Our son Andy is relocating to San Diego after selling his first home for a substantial profit and we are helping him with his search for a new house. Along the way we have spoken to a good number of real estate agents and have been stunned at how unprofessional and out of touch many of them are..
Here are some examples of what real estate agents shouldn’t do and how it might affect you as a travel professional.
The Internet and Travel Agents
Real estate agents have a clear disdain for zillow.com. They dislike the idea that consumers can search real estate data by themselves and quickly become as expert as the agent on what is available in their market place. For those that don’t know what zillow.com is, it is a resource that lists every property in the United Sates and draws information from public records so that a consumer can see all of the details of a particular property, the values of the homes surrounding it, the entire history of the prices paid for the property, its tax history, a “Zestimate” of the property’s current value based on recent sales in the market as they are recorded, details about the neighborhood in general, the school ratings and tons of additional information. If you have not yet been on zillow.com, be sure to visit it soon and see how it works. It is completely free to use and you don’t have to register on it to use it.
Just about every agent that we met had a website that was obviously designed by some organization that provided them to all real estate agents. Most were connected to the MLS so that you could search for properties on the market, but Zillow has 1,000 times more information and is easier to use and also has every property on it in the United States, whether it is for sale or not. zillow.com makes the MLS irrelevant at this point. When you go to a realtor’s website you must register in order to access it. And, guess what happens when you do? Right, you get spammed with a never ending flow of emails that are pointless and a waste of time.
Real estate agents are specialists in their community. Help consumers find the information that isn’t on zillow.com and show your expertise by enlightening consumers with powerful local knowledge
Don’t be the travel agent that tries to drive your clients to your website to search for travel deals and require them to “sign up” to be on your mailing list and then bombard them with never ending specials. Build websites that are of value to consumers on various niches and they will seek you out for your expertise.
The Map Agent
We went to see a house that we found on zillow.com in Fallbrook that looked awesome. We were to meet the real estate agent outside of the gate to the area the house was located. She showed up about 15-minutes late and we followed her into the area and to the house. Once we walked through the front door she requested that we sit down so we could review the information that she had brought with her. I was astonished. First she brought out a copy of the MLS listing. She obviously didn’t even know about zillow.com or thought we were not online. Then she produced a sample loan for the house and said that we could use the lender she suggested because “he was a nice guy”. Finally, she produced a map of Fallbrook. You know, like one of the gas station maps that were in use 40-years ago. She unfolded the map and started to talk about Fallbrook. She showed us where the house was on the map and started talking about all of the wonderful things that there are in Fallbrook. That is when I interrupted her and told her that we found the house on zillow.com and have been to the various Fallbrook websites and used GPS on our smart phone and really didn’t need a map. And then I asked her if we could see the house.
If you are selling to anyone other than seniors that may not be online, anticipate that your clients are in touch with technology and have explored online resources including OTAs. Make you website offer information that supplements information that your clients already have when they contact you. And, be familiar with the technology that the traveling consumer would likely use.
Your UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
At no time did any of the realtors express their UVP other than we could search the MLS on their website, which is basically useless at this point. Assume that when a client contacts you that you are ready with your 30-second elevator speech to express your UVP and go to work on establishing a relationship. By establishing yourself as the best option for booking their vacation or business trip, you will win the business.