Four ways to prioritize follow-up over following shiny objects — and why the future of the industry depends on agents willing to build relationships

June 2, 2017 by Joan Dailey in Articles 

It’s a topic covered exhaustively at every real estate conference, every coaching call, every new agent orientation: Technology is your friend, but it isn’t your savior. New tools, apps and systems can help you win more deals by making you more productive and engaged… but they can’t bridge the gap between a brand-new lead and the closing table.

Put another way:

Real estate is a relationship business and industry technology should support those relationships, not replace them.

What tech can do — and can’t do

We know that’s a strange thing to hear from a real estate technology company but at SmartZip, we’re acutely aware of the advantages and constraints of technology.

Our predictive analytics can help you identify sellers from your sphere. Our automated marketing campaigns can help you build your brand and identify selling intent from predicted prospects. And our mobile CheckIn app can help you find the right time to call, email or doorknock these top seller prospects.

But only you can start that communication. Only you can learn the personal and financial factors that may be motivating a seller, only you can build a relationship of trust and shared goal-setting. And only you can win their business and ensure they get to the closing table safely and with all their needs met.

Keeping the agent at the center of the transaction

Can outreach and lead conversion be a hassle? Sure.

But if an app or system replaces the relationship-building of the industry, how long before it replaces agents altogether? That’s a reality that none of us want, and all of us have to fight against.

Instead, the focus should be on systems that organize and consolidate, tools that boost production and efficiency. Let the machines be machines and the agents be the human advocates for buying and selling real estate.

How can you make this happen? Here are our top four ways to ensure you pay for technology that solves real problems and avoid the tools or systems that over-promise and under-deliver.

1. Don’t pay for leads you won’t follow up with

Bulk leads can be enticing. Who doesn’t want to have a pipeline of 250 potential buyers to work with? But for the average agent, bulk leads present two main issues:

1) Any company with that many leads can’t possibly be vetting them, so the quality tends to be pretty low.

2) There’s simply no way to follow up meaningfully with that many leads. And when you know the leads are low-quality, you won’t have much motivation to follow up anyway.

2. Don’t pay for a farm if you can’t go “all-in”

Farming isn’t something you can check off a list, it’s an all-encompassing strategy that should inform your marketing, outreach, events and community engagement.

And if you’re working with a company that promises to handle your farm’s marketing or seller lead generation but never mentions that you’ll also need to engage deeply in the area, beware! The leads are likely to be from FSBOs or Expireds that you could drum up yourself, and the marketing is likely just a mass-produced flyer sent to a local ZIP code.

At SmartZip, our SmartTargeting platform automates as much as possible — from predicting sellers to sending smarter, targeted marketing campaigns to those most likely to sell — but we also have outreach tools that help you close the gap with your top listing prospects.

We know that farming takes a combination of automation and real-life follow-up and we make it as easy as possible to hit those top targets at the right time.

3. Don’t buy lists that hundreds of agents have access to

Psssst, lean in close so we can tell you a secret: the vendors who offer “seller lead lists” are usually just condensing FSBO, Expired and Probate data into one place.

And when you contact sellers who have shown a specific “trigger” in county records — like taking their home on and off the market — you’ll usually find that they are being bombarded with calls from eager agents who have the same data as you do.

If a new tool or system makes you come off more like an ambulance chaser than a trusted professional, you may want to reconsider it.

4. Don’t pay for generalizations

We’ll let you in on a little secret: Building technology is a very specific process. To create a new tool or platform, the parameters of the service have to be clearly defined upfront — and sold on the other side.

We’ve never been afraid to say that SmartTargeting was built primarily to help real estate agents win sellers identified by predictive algorithms. It’s our main focus, and the underlying features and offerings all support that focus.

If you’re speaking with a sales agent who speaks in generalized promises, and who can’t answer your questions with screenshots or a live demo, then be cautious about proceeding. The best tech companies know what their product is, but they also know what it isn’t. If the product is impressive enough to drive in real results, their sales team won’t be afraid to share its limits.


Ready to talk to people who get technology, and get you?

We can help you close the listings gap by working seller predictions and building relationships that turn into transactions.

Reach out today to see what other agents are saying about SmartTargeting. While you're there sign up to get a look at seller predictions in your sphere or local market area — no pressure, and no obligation.

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