REALTORS® Embracing the Digital World

REALTOR® gets real. We speak with an experienced British Columbia REALTOR® for a ‘digital’ glimpse into the industry through the lens of his emerging brand.

The last two decades have seen monumental leaps in technology, greatly impacting mortgage professionals. Since 1995 we have experienced mass booms in the Internet and social media marketing. The Web continues its dominance as the marketplace for products and services and is becoming the best way to reach, influence and retain clients.

There is no doubt that the rapid growth of the Web has helped businesses compete and has become as necessary for some businesses as having a “bricks and mortar” presence. For REALTORS®, having a web presence is not only the norm, but also perhaps the most effective means to take their business to the next level.

REALTORS® can connect with clients like never before – crucially, in real time. Entire listings are online, email and/or text marketing brings you right into a client’s personal space. And, quite possibly, the greatest innovation to affect real estate overall is mobile technology.

“With these rapid advancements most brokerages have created mobile versions of their websites,” says Richard Goldney of REMAX Anchor Realty in Qualicum Beach, B.C., who, with three decades under his belt, has been in the industry long enough to see the changes. “With these advancements also come a reduced need for face-to-face conversation and meetings with clients, which is particularly challenging for us since we are such a people-centered business.”

So how did the 30-year real estate veteran adapt to the changing marketplace and the new technology? Enthusiasm, eagerness and, initially, purely adventure. Goldney jumped right in and explored all the tools available to continue to grow his business. It some ways using social media has made it easier for Goldney to connect with clients in ways that traditional advertising did not – and at a lower cost.

So too was a solidified professional identity.

“Branding myself as a professional real estate agent has played a vital role in my success,” he says. “One of the most highly discussed subjects in the industry is how a good, memorable brand will help retain clients and keep customer retention high – an idea that has been around long before the Internet.”

Today Goldney embraces the digital world, making the most of social media. “At the corporate level social media is an important component to promote a brand, interact with agents, and help with recruiting efforts,” he said. “Since social media is inherently relational, l use it to stay connected with friends, family and followers and leverage my online relationships for marketing and lead generating.”

Prior to the Internet explosion, branding was the domain for large companies and individual REALTORS® who had the financial means to pay for print advertising. “It was more challenging [back] then to widen your sphere of influence,” Goldney said. “It was costly and I spent much more time interacting with clients through showing homes and follow-ups. Marketing materials were usually flyers dropped at each door or through the mail, targeting certain areas of the city. Now, social media offers me a great opportunity to increase exposure and garner top-of-mind awareness among new clients.”

Goldney finds exposure to a wider audience through his website and through his blogs, leveraging the vast amount of digital networking available. “The information you share is a direct reflection of you and your brand,” he says. “Accuracy and professionalism are paramount. You can greatly influence your brand by putting greater consideration into how you share and publish your information.”

The ability to go mobile only enhances his brand, Goldney says. “These tools keep you connected to other agents, your referral partners and clients. Having mobility and instant access to information allows you to serve your clients better with quick, accurate information, which makes you more valuable and enhances your brand.”

It’s difficult to predict where technology will leads us, even in the coming decade; however, without a doubt the relationship between technology and the real estate and other mortgage-related professions will be an intimate one, with a seamless blend of face-to-face interaction and integration technology.

Be sure to engage with Genworth Canada’s social media channels, Facebook and LinkedIn, to gain access to tips and resources that will help you stay top-of-mind with your customers.

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