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Delta Media Group Blog


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Changing Consumer Expectations: Three Ways to Adapt

Your real estate customers used to wait on you. They had no other choice.

If they drove by a property they liked, they might call the number on your sign. Otherwise they might have found a listing in a newspaper or magazine and contacted you for more information.

They didn’t have access to the MLS until IDX feeds were born on real estate websites. That helped create a more even playing field in the industry.  Branding and big spending didn’t necessarily give an agent the same advantage over his or her competition. And the market has grown even more competitive since.

We recently detailed the top five changes in real estate marketing, and one of the main points was changing consumer expectations.

As we noted, consumers are now empowered. And that means you have to work even harder to earn their business. But, like with most changes, it also means great opportunities for those savvy agents who are willing to embrace the new-age, empowered consumer, and leverage real estate technologies to better increase the probability of working with him or her.

Below are a few ways to better cater to changing consumer expectations.

Transparency

As mentioned, the modern-day real estate consumer is more empowered than ever before. She can hop on a search engine, look for local properties, and find hundreds, if not thousands of real estate websites that display the entire local MLS.

She can see practically every MLS detail of every MLS listing, all instantly. She doesn’t need to talk to you to find more information about the listing, unless she wants to go through a house.

Think you’ll fool her into contacting you by forcing her to create a profile to search the MLS or hiding listing images? Think again. She’ll find another agent who isn’t withholding information.

Empowered consumers want to see transparency, because they want to feel they can trust an agent before choosing to work with him or her. Your real estate website should build trust by providing the market’s easiest property search, which allows a visitor to find what he or she is looking for instantly.

Once they find it, they should be able to instantly request more information about the listing without feeling like they’re being scammed into signing up for a lifetime of unwanted spam and solicitation from you. Your website must clearly say what they’re signing up for, what they’re getting, and allow them to choose and customize the specifics and how often they’ll receive information.

Education

Consumers now expect to educate themselves on the decisions they make. Search engines have helped make answering questions and learning easier than ever before, and smart consumers leverage those capabilities to make an educated real estate decisions.

They also expect to work with an agent who will educate them on their real estate transaction, but they’re starting that search online- before they might ever communicate with you. That means your real estate website must also educate them on the market, local trends, and macro-level real estate changes.

The visitor who found your real estate website through a search engine, used it to find a listing they like, and is considering contacting you, will be more prone to only use your website moving forward if it helps educate them in ways other websites don’t.

But education doesn’t start and stop on your website. Digital marketing mediums like email, social media and your blog should also work as educational channels. Your consumers should be able to  not just receive new listing updates via email, but also should also be able to receive full email Market Watch reports that show them up-to-date trends for the exact market they choose.

The more educate your consumers, the more transparent you are to them, then the more likely they are to trust you as their agent of choice, and refer you and your real estate website to others researching the local real estate market.

Exceptional Customer Service

The new consumer expects to be taken care of. She expects to have an answer to her inquiry nearly instantly. Any deviation from these expectations means she’ll find another agent who will fulfill them.

Customer Service was always an important facet of real estate consumer expectations. But as consumers have grown more empowered, customer service has become more paramount to your real estate business.

In order to provide optimal customer service, you must have a means of receiving customer leads instantly, and responding to them almost as quickly. You must be able to keep your customers neatly in a database, keep notes on each of them, know what they’re interested in even if they haven’t told you, and cater to their needs and wants. That requires an elite real estate lead management system that is integrated with your website and mobile real estate website, and can deliver all inquiries instantly.

In order to work with the changing expectations of the modern-day real estate consumer, you need the tools to deliver transparency, education and exceptional customer service. That means you need to partner with a real estate marketing firm that can help you deliver on those needs as quickly as your consumers are looking for them.

Contact Delta Media Group to learn how you can better execute your digital real estate presence to capitalize on changing real estate consumer expectations.

About Delta Media Group, Inc. 

Serving over 300 real estate brokerages, 30,000 agents and 225 MLS's across the nation, Delta Media Group is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing firms in the real estate industry. From desktop to tablet to mobile, Delta offers integrated digital marketing and customer management solutions for every platform. For more information about Delta Media Group, visit www.DeltaGroup.com.
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