A few months ago, I had the amusing opportunity to slip Web 2.0 guru and HomeGain blogger Pat Kitano into a Mike Ferry Productivity School in San Diego, CA.
Pat had come down from San Francisco to explore real estate blogging workshop opportunities with a large title company, where he would introduce agents to Web 2.0 and the chance to start their own blogs.
We had lunch after the meeting and Pat, being the adventurous sort, accepted my invitation to go see what the Mike Ferry approach was all about.
We drove over to the Hilton and slipped quietly into the back of the large meeting room (with prepaid tickets). I think Pat’s jaw dropped two inches as he watched two hundred or so agents chanting Mike Ferry real estate scripts in unison—first expressing objections as a client, and then enthusiastically answering themselves as powerful agents.
Pat was stunned. He cocked his head and whispered, “Do real estate agents really say these things?”
I understood Pat’s reaction, and he could certainly express better than I his thoughts on this Mike Ferry pre-Web-one-oh success training formula (and perhaps he’ll weigh in on it). What stood out for me that afternoon, though, was the stark contrast between the two camps.
It’s so tempting to say that Kitano’s approach is Blu Ray compared to Ferry’s VHS, but there are more similarities than the Web 2.0 blogger might think.
The blogging approach to gaining clients is a universe apart from the cold-calling drills of the last century.
However, the ultimate goals are the same: To make a human connection without someone clicking away or hanging up.
And though the ways of reaching out to potential clients is vastly different, agents of both schools strive to develop a relationship with clients that are mutually productive and long lasting. I don’t doubt for a minute that most Mike Ferry devotees are service-oriented real estate professionals who put client’s interests before their own—and I feel the same about real estate bloggers.
In fact, I believe that many or most Realtors who spend the money (Ferry) and take the time (Bloggers) to reach out to their respective audiences are solid professionals.
And there are current and very successful practitioners from both sides of the century with clients who would think of using no one else.
But as more and more real estate searches begin online and as more and more agents develop a meaningful voice to go with their sophisticated search tools, blogging will become a more critical tool for the real estate practitioner.
And as younger home searchers enter the market, you are more likely to be found by a Googled search term on the iPhone than a glossy post card in a pile of mail.
Any prospecting tool will work, if the agent takes the time to implement it and follow through consistently—whether blogging, door knocking, direct mailings, pay-per-click advertising or working with legitimate lead generators such as HomeGain. The broke and broken agents will be those who try a piece of this, then a piece of that—and then cross fingers and hope that clients will miraculously call with bargain listings and/or non-contingent 780 FICO scores.
Blogging has been a successful real estate tool for me, but requires no less work (and probably even more) than other prospecting tools. We have closed sales that resulted from blogging and have referred and received referrals from other blogging agents with whom we feel comfortable referring our most treasured clients.
I have had varying degrees of success with all the aforementioned tools (though I still struggle with some of the social networking), but the most rewarding success, outside of warm referrals, has come from blogging.
The friends made have been an unexpected bonus, and clients who call as a result of something written on one of our blogs are generally very open and engaging—something rarely encountered during cold calling sessions.
Is blogging the answer for all agents seeking new direction and firm footing in an uncertain and changing market?
Like other prospecting methods, it requires lots of time, effort and commitment—and a reasonable love of language. It will also likely take a longer time for clients to discover you than they would with Mike Ferry’s approach.
So until you are discovered, it might be wise to try a little blogging—along with a lot of direct prospecting.