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"Michael Russer Interview 1997"

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8/22/97 Interview with Michael Russer

Russer Communications
1124 Las Olas Ave, Suite 100
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

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Vision for Using Technology in Real Estate

  1. Latest NAR statistics show that median gross income of top producers fully integrating technology is 71% higher than for top agents who do not; the jump in income compared to all agents was in excess of 100%.
  2. Technology works, yet many agents fear its changes and the major investment in time, energy and money to get up and running; they perceive the "cold" computer as keeping them away from working with people in a way that will make them a lot of money.
  3. For those who recognize the value of harnessing cyberspace, there is a tremendous window of opportunity.
Personality Profiles within a Typical Agency

  1. The Early Adopters are excited about technology but may or may not be good people people; they may not be effective even with technology.
  2. The Entrenched Stars are currently successful and are not enthusiastic about changing their methods, but they recognize that they must start to use the Internet unless they plan to retire within five years.
  3. The market for top producers will diminish over time unless they embrace the technology that is second nature to a growing segment of the Real Estate market.
Integrating the Internet into Agency Operations

  1. Many firms see the Internet only as another technology that can be put in place and left as they return to business as usual; however, the Internet has caused a fundamental shift in how business is being done.
  2. The shift requires a rethinking of a company's corporate strategic vision and a rethinking of a Realtor's individual strategy.
  3. A distinction should be made between the Internet and technology: the Internet is a sociological phenomenon that is enabled by technology.
  4. Internet training of agents can be frustrating because some do not have the right attitude -- the desire to go through the process.
  5. The individuals within an organization who are trainable should be used to create a core group who can lead the organization through the necessary transition -- identifying adaptable staff members is a service Russer provides.
The "People-centric" Concept

  1. Central to the idea is that the Internet is more about people than about technology.
  2. The average person can now connect with nearly every other person on the planet; in addition to being an information/content consumer, every person is now potentially an information/content producer.
  3. The Internet is a system with millions of people who have input and can make a huge difference in the way things go; what the Internet will be like in two years is unpredictable.
  4. When viewed in this people-centric way, the Internet becomes a window into an incredibly rich world of people, places and possibilities that couldn't exist before
  5. Instead of isolating Realtors from people, the Internet connects them; when Realtors recognize this fact, they become very excited about tapping its power.
Prospecting the Net

  1. The most successful, Internet-using Realtors tend to be female, age 50+ and with little technology orientation; these Cyberspace Realtors have mastered the art of using email to generate a thread of a relationship.
  2. The Internet provides a buffer between prospect and agent that provides anonymity until the prospect feels comfortable; Realtors who previously have been aggressive approaching prospects find the Internet frustrating; aggressive techniques via email do not work.
  3. An email inquiry may evolve into a relationship if time is taken to develop trust -- through the giving of information that the prospect seeks; usually a series of email communications takes place before prospects identify themselves.
  4. A first meeting with an email correspondent is much different from a cold meeting because the groundwork of trust has been laid; the email environment also seems to foster a sense of community among users.
  5. Prospects who come from the Internet tend to be better informed than the average potential client; Realtors need to think beyond getting paid for "proprietary information," which in reality no longer applies.
Money-making Tips for Using Cyberspace

  1. Be online; get very comfortable with email.
  2. Make a point to acquire email addresses of all contacts -- prospects, clients, service providers.
  3. Subscribe to organizations and services such as the Society in order to access mailing lists and continue your education; the ever-evolving Internet is an ideal, on-going learning tool; mailing lists are the best way of staying abreast.
  4. Be pro-active in marketing and staying in touch with people; email is the most powerful, practical tool.
Favorite Web Sites

  1. Becky Swan's IRED, the largest directory of everything related to Residential Real Estate is a must.
  2. Peter Pike's Pikenet offers a tremendous wealth of information on the commercial side, with real tools.
  3. A highly useful site is JFAX -- a resource for receiving faxes as an email attachment anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world, at no cost; you can set up a unique fax number in less than 24 hours.
  4. JFAX also allows you to open a virtual office anywhere in the world; dedicated local voice and fax numbers can be established for any city -- for about $19.95/month; retrieving messages costs nothing.
Forecast for the Year 2000

Internet skills will be absolutely necessary because paperless transactions will be a reality; transparent digital signatures, tracking, etc. will all be done via the Net.

Contact Information for Michael Russer:

(v) 805-882-1170
(f) 603-720-5823