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"How To Be A Top Producer!"


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Errol Samuelson Photo
2/2/07 Interview with Errol Samuelson

Top Producer
10651 Shellbridge Way
Richmond, BC V6X 2W8
Biography

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Challenges Facing Real Estate Agents

  1. One of the biggest trends is the shift of consumers away from traditional media to online sources for gathering real estate information.
  2. Consumer use of the Internet demands that agents be responsive-the top reason why online consumers choose an agent is fastest response time; other qualities that are important are transparency of the information they receive and a level of interactivity; what they want is news and market information.
  3. Consumers need help to interpret the coverage of real estate in the broad media (often gloom and doom); the trends cited in the press tend to be national or regional, but consumers require a personal perspective.
  4. Agents should satisfy the need for consumer understanding by providing accurate, timely and detailed information that applies to the local market and personal needs of the consumer.
  5. When consumers turn to non-industry sites for answers, real estate professionals loose control of the process, which is not good for the industry or for consumers.
How to Interact with Consumers Appropriately

  1. Being too aggressive can scare off consumers; respond quickly, but in the medium in which consumers contact you-which may be by email instead of by phone.
  2. Most Internet consumers are "early stage"-only 4%-5% are ready to transact immediately; agents need stamina to respond to hundreds or thousands of inquiries that are not ripe; 40%-45% may be ready to transact within another 12-18 months.
  3. Some of the products from Top Producer automate the response process and thus save agents from being swamped by the fulfillment burden.
The Focus of Top Producer

  1. Top Producer provides web-based software, tools, and marketing systems that free agents to do what they do best-cultivate relationships with people and close transactions; the company's products address the evolving trends in real estate in practical ways.
  2. Agents need to maximize their personal time with near-end customers while staying in touch with early-stage customers, and while keeping track of everything.
  3. Specifically, Top Producer offers agents a contact-management database, consumer-focused web sites, marketing systems such as the new Top Marketer, and mobility devices to remain in touch from the field.
  4. Part of the Top Marketer program is a product called Market Snapshot, designed to answer the kind of questions that consumers typically ask-What is the unsold inventory in my area? What is the difference between list price and sale price? What is the market trend in my area?
  5. Market Snapshot, on behalf of the agent, automatically generates and sends a report using real-time information to consumers within seconds of their inquiry.
Top Producer Product Lines

  1. Top Producer 7i (TP 7i) is a suite that includes a calendar, schedule, client database and lead database; it serves as a hub system and can be expanded with additional products to share information with an assistant or team or to provide real-time, wireless access.
  2. Top Producer Websites offer agents a web site with high-quality, consumer-oriented content (e.g., market information, recent sales trend data, community and school information); this product line can be purchased separately from the contact database and TP 7i, but they all can work together.
  3. Top Marketer is an automated marketing system that includes such products as Market Snapshot; purchasers can select the intervals at which its reports are updated.
  4. Some of the Top Producer products duplicate the kind of information available through eNeighborhoods; for example, TP 7i includes detailed information on schools, communities and amenities at no extra charge-the edge TP provides is dynamic information that is updated periodically.
The Future for Online, Non-sensory Communication

  1. Generation Y is completely comfortable with online chats, blogs and other interactive tools such as Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia created and edited by its users.
  2. Generation Y looks for: (1) participation-they are not content to be passive observers; (2) transparency-they are sensitive to marketing spin; (3) accessibility; (4) timeliness.
  3. Top Producer is already trying to meet these expectations by building timeliness and accessibility into its systems; the company is also creating platforms that allow agents to begin participating in and experimenting with interactive experiences.
  4. For example, the TP Website product line includes a blogging platform; engaging the public through a blog represents risk-taking on the part of agents, but doing so can build a following in the community and brand agents as an expert.
Helping Agents Differentiate Themselves

  1. Top Producer has created an aggregated national blog on HomeInsight.com that captures blog posts from its individual agents' sites; having their posts roll up creates national exposure for agents and differentiates them as market experts.
  2. The philosophy behind the entire TP Websites product line is to make agents' sites appealing to Internet consumers; initially, consumers want hard real estate information, not personal agent promotion.
  3. Comprehensive inventory is at the top of the consumer wish list-modeling Edmunds.com, TP provides listing detail and the ability to compare properties, bookmark properties, and get alerts on changes and new listings; TP also incorporates MS Virtual Earth capability (interactive maps and satellite photos) to enhance the listing experience.
Favorite Spots on the Web

  1. Wikipedia is a fascinating site useful for tracking breaking news and emerging topics.
  2. Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site-it can be used to identify the most popular real estate sites and those of emerging interest; Digg is a similar bookmarking site where people can vote for articles that they like.
  3. Google Docs & Spreadsheets is a program that combines word processing and spreadsheet capability completely online; multiple users can share documents in real time.
Trends and Tools for the Next Three Years

  1. "Web 2.0 sites" should continue to evolve in the direction of social networking and inviting an audience to participate; in real estate, that could mean that consumers will provide feedback on properties and start to rate their experiences-a future challenge for agents will be to make that functionality work for them.
  2. Transaction management platforms are finally on the verge of taking hold; the technology is stable enough that paperless or largely paperless transactions will become common in the next three years; that development will improve efficiency and transparency for both consumers and professionals.
Contact Information for Errol Samuelson:

(v) 800-444-8570
(f) 604-270-8218
(e) esamuelson@topproducer.com
(w)www.topproducer.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Top Producer: www.topproducer.com
eNeighborhoods: www.eneighborhoods.com
HomeInsight.com: www.homeinsight.com
Edmunds.com: www.edmunds.com
MS Virtual Earth: www.microsoft.com/virtualearth/
Wikipedia: www.wikipedia.com
Del.icio.us: http://del.icio.us
Digg: www.digg.com
Google Docs & Spreadsheets: docs.google.com