How would you respond if I told you that if you're not publishing content online that your days in the Real Estate industry are numbered?
If you think i'm out of my mind, you have a very strong sphere of influence and get all, if not almost all of your business from referrals. You get a pass, for now. But your days may be numbered.
The availability and accessibility of information on the internet has fundamentally and forever changed the way that consumers make decisions. Depending on where you are in your career, survival absolutely depends on your ability to earn the trust of educated and empowered consumers.
As generations of tech savvy and trust sensitive consumers move into the housing market, they carry with them the ghosts of foreclosure and short sale past as they experienced their parents, and their friend's parents, fall prey to evil doers responsible for duping consumers for their own monetary gain.
Whether there is any truth to this perception or not is irrelevant, you will never win this argument. What we do have to be cognizant of is that the great real estate crash of 2007 opened a communication chasm between consumers and real estate professionals.
A Simple Strategy for Survival
This new generation of buyer is highly networked, outwardly vocal and quickly repelled by one sided, self centered, "look at me" methods of push marketing and slick pitch advertising.
If you intend to be in business as a real estate agent or loan originator in 5 or 10 years from today, you need to start preparing because this shift is happening and in many markets, has already happened.
Survival is a simple matter of perspective, your ability to adapt to the new environment, to learn the new languages, to contribute to the new society. This shift in consumer sentiment opens up incredible opportunities for those ears to hear.
Extinction is avoidable and adapting is easy if you understand one simple reality:
- Scarcity is extinct. Any and all questions consumer have can be searched for and found online.
Your strategy for survival must include being found online, and contributing to the conversation about how to make good decisions when buying, selling or financing a home. The simple truth is, you currently do this every single day, with every single client that you speak with.
Your survival depends on your ability to contribute to the education and empowerment of consumers.
Think about it for a minute. How many conversations did you have with clients today, this week, this month, this year? Did your conversation consist entirely of you talking about yourself? Did you insist that working with you, or your company is the only choice to receive the best service, the highest value, the lowest price? Did you start the conversation by exclaiming that now is a good time to buy, sell or refinance?
I am confident that your answer to these questions is no, absolutely not. Your conversation was about discovering the needs, goals and wants of your customer. If you have any sales training at all, you were listening more than you were talking. Am I close?
Your key to survival is to recognize that the conversations you have with a client in person, or on the phone, is the same conversation you have to have online. Publishing your knowledge and experience online, publicly sharing answers to the questions that you hear over and over again from your clients is called Content Marketing.
Your ability to educate and empower will be rewarded by earning the trust of the consumer. Once you are trusted, you will earn the opportunity to ask for, and receive this consumer's contact information, and the opportunity to do business with them.
You Already Do It, So What's Stopping You?
The fact is, you already create content every single day. Every time you have to look up a guideline or regulation. Every time you over come a challenge with a transaction. Every time you write an email to a client, and underwriter, a real estate agent or lender. Every time you have to write a letter of explanation. Every time you write a cover letter for to accompany a purchase offer. You're creating content.
Many real estate and mortgage professionals think it's too difficult to publish content online. If you can write an email or a Word document, you can create online content. If you don't think you're a great writer but you're a charmer on video? Go that route! Video is great for delivering your message with personality and character. It lets your clients know exactly what it would be like to have a conversation with you face to face.
If you are going to do video, or if you simply want to turn on a digital recorder and and dictate a conversation, comment or answer to a question you just received from a client, transcription services are easily available and really inexpensive for turning your audio and video into Google friendly text.
There are many strategies and tactics for creating and curating effective and impactful content online. Evolution isn't an option. The next generation of consumer is not only changing the playing field, they are changing the rules of the game. If you're already invested in content marketing, or if you're planning to start in 2013, you're in great shape! This is an innovator conversation. Innovation is your key to survival in times of great change. Embrace the change, take the leap, and don't be afraid to fail. There are plenty of resources and people out here to help you take your business to the next level, just ask.
I started my content marketing journey in 2007 and today, we consistently get over 11,000+ unique, organic readers a month. These readers convert into hundreds of leads, emails and phone calls every month. Have a question? Ask. I've learned everything I know because others before me shared what they learned. I'm only paying if forward.