Written by JohnReinhardt
When I was recently selected to be on a great panel at the Inman Connect conference, I was excited. I had prepared for the great debate between Trulia and Zillow, as it was billed, but the presentation was cut way too short at the last minute. What was supposed to be a 25 minute discussion, turned out to be a 15 minute chat. The panel headlined:
Pete Flint, CEO, Trulia
Michael Montsko, President, Weichert Lead Network
Spencer Rascoff, COO, Zillow.com
Needless to say, I was honored to be among such a distinguished panel.
Like most brokers and presenters we take the responsibility of being in front of 1600 or so people seriously and we all spend a lot of time in preparation for panels. I would like to share with you some of the points that did not come up, in the hopes that you may benefit from the discussion that didn’t happen.
The main purpose of the panel was to find out what is working online. We were to explain what matters to brokers in their online media choices.
Do Clicks – Leads – or Social Engagement matter?
It all matters online, but what matters more, is what you do with those online leads…offline!
Brokers need to make sure that we are tracking everything that is happening. We track the clicks, agents response time, customer satisfaction and ultimately the number of leads that convert to real dollars.
What works for us? Here’s Why I Like and Use Trulia. It has worked real well for us for many reasons.
First, we use Trulia as an excellent branding tool. When the consumer searches for a home in any neighborhood in my market Trulia appears in the top of the search results. Then, when the consumer clicks on Trulia.com, you will see a blanketing of orange Fillmore.com logos. We purchase positioning and featured properties placements that drive leads to Fillmore directly and by pointing the consumer right to our own website fillmore.com. In many of our markets, we hold most of the inventory, and the consumer gets to see this by clicking on this third party website. I use it as a sort of validation for Fillmore.
Property Views is important to track because we can then anticipate the number of leads that we can expect. For every 1 out of 3 – 4 property views end up connecting to our website. It is here that we get to engage the consumer and try to earn their loyalty. Then we realize that for approximately every 10 homes viewed, we will receive a lead. Now it’s up to us to make sure that the lead is being handled properly and converting to sales. This is the area that we are working hard on. Brokers have a lot of opportunity to improve their customer satisfaction in the way that we handle our internet leads. We must have a comprehensive plan to address the consumer’s experience and make sure that the buyers end up converting to real sales dollars.
Since we have been measuring more effectively, we realize that there is a huge need for improving our conversions and our relationships with the online consumer.
We have begun phase one of our Customer Satisfaction Initiative! (CSI-Brooklyn) Follow the discussion and we’ll share how we’re doing it and we’ll also solicit feedback and suggestions from you, to see how we might do it better. I believe that it’s good for the entire industry as we raise the bar and answer the needs of the internet consumer in a fashion that exceeds their expectations.
But there’s more…We realize that we need to move forward with our mission to train our company to answer the call for customer satisfaction online. Trulia has also been valuable to us as a company far beyond the value of the leads received. We receive some amazing assistance in the form of seminars for our agents and consulting for our executive team and managers. We get to understand the value of social media and online advertising. I believe this special caring to make the broker successful is one of the greatest things that I like about Trulia. I feel that they really care about us and they go out of their way to earn our business every day…not like the old time print papers treated us heh. It’s refreshing to see an advertising partner that is dedicated and committed to our success as real estate brokers.
We have recently been able to get our listings all up on Zillow.com and I will be happy to report the results and success of that effort. Right now, I see the volume from Trulia to exceed my expectations in my market, and I plan on expanding my media spend with them in the near future.
I will continue the next part and discuss how we take these leads, measure them, and track them through the sales process. I will also continue the conversation about online advertising strategies and how we feel about seo with Zillow and Trulia.