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Agents, Teams and Technology

February 24 2014

laptop tabletSometime soon, I will be selling a rental property and buying a different one, taking advantage of the 1031 Exchange program. I am probably like most consumers. You begin shopping for something to buy before you sell.

The relationship between a buyer and an agent (or team) will typically have three phases. The first phase is the time you shop before listing. The second is the time you shop while your home is being sold. The third is the time when you are ready to buy.

Right now, I am in the first phase, doing casual research. I do not plan to list my home for sale until the spring in Buffalo – if that ever comes ;-). I started driving neighborhoods around Thanksgiving. Flyers are not very popular in the area where I have been cruising, so I have been using a number of mobile apps. Occasionally, I call the number on the sign and leave a message. Nobody ever answers the phone anymore.

Take Away #1: Signs are important in real estate. I did not even contemplate contacting a buyer's agent who was advertised on a listing agent's listing.

Friday night, an agent contacted me from a phone message from four months ago. She sent me an email and called me by some other name like John. Not sure what happened there. I replied to the email and she called me right away to apologize. We had a nice chat and I told her what was up. She told me that her clients love Listingbook and that she would set me up with an account.

Today I got the Listingbook invite. What is weird is that it did not come from the agent I spoke with. It came from another agent. So in my state of confusion I did a little research. I went to the agent's website that the invite came from. It was not a Listingbook website – rather a custom WordPress site. Her featured listings were populated from her virtual tour vendor and did not work because the listings were already sold. Her blog posts were stale, and I checked her social media sites. Her Twitter account had not been touched since 2011 and her Facebook page was mostly junk. Overall, it was a pretty bad impression.

Hitting the technology Wall of Shame prompted me to call the agent. I learned that the invite came from a team leader, and that other members of her team use the team leader's Listingbook account. I told her I was a real estate geek. She told me that she was not. She tool control of the conversation and explained that she has been selling real estate in the area since 1989 and has four other agents working on her team. When we talked about real estate, I was instantly happy that I called her. She is a whiz, even though her technology did not show it.

Take Away #2: Agents should monitor their websites. If you are going to use tools like blogs and social media, you absolutely must keep them current. I think that agents are better off removing the online social media marketing that they do not intend to maintain.

The team belongs to two MLSs – CLAW and CRMLS. Her primary MLS is CLAW. Her teammate set me up on the CLAW Listingbook program and the Home Search Central Plus client-servicing tool from CLAW. Looking forward to experiencing those.

Take Away #3: The one thing that teams may want to focus on is client onboarding. This is a meeting to discuss who does what and who should be contacted with questions along the way.

What client-servicing tools are you using in your business?