Mark Spain Real Estate: Top 7 Takeaways from Inman Connect NYC
Technology and automation are taking the real estate industry by storm and the client is the one in charge. The clients want to hear companies tell stories and videos are hands down the best way to get you there. We picked up some really cool pieces of technology and awesome ideas we can’t wait to roll out this year. Here are our top 7 takeaways from Inman Connect NYC:
1. Artificial Intelligence Isn’t Coming: It’s Here
In 2017, we will continue to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) play a huge role in the real estate transaction. Where it fits, however, is to be determined. People still do business with people but technology will play an important role in answering basic questions about the home buying and selling processes.
The idea of only dealing with a bot throughout the entire real estate process is still many years away, however, chatbots on websites are a great tool for real estate companies to utilize to help with customer service. Companies cannot expect team members to be available each and every hour of the day and night to help customers, but now we have the necessary tools at the tip of our fingertips.
As AI continues to make its way into the real estate field, it will take on the monotonous jobs and leave more room for creativity and personalized service. We are excited to roll out a chatbot on our new website – coming soon!
2. Big Data Will Help You Better Serve Your Clients in Real Estate
As more and more companies adopt Customer Relationship Management softwares (CRMs) as their backbone to manage their database, additional data about those customers or prospects that make it into the CRM is vitally important. For example, data has visibility into the events that trigger a change in homeownership – marriage, death, divorce, birth, and job transition – which gives us a chance to better understand and help our clients.
Real estate companies will be able to better prepare for and match clients to agents with this additional data. Big data also is able to predict the occurrence of these events before they even take place, which allows real estate companies to market to their database more intelligently.
On average, a home changes hands every 5-9 years depending on the market you live in. Life events or someone’s desire to upgrade causes this number to have a semi-wide range. Real estate companies with increased intelligence are able to better serve up homes that clients may have found a month down the line, saving both sides valuable time. Take this example: Say I just had two kids. Although I love the home I bought 4 years ago, the new homes in the neighborhood over allow for more space and look pretty good. Big data is here to help predict those thoughts, accelerate the process, and help cater more to the clients wants and needs.
3. Videos Are Vital to Tell Your Story
Connections are the single greatest way to appeal to clients. Storytelling is a critical element to videos in today’s world. Inclusiveness and the invitation to bring someone on a journey with your brand is the key to creating an amazing experience with a client. Help them connect the dots with how they can be apart of the story.
Videos are critical to any effective social media strategy. Both well-produced videos and organic videos “from the field” play a huge role in helping a company convey its story to its clients.
The top two questions to ask when creating a video are:
What is the purpose of this video?
Who is it for?
Answer those two questions and the mission of your video will be taken care of. As Facebook continues to become a great tool for advertising, use custom audiences and budgets to promote the videos. Mark Spain Real Estate loves to promote videos for recruiting purposes especially. We are able to get a better-targeted reach on Facebook than any other advertising platform before.
4. The Team Model is the Future of Real Estate
The model that we have at Mark Spain Real Estate is not too different from the dominant real estate brokerage setup 50-60 years ago. This small town model puts an emphasis on the company working as a team with a common goal. Over the years as big companies took over and service was not consistent from agent to agent. A traditional brokerage today does not provide leads or a high investment of free training. This is now changing.
The Small Town Model
We have taken the original small town brokerage approach and added a high level of accountability to agent performance and client experience as well as an education second to none in the industry. Other brokerages can’t really entice the agents to grow into a specific form because they don’t provide leads. Because we provide leads and training, we are able to hold these agents accountable. It’s a tradeoff, but the agents that work for us love it! They are able to give their full attention to their client and let other teams that are a part of our organization do the rest.
There are several reasons we predict people are moving back to this small town team model. People want a high level of client service and they want a consistent, duplicatable experience across the board. They want to know that if they referred a friend or family, their loved one would get the same world-class experience.
As the team model continues to grow, we expect lead generation to increase in a big way for big companies as they begin to add programs to create consistency throughout their organizations.
5. Don’t Be Scared of the Automated Value Model
The automated value model in its simplest form is the “Carmax” of real estate. New agencies are popping up and advertise that they will buy your home and sell it without you involved in the process at all.
We know this has the potential to be scary for real estate companies to hear; however, there will always be people who want to do business with people. The real estate transaction of your home is most likely the largest purchase or sale someone will make in their life. Selling it with a contract and little to no human contact is a model that will work for some but not all.
Yes, the traditional real estate model comes at a premium, but it also comes with world-class service, 24-hour contact, and a person who will vouch for you, your story, and your emotions. The truth is, most people will not want to trade in their home like they trade in a car and they want to sell it at the top price possible.
As the automated value model makes its way into real estate, we encourage companies to not be afraid, but instead to focus on that world-class client experience. Keep the client in the core of all that you do and you will not have one worry in the world.
6. Millennials Aren’t Leaving Anytime Soon
We all know millennials have a bad rep with the media. They are called impatient, lazy, and entitled. Millennials are impatient to wait around for success so they pursue their dreams fast and hard. Millennials are some of the most culturally invested people in any company. We’ve found overall that millennials create a positive, fun-loving, helpful, service-minded culture.
John Makarewicz, President of MSRE, got into real estate at age 23. He felt the resistance from clients who asked him questions like “Do you even own a home?” And he didn’t. So, he knew he had to take a different approach. He studied hard, gained confidence, and made it his mission to be more educated than any of his competitors. And the old objectives? He plowed right through them.
Millennials in Real Estate
Some brokerages are resistant to hire young adults, which is understandable at first. However, with the proper training and education, any millennial can out-negotiate and give better customer service than another individual just because they have age on their side. The average age of Realtor in the United States is about 55, but not all clients are in that age range. We feel at MSRE that a lot of our customers and clients are millennials and we want to have people that match up with our demographics.
We’ve had great experiences and successes at college career fairs. Last year 7 out of top 10 agents were recent college grad. We value the outlooks of hard workers from any and all generations which is why we hire from all different age groups.
The truth is every generation that precedes the next is called lazy and entitled. Another fact is that the millennials inherited the worst recession since the depression and when many were graduating college, there were no jobs for them. Unemployment was at its highest rate since the depression and we saw a shift in who and what was important.
Here’s what we know: Millennials aren’t afraid to hard work. They are looking for a company that lets them work to live but they know there is more to life than work. Millennials prefer meaningful work and their desire to work is fueled by their desire to live a well-rounded life. Millennials are focused on the culture of the company and the amount that the company gives back more so than a prestigious title and the corner office.
7. The Importance of Networking in Real Estate
Networking at Inman Connect is huge. It is an opportunity to meet with other folks and communicate with other agents around the country that have similar beliefs. We got the chance this January to hang with our friends Kris Lindahl and Gary Ashton who are respectively doing big things in real estate in Minnesota and Nashville.
Inman Connect gives its attendees a great opportunity to add value to other agents and clients around the country and to explore new ways to innovate.
Another group we met up with was Updater. We got to visit their headquarters in NYC and it was awesome. Updater is a tool that helps customers around the country update all their utilities, mailing, magazine subscriptions, and beyond to their new address. Around 10% of moves around the country are touched by Updater. We would never have come across Updater had it not been for Inman Connect.
Big things are happening in 2017 and we’ve hit the ground running. Inman Connect gave us some major takeaways that we are beyond excited to continue implementing this year. To learn more about Mark Spain Real Estate, click here.