Pillar #4: Listings, Listings, Listings. Here’s How to get Them
No guess work here. Load up your website up with listings and you would have covered one of the top two things on a home buyer’s list of most valued information on a REALTOR®’s website. 83 percent of buyers who used the Internet last year to research properties said that detailed information about homes for sale are ‘Very Useful,’ according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report.
And given that 21 percent of sales agents reported generating between 11 and over 100 inquiries from their website, 3 percent pulling between 51 – 100 inquiries and 4 percent more than 100 inquiries, your online store has the potential to be more than just a pretty place. The reason I say this is that there are still 31 percent of agents out there whose websites bring in no inquiries at all! That’s a huge opportunity.
Established REALTORS® seem to be well set then, if they typically carry good inventory. Provided they do most other things right of course. We covered some of those things or ideas, in Parts 1-3 of this series.
Undoubtedly though, even the best sellers’ agents can benefit from additional listings, to attract even more visitors and generate more return visits to their websites. For those who have no listings or just few, this particular challenge can be daunting. Here are three surefire ways to add more listings to your site. As in, many more.
1) Expand your personal network – This is an on-going exercise that requires time. If you want instant gratification, skip this step and go to points 2 and 3. But in the long run, this step will be key to success and business resilience especially in tough markets.
Here are some facts, also from NAR’s report. The most important thing people look for in an agent is honesty and trustworthiness, and nearly half of all buyers find their real estate agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, especially first time home buyers.
The more experience and transactions you facilitate, and the larger you grow and foster a supporting network of friends and contacts, the more business and listings you’ll get. Join and participate in local societies and groups, join one or more charities, volunteer time on a not-for-profit board and attend school events if you have kids. A note to self: ‘I won’t spend all my time at such events with people I know. I will reinforce those relationships and make it a point to meet several more people and exchange more business cards or phone numbers. And, my networking does not mean spending lots of time in online chat rooms with other agents.’
2) Build IDX into your website – This can be as easy as cutting and pasting some code onto your website. IDX or, Internet Data Exchange, is a solution that allows visitors on your website to search approved Multiple Listing Service (MLS) properties in your area. The service is subscription-based and for the value it adds, many would concur is worth every penny.
There are several great IDX service providers in the marketplace today, so here are some things to look for:
– Easy to plug (technical jargon: frame) into your website.
– A solution that seamlessly integrates (funnels) leads into your prospect management system.
– Don’t get held up by a long term contract. You should have the right to get out at any time.
– Double check on the IDX service provider’s ‘uptime.’ You want a service that is ‘on’ all the time.
– Affordable. You can usually secure a top name IDX directly or through your website service provider at a reasonable price.
3) Handshake™ with other REALTORS® in your market – This idea applies only to Point2 Agent users. Handshake™ is proprietary technology that allows you to publish other REALTOR® listings on your Point2 Agent website, and the other way around. The idea is to automatically and immediately give you credibility but importantly, a large inventory to market. Especially for new agents, this advantage can make a significant difference. The more local co-marketing relationships you initiate and approve through your Point2 Agent site, the more listings you’ll get. You can test this technology for free here.