2.0 Real Estate Vendors
We spend a lot of time networking, researching, and studying the 2.0 real estate vendors in the market place in all spaces of real estate, and over and over again we find a complete lack of understanding of their audience. I must preface with the fact that most 2.0 vendors spend a great deal of time and money on their actual products and making sure they’re useful to the agent as well as the real estate buyer and seller, however…
The assumption is that because the tiny space of the real estate blogging community knows who and what you are, that concentrating on actually converting the user seems forgotten. Thousands of dollars a year are spent by vendors teaching the real estate pro about 2.0, yet we wonder how much cash is spent on smart web interface to convert the deal?
The complaint about the real estate professional overwhelmingly is that the professional can barely check email, upload an image, or edit their own websites, and to some extent that may be true; however, looking at many of the websites for many real estate products, it’s no wonder there’s a disconnect.
If the vendor landing page does not exactly explain what you are, and the second page does not explain exactly how to use your product, then how in the world do you expect an agent to even find the bar to jump over?
In many cases, there is so much information on the landing page that beginning makes no sense, much less an end- you’re lost before you’ve even started.
I’m a pretty savvy guy- I can often overcome the hurdles many vendors set up for the average 1.0 agent, but more and more often I’m finding it harder and harder to even care to get past the clutter to get to the point. I’m off looking for a better solution regardless of how valuable your product is. I’m assuming your product is just as complicated and confusing, true or false.
The other problem I am seeing is a complete lack of investment in the UI of the selling website. For instance, many vendors are running an average free wordpress theme, or free template, for an otherwise fantastic product. Boring, drab, and unattractive, the average agent gets a feeling that your product may be equally as boring.
I highly recommend that vendors get in focus and do it now rather than later. Have a few folks you know are savvy, but unfamiliar with your product/website answer these questions:
- How long did it take you to figure out what our product was?
- How long did it take you to find pricing?
- Was the site easy to navigate, or was it confusing?
- Was there too much or not enough information on the landing page?
- Did you feel that our site copy was exciting, or full of propaganda?
- Did you find any dead links on our site?
- How can we improve?
If you’re really feeling brave, ask me…
Obviously, less is more, but less should always lead to more or as much as it takes to lead the buyer closer to making a buying decision, not continuously describe why it’s important to get into the 2.0 way of doing business. Obviously, the consumer knew that, or they would not be on your site.
Here’s what I’m looking for:
- 3 steps to getting started
- No more than 3 things to do if I need more information
- a demo of your product is often my selling button
The arrogance of many vendors (but not you of course) is that you need to train us to be 2.0 savvy in order to create the need for the product you represent, while reminding us of how behind the times we are, while many (and yes I mean the majority) of the same vendors have completely overlooked the fact that their website may actually be the turnoff that leads to a lack of adoption of the product.
Things to remember
- In an elevator Pitch your accolades are irrelevant.
- I’m not interested that you’re in the press.
- Why I ‘need you’ leads to overselling.
- Lead me in with easy click and go options.
- I’m not interested in real estate politics, I’m interested in your product.
- Show me success stories by other agents.
- Show me innovative uses by other agents or brokerages.
These are things I really want to read on secondary pages, and on your blog, not all lumped on your front page.
The images I’m using for this post are a brilliant example of a landing page that impresses all by itself. Never mind if you like black or not, or enjoy an applesque interface, my points are made in the overall. It’s beautiful, guides you into use, the price is obvious, and the explanations are elevator pitch in nature (no clutter)- to the point. Zipvo Platinum has done a great job in the next generation of vendor presentation, and sets the bar high in the process, and it’s only real downfall is that it may appear intimidating to the new user upon first glance, but it’s so crisp, I’d give it a second look.
In closing, I’m friends with most, if not all of the 2.0 vendors in the real estate space, and I respect all of them and their passion to create products that make the real estate pro look great in their business, reduce costs, and disintermediate old 1.0 products from their marketshares, and I want them to succeed, but this issue is real in all corners, even real estate networking sites.
Why am I writing this? Because helping you, the vendors, helps us, the real estate professional.
November 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm
Anyone who wants a useful explanation of Zipvo’s features won’t be able to find it on the company’s site.
I’d respectfully suggest that one can no more turn photos into video on an automated basis than one can turn water into wine. This is a wrong-headed use of technology and a disservice to potential customers. It poisons the well for anyone who’s using video in a way that makes better use of the medium.
And let’s not even talk about the annoying music on these still videos!
November 8, 2008 at 3:41 pm
Hey Joe, not that this has anything to do with the actual points of the post, but zipvo platinum is actually a video editor as well as a still style virtual tour editor and an explanation does click out from the front page that is linked.
This is the second generation product from Zipvo – for the record however, I’ve not reviewed the product so I cannot speak to the details.
November 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm
I would have to think hard to name specific vendors, but your post does ring true.
More than a few times I have found myself three pages deep still trying to find a price or a feature…
November 8, 2008 at 5:54 pm
I am one of those tech challenged agents you talk about but I don’t give up usually and thank goodness for Twitter and the wonderful friends I have there that can usually start me in the direction. Maybe these companies should ask someone like me in their beta if it makes sense
November 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm
Great article Benn, I’m now a 2.0 vendor getting ready to relaunch, so your post just made my checklist.
November 9, 2008 at 12:57 pm
Love it Benn. I quickly became disenfranchised with Real Estate vendors as I got hammered with continuous product offerings. The vendor drum just beat too loud and too often.
Give me a demo, a comparison table, specific ways your product will help me, aid efficiency, or increase my bottom line. If I remotely think you’re selling me, I’m outta there.
For my web experience the UI I expect is clean, concise and easy to navigate. If the landing page is from a search I better be able to find the product quickly. Just like every other web user, you’ve got something like 12 seconds to capture the business.
Admittedly though, I’ve got an attention span of a gnat.
November 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm
“a demo of your product is often my selling button”
I think this is most important of all. If your product is so great and better than all the others, let me try it before I buy. And, agents who are not so confident in their tech skills need to know they will be able to use it and not just take your (or my, if I am making a recommendation)word for it.
November 9, 2008 at 2:04 pm
Sometimes you just need to do a little qualifying before you sell. Not everyone is your customer.
November 9, 2008 at 2:22 pm
True, Bob. But who doesn’t want *more* customers? We’re talking about making the presentation of the product better, not changing the product to accommodate the lowest common denominator.
November 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm
The “landing” page should spell out the value proposition instantly. The UI to actually buy the product should be so simple a 6th grade kid could figure it out.
Our product is in it’s 1.0 phase. And as result of doing this exact kind of analysis we’ve found it needs to be flipped upside, the crumbs shaken out, the toaster taken apart and entire new appliance rebuilt with the parts. It’s still going to make the same awesome piece of toast.
Our end product is works great for every person that purchases it, the results are almost always irrefutable. Problem is, even though we thought we made it “butt simple” to understand both from a value proposition standpoint to the UI to process it, we found out it just isn’t close. That’s o.k. the hard part’s done and we’ve done enough due diligence for the next rev. to allow anyone, no matter how remedial their understanding of web browsers, the ability to easily comprehend and consume our services. It’s actually a continual process, there’s never really a point with a web 2.0 product where someone stands back and says, it’s done. The toast is always cooking.
We want more customers, but more importanlty we want more EDUCATED and HAPPY customers.
How’s that for transparency? Who’s got next?
November 9, 2008 at 9:26 pm
Lisa, I wasnt talking about dumbing down the product.
November 10, 2008 at 11:54 am
Bob is very correct that you are dealing with a thin market. Todate most of the high tech innovations are great for the buyers agent who has much less money and experience. The listing agent can still get by with what they were doing 10 years ago.
This is changing but many have missed the 1.0 and are faced with 2.0.
November 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm
I don’t know how many time I have gone to product web sites and I couldn’t figure out what they were selling and if I did I couldn’t find contact information and in some cases i couldn’t find a way to place an order. If I ran my business like that I wouldn’t have a business.
November 12, 2008 at 11:21 pm
I’ve gone to sites that were carrying a product or service recommended by a colleague. I’m anxious to look into it but am overwhelmed by the site. It’s not an isolated incident.
If I can’t figure it out quickly, I assume the learning curve on the product or service is equally complex and I just don’t have the time (or frankly the patience) to figure it out.