The internet has forever changed how real estate is done.
But, some agents don’t realize that it has changed again ~ just when they thought they had it all figured out.
For many Realtors®, it’s a matter of putting up a templated website, forcing visitors to register in order to get their contact information, then hoping they respond and buy a home.
In other words, they have an internet business card that is totally ineffective.
Perhaps a little harsh, but unfortunately true.
Believe it or not, that actually (somewhat) worked a couple of years ago.
But, these days, savvy website visitors have learned how to game the system and get the information they want without revealing themselves and risking (gasp!) talking to an agent.
For example, my website (www.BoiseReal.com) has had an astounding number of visitors with the same name.
How is it that so many people are named Ben Dover, M. Mouse, and I. M. Mee these days ??
And, there have been many visitors with incredible phone numbers like (000)000-0000 and (111)111-1111.
I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to talk the phone company into giving me a rock star phone number like that!
Seriously, the days of attracting naïve, compliant website visitors who will willingly give up their contact information are pretty much behind us.
The average real estate consumer these days is 35, web-savvy, and probably knows more about computers than the average Realtor®, (which doesn’t take much).
That consumer wants information without having to deal directly with an agent, and most wait until late in the homebuying process to personally communicate with an agent.
I used to require registration to search MLS, but I recently removed that requirement in an effort to establish a more honest, open relationship with my website visitors.
There was no reason to continue requiring registration when most of the registrations were false and useless.
The reality is that we have moved beyond the days when a website was a direct sales tool; it is now a way to build a bridge to prospective clients ~ a way to establish a trust relationship.
Real estate websites are, more and more, becoming educational tools for consumers and a way to demonstrate how we do business to prospective clients.
The old ways no longer work as they once did.
Those who embrace the new way the consumer wishes to do business will prosper; those who don’t will wish they had.