Article updated Thursday, 21st July, 2016
Real estate agents have a problem, and it’s getting worse. We moan about it in the office and to each other over drinks at the bar. As we fall further and further behind the rest of the world, our problem only compounds itself. What’s our problem? How poorly we communicate with each other.
When we get a new listing, we spend hours and hours promoting it by phoning other agents, individually texting top producers, sending e-Blasts and hand delivering marketing flyers to other brokers. When we have a specific “Buyer Need”, we ring up top listing agents in certain neighborhoods praying they have a “Coming Soon” that has yet to hit the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) or the ever elusive “Pocket Listing“. In both cases, we continue to have the same conversation over and over, spending hours and hours inefficiently trying to get the word out.
Traditional social networks are not the answer
To try to solve the communication problem, real estate agents have resorted to hijacking Facebook and LinkedIn. Private social groups created by title companies, lenders and real estate agents have sprung up overnight. Private groups are a place where we can share information and talk privately with some in the real estate agent community, but we all know that only a fraction of the real estate agent community are active inside these groups. Not only does this put us at a disadvantage, is it fair to exclude people? Are these hacked social networks really the right answer to our problem?
- They are not a real estate industry specific experience built from the ground up to to help a real estate community market and communicate with one another effectively
- You can’t press a button and share listings discovered in social networks to clients and prospects by email and text.
- You can’t post to one network and share it across multiple networks in one go. This makes social media marketing very time consuming.
- There is little if any search capability, difficult when you are looking for a specific property.
- You can’t choose to only receive listings/needs that fit a certain criteria. It is generally a firehose with no ability to tune down irrelevant posts.
- You can’t easily contact agents by phone, text or email from their posts in social media.
- You get very poor if non-existent support from the social networks as they are consumer not B2B focused.
Are real estate agents equipping themselves with the most powerful tools and technology to best help our clients with one of the most important transactions of their life?
It’s marketing like its 1999 in the brokerage
Then there is the Broker in-house problem. We all promote our clients’ up-and-coming needs in our weekly office meetings. We go around the room talking about new “Coming Soon” listings and “Buyer Needs” in the hope that we find the right match. Doesn’t this feel a little bit 20th Century?
88% of buyers and sellers use a real estate agent to complete their transactions. Real estate agents are the linchpins of the residential real estate community. Do we not deserve a better way to communicate with our teammates? Should there not be a single marketing and communications channel that is off the hated email network that is solely for brokerage teams to privately market their listings and needs 24/7 to each other? Have the client sign the listing agreement. Snap some photos and boom! Their home is being marketed to the brokerage community instantly.
I co-founded HipPocket to solve a problem that most real estate agents don’t even realize exists. Our goal is to help real estate agents communicate better, help them find qualified buyers faster and to provide a place where they can quickly and efficiently kick start their marketing efforts. To do this, there has to be one place a real estate agent can go to have one conversation with the entire real estate agent community, in real time.
Build your pre-MLS marketing network for zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing
Many, including me, advocate that real estate agents should quickly enter properties into the MLS to give their listings the most exposure, but this does not solve the communication problem. The MLS is not a place to build a conversation with the real estate agent community. It is a database, an all important data source for real estate agents, but in today’s world it simply has not caught up with how the world communicates. And it may never.
At HipPocket, we’re not here to compete with the MLS; in fact, we encourage all real estate agents to continue using the MLS as we always have. HipPocket is here to help solve the communication problem that all 1200+ Realtor Associations are struggling to solve. We augment the MLS by being the missing link, the communications layer essential in today’s market.
Plus we offer HipPocket for FREE to every agent in America (and now Canada) to market and communicate in real time with each other. We’re still figuring out a way to attract every agent but in the meantime, why not signup to HipPocket and invite a bunch of your agent network to meet you in it? It’s a free networking app that surely is better than tons of repetitive emails, texts and calls between agents.
As real estate agents, we have to figure out how we can stay relevant in the eyes of today’s consumers. HipPocket arms us with a peer-to-peer communication tool to share ad hoc information, real estate agent-to-real estate agent. Unlike the likes of ‘Zulia’, HipPocket is here to help real estate agents, not destroy our profession by selling our own data back to us. And if that isn’t reason enough to try HipPocket, then I don’t know what is.
Learn more about the HipPocket app, signup and download from here.