Google has a number of offerings for real estate agents, most of which you’re probably already aware of: GMail, Google Analytics, Google Alerts, and YouTube (to name a few). The burgeoning social media site Google has created in Google Plus (or Google +), however, offers up several different opportunities to not only illustrate your local knowledge, expertise and community involvement in your Profile and Pages – Google Plus also contains Google Hangouts. For those of you unfamiliar with Google Hangouts, Hangouts is essentially a place where people who are invited can meet each other online in a Skype-like atmosphere. Utilizing the camera and microphone on your computers, tablets and smartphones, Google Hangouts (and the Google Hangouts app) gives you a real-time, face-to-face connection with other people. How could you apply this to you real estate business?
Imagine you’re working with a wonderful couple who are interested in purchasing a home. You’ve taken them through several potentials, they’ve written an offer…OFFER ACCEPTED! There are some contingencies you have to get through first, however, before you can move on. You’d like to walk your clients through these contingencies step by step. Unfortunately, the wife is currently overseas and the husband is away on a business trip. What can you do?
Or imagine you’ve listed a beautiful home. The staging was perfect, the price was right, and you’ve had several offers. You’d like to present those to your seller face to face, but she’s currently out of town. Do you call her with the info and hope she’s paying attention? What other options are there?
A Hangout provides you with the ability to engage in face-to-face conversations with your clients.
How do you make a Google Hangout happen?
If you’re a Gmail user already, you can access Google Hangouts by logging in to GMail and clicking on the “YourName+” in the upper right-hand corner.
If you have used Google Chat, you can also click on your profile picture on the left-hand side and choose “Try the New Hangouts.”
You can also start with Hangouts by downloading the necessary app for your smartphone, tablet or computer by visiting the Google Hangouts website.
If you choose to access Google Hangouts through your Google Plus account, there’s just a few more steps to get going:
(1) Choose Hangouts from the drop-down menu located under the Home icon on the left-hand side
(2) You’ll see three tabs to choose from: Home, Hangouts on Air, and Video Hangouts. Hangouts on Air are public, live Hangouts which are often educational in nature. If this isn’t the purpose of your Hangout, and you don’t want everyone joining in on your Hangout, choose “Video Hangouts.”
(3) The Video Hangouts tab gives you the prompt to Start a Google Hangout:
To access your Google Hangout, your clients will need to be invited. If you want their device to “ring” to signal them that the Hangout is starting, you’ll want to make sure that the “Quiet Ring” option is NOT selected. Otherwise, everything else is self-explanatory – you can invite people directly from Google + by entering in a message and including the email addresses of the people you want to join you. If you’re already connected to your clients on Google Plus, you can +Add names instead.
At the appointed agreed-upon time, everyone can log in using the link Google Hangouts provided you with – and you can begin your conversation! Have fun with it and enjoy using Google Hangouts as another “wow” in your real estate business.