High-tech and low-tech are options for today’s agents
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
With dozens of real estate agents working in Central New York among numerous agencies, it can seem tough to stand out—and to make properties stand out.
For Bill Galloway, broker and owner of Century 21 Galloway Realty in Oswego, teaming up with Oswego County Federal Credit Union for a collaborative commercial has proven helpful. The spot has aired on NFL Network during Monday night football and baseball.
“They’re doing a new mortgage business and I tied it with a house we had on the waterfront,” Galloway said. “We got a lot of activity and offers. It’s been good for both the credit union and for real estate. They haven’t been in the mortgage business in a long time.”
Following up with prospects represents a big part of how real estate agents develop browsers into buyers. Galloway likes MoxiWorks, a real estate contact software company based in Seattle that provides contact resource management. MoxiWorks reaches out to prospects with new listings and with information on what Galloway’s agents are doing.
“Moxiworks emails, texts—everything,” Galloway said.
But low-tech means of reaching clients are also effective. A Century 21 program, Preferred Client Club, sends magazines, an annual calendar and a handwritten card to those who purchase a home. For some people, a tangible object represents a more meaningful connection than automated messages.
While most people will not buy a different home for years, that contact through the Client Club can help keep Century 21 on their mind as a recommendation. The printed materials also keep the name visible for others visiting their home or office.
“Referrals are a huge part of our business, especially agents building their business,” Galloway said. “It’s their sphere of influence. Everything else is social media. We’re constantly changing that on all of the platforms.”
Faye Beckwith, real estate agent and owner of Freedom Real Estate in Hannibal, has spent 37 years in the business.
“There are a lot of new people in the industry and names I’ve never heard before,” she said. “It seems like everyone has an aunt, uncle, sister or best friend who has a real estate license. It is challenging.”
She has never before seen a market with such low inventory, either. While that makes it easier to help sellers, it makes it tough to help buyers find a place. While print advertising comprised most of her marketing budget when she started in real estate, much of it is now online. The ability to target ads to the type of buyer likely to go for a property makes it a good deal, though it does exclude people who do not use social media or who remain skeptical of its authenticity compared with print.
Building trust and endurance with buyers represents a widespread difficulty in real estate sales as the process of acquiring a home can take much longer than it has before.
“When you have multiple offers, oftentimes the buyer client can lose out to someone with cash, higher bids or terms more receptive to the seller,” Beckwith said. “A lot of buyers today are losing out. It takes two to three times to make it click, so it’s a real challenge. We have to be very strong for buyers and give them counseling for financing options that are more receptive to the seller.
Strengthening their position in the market is important. Sellers have it made.”
Beckwith also relies on referrals as real estate agents can no longer perform cold calls because of New York State General Business Law §399-z(5)(a). But Beckwith feels that cold calls are not very effective anyway. Her sentiment is backed up by research. The Keller Center for Research at Baylor University states on its website that real estate cold calls result in answers only 28% of the time and appointments or referrals only 1.7% of the time.
“I’ve been fortunate to have previous clients who are receptive to conversation and putting some things together,” Beckwith said. “Staying in touch is so critical.”