One of the biggest challenges for many agents today is getting found and chosen in a world of online clutter. To help the user experience team at Trulia has been doing a little research to help you conquer that hurdle.
Before we told you the Top 5 Characteristics Buyers and Sellers Want in a Real Estate Agent. This time, we asked buyers* how they found “the one” agent who is right for them. Here are some of the key insights we found to help you get found (and chosen) by buyers hunting for an agent online:
1. Word of mouth is key in catching new clients
47% of respondents said they heard about an agent from friends, family, or their own existing network. For agents, this mean the number one strategy for building your client base should be leveraging your local, online and past client networks to find your next clients.
If you need a little help leveraging these networks, check out this great post on ways to better leverage your networks.
2. Referrals can make or break you
21% of the buyers surveyed said they chose an agent referred by another agent or someone else involved in the real estate process. If your looking for new clients, you may want to remind your professional connections you’re open to giving and receiving referrals.
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3. Consumers work from a very short list
Unlike the hunt for a home; the search for an agent is a short process. The research showed 51% of buyers only research one agent. 22% will research 3 agents and an even smaller percentage, 16%, research 2. That means, when someone looks you up, you’ve got a pretty good chance of catching him or her as a client.
Update your profile and make sure your expertise is showing up online so you don’t end up in the pile of agents consumers ignore.
4. Prospects make the call quickly
Buyers that only research one agent don’t spend long doing it. In fact, 76% of them spent less than 1 hour and only 24% spent 1-3 hours. Buyers who researched 2 or more agents spent a bit more time; 32% of them spent less than an hour and 46% spent between 1-3 hours researching.
Trulia user interviews, this survey and other past research point to the fact that users really rely on the first phone or in-person interaction to decide to work with an agent. For tips on making the most of your first impressions, check out this our tips on engaging phone leads or this great post on getting the most out of your first client meeting.
5. Demonstrating expertise is what really matters
Our research showed most buyers are looking for information about a specific agent who’s name they already know. To research that agent buyers visit the agent’s website or ask friends and family about the agent. They also spend some time looking at ratings and reviews online. When looking for “new” agents, those they didn’t get a referral for, they use search engines the most.
We asked the buyers which types of information mattered the most when they were looking up an agent online. Here are the top responses:
- Proficiency of market knowledge
- Familiarity/specialization with location of interest (this one was also in our top 5 blog post)
- Other people’s experience & recommendations
- Level of experience/years in the industry
- Contact information
- History of successful transactions
- Types of homes they sell
For agents, this data means two things. First, If you don’t have a Google alert setup for you name and company, you need to add one today to monitor what potential clients are finding out about you.
Second, you need to use every tool you have to communicate your expertise. I’m biased, but I’d recommend you start with your Trulia Profile.
About our respondents
* In case you were wondering, These findings come straight from 130 prospective homebuyers searching on Trulia who were active in the last 6 months. Given general statistical principles, this survey audience is representative of the Trulia audience with an error of +/- 10%.
We hope these tips help you communicate what matters most to connect with more motivated prospects. As always, if you have questions please ask away!