In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to be able to connect with your real estate clients. While technology has afforded us a number of tools for doing so, we often rely on technology to keep us from doing the one thing our clients crave most – creating a connection How can we transform our digital love into something useful for our real estate business? Whether you maintain a “strictly business” relationship with your clients, or turn every transaction into a friendship, being able to continuously connect, and maintain that connection, is important. So, how do we create (and keep) this all-important link with strangers and acquaintances alike?
Two ways: Statistics and Stories.
How to Show Statistics Using Technology
Some clients are going to be very left-brained. (I used to call them the “just the facts, ma’am” clients.) They’re going to want hard empirical evidence why they should sell their home for a certain price or make a specific offer on a desired home. While they may have emotions, those emotions are best stimulated by graphs, charts and numbers. Technology can help.
Not only are you able to access statistical information quickly and easily on the Internet via your MLS or third-party sites like RBI (Real estate Business Intelligence), you can easily capture and send that information to your clients in a variety of methods.
My favorite tool for capturing images and screen shots on the Internet is called Jing. (My runner-up favorite is Evernote’s Skitch.) Jing downloads to your computer and is easily accessible when you run across data that you want to quickly capture in its native form and pass along to your most discerning statistics-mad client. You can annotate, highlight or just use really big arrows using Jing to make your point.
Once you’ve captured your information, you could pass it along in an email. Or, you could really wow your client, and create an online presentation using a tool like Haiku Deck. By inserting statistics captured with Jing, putting numbers in (literally!) black and white, you can make your point loud and clear in a simple, easy to follow format.
How to Tell Stories Using Technology
Some people’s heads explode when they’re thrown too many numbers – they need things laid out in a clear and concise fashion, preferably with pictures. One of the most effective ways of reaching clients with this preference is through stories. Whether you’re telling the story of one person or a family, the story of how a house was born or a home was created, or the story of how a neighborhood became a community, using stories taps into one of the oldest and most beloved ways of transmitting and absorbing information.
One of the easiest ways of using technology to tell a story is in first-person. Video of an owner or a community member explaining why they live in a home or neighborhood is extremely effective in giving “inside information” to a prospective buyer. You can tell your own story as a real estate agent or brokerage using video as well. (In these videos, Century 21 Redwood explains why Arlington and Washington DC are special.)
You say you can’t do it? Do you own a smartphone or tablet? Then you already have the technology. You can use the native video built into your smart device, or you can use more sophisticated devices; apps like Videolicious make it easy to create and upload videos to a YouTube channel. YouTube itself makes it extremely easy to share and embed your videos via a number of methods. (You can also create and email videos directly through an email company called BombBomb.)
A more sophisticated marketing method using story-telling would be incorporating digital media to create an experience. You could:
- Create an Instagram account that showcases different homes or neighborhoods and their locations. Bonus points for having photo tours of the various communities which get reposted to your Instagram account or use a specifically labeled hashtag.
- Pin pictures on Pinterest in specific locations and create boards for the various neighborhoods you sell and market in to help people get a flavor of life in those areas.
- Encourage people to contribute photos that signify a specific area on an open Flickr account, which you re-publish (with permission!) on a Tumblr blog or a special page on your website.
- Take your website from ordinary to extraordinary by incorporating soundbites, photos and video to tell stories about yourself, your clients, and your homes. [Check out the Seattle Divas’ website for inspiration!]
How to Use Technology for a “Hybrid” Client
Let’s say your client is a hybrid of Statistics and Stories. There’s a technology made just for them – they’re called infographics, and chances are great that you’ve already seen them in some form, whether online, in a newspaper or on the news. Infographics look exactly the way the sound – they’re a combination of information (real data) and graphics, put together to tell a story.
You can create your own infographics for your buyers, sellers, renters and investors using online tools like Infogr.am and Visual.ly. These infographics are also an easy way to highlight information on your website or blog, and to share across social media.
Whatever category your client falls into, there’s a technology tool that will enable you to communicate – and connect – with them.