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Get OFF Facebook and Sell My Friggin’ House Already!

Put the consumer first in your business activities, then play, prospect and market.

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facebooksqYes, that was a baited title and No, no one said that to me.  But they could if I don’t do my job as a listing agent first and foremost.  I am NOT an anti-social media advocate (not at all, I <3 love social media!) but I AM a consumer advocate and if you are an agent your consumers are buyers and sellers, period.

Do you want to know what the awesome sauce of being a top listing agent is? It is servicing a listing as you would want your own home to be serviced.  Think about that for a minute.  If you had a home for sale, what would you expect the listing agent to do?  You may not have even thought about it in this perspective before, but it can be a pretty handy tool to up your game and build client loyalty and provide your consumers, your clients, with the type of service they RAVE about.

I would EXPECT my Super Star Ace Listing Agent to:

1) Dominate the Internet with my listing, including maps, pictures, details, school info etc.  I’d want to be able to Google my address and find my listing in many different locations.

2) I would want to be able to reach my listing agent quickly, in my preferred communications manner (text, email, phone).

3) I would expect detailed updates each time they showed the house (feedback) and monthly updates on all the marketing my listing agent has done that month for my property (and I’d like to know what is working and where the traffic is coming from, technically and geographically).

4) I for SURE want to be assured that when someone wants to see my listing, that the listing agent makes it very easy and accommodating for it to be shown.

5) If I saw my agent on Facebook, Twitter or other social media, I’d be cool with it as LONG as they were doing the above first.  If they haven’t had time to update me, show my listing or give me feedback, they sure as Heck don’t have time to be on any social media site.

6) I’d EXPECT my listing to be on my listing agent’s blog or website (I would not take kindly to the idea that my agent’s blog or website is NOT the place for my listing to be, so if you, Blogging Purist Agent, don’t have a main site where your listings are highlighted, I’d rethink that strategy, my main clients are my listing clients, not blog visitors who don’t want to see my listings, this is a REAL ESTATE BLOG and I SELL MY LISTINGS).

7) I would NOT want to know that my listing agent has a bad reputation for spamming anyone.

8) I would expect my listing agent to be fully abreast of my competition not only when they list the property, but monthly so that we  can make decisions together regarding price changes based on informed knowledge.

9) I would want to know that my listing, regardless if it’s lower than the rest of my agent’s inventory, is getting the same treatment that all of the others do.  If they wanted my business, then respect it. Don’t just take my listing to build your inventory book and treat me like a red-headed step child.

10) Finally, I’d want to know that my agent is knowledgeable, approachable, professional and dedicated to selling my listing as quickly as possible for the highest the market will bear.

If you, fellow agents, have some disgruntled listing clients or clients who don’t want to reduce their price even when the market indicates it should, look at the above and see if you have done your job as you would have expected it to be done for your own property.  Where did you fall short?  What can you rectify now?  Build your business around the desired consumer experience and expectation and you can’t go wrong.

You might do all of things, you might do more, and they might seem elementary.  If so, Great, go have a blast on Facebook and bring in more great business from great clients, but if not, get your own house in order before looking for more houses to sell. No pun intended.

PS I have seen agents (and even myself in moments of weakness) not provide the service above, and when I look back at my less-than-perfect self, I just shake my head, pull up my bootstraps and get back to being that agent that I want to be.  Where I most often fall down is simply letting the clients know what is going on.  I somehow forget that they don’t KNOW their single property site has been viewed 5,000 times, or that there is a foreclosure in the neighborhood that wasn’t there before, etc.  I need to always keep them as informed on their listing as I am so they can feel secure and up-to-date.  That is exactly what I would want to be if it were my home on the market….

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    January 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Interesting.

    I’m down with NOT wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, etc. But, who is the person who can define what a waste of time is. For example, should a seller tell me I’m wasting my time by networking at Chamber events (i chose Chamber events randomly because it’s mainstream)? If I go to a seminar on how to better serve buyers, should my seller chastise me and tell me to get to work on selling their property. If I”m showing homes all day, am I short changing my sellers?

    Leverage and best practices (you’ve a great list here) are wise. I think if an agent avoids Facebook, etc., then maybe they won’t have any new listings, because, as Hugh MacLeod put it, “Business is socializing with purpose”. Online or offline, if I’m not engaging, I’ll soon be listless and then homeless.

    For me, the most important thing for the seller, is that I deliver what I promised. Nothing less…of course more is better.

    No way a seller is going to tell me how to spend my time. I tell them what I’m going to do and I do it. The las thing I want is someone telling me how to spend MY time. If they were insistent, I’d happily rip up the listing agreement and wish them well in their search for and agent who needs, enjoys or tolerates micro managing.

    But hey, that’s just how I roll.

    Thanks for sharing Janie, rock on.

  2. Janie Coffey

    January 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks Ken. Great points. But you DO do your job so they can’t second guess you, but if you aren’t and they see you playing Farmville, etc. an agent might find themselves in a tough to defend situation. I, as much as anyone, am on Facebook, Twitter, etc (and all those other events as well). Just thoughts to think of for those who might take a look at themselves from another view. Thanks for all your input 😉

  3. Benn Rosales

    January 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    lol that title is the post, I love it, and I love the post too, and it’s true, facebook is interchangeable with anything, we procrastinate and sm is a horrible enabler for some people. It really is a good lesson for the new years to just make sure you doing what you’re supposed to be doing and you’ll have plenty of time for sheep tossing.

  4. Janie Coffey

    January 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    watch out Benn and Ken, I just might toss a flaming pig at you both

  5. Ken Brand

    January 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    A flaming pig. Sounds good if it’s on a shish-ka-bob. Ha, Ha. I hear you, believe me. In fact, as a Sales Manager, I have agents asking me all the time, why I waste my time on FB, etc., the implication is, I should be doing something productive by their standards. Little do they know, I know what the hell I’m doing…just ask me. My motto, “I may be wrong, but I’m not in doubt!”

    As for Farmville, and Mafia Wars, etc., I don’t play those, BUT, if I did and I was playing it with Sphere of Engagement, that’d be OK, spamming my friends to join, not so much.

    I’m with you, in fact, next week, my AG post is similar, the headline is: Is My Social Media Butt Too Big.

    Cheers Janie C, now give me my flaming pork sandwich.

  6. Janie Coffey

    January 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Ken, have you been looking at my J-Lo sized bottom? 😉 Can’t wait for the post, the balance is what is all about. Now, let me go find a pair of J-Lo jeans for this J-Lo butt!

    • Ken Brand

      January 6, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      JC – Please send pictures…

  7. aMY L cavENDER

    January 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I’m guilty of playing Farmville during work hours…I have 5 past clients, 3 Realtors and others as my “neighbors”. I limit my time as I don’t want my FB friends thinking that’s how I spend my days (it’s not). Just another way for them to see I am human and not some used home sales lender.

  8. Bill

    January 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Janie,

    No arguing the need to properly and professionally serve clients. Although your article is suggesting that is what is happening…that social media is evolving at the expense of providing quality service to clients. A position I’m not sure you truly believe based on your knowledge of social media.

    Technology has changed the nature of this business on many levels, and I believe a big part of truly offering a quality service is a strong awareness of the constantly changing technology that has revolutionized the markekting of real estate. I would wager you are more valuable to your clients because of your knowledge on the subject.

    But you can’t just read a book or have someone tell you all this…I believe you have to do it. Write posts, join networks, twit a few times. In fact, more than a few times…I have also wondered if this is time well spent and when will I really ‘get it’…or a return from it.

    I think we would all agree it’s far too important to ignore. So the secret I believe (as it is to so much in life) is balance.

  9. Derse Smith

    January 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Aha! But then there are the “techies” amonst us Realtors who just might have TWO browsers open at once … one with MLS open doing searches for clients … the other one for (periodic/balanced/appropriate) Facebooking and Tweeting … perhaps with a cell phone in one hand replying to a text request off a listing sign … and the desk phone in the other being used for scheduling showings. I have recently reconnected with old friends and family on FB who are potential clients … have “connected” with and have received “recommendations” from LinkedIn network business associates …. have receive “thumbs up” & positive comments when I post my clients’ listings on FB, Trulia, Zillow, Point2 … and “shamelessly” promote an upcoming open house on Craigslist and Twitter … no matter what listing price! Whew! ‘Nuf said???

  10. Janie Coffey

    January 7, 2010 at 7:38 am

    HI BIll and Derse,

    The intent of my post was, just as you say, moderation. I used a catchy title to grab people’s attention, but I am really not down on Social Media, I actually love it, use it quite a bit and get both business and pleasure from it. I’ve always got an iPhone in one hand and one if not, two computers going (and hate to say, sometimes driving)

    More important than doing a great job (assuming we do), is to not forget to let your clients know about it. Perception can be reality and if you are not updating them on your marketing of their listing, the market, etc. and then they see you on Facebook, they might get the impression you aren’t working hard to sell their listing when you really are. If you keep them updated and they see you on Social Media, they might not only NOT be upset, they might use it to rave about you to all of their friends, win-win 😉

    With social media, it is so easy to be visible in all that you do, we just want to make sure they KNOW all that we do, not just see bits and pieces. This is likely self censure more than advice 😉 (not to get off SM, but to keep them better informed)

  11. Paul

    January 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I loved the post. I am still pretty new to SM, but feel that it definitely has it’s place. Now that being said, there is definitely no excuse for sub-par work when it comes to your clients. The dilema really lies in the difference between existing clients and future clients. You definitely want to provide the best service you can to your existing clients, but you can’t dismiss future business. Maybe the real question would be how did you get this particular client. Just as some clients would prefer contact though texts and others phone calls, is there really room to scrutinize your agent for utilizing SM when perhaps that’s where you became familiar with them?

    I guess the real key is moderation. I am one of the guilty ones when it comes to multi-social media simultanously. I try to utilize my Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter to keep my clients(current or future) up to speed with what’s out there. I figure if I’m doing research to keep myself abreast of the changing market, they may also be interested in the same.

    On a final note, however, I do love the list. We are all guilty of slipping when it comes to our clients. If nothing else, the list gives us something to think about for the new year.

    Thanks for the post.

  12. Portland Condo Auctions

    January 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    It is a good point. Sometimes the other new aspects of your job like keeping up with social media can make you lose focus on the fact that you need to focus on selling the home that your clients entrusted to you.

    -Tyler

  13. 4BostonOfficeSpace

    January 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Great title Janie! As a b2b service provider, I know that I struggle daily with the social media conundrum of time invested to real ROI. So many sites, blogs and networks to keep up with, but so little time. Then of course, one still has to actually execute one’s business. In addition, technology has elevated clients’ expectations for communication response and information transfer to IMMEDIATE. … If it were just possible to stretch the 24 hour day to say 36 hours, then no problem. Yes moderation, yes balance. The struggle goes on.

  14. Jonathan Benya

    January 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Wow, you got me on this one! I admit, I am one of those “Blogging Purists” who doesn’t believe in putting my listings on my blog. As I think about it, there’s no reason for me to create a section or a front page header link on my blog to my current stable of listings. It sounds like I may need to rethink my strategy…

  15. Paula

    January 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Janie – Excellent way to get us Facebook, Twittering agents to take a look at what you are talking about. I have been guilty in the past of not “parring” up my service. I sold my home last year and chose an agent who I knew would treat my home sale as their own. Of course, the Realtor in me knew when it was time to reduce the price.

    It is a difficult task sometimes to stay the course with sellers who do not believe you know what you are talking about when you say they need to reduce the price or make the home more available for showings, etc.

    Maybe we have no one but ourselves to blame when the general misconception is, we care more about our money than theirs.

    I really can’t blame Twitter and Facebook; I’m not there enough! Heck, I don’t even make it here often enough.

  16. Susie Blackmon

    January 10, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Great post Ms. Janie, and I enjoyed the comments too. I’m a Twitter fan, Facebook not so much, but I know I need to be there…. Sending cards and plants and blah blah blah. Have no time for that, or inclination; however, obviously I’m in the minority. We all do what eventually works for us and with a somewhat different business model, I’m sure not in the position to opine on what’s best for anyone but me. Every day I read great posts like yours, and attempt to stop and think about what I’m doing, what I shouldn’t be doing, and what I should be doing.
    Thanks Ms. Janie!

  17. David Ballantyne

    June 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Hi,

    Well I would expect my real estate agent to be taking pro-active action to sell my property rather than socialising on the internet. Something I find interesting is taking a different angle on this from a FSBO point of view. I'm sure people already do this, but if you have a well established broad social network online in Facebook, Twitter etc, you could leverage this to find a buyer whether you are a realtor or a private seller.

    Have you done this? Do you have any comment?

    David.

  18. Portage Park Realtor

    September 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I seem to remember way back when social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace were the site my kids met their friends online. Ever since businesses migrated to this platform it put quite a lot of pressure on business owners, sports figures, movie stars and yes, even realtors to claim their place. In my mind it's the very definition of herd mentality but am I doing it…yes, it's a necessary evil in my opinion. Thanks for everything Facebook but I'll hold off on the Mafia Wars and Farmville for now.

  19. Pingback: Get off of Facebook and sell my friggin' house already - The Real Daily

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