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"Your Future Depends On This!"

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Bernice Ross Photo
4/7/06 Interview with Bernice Ross
PO Box 90849
Austin, TX 78709

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Steps to Improve Web Marketing

  1. Have a web page that is about the consumer-present what the consumer is looking for: (1) a link to the multiple listing service, (2) buyer information and (3) seller information; all three of these should be on your first page; your photo is a negative on the first page.
  2. Sellers want to know the prices for listings that have sold-link to that through your MLS, if possible.
The Power of

  1. Over 90% of real estate consumers going to the web visit, so agents should definitely post their listings there.
  2. Per Alan Dalton, visitors to skip listings that have only a single picture; they first check listings that have a virtual tour and multiple photos; the listings with both come up first in consumer searches at the site-even ahead of the Showcase properties.
  3. Use at least five photos in addition to the virtual tour; using them on your own site serves to enrich it; taking a large number of photos of a property also impresses the seller.
The Most Important Agent Tech Tool

  1. Ross values her tablet PC because it supports the migration of the industry toward paperless transactions; this is the biggest trend coming.
  2. The tablet allows her to take notes during a walk-through and have them go directly into a Word file; she can get her seller's signature right on the spot and immediately transmit it wherever it is needed-digital signatures are legal in all 50 states.
  3. To get ahead of the curve, be looking at the right tablet software that lets you do all the steps without paper; in early 2006, probably less than 10% of agents are working this way; the number will keep climbing steadily until momentum carries a lot of people into paperless practices suddenly.
  4. Using a tablet has a marketing advantage because it attracts the interest of consumers and marks you as cutting-edge; it carries a powerful non-verbal message that you are technologically savvy in your marketing beyond owning the machine.
Preparation to Cope with a Softening Market

  1. After 5-10 years of a heated sellers' market, chances are that real estate will return to a more normal market, even if it does not become depressed; to prepare, agents need to review their basic training skills.
  2. Taking listings at the right price is key; to do that, you must know your market's specifics; one factor to monitor is what percentage of listings are selling per month-20% is strong; have a dialog with your sellers about a realistic combination of value and price.
  3. If your market is slowing down, shift to doing more work with buyers; focus your prospecting on the areas that are having the greatest activity; generally, higher-end properties turn down first, and the first-time buyer market turns down last.
Help for Promoting Yourself from Ross' Two Books

  1. To persuade sellers that you are their best option, you don't have to be the best agent in your entire marketplace because usually you have to beat only one or two other candidates.
  2. Waging War on Real Estate Discounters advises you how to show sellers the value you have to offer as an agent; Who's the Best Person to Sell My House? is a guide to give to sellers that enumerates 14 key points to look for in an agent plus 38 more about getting the highest price for a property.
  3. The premise of both books is that the goal of a real estate agent is to help the seller obtain the highest possible price in the shortest period of time with the least amount of hassle.
  4. Who's the Best Person lays out the marketing plan in checklist format that you will use to help the seller; other agents vying for the same business then have to meet the standard you have set; this book is a good expired listing tool and For-Sale-By-Owner tool.
  5. An agent who does 50% of the enumerated points is a very good agent; agents with big firms are probably already doing most of them; the book makes clear that sellers should not expect an agent to meet all the items.
  6. Who's the Best Person educates sellers that there is more to selling properties than the four Ps-Put a sign in the yard; Put it on the MLS; Post it on the Web; Pray that it sells-the book motivates them to find an agent who will do the maximum.
Innovations for Productivity

  1. Make use of free sites for posting listings, including eBay and CraigsList; the latter, especially, has a reputation for being effective in local areas.
  2. Take advantage of lead generating companies such as HomeGain.
  3. Leads from marketing on the Web often need to incubate for 8-18 months in contrast with traditional, right-now business; having a system to stay in contact with prospects is important-allow your web marketing time to work.
  4. provides the real estate information for AOL and the Wall Street Journal online; mention to your sellers that you give them exposure on those secondary sites.
Hot Niches

  1. Well over 50% of listings in 2005 came from baby-boomers; make baby-boomers a priority in your prospecting.
  2. Projections indicate that by 2007, 50% of real estate business will be with immigrants and minorities; the translation features at and may be helpful in making your web site accessible to speakers of other languages.
Parting Thoughts

  1. Being knowledgeable on many topics will help you connect with clients; stay abreast of industry news with and news in general with The Drudge Report.
  2. The Web is no substitute for human beings; what is important in your real estate business is the level of service you deliver and the customer's personal connection with you.
Contact Information for Bernice Ross:

(v) 512-301-9841
(f) 512-301-9849

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Craig's List:
Inman News:
The Drudge Report: