Ode to the Refrigerator Magnet

Law of Averages

Successful Realtors play to the law of averages. Agents that understand their value and in turn can articulate their value find a way to consistently get in front of as many contacts as possible. They start understanding their sales funnel very well. They know that for every measureable input (number of phone calls, each paid search dollar, door hangers placed etc.) that they are going to get a predictable output. They set their income goals and start maximizing their inputs.

All good sales people understand this. Smart sales people understand for their business to be enduring they have to be able to magnify each sale into a lifetime of relationships that lead to both referrals and further deals with the client as their real estate needs progress.

Understanding the Home Ownership Life Cycle

Home Ownership Life CycleIf you pay attention to the needs of your clients throughout the course of each home ownership lifecycle you will find many more ways of interacting and creating value for those clients.  A customer’s 2nd home ownership cycle might look something like the diagram to the right. There are unique opportunities at each of these stages to solidify a customer for life. The obvious ones are on the right of this diagram. Some of the long term difference makers are on the left. Where you might not be an expert at helping in these areas, your sphere of influence certainly should be. Partnering and creating synergistic value at these stages can create an enormous amount of value for you and for your partners. Mortgage, Decorating, Moving, Construction partnerships, to name a few, if worked right can lead to an incredibly profitable career in Real Estate. Gone are the days that a calendar, a Christmas card and a refrigerator magnet will be enough to win you your client’s next transaction.

Lifetime Value of a Client

Though I’ve seen a number of conflicting reports let’s assume that the average home consumer will move 5 times during their lifetime. Agents that are looking at Real Estate as a long term career should be looking at the value each client can add to their business. Let’s do some quick math. I’ll be conservative.  Assume an average purchase price of $250k each time; a 20% fall out rate each cycle and two referrals per cycle. Let’s also assume a 2.5% list side commission and a 3% buy side commission. Let’s also assume that you will double end a deal 40% of the time and will sell your seller a new home 50% of the time. If these numbers hold true, each new customer you create should be worth $75k in commissions.

Lifetime value of a clientThis doesn’t count subsequent referrals given by referrals from this client. If you start doing that math it adds up quickly. Additionally your mortgage partner would make $66k in origination fees and your decorator/furniture partner would garner 105k in revenue.  There are real incentives there for you to work from in creating these relationships. Similar numbers hold for Movers, Utility Connections, Painting, Cabinet, Drapery and Flooring contractors.  That unified interaction with the client is going to be part of the next wave of value creation.

Presented in an entirely different way

So let me see if I can illustrate this a little further. $100 to the first person that can put this to a rap beat and send me the recording Glade@obeo.com .

 

Ode to the refrigerator Magnet

You’ve seen her—that top notch Realtor®

Who worked with a heart of gold.

She battled for every listing

And would promptly get it sold.

 

Seven Percent is what she charged

Her and her team were worth it.

Who could turn down her big bright smile

Or the work that came with it?

 

One by one she got each listing.

One by one they would sell.

At closing all seemed so happy,

A result of treating them well.

 

With so many buyers and sellers

Leaving the closing content,

How could they ever doubt that she

Was worth that seven percent?

 

Buyers and Sellers became her friend

How could they not like her smile?

Next time real estate was their goal

She’d win their hearts by a mile.

 

To keep them happy, lifelong friends

A refrigerator magnet would do.

Not only that, to keep the love

She’d send a Birthday Card too.

 

The ownership cycle starts at the listing

selling and purchasing next.

Moving, décor and living follow,

But a payday there is complex.

 

A Realtor’s® job is to get that transaction

The commission is paid from the split.

The dreaming, decorating and living stuff?

Her strategy—the fridge magnet.

 

Along came the far sighted Broker,

Who saw clients’ needs where changing.

If agents helped at each point of the cycle

They’d control more transactions–Amazing!

 

Armed with the tools to start buyers dreaming

They made their listings compelling

Buyers could see themselves living there

All of their listings were selling

 

Those tools that garnished each listing

Turned more potent after the sale.

Owners could dream with virtual tools

The Brokerage referrals took sail.

 

The tired Agent with a waning smile

Couldn’t believe the market inaction

That happy long list of customers

Went elsewhere for their next transaction

 

The moral of this Realtor poem is

Homeownership starts at the sale.

If you fail to add value after the fact

When the next cycle turns you will fail

 

Glade Jones is the CEO of Obeo. He has worked closely with consumers from many different angles as both a Realtor®, a homebuilder, an entrepreneur and visionary. Obeo was founded by Mr Jones as a way to help consumers see a home both for what it is and for what it could be.  Obeo’s tag line “See You There” is meant to encapsulate Obeo’s mission of being the bridge between dreaming and dwelling.  Obeo is that company that inspires “moving” experiences. He can be reached via email at Glade@obeo.com

11 Reasons why you should hire a professional real estate photographer

real estate photographyYou only have one chance to make a first impression.  And studies show that for most real estate consumers, that first impression is the photography of the listing that they find online.  Today’s buyers have very high visual expectations and very short attention spans.  So how do you make your listing stand out online?  How do you capture the attention of the consumer and make them want to know more?  One of the best ways is to hire a professional real estate photographer, and here are 11 reasons why.

  1. More online views.  According to a study done by Redfin, listings shot with DSLR professional photography receive 61% more online views than their competitor listings.
  2. Better first impressions. For 95% of online shoppers, the first thing they look at is your listing’s front exterior photo.  Furthermore, studies show that they will spend about twenty seconds looking at that front exterior photo, before moving on to the other photos or listing details.  Make that first 20 seconds really count!
  3. Higher selling price.  Listing marketed with professional DSLR photography have a higher perceived value and sell for more money.  That’s right, according to the Wall Street Journal, these listings gain anywhere from $934 to $116,076 at the closing table!  Add those stats to your listing presentation when you’re competing with an agent who takes his or her own photos.
  4. More likely to sell.  That’s right, according to Redfin, homes with professional DSLR photos are more likely to sell than those with point and shoot images.  The study showed an increase across all price ranges, varying from 5% to 17%.
  5. Sell faster.  Redfin’s study also showed that listings with professional DSLR photos sell faster.  Time varied by price range, but in the $400,000 range, homes sold on average 3 weeks faster.  That’s a pretty staggering stat!
  6. Your image.  You should care about your image(s)! That’s right, your home owners have hired a professional real estate agent to market their home. Don’t you think you should hire a professional photographer to take the listing photos?
  7. Win more listings.  Let’s face it, there is a lot of listing competition out there. Having a beautiful portfolio of previous listing photos just may help you win that listing.  Especially when you combine it with the stats previously mentioned.
  8. Social media content.  Visual content is all the rage in social media these days, and having a library of beautiful professional photos in a huge asset.  Use those photos on sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook to attract interest and gain referrals.
  9. Save time.  Great photography not only requires time at the photo shoot, it requires time for editing and uploading.  Most realtors are at their best when listing, showing and selling properties.  So why take time away from what you do best to shoot and edit photos?  Instead, hire a professional photographer to do what he or she does best.
  10. Higher quality results.  Lets be brutally honest here. Owning a professional DSLR camera does not make you a photographer anymore than owning a set of watercolor paints makes you an artist. Professional photographers do photography for a living. They practice often, and they know lighting, angles and composition.  They know how to take an ordinary room and make it look extraordinary.
  11. Trigger emotion. Beautiful photos trigger an emotional response.  And emotion sells.  In fact, for most buyers, emotion is about 80% of the buying decision.  Buyers use logic to choose price ranges, locations, and home sizes.  But from there, most consumers will rely on emotion to choose the homes they visit in person and ultimately purchase.

If you’re interested in hiring a professional real estate photographer, please call Obeo. We have some of the top photographers in North America, and we’d love to introduce you.  Click here to order now.  You can view some of our amazing photography on Instagram and Pinterest,   Or, if you’re a professional photographer looking for a great company to work with, we’d love to meet you. Please fill out our online application.

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Real Estate Tool of the Month – Google Trends

New trend?What is Google Trends? I discovered this little gem about six months ago, and have been obsessed with it every since! Google Trends is an online search tool that allows you to see how specific keywords, topics and phrases  have trended over a period of time. It graphs how often a term is used over time and where geographically most people are searching for a given term.  This data can be exported the data into a .CSV file which can be opened in Excel or other spreadsheet applications.  Another cool feature is that you can compare up to five terms to view their relative popularity. Why is all of this important? For a couple reasons:

  1. Mobile:  More and more consumers are searching on mobile devices.  And people search differently on mobile than they do on a computer.  If they are typing the search, they tend to use fewer words. If they are using voice controls, they tend to be more conversational.  This will an affect on the keyword phrases you choose.
  2. Change: The only constant is change, and you can be sure the topics and phrased that consumers use to search for real estate online will change as well.  If you’re going to go to work hard at optimizing your website and content for a keyword phrase, wouldn’t you rather use a phrase that is trending UP, rather than one that is trending DOWN?

How can you use Google Trends as a Real Estate Tool? 

Keyword Research:  One of the most important processes of SEO and the entire search process is finding the right keyword phrases. Keywords are what consumers type into a search engine to find you or your content online. My favorite way to use it for keyword research is to compare the level of interest among several target phrases. Here’s an example I did to compare possible keyword phrases agents might use when searching for photography services. It’s easy to see that for Obeo, “Real Estate Photography” would be the wisest choice of keyword phrases.

Trend Research: I think this is really fun! Every six months or so, check your keyword phrases to see if they are trending up or down.  You need to  stay on top of what consumers are doing online, and how mobile might be changing the way they search and the phrases they use.  You also need to stay on top of consumer trends.  Do you think consumers are interested in real estate search apps?  If not, maybe this will change your mind.

Competition & Industry Monitoring:  See how you compare and trend compare to your competition! While the downward trend that started back when the bubble burst is a bit scary, overall it’s encouraging to see how many people search for Obeo compared to our competition!

Content for Social Sharing:  Within Google Trends is a section called Hot Trends which is a list of the fastest rising search terms/topics at the moment. This isn’t an absolute measure of popularity, it is a measure of which terms are hot and trending in news and social media feeds like Facebook and Twitter.   By checking out what is trending on any given day, you can be sure to share content that is hot, and more likely to go viral. Give people what they are looking for!

News Jacking:  News Jacking is a very hot SEO technique at the moment.  Select a topic off the Hot Searches list above, blog about it, and then promote through your social media channels like Facebook and Twitter using any hashtag that may be associated with the topic. In order for this to work, you have to work FAST, as trending topics change quickly!  Newsjacking can be fun, such as a baby naming contest for a pregnant celebrity who is trending.  Or you can take a serious topic, such as the flooding in Boulder Colorado last fall (assuming this was written at the time of the flooding), and do a photo blog. Or create a list of resources for flood victims.

If you’d like to learn about more Google Business Tools, and how they can be used in your business, click here to view a previously recorded webinar on Google Tools for Business.

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Obeo Introduces Brand New Property Website

Property WebsiteObeo has listened!   We were listening when you asked for a property website or virtual tour platform that is built with responsive design, meaning it works on every device, whether it’s a smart phone, iPad or computer.   We also listened when you asked for a property website that is easy to navigate and is finger friendly for touch screens.  Not only are we listening, but we are committed to providing you, your clients, and your consumers with the best possible online shopping experience.   With no further ado, we are proud to introduce Obeo’s brand new Property Website!

ipad virtual tourOne of the most exciting features of Obeo’s new Property Website is its mobile performance.  Most virtual tour and property websites are built in Flash, and are not mobile compatible.  Instead, companies with Flash viewers offer mobile photo slide shows that are missing most the features of the full version.  Obeo’s new HTML 5 viewer was built with responsive design, meaning it automatically responds to and works on any iPad or tablet and is fully functional.  Every consumer, will have a phenomenal experience with the property website, whether they are using a PC, a smart phone, or a tablet.  But Obeo didn’t stop there.  They designed this Property Website to be touch screen friendly, so consumers interacting with it on touch screens will have an ideal experience.  And why is this so important?  Because the latest study from the National Association of Realtors® states that “89% of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their research“.  WOW.  With stats like that, it’s easy to understand the importance of quality mobile marketing.

But wait, there’s more! Obeo’s new Property Website also includes all the great features you have always loved;  Professional photography, detailed statistics, mass syndication, social media syndication, YouTube video, mobile lead generation, QR codes, brochures, eflyers, advertising templates, document hosting, maps, calculators, and more. View a demo of this incredible new virtual tour/property website  here. 

If you’re an existing Obeo client, and would like to switch your current and all future listings to Obeo’s new Property Website, simply log into your member’s area here, and click the ‘Upgrade Now” button pictured here:

Property Website

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Obeo Introduces Virtual Twilight Enhancement

Obeo is proud to announce that we have added yet another product to our fabulous array of on-line marketing tools, Virtual Twilight Enhancement.  That’s right, they are “Virtual” twilight images.  That means no appointment necessary! Here is a example:

 Virtual Twilight ImageVirtual Twilight Image

It couldn’t be easier!  Our professional photo processing team will enhance your existing photo to look like a twilight photo. It’s more affordable than traditional twilight photography, no need to disturb the homeowner in the evening, and no appointment necessary!  Best of all, it’s fast, with a 48 hour turn-around time.  Standard pricing for Virtual Twilight Enhancement will be $39.95 per image.   For our introductory special, we are offering Virtual Twilight shots for $29.95 each for a limited time!  Simply upload the photo(s) you want enhanced, and we’ll send you back a beautiful Virtual Twilight image.  Click the ORDER NOW button to place your order for only $29.95 per image. All orders must be placed by February 28th.

ORder Now

 See You There

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