Mathias Bergendahl's Marketing Blog


How to Capture the Attention of a Prospect: Build Consumer-Centric Greeting and Response Platforms

“What do you do?” The question I was asked during a recent east-bound flight across the Atlantic Ocean began a several-hour long conversation about the real estate industry.

Never slow to seize the opportunity to speak with consumers about real estate, and especially the importance of having a Realtor® assist with the process, I found myself listening to a Clearwater couple, soon-to-be empty-nesters, tell their tales of past home buying and selling experiences. Some were great, they shared. Others were, well, not very satisfactory. What’s even more interesting was that they currently are in the market for a condo. Asked whether they’d contacted a Realtor® yet, they responded that they wanted to start their search online on their own initially, but that they eventually would seek out someone to assist them.

During the course of our conversation, inspired by listening to how they’d prefer to go about finding a Realtor®, I came up with a response process by which Realtors® can capture the attention of prospective customers in a non-intrusive way. First impressions certainly do last, and here are two steps you can take to make them a positive one.

Step One: Make a Positive First Impression to Anonymous Visitors

With well over 80% of buyers starting their search for a home online, there’s a significant possibility that your website, blog, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile effectively becomes your virtual first handshake. In fact, if consumers find the information you’re providing on your blog helpful and informative, it’s likely that they’ll come back to read more, anonymously, without contacting you until they’re ready to do so.

So, what can you share in order to make a positive first impression that will bring visitors back? Consider creating a description of your process. From pricing, marketing, and market research to negotiation, provide a bit of insight as to how you typically go about assisting clients. Make sure you effectively describe your value proposition. Describe your service model, and how you assist your clients from start to close. Spend one day looking through the eyes of your customers, and define which messages you most likely would respond to if it were you looking to buy a home. Avoid the urge to sell, but rather focus on making all content focused on meeting the needs of consumers. Describe how you work with other professionals for the benefit of the consumer. Are you using a text message system integrated with your Realtor® signs as described in this recent blog post? Make sure to describe such innovative solutions as they definitely will make you stand out in your marketplace.

A key consideration when you develop your various online platforms is to decide the depth of the information and materials you’ll provide at each given step in the process. Those engaged in social networking expect to be given in-depth information upfront. Materials we previously guarded until we had a chance to sit down with a prospective client in person are now expected to be available online.

Here’s an example: Present tools you’ll make available to consumers you work with, but don’t give away the details just yet. Describe how you’ll provide a free account through which they’ll receive morning reports with a marketplace activity update (Listingbook) and share with readers how you initially set up an account for your customers through which they easily can bookmark properties they find online that you later can do the research on (Dwellicious).

By describing your services without the details you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll hear from those visiting your online platforms as they’ll ask for more information. Once you’ve captured their attention, and more importantly left them with a positive first impression, I’m certain you’ll hear from them – when they’re ready.

Step Two: Create a Powerful Response Platform for Consumer Requests

The first message you receive from a prospective client may be as brief as “I want to know more about this home,” arriving by email in response to a listing at Realtor.com or maybe through your website. How do you typically respond? By giving them a call? The couple I spoke with suggested that the response should be in the manner the initial contact was made; in this case an email would be more appropriate.

Consider this:

Create a landing page at your website or blog with the following features:

1. Post a brief video, or write an introduction if you’re not comfortable using video, thanking the visitor for their response and welcoming them to your webpage where you hope they’ll find out more about the property they’ve indicated interest in.

2. Provide a link to additional information about the property they’re inquiring about. Since most online listings only provide limited information, possibly just one image, additional information should include a link to a virtual tour, a link to a Google map to show the location of the home, additional photos, and any other information you’d like to share with the consumer.

3. Share a compelling message, in a video or written text, in which you briefly describe your process, focused on meeting the needs of those you serve. Discuss how you’re going to market their home. Describe the tools you make available to sellers and buyers.

The key message I took away from our conversation in the sky was that the couple looked for valuable information provided in a non-intrusive way. Before they’d be willing to meet with a Realtor, or even hear from someone over the phone, they would want to have a sense of what they can expect. Before making the first contact, they want to feel as if the Realtor® will be able to assist them and that they’ll receive the service level they expect. By building consumer-centric greeting and response platforms you’ll be prepared to assist those who like the couple I spoke with begin their search online.

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