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What real estate agents can learn from two tech disruptors


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You’ve probably seen the meme and perhaps even shared it on social media: an earnest woman in a 1980s Glamour Shot with her frosted blue eyeshadow shining above her peach taffeta blouse.

“Can you send me some MLS listings? Sure, let me fire up my printer,” reads the caption. It’s funny because, for many of us, it’s true. We all know that one real estate agent or broker who resists technology and is pretty sure that social media is just a passing fancy.

The rest of us embrace technology. We may even love curating our Instagram feed or taking extra classes to become a dotloop ninja, but we’re not quite sure how to translate that into the kind of game-changing leverage that would truly take our company to the next level.

High-tech strategies for every agent differ greatly based on skill, background and the willingness to embrace the unknown.

You may not code, and you may not have time to A/B test every email you send to your sphere, but you can learn from some of the real estate tech gurus who have built their companies combining startup backgrounds with the sometimes slow-to-change real estate landscape.

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And the good news? You can put these tips to work no matter how much of a techie (or Luddite) you are.

Find your niche Demetrios Salpoglou

Demetrios Salpoglou

With a background in real estate, Demetrios Salpoglou, CEO of Boston Pads explored the high tech field during the heady dot-com boom of the mid 1990s until around 2000.

After the bubble burst, he returned to real estate only to find that much had stayed the same.

“It was like all of the high tech world had happened, but real estate had been frozen in time,” said Salpoglou.

Determined to put his foray into tech to work, he quickly purchased hundreds of now invaluable URLs related to real estate markets both in and around Boston as well as nationally with the intention of eventually developing as many as possible and leveraging the sheer number of small niche websites.

By microtargeting these sites for pet owners, students, luxury apartment seekers, etc., Salpoglou’s company improves visibility, simplifies searches and captures market share that would be impossible with a large general rental website.

The takeaway:

Drill down, and find specifics in your business and background that you can successfully use to reach clients.

Do you know one particular neighborhood better than anyone? Your blog, your social media and your email content should all feature that particular neighborhood.

Buy a URL just for that community. You will also benefit by working on search engine optimization and targeting specific keywords rather than being general in nature.

Alternatively, do you know everything there is to know about the local lifestyle? Gear your content toward that, and become the local expert on the attractions in your area.

You don’t have to be all things to all clients. You just have to be all things to a specific group of clients, and you’ll start seeing movement.

Want to leverage that movement and grow your business? Choose another niche. Then another. Then another.

By micromarketing several locations or groups, you can ensure that you continue to bring in clients who need what you have to offer and, incidentally, who you’ll probably love working with because you have commonalities.

Know your audience

Andrey Nokhrin

A math degree is not the usual path to becoming a real estate broker, but Andrey Nokhrin is not your usual real estate CEO.

The founder of FLIPT, a marketing company that helps agents target marketing both geographically and demographically, saw early on how algorithms and predictive analytics could help create smarter outreach than old-fashioned, traditional real estate farming.

Using millions of online and social media signals, FLIPT helps connect agents with clients who are experiencing life events that might lead to real estate sales or purchases.

But Nokhrin acknowledges that no matter how sophisticated the analytics and how user-friendly the technology, there’s one thing that takes it from good to great: follow-up.

The takeaway:

Know who you are marketing to and what they need from you. Are you trying to appeal to first-time homebuyers? You better be quick on a text and adept at social media.

Want to work with older homesellers? They may need an in-person visit to discuss aspects of the process.

Understanding your potential clients and following up in a way and at a time that feels right for them will give you the advantage.

Play to your strengths

Andrey Nokhrin’s math degree helps him see real estate from a different perspective, and it’s that which informs his business.

“The more analytical approach mathematics offers allows me to break the barrier between technology and real estate. I can see what’s possible in the latest tech innovation and apply it to solving problems in real estate,” Nokhrin said.

While many real estate professionals tend to follow a more traditional playbook, innovators like Nokhrin are bringing fresh perspectives to the real estate space by using their strengths to change the game.

The takeaway:

You know the typical agent blueprint, right? Extroverted. Perky. “Coffee is for Closers” levels of intense.

The reality is not everyone is like that, and that’s actually a good thing. Knowing who you are and how to apply your strengths to your real estate business can be the very thing that sets you apart.

Maybe your more introverted style will help you better listen and counsel clients. Maybe your background in education makes you a perfect first-time homebuyer specialist.

Maybe your love for research can be applied to market statistics. Don’t buy into the notion that there’s only one way to be a great real estate agent. Find a way to make your strengths work for you and enrich your business.

Whether you love or loathe technology, the qualities that make a great business and a great business owner apply to all of us.

Find your people, and talk to them in a way they can hear you. It’s that simple, and that difficult. But by learning from some seriously smart tech gurus, we can all be better real estate agents.

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter

Email Christy Murdock Edgar

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