Google and NAR collaborated to uncover trends and insights around digital media usage among home shoppers, whether they were looking for an existing home, a newly constructed home, or an apartment. Together, Google and NAR’s individual research results offers insight into the process and how buyers are shopping for homes, selecting agents, and doing their research online.
I’ve been poring over the report to glean some tips and the 27 page report is filled with useful information. I will share a few ideas agents should know about if they’d like to increase their sales pipeline.
Interesting Google and Nar Research on Consumer Market Trends
Interacting with buyers online is a process, not a one time event. The average buyer researches properties for 12 weeks before making a buying decision. 78% of home shoppers visit at least 3 sites before taking any action. A typical buyer waits 3 weeks before interacting with an agent. If the average buyer shops online for 12 weeks they are selecting an agent early on in the process at 3 weeks.
Most agents mistakenly give up on an online lead if they don’t make contact the first day or two. We feel that when buyers begin the process they like to do it anonymously as much as possible until they gain some market knowledge and comfort level with the process. Nobody likes to go into something blind and nobody likes to be sold to. The Internet is an empowering process because it provides information.
Now, sometimes all that information becomes hard to assimilate and the information overload can bury a prospect to the point they give up and do nothing. This is where a trusted agent comes in. Once the buyer gains a certain amount of knowledge they typically look to select an agent who can help them sort out all the facts, areas, neighborhoods, zoning, local laws, etc. At that critical moment it becomes a moment of truth, and the buyer either acts or gives up.
If an agent is patient with an online shopper and is there to offer help when the buyer is ready, that agent will gain the buyer’s business. If however the agent calls the buyer on Day 1 and hounds them each day for 3 weeks they’ll come across as a salesman looking for a sale rather than an advocate looking to answer questions and help the buyer.
An agent really shouldn’t care when or what the buyer purchases. We tell people we’re here to help today, tomorrow, next month, or next year. If you build that trust and offer valuable insight, they’ll use you and it won’t matter when. The other thing agents can learn is it’s not about you.
As an agent I might like a single family home in a gated community, but some buyers might like their space and prefer acreage. Still other buyers may like a condo, a waterfront property, or perhaps a golf course community. The possibilities are endless. That’s why I say it’s not about what the agent wants; it’s about the buyer’s needs. A great agent will listen to those wants and needs and offer advice to best suit that particular buyer. Believe it or not, some buyers actually want to live in the heart of everything while other buyers want to live away from it all. An agent can’t have pre-set ideas about what’s best for the buyer until they build that relationship and listen.
Online is no different than face to face at office. Trust takes time. Be there for the online shopper on their schedule and you’ll develop a client for life. Push them into a corner or before they’re ready and you’ll push them down the road to another agent’s website. Online real estate shoppers are kind of like petting a cat. There’s no way you’re going to pet a cat until the cat is ready. It will be on their terms, not yours, but once you develop that relationship you’ll be able to help them and they’ll most likely refer other people to you. Feel free to search the MLS for Free at www.LeeCountyonline.com
Good luck and happy house hunting!