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Building Database Relationships With Real Estate Technology

For many real estate agents, using technology for relationship building is often overlooked or not prioritized correctly. Technology is best used to maximize your most profitable revenue stream first and foremost. Consequently, this will lead to trying other sources when appropriate for your marketing budget.

What are these streams? Data from the National Association of Realtors, gives this data:

Typically, you see over 60% of your lead sources are from contacts / referrals on the personal and business side.

I was reading the articles posted on branding and value proposition, which got me thinking about how real estate agents should be maximizing time with the best potential lead source. As tech enthusiasts, it is easy to get distracted from the fundamental process of bringing in leads and the strategies that bring you the most business.

I know this has been a long time strategy in our office. Especially with new agents, we always try to start them networking in their own sphere of influence.

How many times have you heard the statistic, “90 percent of buyers begin their search online?” or statistics that show overwhelming numbers for social media usage. All they do is distract agents from building relationships and working their own database. Have you noticed the companies that support these statistics? Mostly companies that want you to consider their technology for help in social media, advertising, etc.

What is your best marketing sphere?

We are constantly pushed away (maybe without realizing) from what brings in over half of your business for a given year. Which makes me ask the question, when was the last time you considered where your time and marketing dollars are going?

Consider this: Invest in tools/technology that will help you maximize your own contacts and relationships. As a result, you can start investing in Internet leads, print, or direct mail campaigns. I know it sounds simple, but keeping an effective relationship with your own clients is an entire marketing strategy on its own.

Does that mean to completely abandon these lower percentage lead sources? No. Figure out a system that puts your focus in the most revenue generating sources. This will supply marketing dollars that you can reinvest back into your business. For example, Direct mailing campaigns are mostly for brand awareness as there are for a constant lead source. Farm your own sphere of influence before investing heavily into cold leads.

For those that have been in the industry longer, where have you seen your biggest shift in marketing dollars? Have you done less marketing in cold leads? Or more?

Have you ever invested in technology systems that help/assist with just working your business in referrals? I know agents in our office are generally happy to pay for this type of system, because it helps them stay on top of their clients first.

Finally, if you made a pie chart for your lead sources, would it look like graph above?

About Ryan Gullett

Ryan is the marketing coordinator for EGA Homes .EGA Homes is the military housing division of Coldwell Banker Blackstone Realty.Proudly serving active duty, reservist and Veterans of the US armed forces in their real estate needs. Ryan was recently featured on Placester for his efforts in showing real estate agents and his company how to use technology to increase their business. Ryan has an extensive education in business/marketing and has a passion for real estate technology that increases productivity for brokers and agents.

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  • “Have you noticed the companies that support these statistics? Mostly companies that want you to consider their technology for help in social media, advertising, etc.”

    It’s not surprise these companies push the message that will help their business grow. Of course, there is literally data that can paint any picture you want if you look hard enough or slice and dice it correctly.

    • Ryan Gullett

      In my experience, being pitched certain products, this is especially true. Almost any decent company can sit you down and make you feel like you could use this service. But do you really need it? Or will you stop using it after 3 months when you signed a year long contract.

  • My stats are Internet leads around 90% and 8% from referral or past clients. We get some from from Open Houses and vendor referrals too.

    The good thing is all those with 1% or less we do not do at all, including having no office.

    All our marketing is online using Google, Facebook, and Bing.

    • Ryan Gullett

      How feasible do you think it is for an agent to start out, in today’s market, wanting to do 80% of their business online and only focusing with online leads/marketing.

      I would assume your numbers are possible for your early adoption and dedication(and skill) to the online market years ago.

      • I think there is always room for agents that present better online solutions to get a lot of leads online.

        This is true with all technology. Facebook took out Friendster and MySpace because they presented a better solution and people switched.

        There are many examples of this happening in Real Estate and all other areas of business.

        • I think comparing selecting a different local real estate agent/website to facebook taking out friendster/myspace is a stretch.

          • I agree with both of your points. My comparison is not great, just trying to make the point that technology is always evolving so there is always room for new ideas.

            You are right again in terms of beating the portals. I don’t want to discourage new agents though, there are still agents out there that add a lot of local content, and have all the listings via IDX, and they still get leads from their site. I would not call it beating or better than the portals, but surviving or thriving in their local market is still possible.

        • “I think there is always room for agents that present better online solutions to get a lot of leads online.”

          Sure… but how many agents/brokers can actually develop a better online solution than the portals who have spent hundreds of millions building their product over a decade?

          • Ryan Gullett

            I think that is where I see a gap. I don’t want to discourage innovation from people who disrupt the bigger innovations. But at the same time, it is just not feasible for most people to venture into that.

            I get what you meant, Bryn.

          • The delicate balance of optimism and realism.

  • Mike Price

    Great analysis Ryan. I use the analogy of water coming from a fire hose when speaking to the issue of technology for real estate professionals. It’s difficult to know whom to use as a trusted source of information. That’s been the mission of this blog for a long time and your post nails it. Thanks.

  • Sep Niakan

    I have many agents that simply have no sphere (well, no sphere that has money anyway :)). They either door knock / cold call, try to build a network from scratch which can take years, or they go after online leads….The online leads are the lowest hanging fruit. The aggressive ones do the cold calling, the long-term thinkers definitely build their network (also), but in the end internet leads are what seems to be the ones most within their reach. As long as they understand the typical costs, conversion rates and closing timelines . . . .

    • Ryan Gullett

      I think this can be a harsh reality. Do you think this is a situation where said agent should try to join a small team? Where they can get fed leads to work with and gain experience.

      • Sep Niakan

        Ryan, yes, but when they join a small team they tend to get mostly internet leads 🙂

  • Not only for Real Estate, database relationships building in important for all business.

    • Ryan Gullett

      This being a community for real estate individuals, I thought it was necessary to relate to that industry.

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