“I’ve been in the game for 10 years makin’ rap tunes ever since honeys was wearing Sassoons.” – Dr. Dre, California Love
As I sit here in Phoenix writing this, many of the real estate online world’s best are gathered in San Francisco for RE BarCamp San Francisco and Inman’s Real Estate Bloggers Connect. There are several reasons I’m not in the Bay Area but here’s the biggest one … somewhere down the line, I not only failed to become the primary audience but I find myself moving further away from the hardcore online crowd.
This, I suppose, is one of the side effects of being a relatively early adopter. This blog’s progenitor on RealTown started more than three years ago. Yet as I approach my fifth anniversary in this business I find myself falling back on some conventional wisdom even as I leverage the Internet to generate business.
Just like every other segment of life, the real estate world is all atwitter about Twitter. And where there are agents using (somewhat) new technology there are experts who are more than willing to tell them how to do it.
You can find me on Twitter if you so choose but you’re not going to see me using Twitter as a prospecting tool. There are too many other local agents already there and frankly the type of filter you need to use it for business doesn’t interest me in the slightest.
My wife and I have arguments over Facebook and it’s here you’ll see me talking about the wonderful joys of daily real estate life. And yes, I do it to show I’m an actual working agent and not some schlub trying to sell houses between shifts at the Waffle House.
These days at REBarCamps and elsewhere it’s common to hear “experts” tell real estate agents why things such as Facebook and Twitter are the future and why, as one person recently put it, Blogging is so 2008.
Here’s the thing … if Blogging is 2008, then 2005 is the new 2009.
Experts Missing the Point
Even as advice is provided the experts are missing one basic reality – the vast majority of consumers shop online for homes, not real estate agents. What real estate trainer David Knox said long ago still holds true today – to be a successful real estate agent you don’t have to be great, you have to be there.
Such a low threshold to meet and yet many, many, many agents fall short.
Many of you come to this or one of my other half-dozen sites looking for homes. My hope is you’ll pick up the phone and call or you’ll e-mail me when you’re ready to buy but the reality is some of you may not. You may fully intend to do so, but then you’re driving down the road and see a for sale sign and you call the listing agent and even though you are talking to the person representing the other party you’re just so excited that you can’t resist and next thing you know you wrote a contract.
It happens. I know this.
Still, when you’re online you want to see homes. And that’s why I make them available in abundance – separate searches for bank owned homes, for different communities. I even can take requests … tell me what you want to see and I can create it from scratch.
The technology isn’t pure 2005 but the methodology is … you’re here. Tell me what it is you want to know about the real estate market and I’ll give it to you. If you’re looking for a list of pumpkin patches around Halloween, though, you may need to look elsewhere.
Wallowing into the Verboten
So here’s the thing … if you do register for one of my real estate searches, I’m going to add you to the list for my monthly newsletter. If you don’t want it, cool – send me an e-mail and I’ll take you back off the list. I do this knowing some of you may not want to see the newsletter. I also do it knowing that about one-third of the people on my mailing list will log onto the website to look around after I send the newsletter.
How I do what I do isn’t about you singular necessarily but about you plural.
If you register on the website, there’s a more than decent chance you’ll get a phone call from me so that I can introduce myself. Those who don’t want the call automatically will enter a bogus number. Okay, cool. I don’t mind. Not everyone wants to talk to me. So why do I call? Because every now and then I talk to someone who, as I apologize for bothering them, says it’s no bother and asks if I’ve got time to answer some questions.
This isn’t high tech real estate by any stretch of the imagination – it’s the old fashioned idea of staying in touch and building a relationship beyond the houses you see here, just in case the thought may enter your mind as you drive down a block to call me instead of the phone number on the sign.
There’s an old name for that – top-of-mind presence – which you only hear about these days as it applies to real estate blogs and recitations of everything that happens in a given community.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that idea. Then again, it doesn’t interest me that I might have become your source of information for yesterday’s non-earthquake here in the Valley. It absolutely interests me that I’m your source of information for real estate.
Which reminds me … I owe you market statistics, but the early morning session I saw at REBC San Francisco left a vein throbbing in the front of my forehead that has yet to abate. Just one more expert telling me how I should relate to y’all.
Real Estate 1.0 – the old-fashioned template business card disguised as a website is all but dead. Honestly, Real Estate 2.0 is becoming overrated, at least given the direction that it’s being pulled by those trying to make money off the concept.
So what do you have here? We’ll call it Real Estate 1.5 – the retro-chic of online real estate. After all, as my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved last week with the return of Bucco Bruce (and don’t think I didn’t get my personalized tangerine jersey out of mothballs), given time old school becomes cool all over again.[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]