Business and Money!

Who can argue with that?

For background, Brian said he would hold no punches before he proceeded to praise me, rip into technology providers and celebrate inefficient markets!

As far as I’m concerned, Brian is the #1 mortgage broker on the internet and I’m honored, downright honored, to share the stage with him at NYCConnect.   The guy is everywhere and his advice for agents on things like picking up the telephone and using technology to build up your business is top-notch. I also know he has thick skin, so I feel comfortable giving him hell knowing he’ll return the favor.   😉

The danger with Brian’s message is that he is a mortgage broker who has found success reaching out to realtors and you (assuming you’re a real estate agent) will find a hell-of-a-lot more success if you reach out to consumers!   Put another way, if you’re a real estate agent, then you won’t necessarily find success by emulating a successful mortgage broker! (Or put yet another way by the Bloodhound: do was we say, not as we do.)

My take is that real estate agents will be seduced by Brian’s message that the internet provides the ultimate mechanism for in-your-face marketing.   On the internet it is possible to be almost EVERYWHERE that consumers congregate!   You can be on all the social networks (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)… You can cover ALL the relevant keywords on your blog to make sure you show up on long-tail google searches… You can blog for lots and lots of site!

However, this only works for Brian because his target market is realtors who like the idea of forming a relationship with a mortgage broker.   I hope this doesn’t surprise people, but most consumers of real estate services have NO DESIRE to form a deep relationship with a real estate agent.   If you want to successfully engage consumers, you’ll need to get much more savvy.

To be successful online into the future, you MUST move way beyond keyword stuffing, plastering your name in comment fields, repeating your farming area name in every title, or sending “market updates” to all of your “friends” on Facebook.    In general you must resist the temptation to do anything and everything that manages to annoy people.

To be successful online into the future, you will need to become an “internet” person.   You’ll need to live and breathe permission marketing. You’ll need to have a message so compelling that consumers choose to receive your message. You’ll need to give up control over being the sole expert in your niche and that quite likely will mean giving up control over your community!   Rather than THE expert, you’ll need to become a real estate guide… and a damn good one.

I’ve got more than a few ideas for agents on how to engage consumers by becoming the ultimate local guide, but this post is getting too long, so I’ll hit publish and save the ideas for another day.

Published by

Dustin Luther

Current lead up the team managing Brand and Influencer Engagement programs for Dun & Bradstreet. You can find me on Twitter (@tyr) or LinkedIn (DustinLuther)

4 thoughts on “Business and Money!”

  1. > To be successful online into the future, you MUST move way beyond keyword stuffing, plastering your name in comment fields, repeating your farming area name in every title, or sending “market updates” to all of your “friends” on Facebook.

    Straw man. Brian suggested none of those things. What he said — and I’m now guilty of paraphrasing, too — is that the commercial relationship begins when it moves beyond broadcast technologies and into person-to-person communication. This is not controversial, but it definitely needs to be said. Commercial blogging doesn’t create business, it creates opportunities for people who want to do business to feel each other out. If neither one is willing to close on the opportunity, they might as well be ships passing in the night.

    > most consumers of real estate services have NO DESIRE to form a deep relationship with a real estate agent

    This is just about half wrong, and the other half is irrelevant. Buyers want houses, not necessarily Realtors. Sellers want Realtors, and they know it. The ideal long-term relationship for a successful Realtor is to be regarded as “my Realtor,” much as someone might speak of “my attorney” or “my dentist.” This is very much a process that can be initiated and sustained by social media marketing — although the real work is done by delivering the goods person-to-person.

  2. Okay, I think we have the start of a conversation. Greg’s right when he said people want houses, not REALTORs. They also want low rates, not mortgage brokers.

    Our goal, as marketers, is to be THEIR provider BEFORE the transaction happens. The trick is learning how to use SMM to accomplish just that.

    My advice to new agents and originators is simple: if you want x amount of transactions/year, you need 10X in your database (with their permission) and you need to “touch” them 40 times/year. It’s the Millionaire Real Estate Agent strategy on steroids. We need to “stoke different senses”. I mean that we need to show up in their snail-mail box, their inbox, be a consistent voice on the telephone, and eventually, be sharing a cup of joe with them….and we have to do it without appearing to be selling them anything!

    It’s gotta be so powerful that you think “Ardell” or “Reba” when you think Seattle real estate like you would say “Coke” or “Pepsi”. How can we accelerate that process, without offending, in a world that’s getting more crowded?

    That’s going to be our challenge next week, Dustin.

  3. Dustin… What I do online in using social networks to communicate with real estate agents does not translate directly to a real estate agent using the same methods to communicate with a consumer.

    And Greg, you took Dustin’s comment out of context. It is neither wrong, nor irrelevant in the context of how you approach the social networks. His point is that Realtors have a conscious desire to get to know a great mortgage broker as part of their daily business practice. Consumers don’t have that same conscious desire, except when they are IN a transaction.

    If I am talking to a network of people I know is thinking about what I have to offer all the time, I can approach it much differently than if I know that only a small percentage of the network is thinking about someone like me at all. It’s apples and oranges.

    And I agree with Dustin that there is danger for the real estate agent if they are not shown the difference.

  4. I was so bad to write this post and then disappear all day, but I’m finally back…

    Greg: You’re so right that I pulled a stray man. (although in my defense, Brian pulled a bit of a straw man in suggesting I’m against more money and/or business. 🙂

    Brian: When you start talking about soft-sell stuff (i.e. “we have to do it without appearing to be selling them anything!”) where professionals are adding value long before the “sell”, we’re in complete agreement. The only issue I’d take with your comment is that I don’t think real estate professionals who are successfully engaging in a web2.0 world, can measure the performance of their “contact list” by the number of people in their address book in that measuring your performance based on traditional “touch” metrics is quickly becoming dated.

    “Touch” implies that you know who you’re talking with when in reality, many of the best leads that have come through RCG have reached out to us when they are ready. Had we tried to find out who they were BEFORE they contacted us (let’s say by requiring registration to engage in our community), we never would have been able to build up a community to begin with.

    Jeff: Your perspective is always appreciated.

Leave a Reply