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"Michael Russer Interview 2001"

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Michael Russer Photo
2/2/01 Interview with Michael Russer

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

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Looking Ahead at Transaction Management

  1. Three years ago, Russer expected the industry by now to be widely employing the Internet for paperless transactions complete with digital signatures and transaction tracking.
  2. Transaction management is a very hot topic being pursued by at least 12 vendors; because the industry cannot support that many players, he expects consolidation down to two or three in the next three years.
  3. Two of the most viable players are the NAR and Homestore's eRealtor program for transaction management and consumer relations management (ECRM), and, a transaction management service.
  4. Another strong contender is iProperty, which is focusing more on ECRM and has a lot of money behind it.
CloseYourDeal's Edge

  1. has effectively handled the wide differences in the transaction process among states by creating templates that are state-specific; it is the only player operational in all 50 states.
  2. Only licensees can use the system; it takes 24-48 hours to confirm that a user is a licensee.
  3. The service costs the agent/broker nothing. Income is generated from the settlement service providers (title companies, escrow companies, appraisers, lenders, etc.) agents can choose to use any settlement service provider.
The Internet-Empowered Consumer (IEC)

  1. Real estate consumers who use the Internet to shop for properties and/or real estate services are shielded by anonymity from the influence of powerful sales personalities.
  2. They can by-pass Realtor/gatekeepers to access unlimited real estate information on their own; therefore, in contrast to traditional real estate consumers, they have a much higher confidence level.
  3. Until a relationship has been created, IECs are highly mobile; i.e., with a push of a button, they can move on to other service providers; unlike traditional consumers, they experience no immediate investment of time and emotion with an agent.
  4. If they are unsatisfied with a professional's service, IECs can e-taliate let the world know about their complaint.
Relationship Building with IECs

  1. In a traditional real estate interaction, the consumer reacts subconsciously to non-verbal cues that are part of an exchange of words in person or over the phone‹the subconscious judgments of the consumer tend to impede the building of trust.
  2. Online, however, there is no non-verbal communication; the agent cannot employ the sales power of personality for advantage, but negative subconscious judgments are not a handicap.
  3. The critical point online is the agent's response to the first email inquiry by the consumer; avoid the temptation to probe for information that the prospect is not ready to give; send back what the consumer asks for and project your respect for the consumer's privacy and position of control.
  4. Agents who want to build effective relationships with IECs must give up the need for control you must be patient and wait for the consumer to get back to you; that strategy makes the consumer feel safe and more open to taking another step with you.
Tips for Using Email Effectively

  1. Respond in a timely manner!
  2. Have your own domain name and use it for your email address; your domain name allows you to have infinite aliases so that any message addressed to your domain name will reach you.
  3. Create powerful copy for your email messages and for your web site that repeatedly gives the recipient invitations to contact you; make use of various aliases throughout the site to highlight different reasons for the consumer to respond.
  4. Create rules and folders to organize return email by each alias; tracking the aliases will tell you what parts of your site are generating interest.
  5. By making each alias a POP account, you can customize an auto-responder to address the interest the alias represents; if your instant auto-response promises a follow-up contact within a time limit, be sure you deliver on the promise.
  6. Russer's books offer many additional practical, detailed techniques for using technology in savvy ways; check out ePowerTM Online Success Strategies for Real Estate Professionals and ePower Pro (his newest book) at
Favorite Sites on the Web

  1. For competent virtual consultants and assistants go to: for any kind of project in less than 24 hours; for help with day-to-day operations in almost any area of expertise.
  2. The Brain offers the most powerful knowledge management tool to stay on top without burning out; it allows you to store information and knowledge.
  3. Zoomerang allows you to put up professional, powerful online surveys in minutes.
Contact Information for Michael Russer:

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

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
The Brain