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What real estate consumers simply don’t understand

While real estate consumers understand how to research homes, what happens after that point remains a mystery, through no fault of their own, but very much to their own detriment.

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real estate

A recurring theme within the real estate industry

The speed with which real estate professionals should respond to inquiries via the phone and web has been a reccurring theme for some time, and according to some – speed is a very large part of the recipe for success. When looking at houses online, you will often find contact forms where consumers can email or call the listed agent for more information about a specific property. Some of these inquiries get routed to “buyer agents” who have paid for placement on that listing and some go to the listing agent or brokerage themselves who were hired to sell the property. They go to a variety of places really, something I am confident that consumers do not fully understand as they use the internet to research homes. So I am sure you are thinking, why do they need to know?

This perspective might be met with some resistance by my peers, but I firmly believe that fast response times aren’t a real problem and claiming that they are part of the recipe for success is a bit short sighted. Fast response times are surely not going to solve the perception problem we have as an industry – in fact, I believe it will just perpetuate it. Technology already allows us to send auto-responder emails, text messages, and voicemail options to every inbound inquiry we receive, and soon that competitive advantage will be non-existent. And then, what will be the next trick, the next piece of advice or silver bullet the hundreds of real estate consultants out there give to us as agents?

Why should calling someone back within 10 minutes be my competitive advantage when consumers don’t even know who they are calling in the first place? Surely that’s not the way to build a sustainable business. Let’s face it, buying gum is an impulse purchase, not a home so why should I have to be subject to this criteria? Now speed is what separates a good agent from a bad one? I don’t think so.

Where the focus should truly be

So what is the real challenge? I think it’s about better preparing consumers to focus more on what their desired outcome of the contact really is and by setting up the initial introductions with the right expectations. Are they really prepared to see the one property they’ve been eyeing for a few days? Are they making a big move to another city and need a professional consultation or multi-day tour of neighborhoods and homes, or do they simply have a clarifying question about some of the home features itself?

Further, if the consumer is already working with an agent, they need to be very thoughtful about contacting other agents (if at all). Essentially, your agent should be the information hub of the entire home buying experience. Contacting other agents can be problematic as most of them view every contact as a lead generation opportunity for more business. Consumers can avoid these confusing situations by evaluating and committing to an agent independent of the home research process itself.

Choose your own adventure

If consumers get relegated to just clicking a contact button not knowing (or caring) who might be on the other end, or continue to make cross country trips to evaluate properties and expect to get top notch service the second they land without having contacted someone in advance, it is going to set us all up for failure.

Simply responding quickly to the first inquiry is no longer a service level advantage. If consumers decide this is the difference maker in selecting a real estate professional, then they’re only short changing themselves. Looking at homes is the exciting part of the home-buying experience, but selecting the right agent for the job is often the most important.

The consumer holds the keys when it comes to creating their own best experience. A little due diligence on their own part can be the difference between a nightmare and a dream home come true.

Greg is the principal owner of Fischer Real Estate Services, a Fort Worth firm specializing in customer value and community enrichment. He's also an MBA at TCU, and a proud member of the Naval Reserves. In his spare time - he sleeps.

Business News

Why a well-crafted rejection email can save your brand, and your time

(BUSINESS NEWS) Job hunting is exhausting on both sides, and rejection sucks, but crafting a genuine, helpful rejection email can help ease the process for everyone.

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Woman sitting at computer with fingers steepled, awaiting a rejection email or any response from HR at all.

Nobody likes to hear “no” for an answer when applying for jobs. But even fewer people like to be left in the dark, wondering what happened.

On the employer side, taking on a new hire is a time-consuming process. And like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get when you put out ads for a position. So once you find the right person for the role, it’s tempting to move along without further ado.

Benn Rosales, the CEO and co-founder of American Genius, offers an example of why that is a very bad call.

Imagine a hypothetical candidate for a job opening at Coca Cola – someone who’s particularly interested in the job, because they grew up as a big Coke fan. If they get no response to their application at all, despite being qualified and sending follow-up emails, their personal opinion of the brand is sure to sour.

“Do you know how much effort and dollars advertising and marketing spent to make [them] a fan over all of those years, and this is how it ends?” Rosales explains. This person has come away from their experience thinking “Bleep you, I’ll have tea.”

To avoid this issue, crafting a warm and helpful rejection email is the perfect place to start. If you need inspiration, the hiring consultants at Dover recently compiled a list of 36 top-quality rejection emails, taken from companies that know how to say “no” gracefully: Apple, Facebook, Google, NPR, and more.

Here’s a few takeaways from that list to keep in mind when constructing a rejection email of your own…

Include details about their resume to show they were duly considered. This shows candidates that their time, interests, and experience are all valued, particularly with candidates who came close to making the cut or have a lot of future promise.

Keep their information on file, and let them know this rejection only means “not right now.” That way, next time you need to make a hire, you will have a handy list of people to call who you know have an interest in working for you and relevant skills.

Provide some feedback, such as common reasons why applicants may not succeed in your particular application process.

And be nice! A lack of courtesy can ruin a person’s impression of your brand, whether they are a customer or not. Keep in mind, that impression can be blasted on social media as well. If your rejections are alienating, you’re sabotaging your business.

Any good business owner knows how much the details matter.

Incorporating an empathetic rejection process is an often-overlooked opportunity to humanize your business and build a positive relationship with your community, particularly when impersonal online applications have become the norm.

And if nothing else, this simple courtesy will prevent your inbox from filling up with circle-backs and follow-up emails once you’ve made your decision.

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Business News

Are Gen Z more fickle in their shopping, or do brands just need to keep up?

(BUSINESS NEWS) As the world keep changing, brands and businesses have to change along with it. Some say Gen Z is fickle, but others say it is the nature of change.

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Gen Z woman shopping outside on a laptop.

We all know that if you stop adapting to the world around you, you’re going to be left behind. A recently published article decided to point out that the “fickle” Gen Z generation are liable to leave a poor digitally run site and never return. Now of course we’ve got some statistics here… They did do some kind of due diligence.

This generation, whose life has been online from almost day one, puts high stakes on their experiences online. It is how they interact with the world. It’s keyed into their self-worth and their livelihoods, for some. You want to sell online, get your shit together.

They have little to no tolerance for anything untoward. 80% of Gen Zers reported that they are willing to try new brands since the pandemic. Brand loyalty, based on in-person interaction, is almost a thing of the past. When brands are moved from around the world at the touch of your fingertips there’s nothing to stop you. If a company screws up an order, or doesn’t get back to you? Why should you stick with them? When it comes to these issues, 38% of Gen Zers say they only give a brand 1 second chance to fix things. Three-quarters of the surveyed responded saying that they’ll gladly find another retailer if the store is just out of stock.

This study goes even further though and discusses not just those interactions but also the platforms themselves. If a website isn’t easy to navigate, why should I use it? Why should I spend my time when I can flit to another and get exactly what I need instead of getting frustrated? There isn’t a single company in the world that shouldn’t take their webpage development seriously. It’s the new face of their company and brand. How they show that face is what will determine if they are a Rembrandt or a toddlers noodle art.

The new age of online shopping has been blasted into the atmosphere by the pandemic. Online shopping has boosted far and above expected numbers for obvious reasons. When the majority of your populace is told to stay home. What else are they going to do? Brands that have been around for decades have gone out of business because they didn’t change to an online format either. Keep moving forward.

Now as a side note here, as someone who falls only just outside the Gen Z zone the articles description of fickle is pompous. The stories I’ve heard of baby boomers getting waiters fired, or boycotting stores because of a certain shopkeeper are just as fickle and pointed. Nothing has changed in the people, just how they interact with the world. Trying to single out a single generation based on how the world has changed is a shallow view of the world.

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Business News

Chasing Clubhouse success? How the audio chat room trend affects products

(BUSINESS NEWS) It is inevitable that when a new successful trend comes along, other companies will try to make lightning strike twice. Will the audio chat room catch on?

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Smiling woman seated in dark room illuminated by lamp and phone light, participating in audio chat room.

Businesses are always about the hot new thing. People are the always looking for the easiest dollar with the least amount of effort these days. It tends to lead to products that are shoddy and horribly maintained with the least amount of flexibility in pleasing their customers. However, you also have to look at the customer base for this as well. You follow where the money is because that’s where its being spent. It’s like a merry-go-round, constantly chasing the next thing. And the latest of these is the audio chat room.

During the pandemic the entire world saw an eruption of social audio investments. Silicon Valley has gone crazy with this new endeavor. On the 18th of April this year, Clubhouse said it closed on some new funding, which was valued at $4 billion for a live audio app. This thing is still in beta without a single penny of revenue!

The list of other companies who have pursued new audio suites (either through purchase or creation) include:

  • Facebook
  • Spotify
  • Twitter
  • Discord
  • Apple

This whole new audio fad is still in its infancy. These social media and tech giants are all jumping headlong into it with who knows how much forethought. A number of them have their own issues to deal with, but they’ve put things aside to try and grab these audio chat room coattails that are running by. It’s a mix of feelings about the situation honestly. They are trying to survive and keep their customers.

If a competitor creates this new capability and they stay stagnant then they lose customers. If they do this however without dealing with their current issues then they could also lose people. It’s an interesting catch 22 for people out there. Which group do you fall in? Are you antsy for a new toy or are you waiting for one of these lovely sites to fix a problem? It’s another day in capitalism.

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