In a hyper-competitive industry like real estate, the battle for new clients may be your biggest challenge. And if that battle weren’t already hard enough, many of you are finding that your traditional tactics don’t work so well.
Consumers definitely have changed the way they make economic decisions, and this change affects retailers, product brands and, yes, commercial and residential real estate firms.
We used to live in a world where consumers were heavily influenced by first impressions, what Procter & Gamble referred to as The First Moment of Truth. Because they didn’t have a lot of information about their choices, consumers were actually informed and influenced by product packaging and advertising.
In those days your cold calls, business cards, post cards and refrigerator magnets were important because they actually were among the few ways that homebuyers and sellers and tenants and landlords could learn about you.
As Google explains very powerfully in its study Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, that world doesn’t exist anymore. Consumers have access to an ocean of information about their choices, and they make excellent use of it. They do their own research on what to buy, how to buy and who to buy it from.
In this new world they don’t need your business card. By the time you’re handing them your card they’re already a long way toward their decision.
So, how do you win this 21st century battle for new clients? The answer is simple, but not easy.
You need to win the Zero Moment of Truth. You need to be found by prospective home sellers or landlords who are contemplating a decision. And you need to add value to their research in ways that demonstrate your value, expertise and credibility.
You need a strategy for nurturing people who aren’t ready to make a decision. In the early stages of a real estate decision people are typically trying to educate themselves. About what decision criteria are important. About who is a reliable resource. They aren’t ready to choose you. But they are ready to learn from you. Be a resource.
You need content. To win the Zero Moment of Truth, you can’t just say, “I’m here!” You need to say, “I’m here, and I matter!”
Think about the people in your market who are contemplating a real estate decision. What do they need? Do they need to understand how the home buying process works in your state? Do they need insight into local regulations and codes? Would they benefit from lessons in negotiation tactics? Would they value projections about population and traffic growth across your market sectors? Would it be helpful to provide an ongoing stream of data about local market conditions? Do you have some particular skills or connections they should know about?
You need a website. This is obvious, because the Web is where the Zero Moment of Truth battle is waged. You need to make sure that your website gets found by people who are looking for those things you do best. Which means you need to make some hard decisions about what your market is, and what value you deliver to that market. It also means that if you don’t understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you need to start doing some research of your own.
You need to automate everything you can. Every activity you delegate to software frees you up to create more educational and influential content. Consider brokerage automation tools that
- let you construct a complete portrait of every prospective client by capturing your interactions with people in real time
- keep you top of mind by automating targeted streams of outgoing educational content
- demonstrate your value by automatically generate collections of listings that match each contact’s requirements
- that make you a proactive resource by reminding you in real time of every contact’s current state and your scheduled next steps.
The competition for new clients is as strong as ever. But you’ll prevail if you master the Zero Moment of Truth.
By: Don Roedner
Sr. Director of Marketing, Think Tech Labs
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