Fitting Internet Marketing into an Agent’s Biz Flow

Over the past 6 months, I’ve had numerous (too many to count) conversations with Garron Selliken about tools we could build for HomeQuest clients and/or M Agents…  Rather than just building cool stuff because we *could*, Garron consistently brings almost every conversation about new tools back to an understanding of how the tool is going to fit into the Agent’s business flow.   So much so, that I’ve completely reoriented my thinking and developed a mental model of the agent’s biz cycle in order to track where various tools and ideas fit into the work flow of an agent.

After presenting this “mental” model to a few different audiences, I’ve realized that this model is not only providing the backbone for my presentations, but also for how we think of our product development cycle at HomeQuest…  And because I’m using this concept as the backbone of the BuzzRE OC event we’re currently organizing for later this month, I thought I’d share this slide and my reasoning behind it’s importance.

The idea behind the slide is that there’s a core cycle common to all agent biz cycles:

  • Using some type of lead generation technique/tool, agents identify prospects out of their sphere or by directly reaching out to consumers
  • Using client management techniques/tools, agents provide the information and tools so that they can turn help prospects become clients
  • Using sphere building techniques/tools, agents bring past clients and other people from their community into their sphere

For many highly successful agents, the core cycle (sphere to prospects to clients to sphere ) is the basis for their “referral” business… which, even among “internet-savvy” realtors, is the main source of business for most realtors.

The main reason I like this tool is that it helps shape how I think about various tools.   In other words, an agent’s “hub” (i.e. website/blog/home search tool) can be an awesome lead generation tool, but only part of the story if good client management tools are missing.   Other tools, like DocuSign, don’t add much to lead generation, but can be valuable in the client management stage of the cycle.   And finally, some tools, like Facebook, Twitter, and even largely blogs, are awesome at sphere building, but rarely make for effective lead generation or client management tools.

Tomorrow, I’m going to publish the outline for the BuzzRE OC Event and start to explore how the presentation from each of the speakers (we have 8 great speakers lined up!) can fit into the agent’s business flow.  However, for today, I thought I would end by asking a few questions that this chart raises for me:

  • Are there any agent work-flows that wouldn’t fit into this cycle?
  • Where does “your” product fit into this cycle?
  • What parts of the cycle are most in need of useful tools?

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)

18 thoughts on “Fitting Internet Marketing into an Agent’s Biz Flow”

  1. Client management seems too broad to me. I think there is a “lead nurturing” step where leads turn to prospects turn to clients. Does this make sense? (I also think this is the crux of the difficulties for most agents.) For me a tool that combined something like 37signals Highrise with Rezora and worked with mobile phones and could receive data directly from WP forms…. would be just about right.

    Can you make me one of those?

    1. I think I see where you’re going, although I think I would have simply included the lead nurturing in with lead generation tools… but I like where you’re going. In terms of this “new” tool, I’m very curious, but I’m just not sure what you’re trying to accomplish.

      Getting a CRM to actively accept data from a WP form would be trivial (we already do something similar with HomeQuest), but it’s unclear what you want to do with the data once it’s there… Are you wanting to send a newsletter to that person? Or something more personalized? If it’s simply an update with relevant listings, that would be trivial, but we’ve been bantering about how to do something more like an automated newsletter (maybe from blog posts?) that doesn’t come off as spam… and I’m not even sure I’ve seen something that would work.

      1. To me, lead management is about creating a lead and getting the info into a CRM with as much data as possible. Nurturing them into a client who gets in a car and looks at houses, is the important next step.

        Do you read http://blog.startwithalead.com/ ? Great insight here.

        As for a tool,It has to be much more than a newsletter and more than just listings. It needs to be highly relevant content that is specific both to the market and to the market segment. Listbuilding needs to be highly segmented (tags come in handy here) – first time buyers, historic homes, condos, investors, specific neighborhoods. Maybe use tags from the blog posts to create segmented newsletters?
        You mentioned spam – it’s not spam if you are creating relevant content for people who want it. Don’t send newsletters to people who ask for listings. You can send other content mixed in with listings if it’s relevant and helpful, but don’t just add them to the newsletter list.

        As you know, I work in a vacation market. The lead nurturing time is often measured in years and keeping in touch over time is very important.

        1. completely agree that the email has to be super-relevant… and for a company, that can be hard to create… but definitely not impossible. I love your ideas!

  2. Yes I think your cycle matches what I try to do the problem for me comes in with the numbers– something like 7 leads equal one PA – 4 offers to purchase equal one deal- one in 4 deals fall through. Those numbers worked backwards equal the problem when low commissions in this area are considered. We need to close 50+ homes to make a decent living so any ideas or programs that will help me better handle the large quantity of leads I work would be helpful.

    1. Mike: I’m a bit bias because I work with a company that makes a great client follow up tool that’s designed to help an agent like your self better manage a large quantity of leads. However, we’re only in a few markets… What area do you work in?

      1. Dustin, Thanks for mention DocuSign – I agree that DocuSign, by itself, allows you to close deals in the cloud / get the signatures yo need to move processes forward.

        However, DocuSign integrated with CRM systems will enable you to have higher visibility into the sales / deal process and optimize business processes.

        Thanks again for the mention – if you have any questions, let me know 🙂

        1. I agree with all you say… And definitely look forward to doing a better job of integrating DocuSign into some of the backend stuff we’re working on at HomeQuest! 😉

  3. I think An Bui mentioned a the one word that I think can take this conversation to the next level – ‘integration’. I know we are talking about it at ‘M’ more and more. The more that this cycle is connected to its various working parts, the more we will be able to see agents follow through effectively with all parts of the cycle.

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