Technology has become such an essential component in today’s real estate market that, if shunned or underutilized, could impact agents’ ability to sell homes and remain competitive. In particular, 44 percent of all property searches begin online, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Meantime, another 13 percent of prospective buyers begin the process of finding their next home online before hitting the streets to look at properties. Case in point: Today’s average buyer uses a mobile device to scour online home listings before they begin talking to an agent.
Recognizing this, 90 percent of Realtors now use websites to attract prospects. If you aren’t using technology effectively, you’ll be at a disadvantage against competitors who are, and you won’t be reaching a huge segment of today’s home-buying market.
Here are three essential tech tools for succeeding in today’s real estate market.
1. Customer Relationship Management Apps
Want to experience greater real estate success through the use of new technology? Today, one of the fundamental foundations for such success includes the use of customer relationship management apps.
In fact, CRM apps can help you find prospects faster by automatically culling leads from hundreds of online sources, including top real estate websites such as Zillow, as well as various social media sources. Some CRM apps also integrate with the MLS, which combines about 700 regional databases.
CRM tools also provide features to help you close sales. Analytics tools enable you to identify which prospects are most ready to buy so you can concentrate on your hottest leads. You can digitally track your interactions with your prospect so that you always have key information on hand and see exactly where they are in the sales cycle.
You can also schedule automated follow-ups to keep in touch with prospects and increase your referral rate. Today’s leading CRM tools for real estate agents include Contactually, Top Producer and REthink CRM.
An effective real estate website should include a number of key features. With the majority of internet traffic now coming from mobile devices, an effective website should have a responsive mobile design to appeal to smartphone users, while remaining easy to view for users of other screen sizes.
During the early stages of the home-buying process, many online homebuyers may be browsing for information on how to buy homes, so including how-to content to assist these prospects can help you attract more visitors to your site. Including property listings will help attract prospects who are further along in the home shopping process.
To create a positive user experience for visitors using a mobile device, one best practice is to include eye-catching images with property listings. Easy-to-use search tools and interactive map features will also help make your site more user-friendly.
The most effective means to add listings to your website is with an IDX platform. We use and recommend using:
Additionally, enabling visitors to post their own front-end listings on your website can add further functionality. It’s also vital for your site to have navigational features that make it easy for visitors to contact you.
Because your website will be used to exchange customer data, it’s vital to keep it secure and backed up. Make sure you use an encrypted HTTPS connection to host your site, and use an automated cloud backup service with encryption to ensure your site’s vital data is always accessible and can be recovered in the event of a crash or ransomware attack.
3. Automated Customer Service Tools
Leads can come in at any time of day or night, so it’s important to have automated customer service tools in place to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities.
One of today’s best tools for automatically handling online inquiries is chatbots, which automatically handle instant messaging inquiries from apps such as Facebook Messenger. Routine questions receive an automated response, while inquiries requiring your assistance can be passed on to you and your staff.
Another important automated tool for real estate agents is interactive voice response phone systems. Today’s IVR solutions use AI to process natural human speech so your customers can navigate more quickly through voice recordings to the most relevant responses. IVR tools can also automatically capture prospect callback information, speeding up your response time. Your odds of reaching a prospect are much higher if you call back within five minutes than if you wait 30 minutes.
CRM apps, a mobile-friendly secure website and automated customer service tools are three of today’s most essential tools for real estate agents. CRM apps help you increase your prospecting and sales efficiency, while websites help you reach mobile and online home buyers.
Meantime, automated sales tools such as chatbots and IVR systems can help make sure you don’t miss any prospecting opportunities when you and your representatives are busy or out of the office. Deploying these tools can help you generate more leads, close more sales and sell more properties.