By Nobu Hata
Has anyone else started having the “Google” question pop up during their listing presentations? Not your website, nor your blog, or your Facebook page inquiry – the “can you make our home show up in Google?” question. It may be just that my clients tend to be a little more tech-savvy than your average buyer or seller, but it’s beginning to freak me out.
It didn’t help that I saw a report from my own company saying GoogleBase was the number three Web referrer to my company’s website. (After Facebook, if you’re wondering.) Fortunately, my brokerage has been forthright and progressive thinking enough to start feeding GBase our listings, but how many brokerages haven’t? Do you use these tools to market your listings?
Google Base, Maps, Real Estate (the closest thing to a national MLS), the forthcoming mobile ads and augmented reality features; what freaks me out isn’t that Google is getting into the real estate game — it was inevitable… hello, revenue stream! — it’s the fact that our clients will utilize these tools before many of us will. Check out http://maps.google.com/realestate, in the area immediately surrounding my home, roughly half were the “Big Three” brokerages in my market, the others were FSBOs, knowledgeable sellers using Craigslist (which uploads to GBase) and the like. What’s yours look like?
What the consumer empowered socialweb has taught us over the years is that embracing these tools is mandatory, we should be pragmatic in our use of these tools, and start collaborating with our clients. You’ll be surprised at how much your client knows, and we can show the value in our services by discussing their expertise in the context of real estate sales. I’ve got a client willing to help me integrate flickr.com photos of her home and neighborhood into Google Streetview to help with my marketing. After an initial “What the hell!?” moment, came the realization of an instant virtual tour. “What do I need an interior virtual tour for?” She asks. I don’t think I need to convey the value of a v-tour with this audience, but needless to say, she needed to know. In the end, I showed my worth and came away with a new tool for future listings.
No other company has both their finger on the consumer pulse, and their trust, like Google. They’re developing the technology to change the way we do business and is putting it squarely in our clients’ hands. Take advantage of that! They definitely will.
Nobu Hata is a sales associate for Edina Realty in Minneapolis, and a founding member of the Minneapolis YPN group, the YoPros. Visit his Web site at www.nobuhata.com.