In January, I spent a day at the Inman conference in NYC. There was a lot of discussion about technology and all the different ways agents should be using it to market themselves – from AI to Zillow. Over and over, presenters and panelists came to the stage to talk about how to leverage different apps, tools, platforms and channels, and what stood out to me most was how often the word authentic kept coming up. As technology drives more and more of our communication, the key focus was how agents can use tech to build authentic, meaningful connections with clients. Even in some cases when that authentic connection is really being powered by AI.
During a panel on providing exceptional customer service, both panelists discussed getting to know their clients and connecting with them about things in their personal lives outside of real estate. Similarly, in a panel about using text messaging to connect with clients, one of the presenters mentioned the importance of authentic engagement, on a regular basis, that is not about real estate. The client will naturally bring it back to real estate eventually, the important thing is to keep the lines of communication open.
While this panel on text messaging spoke a lot about the need to be authentic (use emojis to add personality and communicate tone!) it also discussed the use of AI and chatbots to automate when possible. At the end of the session they offered these three “magic” texts to engage clients:
- An authentic check in text, saying hi, you were on my mind, etc.
- Text links to listings, these have a higher engagement rate than sending those links sent via email
- Geotexting, sharing a listing location on a map via text. Since it doesn’t provide too much information this invites engagement when the client reaches out for more information.
There were several sessions that focused on agents putting themselves out there via social media, video, even via podcast. While there was some mention of apps and accessories to produce content, they really stressed to just do it – start generating and publishing content. For agents that don’t know what to post about, it was recommended to listen to your clients, understand the problems they are facing, and create content that addresses it. In other words, be authentic and draw from your own experiences to tell stories that will resonate and connect with clients. Engaging content comes down to storytelling, and the less polished videos actually perform more strongly on YouTube than those that are perfectly produced. Possibly because they just feel more authentic.
As a Product Manager working on technology for agents, I’m definitely going to think about ways our tools can help agent facilitate these kinds of authentic interactions. I’m also thinking about ways I can really connect and communicate more so agents feel supported using our products. I always value feedback on our products and would love to hear about the ways that agents are leveraging technology to foster authentic connections.