Archive for October, 2008

Wanna play? How making things fun will engage your clients

October 30, 2008
Remember fun? Use it to make clients happy.

Remember fun? Use it to make clients happy.

What are your most memorable, exciting moments? Were they in front of a computer? Or were they painting rocks with your kid brother, playing hide-and-seek in the dark… or hiking through slick forests in Hawaii with your partner, laughing about the giant duck-like shoes on your feet?

Guess what! Everyone counts the fun memories as some of their best memories. And almost no one thinks sitting in front of the computer is “fun”.

Yes, we get cool stuff out of sitting in front of the computer. We watch uber-funny commercials on YouTube, and we play Scrabulous (or whatever’s it’s called now) on Facebook with old friends.

But how do you make the entire experience of doing something on the computer fun?

Um, earth to Joanna, you’re supposed to be talking about real estate ratings…
Yes, I know. So here’s the thing: When you’re trying to get your clients to leave you good reviews, do you want them to go through a boring process or a fun process? Does it even matter? Well, if you think a person’s mood in any way influences how they talk about you at that moment, then, yes, I’d say it matters, wouldn’t you?

That’s why we tried to make the review process on What-Customers-Say.com as enjoyable as possible for your clients. Here are a few things we’ve done to make it non-boring:

  • Used bright, fun colours rather than sedate, “too professional” or “too sophisticated” colours
  • Used big blocks to help people find what they need to do, like the 3 big blocks on the home page
  • Kept the tone casual and familiar, not stuffy (more…)

GUEST POST: Kevin Grenier, Edmonton real estate agent

October 29, 2008

I’d like to welcome Kevin Grenier, licensed real estate agent in Edmonton, Alberta, to our blog. He’s one of the top-reviewed agents on our site, and he’s got plenty of useful advice to share with homebuyers and sellers — and real estate agents! — out there. What better way to find a real estate agent than to check out his reviews on our site… and then read some of his great tips?

Without further ado, Kevin, take it away!

PART 1 OF “THE STORY YOU ARE TELLING”

Kevin Grenier, Top-Rated Real Estate Agent in Edmonton

Kevin Grenier, Top-Rated Real Estate Agent in Edmonton

Many people don’t realize that there is a very important story being told with every line they put into an offer when buying a home. This is vital information to know either as a seller or a buyer. This first of a series of blogs covers the deposit, what you don’t know could cost you the deal.
 
First things first. In preparing to write an offer as a buyer, find out as much as you can regarding the pertinent facts, such as:
• Seller motivation
• Preferred possession date
• Presence of competing offers
• Any offers received prior that were rejected
• Any current interest (buyers that have booked a second showing or have said they want to write an offer)

Seller motivation is key. If the seller doesn’t need to sell the house and they have priced it above fair market value, you could be wasting your time and in for a whole lot of frustration. People get frustrated with buying and or selling real estate primarily because of one thing: working with a seller or a buyer that is not motivated, and by motivation I mean “a genuine need to buy or need to sell”. More on this in a later blog.

What about the “story”?

Glad you asked, let’s get started.  (more…)

You’ve got word of mouth. Now, how to amplify it?

October 29, 2008
Wish you could make your clients talk about you?

Wish you could make your clients talk about you?

Ah, word of mouth. That great, elusive golden ticket to free marketing…. Not quite, actually. Sorry to break it to you. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real + useful.

I worked for a word-of-mouth marketing agency for about 2 years as a writer-slash-project manager. We signed people up for marketing programs that got other people talking. But, when it came time to measure success, it was nearly impossible to report out any real data that suggested that word of mouth had increased.

Why’s word of mouth so hard?
Try as you might, it’s nearly impossible to get people to talk about you if there’s nothing to say about you. It’s like trying to write a press release when there’s no news — extremely difficult.

You’ve gotta be doing something different — something much better than your competitors are doing (usually not that hard) and much better than your customers/clients would expect (usually very hard!!! — but you’re up for the challenge as a great real estate agent, yes?).

And then, when you’ve got a little word of mouth, you’ve gotta find a way to turn that into a lot. You want to amplify word of mouth rather than just letting it do its little organic thing and then disappear without a trace.

Hanging your hopes on words in the air
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) breaks word of mouth (WOM) into 2 categories:

  1. Organic – The recommendations you get when you make clients/customers happy and they, in turn, want to see their friends as happy so they recommend that they use you
  2. Amplified – Using campaigns and tools to remind people that you’re totally worth talking about and to give them incentives to do so

Organic WOM usually looks like this: Sue, your happy client, stands in the coffee room at work with coworker Betty talking about the ugly state of the real estate market in Edmonton & Calgary. Betty (more…)

Did you see us at the EREB tradeshow?

October 22, 2008
Scarlett at the What Customers Say tradeshow booth

Scarlett at the What Customers Say tradeshow booth

Well, the big day has come and gone. Today, from 10am to 4pm, What-Customers-Say.com hosted a booth at the Edmonton Real Estate Board annual tradeshow.

We had a great turn-out, with lots of real estate agents asking lots of questions. Here are the approximate numbers:

– 100+ agents picked up 5+ postcards each to hand out to their clients (solicit reviews) and/or “stopped by”
– 75+ agents entered their business cards in our draw for a TomTom GPS system
– 25+ agents either set up profiles or “showed great interest” in the site

One agent even invited us to give a presentation at her brokerage (?!) — or her real estate office — in the near future. That’s pretty cool.

Who’s that at the booth?
Since 2 of us at What-Customers-Say.com don’t live in Edmonton and the other 2 have ‘regular’ day jobs, we asked our self-employed family members to step in to help out. 🙂 So, that’s Scarlett in the photo — she’s Steven’s wife — and Paul, my younger (yes, Paul, you’re younger) brother, manned the booth, too. Soooo cool of them to give up their whole day to help out.

Now… how to thank them. No idea! But we’re very, very grateful. Kudos to Scarlett and Paul for their awesomeness.

How can you get the info, postcards, etc. that attendees got?
Contact What-Customers-Say.com directly! One of the four of us will answer the phone to chat with you or get back to you via email.  

Thanks to everyone who checked out our booth and our site. 🙂 Hope to see more of you in the future.

~jw

Real Estate 2.0 – Inman gets it right

October 17, 2008

For those of you who subscribe to Inman news, you’ll probably have read Bernice Ross’s article or post on Web Marketing 2.0. It’s definitely worth the read. Here’s what I posted as a comment on her article, which I thought I’d share with you.

Bernice, this post hits on the new reality, which is that the next generations of homebuyers and sellers will not *fall for* the marketing messages that real estate professionals put in front of them; nor will they travel all the way to your site for a boring experience when they’re already using fun sites that can help them find the right agents, the right homes, etc.

So, how do you market yourself online today?

Blogs are fine… but, as noted, they’re hard to keep up because *you* generate the content… and you’re too busy for that. (And, with a new blog created every second, they’re also old news.) *You* also generate the content on Twitter.com, and *you* have to do all the work to try to get followers, which is not easy.

What Real Estate 2.0 actually allows is more user-generated content. That’s where the value is. Let your customers do your marketing for you! I mean, it’s the absolute easiest way to market yourself. Engage in “profile marketing”, as Bernice pointed out, and just let the people you’ve served well talk you up to the 1000s of people visiting customer review sites every day. Oh, and the people who find you on agent review sites are actually qualified leads because they’re actually looking for an agent… unlike on your personal site, where they’re just filling in your registration form in order to see your listings before they leave your site.

TripAdvisor.com does it for hotels. Avvo.com does it for lawyers. Yelp.com does it for small businesses. Buzzillions.com does it for products. And What-Customers-Say.com does it for real estate agents in Canada.

~jw

67 realtor reviews in Edmonton. Just $67 to donate.

October 16, 2008

One of the cool things that we’re doing (well, we think it’s cool) is donating $1 to a local non-profit/charity for every review left. We’ve got 67 reviews now… so that’s $67.

We’d love to donate more, but we need people to leave reviews to get those dollars up. (And we need real estate agents to encourage their clients to rate them!)

QUESTION: Who should we donate our dollars to?

Yes, that whopping $67. When it reaches $75, it goes off to a charity in Edmonton, Alberta.

Tell us who you’d like to see the cash go to. It’s not a ton, I know…….

Oh, when we reach $75, we’re going to stop the donation thing and switch to something else to motivate people to get involved. Of course, as a team, we’re still donating both time and money to non-profits that are close to our hearts, like Basically Babies, Food for Thought, Habitat for Humanity and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. What-Customers-Say.com as a company will continue to support the communities we live in and the foundations that keep those communities strong and vibrant.

So we’ll stay involved. But we’ll switch up our incentive for reviewers… evidently, the $1/review just isn’t doin’ it. 🙂

~jw

Fill out an application to get an agent referral? What?!?!?!

October 10, 2008

So, I just came across this site called AgentForMe, and it actually asks people who are looking for a real estate agent to complete an application.

That’s right. You’re about to pay an agent some huge commission… and you have to fill out an application? Shouldn’t the agent be filling out the application to win the job with you?

Amazing…….. Good thing the real estate agents on www.What-Customers-Say.com don’t put you through anything like that. Nope, it’s just 5 little clicks —- yes, 5 clicks —- to get a list of agents in the Edmonton area and start reading their reviews.

It shouldn’t be HARD for the customers.

~jw

Not just a lead but a listing

October 9, 2008

We’re slowly picking up steam at www.What-Customers-Say.com, and a few of our profiled real estate agents (realtors in Edmonton) have been contacted several times. Of course, it’s always the ones with the most reviews that get contacted —- always.

(So, if you’re on our site, start sending your clients there to review you. We’re going to be implementing every-10-day prizes, like $100 gift card to JCrew.com or Amazon.com, so there’ll be plenty of motivation to leave a great review. More to come about that in the future.)

And, I’m happy to say that one of our agents wrote to us yesterday to let us know that the first lead she got off our site has officially turned into a real estate listing. Commission TBD, but, I mean, even a small commission of $5,000 is still pretty good return on $0, don’t you think? 🙂

Good luck, agents! Write to us with your suggestions for the site, and we’ll put them on our list of ToDos.

Triple ouch! Selling your home sucks right now

October 8, 2008

Yeesh! I’m glad I’m not selling right now. Pity the people who actually have to sell their homes to move for work, family, etc.

If you’re in Edmonton, Alberta or even Calgary, Alberta (and surrounding areas!), you already know ’bout the trouble goin’ down. It’s probably no surprise to you that the Calgary Herald has now reported the following Edmonton housing price drops for the most recent quarter (compared to a year ago):

  • 11.8% for a detached bungalow
  • 13.8% drop for a standard 2-storey home
  • 18.8% drop for a standard condominium

Remember 1.5 years ago when people were saying that investing in anything in Edmonton was going to be not only a safe but a very lucrative investment? Oy! What a change……

What do we do with this info, then?
Well, if you have a home that you need to sell… you still need to sell it. That need doesn’t just go away. Of course, if you don’t NEED to sell it, think twice before listing it. (more…)

Welcome, Jason Hafso!

October 6, 2008

K, so we don’t normally publicly welcome new real estate agents to our site… but Mr. Hafso happened to find our site through this little blog, so I wanted to say hello to him and thank him for reading. 🙂

Best of luck, Jason! Hope you can make it out to the tradeshow in Edmonton on Oct. 21…!

~jw