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How to Work Your Way into the Plans of Potential Sellers

May 27 2019

In this interview, Jesse Zagorsky of Z-Team Real Estate in San Diego shares the branding secrets that win his team more seller leads. Let's dive in:

You implemented a branding component as another dimension to your online advertising. How does branding fit in or add value to your direct marketing?

The branding portion is all about repetition and top-of-mind consciousness. But it's not just about them seeing your brand. I actually love combining branding with any sort of online outreach. The branding just supercharges all of your other marketing efforts including all the lead generation you do.

When a consumer has an inquiry about a specific property—and if they get connected with you—that's just the start of it. When that consumer continues to research, it triggers something in their memory because they've already been seeing your branding. It's one of the things I love about the Local Expert product. The consumer is shopping on realtor.com and they're looking at houses. When they're searching in one specific area and you're the "Local Expert" in that area, they're seeing your face and branding over and over again, which is how you create that top of mind consciousness.

Lets talk about the local part of this. Are you trying to reach a specific group or your whole county?

If my goal is to put my brand in front of every person in San Diego County, that'd be unrealistic. Typically most agents—including myself—start to niche down, whether you're picking a geographic area or a type of market segment you're going to work with.

With generalized broad brush branding, it's hard to really track return on investment because some of it is going to people that you know aren't thinking of moving. In fact, you're not even registering on their radar at times with old school direct mail postcards and things like that.

Whereas with digital, if someone is actually ready to make a move, they typically go online first. They start in the research phase just browsing at houses. In the beginning, they might not be that focused. But when they get closer to that transactional phase, that's typically when I find that the majority of the clients are looking on sites like realtor.com. So when they are looking there, that's when I want my branding to definitely be in front of them. That's where I want a heavy amount of repetition because that's going to get me the biggest bang for my buck in terms of return on investment.

We noticed you connect your branding to your customer recommendations. How does this benefit you?

The branding is that that really important piece to get you and to get your reviews in front of people. This is really to establish credibility in the eyes of the consumer. This hasn't changed in the last 30 years. People do business with people that they know, people that they like and people that they trust.

When they send in an inquiry, they may not even know that they're getting in contact with you. Other times, they may be specifically reaching out to you because they've seen you over and over again.

The trust also somewhat comes from repetition, but that's where these reviews are so important. They establish credibility. In our current society, people don't even buy a pack of gum without reading reviews. It's just social proof—the third party validation has become the most important currency in terms of establishing credibility and having someone trust you. It's really one of the most important pieces of branding.

Since you manage to get the attention of home shoppers, can you use that when doing a listing presentation?

The branding piece is probably more important on the listing side than working with buyers. It is important and buyers will Google you—they'll look at reviews on realtor.com. Buyers do research, but sellers do even more. I feel like really vet and check out the agent that they're going to work with.

On the listing presentation, when in front of a seller, I present with, "You probably have already researched me, but in case you haven't seen it, let me show you that we are on the number one search portal online, realtor.com. We are a featured Local Expert, which is going to drive more buyers to want to be in contact with us."

This is really what they're looking for to sell their house—reaching more buyers

These tools allow me to establish credibility. For a seller, it's so important. I find more and more sellers these days are looking for credible local experts—people with really detailed local market knowledge.

Do you actively market these services when prospecting for listings?

From a marketing standpoint, in order to "sell your home for the highest possible price," sellers intuitively know they need the maximum exposure. They need the most amount of eyeballs on their house by being able to feature their property in a prominent spot. When someone is searching for local homes in an area on realtor.com, you can make their listings stand out at the top of the list and be prominently featured. This is something you can drive to in a marketing piece.

I have a few different lists of neighborhoods of people who are potential sellers and I run ads to reach them. Even from direct mail, you could drive it via a piece with a unique selling proposition. "Look, we will feature your home in a top position on realtor.com, which is going to get you more buyers. More eyeballs equals a higher sales price—give me a buzz so I can tell you how we do this."

It seems you have this well integrated. Does having this buttoned up help you with recruiting and retention?

Anything you can do that differentiates from your competition is always a valuable recruitment tool or retention tool. You need to be seen as credible to the agents on your team who are thinking of joining, or if they're going to stick around, they have to believe that you have credibility. Being the featured local expert in your town definitely helps establish credibility and is a great retention tool.