The Sawler family has been involved with real estate in Nova Scotia since the early seventies. Alot has changed in the profession over the years - and in the Halifax/Dartmouth area. And Don Sawler has probably seen it all in his 30+ years! That's a lifetime of experience.
Don, along with his wife Dorothy and son Andy, combine traditional values with experience and technology to provide exceptional service to their clients.
And with their new blog soon to launch, they'll be able to share that experience with clients, and potential clients.
I love to read anything written by Seth Godin. If you haven't spent any time on his excellent blog - set aside a few hours, you'll need it.
Personally, I think his genius is in pointing out the things we may already know - or suspect - which makes what he says all the more meaningful and relevant to his readers. That's simplifying it of course, but his advice, insights, tips - whatever you want to call it, can often easily be put in to practice. Sometimes immediately.
He's had some great articles recently - and I think there are some lessons that can be learned as it applies to real estate marketing, or real estate blogging - if there's a difference.
My Nutshell: Good first impressions are useless if the last impression is bad.
This is a great post - it shares a personal anecdote, it's an identifiable situation (from a consumer and service provider’s perspective) and it highlights something that could end, or extend, a potential long term relationship - the last interaction.
Real Estate Takeaway: New clients are good, repeat clients are great. Same with referrals. Improve the odds of repeat business and referrals by having great last interactions. Godin even has a real estate example in the post - bonus! As he mentions, that follow-up call does matter. What can you do ensure you always have a great last interaction (for now)?
My Nutshell: No nutshell for this post – it’s short and sweet, just read it.
Blogs are a great medium to learn by doing, no need to wait until you've figured all the angles out. And if your high school English teacher has something to say, they can start their own blog and be perfect over there.
Real Estate Takeaway: If you're thinking about starting a real estate blog - and you don't think you're writer - print "Just say it" and keep it by your keyboard. Why wait? Start writing!
My Nutshell: Use the internet to share expertise and solve problems, for one or for all.
This is a follow-up post to an iPhone tip Godin shared, and demonstrates how the internet can be a powerful place to share info and help solve problems. Even very specific, niche problems. This isn't a new concept - user forums and community knowledgebase’s can be valuable resources for sharing experiences and learning about issues, tips, tricks, solutions, etc. Blogs can accomplish the same thing.
Real Estate Takeaway: Start your own real estate knowledgebase on your blog. Answer the questions you always get asked. Clear up misconceptions about the industry. Take the mystery out of real estate mysteries. If you know of some problems, create some solutions.
There are lots of social networking sites on the web these days, but for real estate agents - and real estate consumers - ActiveRain is the place to be.
Launching in June 2006, ActiveRain billed itself as the real estate industry's first social networking web site - and a great resource for real estate professionals. 20 months later and this has proved to be true - ActiveRain boasts over 67,000 members and is growing every day.
Using the site has many benefits - as the name suggests, it's an extremely active community, and a great deal can be learned by reading the articles and about the experiences of other agents and industry professionals. Members can receive points based on contributions - more comments and posts, more points, higher geographic ranking. And that helps you get noticed by consumers.
It's a good assumption that members would probably be logged in when visiting AR (to check messages, stats, comments etc.), so those not logged in are probably consumers doing research, searching for an agent, or looking at listings on ActiveRain Localism.
Any of those reasons are good enough to join - so stop by and start the Rain!
"The best way that I have found to increase customer happiness and longevity is to reduce friction. Friction is anything that slows down the momentum of the customer experience."
This is great advice. For anyone with customers or clients, and especially for real estate agents.
Happy clients will be more apt to refer your services, share their positive experience with friends, and will be more likely to "give back" happiness. Which is better than giving you grief.
As for longevity, lifetime clients are far more valuable than one-time clients.
Are you creating friction with your customer experience?
Gammell gives a few examples of friction-causing, momentum-slowing business practices - like lengthy contracts or outdated policies - and advises to eliminate them if possible, or at least reduce their effects.
Again, great advice. So what might be slowing down your real estate marketing momentum? What's getting in the way of your clients having a truly wonderful customer service experience?
Friction: Not enough listing photos on your web site, or the photos are too small to see anything. Less Friction: Get a Flickr account and post lots of big photos.
Friction: Long web contact form, or a confusing one. Less Friction: Shorten your form to name, email, and phone number - contacting you shouldn't be considered work.
Friction: Complicated contract filled with RE terminology. Less Friction:Reduce the friction by creating your own Glossary of Terms companion sheet, or a list of of the Top 5 questions that get asked regarding this contract.
Friction: Not enough information. Less Friction:Provide information, write a blog, join ActiveRain, share, contribute.
Friction: You take a long time to return phone calls and emails. Less Friction:Correct this - get technology tools to help you organize, make time, hire a service, whatever it takes.
Lower the friction and increase the happiness - your clients will notice.
But as the old saying goes, "Every great Facebook Page starts with one Fan." I think Mark Zuckerberg said that, and 'old' being a relative term on Facebook.
Regardless, Facebook has become a phenomenon - and if you use it anyway, why not do some low-key, relationship marketing while you're there?
Facebook Pages for businesses are free, and come with many of the tools and features available with a traditional User Profile page - allowing you to post messages on a your Wall, add photos and video, etc. You can also install Apps like an RSS Feed Reader to pull-in your blog content.
Probably the best feature of all - is the ability to gain "Fans" - or, your new marketing street team. When someone on Facebook chooses to become your Fan, a link to your business page is included on their profile. (see left)
One Fan can provide a doorway to all their friends, and an endorsement without saying anything at all.
I've recently discovered the 1000Watt Blog written by Marc Davison and Brian Boero of 1000Watt Consulting. It's a great read for anyone associated with the real estate industry, and worth checking out.
They've also created a really unique map of the real estate web 2.0 interweb - hyperlinked and categorized for handy reference. As of the screenshot below (Jan. 9th) they've got 85 sites and blogs listed. It will be fun to see this grow over time. Look for updates.
TypePad is a great blogging product - this blog and the Real Agent Blogs we help set up for clients are built on the TypePad platform. It's extremely easy to use for those new to blogging, and also has the advanced features for those looking to publish a more comprehensive blog.
TypePad just re-launched their own site - built on the TypePad blogging platform, and it looks really nice: