According to the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, only 8 percent of first-time and repeat buyers earn $200,000 or more annually, 10 percent bought homes priced at $500,000 or more, and 9 percent purchased 3,501 square feet or more.
Due to the limited quantity of higher-end properties and the relatively small number of prospective buyers who can afford them, selling luxury real estate comes with inherent challenges. However, when armed with the right mix of tools, strategy, and creativity, agents can easily connect qualified buyers with these oftentimes extravagant properties.
Luxury real estate companies should handle innovation, research, and testing so their agents, who already have their work cut out for them, can focus on implementation. I’m the president of Teles Properties based in Los Angeles, and we pride ourselves on being a think tank of sorts, building and developing resources for our agents and putting them on the direct path to sales and transactions. Here are three valuable tools that Teles provides for its agents:
1. Listing Launch Formula and Other Best Practices
Teles spends 85 percent of its innovation budget on research and development and values a culture of ABT — “always be testing.” Because consumer trends change so often, we built a process to constantly test everything, from newsletter headlines and email subject lines to social media imagery and direct-mail campaigns. We extract the best practices and then deliver them to agents so they can produce highly impactful marketing campaigns at the push of a button.
With our in-house marketing studio, we have created a crowdsourced system of the best marketing campaigns across our five-county footprint. Additionally, because of our firm’s proprietary cross-marketing software, each listing can potentially reach the personal database of every single agent at the firm, allowing for incredibly deep exposure.
Agents spend a lot of time getting listings, but there are key best practices for getting the listing the greatest exposure and impact. The proven, formulaic listing process — which was deduced from Teles’ research, development, and testing — is driven by firmwide best practices and launches every single listing.
2. Social Media
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter can all be powerful marketing tools to connect with a vast number of people. When an agent uses social media to sell a home, it not only provides more exposure to the property but also signals to clients that the agent is a tech-savvy thinker relentlessly pursuing the perfect buyer. These days, most clients and prospects expect their agents to have a strong social media presence. After all, how can you promote their properties on social media if you can’t even promote yourself? It’s important to realize that each platform functions differently.
Facebook is great for collecting data; it can tell you who’s clicking, sharing, and engaging with your content. You can quickly find your audience and then target your ads and posts to that specific group. You can test ad photos to find out which one receives the most clicks and even retarget ads to certain ZIP codes, geographical areas, and even specific email addresses
Instagram has the ability to capture the attention of complete strangers searching for a specific hashtag. Instagram is perfect for short property tours (no longer than 15 seconds) and posting behind-the-scene photos of prelisting house preparation or ecstatic clients finding their perfect home.
Snapchat’s value comes from building relationships with other users. Popular for raw, unedited videos, the content you post here does not have to be polished or shot with a high-tech camera. Create a story about setting up for an open house, or give a quick, off-the-cuff home tour. Snapchat is about being authentic and creative, showing your brand and personality.
Twitter can be a valuable tool for cultivating engagement. By setting up
Google alerts, RSS feeds, and subscribing to useful websites, you can aggregate good content to share on Twitter. By posting a useful article, you are serving your online community. That being said, tweeting personal news about your firm or website is also helpful and newsworthy.
My advice: Pick one platform, learn it, and use it every day for 90 days. Each platform has different etiquette and its own reach, DNA, and culture. Go deep on one versus going broad on many.
3. Tech Tools
It’s important for agents to take advantage of tech tools for automation, process management, optimization, and other tasks. Automated systems can help you build and maintain relationships; organize every transaction; create, link, and share appointments; and store documents. By relying on technology and software for these jobs, agents can focus on what they do best, which is market, sell, and negotiate deals.
Early adopters like to work with early adopters. As more consumers work with cutting-edge tools and understand strategies that agents are using. Innovation is driven in areas where consumers are spending time, so it’s important for firms to stay in tune with — and ahead of — these tools and technology. Otherwise, real estate companies will constantly be playing catch up. Selling luxury properties can be difficult enough as it is; why not employ tools to make our jobs a little easier?