A traditional marketing strategy for inspectors to get in front of real estate agents has been office presentations. You beg and plead for the opportunity. You bring breakfast, candy bowls, pens, anything to get these people to listen. In one meeting, you get to reach 5, 10, 20 realtors at once and tell them why you're better than the rest. Great right?
I feel this is a slowly dying model for 2 reasons:
- Human nature alone gives the cold sell low odds. We naturally resist when someone is trying to sell us on something new. Think about when someone is trying to sell you something face-to-face for the first time. You don't know them, never seen them before, have no trust in their services, skills or reputation.
- Real estate brokerage models are changing. The days of expensive office space and desk fees are fading. Many agents work "virtually". Meaning they aren't at those boring, and traditionally mandatory sales meetings.
So you need to find other ways to get exposure to them.
Office presentations can still be an effective way to meet new agents, and may work for some inspectors. But it's only the first time they've seen and heard your message. It will most likely be ignored.
So if you believe in making office presentations, it must be complemented by additional touch points online.
The Rule of Seven
In marketing and advertising, The Rule of Seven refers to the average number of times a person must be exposed to a message or brand before trying or buying.
The actual number is less important than understanding human psychology.
Market research continually (and not surprisingly) proves that a person needs to know you, your service and your reputation before they are willing to refer you.
Building familiarity and trust happens over a series of memorable neutral or positive interactions. How many contacts or exposures it takes depends on factors such as supply/demand, price, etc.
The point is that creating a habit of continually building visibility, familiarity and trust will lead to more agents giving you a chance when the need is there.
There is no better way to get efficient "touches" than online communication via social media and email.
Find the Time & Energy to Be Social
A Realtor.org survey revealed that 91% of Realtors use social media. Yet many inspectors aren't using this medium to connect and engage with the very people their business might depend on!
Whether it's finding the time, or getting over the fear of learning, you need to be connecting and engaging with real estate agents on social media. Each day, more and more agents are using social media on a daily or weekly basis.
Social Media is a constantly evolving, fast-paced world. Luckily, most real estate agents are most active on the major ones - Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. Most of you should be familiar with these.
How Do I Find Agents?
One of the tougher parts of this can be finding local real estate agents and what platforms they use. We can help with that.
Local searches on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn should yield a few names. Simply type in [your city] [realtor] or [real estate agent] into the search bar. Each platform will give you a great list to start combing through.
Many agents will also link to these profiles on their website. If you go that route, do that same search in Google and see which individual agent sites come up on the first page of results. They are likely doing lots of deals.
What Do I Say?
This question comes up a lot for folks that aren't comfortable with social media.
What would you say if you were face-to-face?
How do you react when someone shares a useful piece of information with you?
Oftentimes the world of social media can be muddled with hashtags, likes & emojis. Don't feel like you need to be anybody but yourself online.
Nothing beats good ole fashioned respect, communication and authenticity. If you liked a certain part of an article they just shared or tweeted, say so. Add to the conversation. Pose questions that push the conversation forward. Share it and tell them you did so!
Add value. That is how agents will come to trust you.
Kind of like IRL (In Real Life) eh?
If you find yourself staring at the screen drawing blanks....
Take comfort in knowing that the world of social media moves quickly. Make each post thoughtful and succinct, but don't overthink it. Not every comment needs to be profound.
Just like anything it takes practice to get comfortable and proficient.
What If I Haven't Used Instagram or Twitter Before?
Learning a new technology is scary. We've all been there.
Often the best way to overcome that is to just dive in and start playing with it. If you prefer how-to articles, here are some on Twitter basics here and here.
What About Email Newsletters?
Some successful agents send out a newsletter. Subscribe to it!
When you receive it - actually read through it and give a thoughtful response.
It could include:
- General commentary confirming what you read or thanking them for the info
- Asking a follow up question to prompt dialogue
- Letting them know you've shared one of their links on social media
The best part about this engagement is that you can't fake authenticity.
You must truly be building a relationship and trust, and not trying to sell them. When you think of it that way, interactions come more naturally.
Be a Consistent Brand
with a Consistent Message
When a company or message gets your attention, what happens when you click through to their site to do more research? If you see signals that validate & confirm what you initially saw, then you're more likely to try whatever they're selling.
None of this will work if your website doesn't give off the same credibility and trust that your social media & email interactions were giving.
The real reason a real estate agent won't give you a try:
They don't know, like or trust you.
Many inspectors think real estate agents don't use them because of price. "Too expensive" is typically code for "I'm not convinced you provide the value for the price".
If an agent really trusted your knowledge & advice, then they would find a way to convince the buyer they need to hire you.
There is so much noise online. Especially on social media.
This is why it takes time to build real relationships online that translate offline - You have to be patient and consistent.
How Do I Find Time For This?
I know what you're thinking. You don't have time to do this.
This is why strategies like this work so well over the long run - Because no one wants to show up and put in the work.
Marketing is a habit.
Habits form by scheduling them.
Start small. Put 10 minutes on the calendar to read, interact and engage while you're drinking coffee or winding down before bed. We'll give you the list of agents and accounts to find.
You just have to build the trust and reap the rewards of more referrals.