Sometimes, innovation is simply looking at the tools we already have and using them in new, smarter ways.
I’ve just returned from a week spent with some of the brightest minds in real estate. At Real Estate Connect New York, two thousand of real estate’s innovators and most curious folks gathered at Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt to seek, to learn, to discuss, to forge, and to propel their businesses forward.
This is a conference to which I’ve gone several times and I always come away from it with new perspective. This time was no different.
The thing that struck me this time ‘round wasn’t the abundance of shiny tech goodness. Nope. It was the LACK of it.
For an event that brands itself on being the incubator for the latest in technology to help real estate professionals, the focus this year seemed to be on taking a thoughtful step back and taking a new look at the tools we already have. There was a return to simplicity. There was a return to the things that work. There was a return to SMART.
To propel your business further, you already have all the tools you need at your disposal. Propulsion is simply a matter of taking those tools and putting them to best use.
Take the tools you have to put yourself in position for more, better business. If you don’t know what positioning is, let me break it down. Positioning is, quite simply, helping people understand why they should want to work with you and with no one else. Positioning is making sure they know that you’re the best of the best and why. A positioning statement helps you stand out from your customers.
And yet? Almost no one is doing this. When I ask people about positioning, I generally get a lot of blank stares. When I ask people about why they’re in real estate (or any other sales position, for that matter), the answer I get most often is, “because I’m passionate about what I do.” Well, isn’t that special? Bless their hearts. Not really. If everyone says that, what on earth about such a statement does a thing to differentiate you? How does that separate you from the pack?
Answer: It doesn’t.
Do you know that for every $1000 spent on lead generation, there’s only $10 spent on lead conversion? It’s true (thanks to Matt Dollinger of Gearbox Consulting for that little factoid). What does that say about how much care people give to developing their business? Not much is the answer–or at least the inference. Why would people spend thousands of dollars looking for web leads and paying for flashy CRMs if they’re not going to follow-up and, even if they do, not follow-up smartly? There is a better way.
Take a fresh look at email.
Email? What’s exciting about that? I can hear you all saying that from here. Is email new? Nope. Is it shiny and appy and sexy? Not really. But is it tried and true and absolutely PROVEN? You’re danged skippy, it is.
“Email remains a more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.”
This statistic is pulled from a report, released just a few days ago, by McKinsey & Co. Let’s take a second to digest those numbers: email is 40 times more effective than Facebook & Twitter combined. COMBINED.
So why is it something that salespeople think of as a throwaway? It’s time for people to harness the power of their inboxes.
If we know that positioning is key, if we know that lead conversion is largely viewed as a throwaway, if we know that email is about the most inexpensive, most powerful marketing tool at our disposal … if we know these things, why aren’t we being smart and combining all of them for maximum effect?
Have you, salespeople, stopped to consider how you could use email–above and beyond saying, “Thanks for visiting my site; I’m gonna start blindly emailing you home listings now”–to effectively position yourself, to convert the leads you spend so much money on collecting, and to propel your business to a level of success you’d not considered before reading this post?
There are a number of ways to do exactly this. There are tools that we already have. There are products, such as Happy Grasshopper’s system, which has taken the steps I’ve described above and gotten them down to a science (it’s a pretty badass tool–I’d be happy to tell you about it), that will get you there.
It’s time to take a step back. It’s time to cast off the shackles of new & shiny. It’s time to use to the tools we already have. It’s time to be smart.