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"How to Become A Sharper Agent"

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Brian D. Wildermuth Photo
2/22/07 Interview with Brian D. Wildermuth

7555 E. Hampden Ave. Suite 104
Denver, CO 80231

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Prospecting on the Internet

  1. Agents should step back and do an evaluation before they dive into using new tools or strategies for prospecting; the first step should be to devise a written plan that addresses how to go after consumers both on and off the Internet.
  2. The Internet portion of the strategy should employ multiple ways to get in touch with prospects; a common mistake agents make is to wait for prospects to come to them.
  3. There are effective ways to be proactive on the Web through targeted email marketing to consumers in conjunction with other methods such as search engine optimization and pay-per-click.
Tips for Being Effective Online

  1. The key element is to recognize that every consumer is different; four generations are buying and selling real estate, and each group needs to be communicated with differently; determine whether consumers prefer Internet or traditional methods.
  2. For those who prefer the Web, you need a strong email-marketing program to keep your name and message in front of them.
  3. An obvious but often overlooked technique for agents to promote their web sites is to include their web site address on all your marketing; however, there needs to be value behind the push so that consumers have a reason to want to come to the site-typically to view homes for sale.
The Importance of Follow-up

  1. Great attention is often given to developing and managing leads for the short term without regard for taking them to the next level.
  2. The most important step in developing business is following up on leads for the long term; agents need to be proactive in setting up a system that will sustain communication and allow a relationship to develop with prospects and clients that will last beyond one transaction.
  3. Drip campaigns might begin with information about home searches, but they should continue to provide information after the transaction in order to encourage repeat and referral business.
  4. The early stages of drip campaigns are essentially an e-farming tool-a strategy to stay in touch with web visitors until they are ready to transact; purchasing email marketing lists is not an effective way to develop leads.
SharperAgent's Services

  1. The company provides real estate professionals with a contact management system inspired and built by RE agents to facilitate prospecting, to build sustainable relationships throughout the transaction and to grow customers for life.
  2. Capabilities of the system include maintaining a contact database, managing a calendar and setting up pre-built e-marketing campaigns for both off-line, traditional marketing and email.
  3. SharperAgent's library contains more than 2,000 professionally designed marketing pieces built specifically for real estate agents.
  4. SharperAgent's products are plug-and-play options that agents can plug into their own marketing suite to complement their existing web site.
  5. For example, to follow up with first-time homebuyers, agents can put a sign-up form on their site to receive relevant information; the system automatically enters the contact information on the database and begins sending the campaign; the campaign can be utilized off-line to generate postcards and newsletters.
The Secret to Building Relationships Online

  1. Ground rules need to be established to allow consumers to feel comfortable; consumers start the process of looking at real estate in the privacy of their own homes, and it takes more time to build a relationship with an agent than with face-to-face encounters.
  2. Agents need to provide the value that consumers request without asking for much back at the front end; a quick response to inquiries is a must; if agents meet those two factors, they earn the right to begin asking more from consumers.
  3. To avoid overwhelming prospects with email and being perceived as a pest, ask consumers how they want to be communicated with and how often; then hone communications to the individual consumer instead of relying on blanket responses.
Using Technology to Increase Repeat and Referral Business

  1. The key to repeat and referral business is ongoing communication on consumers' own terms-find out their preferences for type and quantity; don't put off staying in touch.
  2. Technology can be used to set up personalized, automatic communications; the personalization appeals to consumers, and the automatic function frees agents to spend more face-to-face time with clients who need it.
  3. Both direct mail and email communication are relevant in today's market; the right balance between them should be guided by consumer input on preferences.
  4. The guideline for frequency of staying in touch depends on the closeness of the relationship; once a month is more than enough for farming purposes, especially if an agent has other visibility in the community.
  5. People in an agent's sphere, such as past clients, are a huge resource for repeat and referral business; if done correctly and permission is obtained up front, communicating at least twice a month with this group is appropriate.
  6. A monthly or quarterly newsletter is a good start for a campaign, but personalizing communications to contacts is also important-e.g., with value-added, soft-touch pieces; always ask for repeat/referral business in marketing pieces.
More Prospecting Tips

  1. The three important steps for effective prospecting are having a plan, establishing a database and sorting the database; a key category to identify is "networking partners" as referral sources (e.g., attorneys and accountants).
  2. Start building a database with the basics-get preference of communication (mail or email) for every customer; don't overlook getting email addresses.
  3. Agents' web sites are effective tools for collecting email addresses from visitors who opt in.
  4. Within their farm area, agents should run contests and find other ways to establish personal contact; having a guest log at open houses works, and so does directly asking people encountered in daily life-people often feel more comfortable giving their email address than other contact information.
Favorite Spots on the Web

  1. In the real estate arena, Wildermuth finds good for broker information, and Broker Agent News good for agent information; ClickZ Network offers practical advice to improve e-marketing.
  2. Personally, he uses iTunes and Craig's List often.
Contact Information for Brian D. Wildermuth:

(v) (303) 331-6240
(f) (303) 322-6748

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Broker Agent News:
ClickZ Network:
Craig's List: