers, newsletters, in your website content, videos and social media shares – even the testimonials you choose to highlight — should have one, overarching goal: to change interpersonal dynamics with your leads.
There are many ways to accomplish this, according to Debra Russel, certified business coach and speaker:
“from using language they’ll connect with, to treating them like they matter on social media. Engaging with who they are apart from a hand with a wallet will build customer loyalty.”
Speaking of social media, nearly 90 percent of social media messages to brands go unanswered, according to Ifran Ahmad at SocialMediaToday.com.
“That suggests that most businesses are still using social media as a promotional marketing tool, instead of a two-way customer communication channel.”
Seize the opportunity to engage, in a timely manner, whenever it’s presented.
“Listening sends a strong message that tells customers that this relationship will be more about their needs than ours,” suggests Meridith Powell, author and business growth expert in a piece at Forbes.com.
And, that is how one goes about building trust. Plus, Powell continues, “when we listen, customers tell us what they need — in their words. As marketers, we can use their language when we market.”
Listen, then respond with language they understand. So basic, yet so brilliant.
Marketing messages – they’re tough to get right. “Effective marketers understand that brand experience is more emotional than cognitive,” according to coach Patrick Jinks, of The Jinks Perspective.
“This starts on the front end with marketing messages (e.g., relating to the customer’s “pain”) and continues into the long-term relationship through appreciation.”
The key, he says, is to “humanize” your brand through the services you offer. What buyers’ and sellers’ services do you offer that minimize their pain? Free staging? Complimentary home warranty?
Offering such services shows leads and clients that you hear them, understand their concerns and are ready to help solve them. Come up with services few other agents in your market offer and you’ve got yourself a winning strategy. And that sets you apart from real estate portals.
Today’s real estate consumers are far more empowered than in any time in the industry’s history. There are too many other agents that they can, and will choose, if you aren’t connecting with them – if your brand isn’t connecting with them – emotionally.
You want to avoid wasting your leads’ time when you cold call – Use this tip to show your leads the respect they deserve:
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