Professional real estate sellers, including developers, builders, mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, and real estate salespeople, all work hard and spend a lot of money to find "promotional hooks" and "marketing messages" to capture the interest and intent of real estate buyers. Clever slogans, gorgeous decor, envy-making lifestyle images…and on and on goes the advertising, promotion, and marketing, online and off. This is how it was in the last century. Why is it still the same - with videos and virtual tours added - in the 21st Century?
Ask buyers what they want (and I do every chance I get) and they’ll tell you at length, with gestures, that they don’t want to get "sold" on a marketing pitch, they want to "buy" the real thing. That is, buyers want the facts so they can clearly understand what they’ll get and what they won’t get. They want plain language with the emphasis on clarity, so they can make informed decisions, free of any regret. That’s buyer friendly! A novel idea?
Social media has enabled a lot of conversations and revelations - and a few revolutions - but its true potential is still overlooked by too many professional real estate sellers, including those who add all the social media icons and iterations to advertising and marketing.
Social media has the power to spark lifelong connections through informative behind-the-scenes insight and creative enlightenment. This shared knowledge spurs social media "receivers" to spread the word to their friends and family. The resulting connected knowledge communities represent benefits for participants and long-term business opportunities for knowledge-sharing organizations and professionals. For instance, professional real estate sellers could translate this general truth about social media into specific connections with potential real estate buyers, and accomplish sustained business growth instead of settling for a sale or two today.
The focus on selling this real estate listing or selling this "unit" in this new home development made business sense when print media was king. Short-term thinking was reinforced by print media, itself short-lived. The newspaper that carried ads for listings and new homes ended up in the garbage within hours. Advertising, marketing... everything started over again the next day, and the next.
Websites, blogs, podcasts, and social media postings can have longevity on the net with a staying power that was never possible in print media.
- Online longevity lasts as long as value persists. This means useful, easy-read, accurate content with depth and insight has long-term value over flash-in-the-banner advertising or marketing.
- Online conversations and connections that share genuine real estate buying and ownership smarts with wanna-buyers, turn them into determined buyers who understand how to make the most of their purchasing power while ensuring they don’t end up "cash poor, house rich." This transformation makes them committed supporters of their knowledge source.
- Online chat-style opportunities, including those enabled by smartphone aps, can offer the same type of support-group strength and momentum for wanna-buyers as these empowering sounding boards have for others with challenges to overcome. Yes, homeownership is a challenge that demands pro-active lifestyle and decision-making standards and discipline. Taking a team approach to achieving and maintaining homeownership may make an important difference for many, whatever stage of life they are at.
Homeownership, a common valued goal, is one topic that can start long-term conversations since each week and every year brings new challenges and insights. Professionals that consistently contribute relevant, practical content to these conversations, earn trust and loyalty. Although not always encouraged to do so, real estate buyers who make long-term connections with professional sellers seem to achieve more than those who go it alone. Developers and other real estate professionals who are in for the long haul know that a truly satisfied buyer will become one of their most valuable "salespeople" by telling friends and anyone who will listen about their terrific home and the professional’s terrific service. When professional sellers genuinely delivered great service and product, buyers will move from one project to the developer’s next, or use the same real estate broker for a lifetime of transactions. With long-term connections as the goal, instead of just "making this sale," both sides benefit.
If your first reaction to these musings is to think of scam artists and a wide range of criminals who could move in, you may underestimate what could and can be achieved online. Yes, the dark side of the internet is strong, but good things happen online. The possibilities above illustrate how long-term thinking could help professional real estate sellers when they offer help, not hype, to wanna-buyers, buyers, and private real estate sellers.
Those who regularly blame the net and technology for shortened attention spans, haven’t experienced the determined long-attention-span strategy used by those who really want to learn how to get it right, from the beginning. This it includes anything that matters, and homeownership is on that list. If you’re sure the internet, social media, smartphones, and your favorite technology, have made life different in this century, why are we still doing so much that matter to us in the same old way it was done in the 20th Century - just digitally?
Don’t you keep coming back to anywhere and anyone you feel takes real estate ownership seriously and shares their knowledge openly - online and off?