Raising The Bar ~ “Stirring the Real Estate Soul”

Posted by under Real Estate Agents

by Teri Conrad

I had the glorious privilege of attending Inman Connect San Francisco (Real Estate Conference July, 2011), arguably THE Must Attend bi-annual conference for Realtors and Brokers. Hot topics always include: new technologies, business development, Social Media and how we market ourselves continues to take center stage.

But what I find most interesting is the “Raise The Bar” discussion that always takes place with my colleagues. There’s a stirring in the soul of Real Estate and we’re starting to see some pretty incredible things!

Krisstina Wise is the Broker/Owner of The Good Life Team in Austin Texas. You want to talk revolutionary? This Powerhouse (although so dainty and petite 😉 is raising the bar so high! They are very selective about which Agents get to work at their brokerage and each candidate must go through a rigorous training program. At The Good Life Team, they believe in empowering their agents to be specialists and deliver the best possible service, eliminating the agent’s need to be all things to all people; providing tech support, managing their websites and marketing while building a brand that believes in open, honest and accountable business. Krisstina will happily share openly her business model and insists that her agents embrace the same values. The consumers that seek out The Good Life Team are buying into a brand! (A very strategically crafted brand!)

As Realtors® we have to be experts in market knowledge, product, data, laws, duties, rules and all aspects of Real Estate…but in order to stay in business, we must also have a strong understanding of business and lead generation, marketing, accounting, administration and a million other often overlooked details!

Do you ever wonder how much that ‘balloon’ really helps, you, the client? The bigger brokerages, particularly in Canada have not figured this out yet in my honest opinion. Adding a Facebook page or twitter account is NOT enough.

Another excellent example of a brokerage who’s empowering their Agents is Coldwell Banker Bain/Seal out of Seattle and Portland. They’re a huge company with around 30 satellite offices (I believe). My very good friend, Debra Trappen, is their full time Career Developer, there to aid the agent through every possible hurdle. Because I know her so well and have sat on some panels that she’s organized for her agents, I KNOW how blessed they are!! Debra keeps her agents so completely up-to-date on all the latest tech tools, strategy and business building. She acts as coach/ trainer and my guess is “Inspirational Influencer”! (I know this because she does this all for me as well 😉

It is my firm belief that the strongest agents will be supported by strong brokerages and you, as a consumer has a right to know and frankly should investigate, exactly how the brokerage supports your agent. Are they tech savvy? Have they embraced the new digital media platforms? Does the agent have a strong administrative team and a manager who is available? Is the company website optimized? Does it provide a good user experience? Have they converted to a paperless office?

I’ve been fortunate to work with a very supportive Manager/Broker in terms of legal updates and business best practices, but we’re way behind in marketing, lead generation, new media and technology and I believe that’s typical at most brokerages in Canada.

They seem to be doing the bare minimum when it comes to customer experience. At the very least, the Brokerage website should be inviting and engaging and create a positive customer experience and the Agent should have access to technology training (many do but are having to source it themselves or learn on their own). After all…we’re all in the business of helping YOU ~ The Consumer!

I’m curious to know how many people choose a brand OR are you more likely to choose an agent that a peer has recommended? I suspect it’s the later but would love to hear your thoughts.

For further examples of cool new boutique brokerages doing it well, check out:

Better Homes and Gardens (lifestyle branding)

M Realty (high tech/customer experience)

Professional One (Value and customer experience/ social media )

Exp Realty (virtual brokerage!)

About Teri Conrad, Senior Social Strategist at Socialized! Ltd and Realtor® Consultant

Teri Conrad established her personal brand as a Realtor® in Langley, BC integrating her knowledge of marketing and embracing the shift in communications with Social Media in 2007.

As a leader in the industry, Teri has spoken at multiple Real Estate Conferences internationally, educating Realtors on Rules of Engagement and Social Strategy and works individually with Agents to develop their own personal brand and marketing strategy.

Teri founded The Fraser Valley Social Media Meetup Group in 2010, where she invites top members of the Social Media Community to present and educate on multiple topics from best practices to tech tools. Open to the entire public and always free, the Meetup group is meant to facilitate sharing, learning and community building.

Previously, Teri’s broad experience has included: writing for a community newspaper, selling advertising for a Rogers Radio Station and Facilitator at SEEDS (Provincial Entrepreneur Program) teaching Social Media. Teri holds a diploma in Broadcast Communications from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Twitter: TLCHOME

Teri’s Blog: TLC’s Rants and Raves

Teri’s Meetup: Fraser Valley Social Media Meetup

Teri’s Company: Socialized! Ltd.

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