Well, Max and I spent a day at the Masters last weekâ€”now I hear heâ€™s traveling the country. I wanted to get a picture of Max at The Masters but the no-camera rule made it too difficult to find the right place outside the crowded gates.
We had fun, though, and Thursday night got into a long discussion about social networking in the online world of real estate.
A lot has been written lately about the meat and potatoes of practical lead management. To get leads and not manage them effectively is like hitting the greens close to the hole and not making the putts (Max came up with thatâ€”heâ€™s all about golf analogies, now).
Organization and follow-through seem to be key, but once a system is in place to handle a large amount of leads effectively, then an agent can concentrate on increasing leads and assessing the quality of leads.
Wayne wrote a good article about lead quality. A big part of efficiency and getting results is quality controlâ€”once you are generating quality leads and wringing out the inefficiency of cold leads that arenâ€™t amenable to warming, then the system is creating solid results and the conversion rate climbsâ€”I think keeping an eye on conversion rate is critical to any quality control effort.
It doesnâ€™t matter how strong the leads might seem, if all they create is work on your part with no conversion to sales, then itâ€™s a red flag that the leads might not be that good or your system of management and conversion might need improvementâ€”it could mean, in this downturn, that buyers are simply cautious and not in the buying spirit, but determining which of these is the problem area is important.
Social networking among agents is a good way to help determine where the problems lie.
By talking with people all over the country, agents now have a broad source of information to put their business practices in perspective. Although there are local differences, the trends nationwide affect everyone, and certain principles work anywhere.
As non-competing agents all around the country discuss lead management systems and marketing plans and disclose results, it helps to learn whatâ€™s working and whatâ€™s not workingâ€”it fosters experimentation with new methods and prevents agents from doing the same old things that arenâ€™t working over and over again expecting different results.
The internet has been the conduit for a real estate discussion that is ongoing and growing.
More and more agents will utilize it as time goes on and learning will be enhanced by new voices and ideas. As agents get more comfortable with this online conversation, it will also, hopefully, change the industry for the better.
Old ideas that have harmed the industry and have been circulating around local offices like germs keeping everyone sick will be disinfected as information flows in from all over.
It can also be compared to a country that has been freed from ignorance after years of dictatorial ruleâ€”information flows in and people are enlightened. The conversation has the potential of channeling the best of the industry into a direction of positive changeâ€”and as consumers join the conversation, they also are educated about new ways of buying and selling, and they understand the real estate industry in a more healthy way that combats the stereotypes which have placed agents in a negative light for so many years.
As agents and consumers all participate in the conversation, everyone listening with open minds, the evolution of real estate practices takes off.
While itâ€™s hard to listen to some of the criticisms leveled by consumers against agents, itâ€™s necessary if minds are going to be changed. In the same vein, consumers will realize their part in the misunderstanding by examining their old ideas and prejudices.
Now, I think the social network formats themselves must evolve to allow for the best means of communicating. Blogs such as HomeGain, Sellsius, Bigger Pockets and Bloodhound are on the right track to bring people together and keep the conversation going in a meaningful, useful and, sometimes, entertaining fashion.
I encourage those who are sitting back in the shadows reading but not participating to participate.
It seems daunting in the beginning because it appears everyone is established and confidant, yet you donâ€™t know how to break inâ€”you donâ€™t have confidence in making that initial plunge. I sayâ€”Just take it. Ask questions, make comments, gradually get to be known.
Sometimes the comments are better than the articleâ€”and many times the comments complete the article by adding something the author didnâ€™t consider. The social networking formats should always be cognizant that people are lurking and would like to participate, and they should encourage participation and make it easy.
Too many times cliques form and forget about the world looking in outside the clique. New blood is vital to the growth and dynamism of the conversation.
Please, speak up, everyone needs you. You might even have a question for Max who is a fountain of information. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s connected and can answer all questions from the road.
To read more from Mike,Â click here.