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Converting Web Site Home Buyers to First Contacts

... the National ... of ... ... ... between 1999 and 2003, 66 percent of allhome buyers stick with the first real estate agent ... The number one reason

According the National Association of Realtors(R) ("NAR")
surveys completed between 1999 and 2003, 66 percent of all
home buyers stick with the first real estate agent they
contact. The number one reason stated was that buyers
perceive all real estate agents to be the same. This means
that two out of every three contacts that you receive when
you are the first contact, you are most likely to get the

There are two major items that get in the way of this not
happening. First, if you don't show them how you are
different from the other realtors and if you don't have a
formalized conversion system.

The NAR news is good news if you are the first contact. But
what do you do if you aren't? What can you do is a more
accurately way of asking? Agents know there is a wide
difference between experience and competence. This doesn't
really matter though, agents main target isn't selling to
other agents.

The key is to create a marketing process that pushes you in
front of the line of other realtors.

The 2003 NAR report stated that 71 percent of buyers use the
Internet to gather information on buying a home yet only 6
percent use the Internet to find an agent. This means that
65 percent of the people visiting realty-type web sites and
just there for information. The 2003 numbers are an
increase from 41 percent and 3 percent in 2002. Keeping at
this same growth rate, the 2004 prediction would be 91
percent and 9 percent.

The Internet is the fifth method to find agents. The first
four are: referrals, repeat business, met agent at open
house or office walk-in. The fifth with the Internet were
yard signs. The least effective at 1% were advertising
trinkets and direct mail.

What type of Internet presence do you need in order to be
first contact -- or part of the nine percent in 2004? With
the Internet ever evolving trying to keep up creates a
throw-up-the-arms frustration at times if you're not techie
savvy or paying for someone else handing the site.

There are four major keys for staying present and being in
the this nine percent:
1. Automatic database system
2. An informative, interacting, and evolving web site
3. Technology support for leveraging time
4. Newsletters, printed or e-delivered.

I don't need to remind you that buyers are getting savvier
every year with the Internet and with home buying. And due
to this they will test your knowledge level during your
first contact to see if you have what it takes to save them
money, time and headaches. The latter, headaches, being
number one.

Just recently I called four real estate agent companies and
asked them one question out of the yellow pages and it was
amazing what I discovered and the way I was treated. One
agent took my name and number, promised to call back, and
never returned my call until the next day with kids and dogs
screaming in the background. It took me seven more tries to
find an agent that could answer the one question correctly
(the way NAR said it needs to be answered). Out of 12, 8
answered incorrectly, and four of them you could tell were
"winging" the answer.

What are you doing to make yourself different?
Communication skills need to be a big consideration. There
are three major Internet communication items that make the
determination of whether they are going to contact you or
pass you up for another web site.

1. Clear communication and instructions on the web site.
This happens most of the time through linking. You ask
visitors to click here but all they have is an underline on
the word. Say "click here for." The other item is that
what are they going to get or find if they click there? Is
it perfectly clear. Where are they going to go if they
click there? Is the link taking them to another site,
another page? The why, why do they need to go there, why do
you want them to go there. What is their benefit for
clicking there.

2. Ease of use. Is the navigational system of the site
easy to use for visitors. Some people are very visual and
by giving them an overall view of what they can find --
either in words or in a diagram eases their comfort level.
The more comfortable they feel at the web site, the more
comfortable they are going to be taking the call to actions
you have designed on the site. Create Step 1, 2, and 3s to
handhold them through a process.

3. Provide details. Again, something similar to what I
said in #1. Be clear, give details on what will happen if,
where they will go nextArticle Submission, or what they can expect to get or
know by this. Remove the scariness of unknown quantities
and expectations. Lead visitors through your site. Give
them a handshake and don't let their hand go and walk them
through all the processes they came to accomplish. How are
you different than other agents -- spell it out with

Article Tags: Real Estate

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Catherine Franz, business coach. Previously a real
estate agent and exec with National Association of Realtors.
Additional articles and ideas about marketing to attract business:

Home Repair
Home Business
Self Help

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