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2009-04-01 18:28:31

Stop laughing…Computers are Cool Now


As I was walking through our technical support call center the other day, one of our Tech Hotline technicians was proudly wearing a shirt with those very words. I chuckled as I made a sly comment about his “geek-wear” but then realized how true those words are.

Yesterday’s computer whiz (OK, political correctness aside…computer geek) is today’s homebuyer. And today’s real estate professional needs to be aware of how today’s homebuyer (i.e., Echo Boomer) communicates in order to compete for his attention and his business.
By 2010 there will be over 60 million of these “echo boomers” buying homes and they will own 40% of American’s wealth. Young adults are buying more homes faster than either their parents or grandparents, according to a survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp.
Overall, 58% of respondents have owned more homes than their parents did when their parents were of a comparable age, the survey shows. Nearly half of Gen X homeowners, who are between 32 and 41, and 36 percent of Echo Boomers, who are younger than 32, have already owned between two and five homes.
And how are these young adults communicating? They’re letting their fingers do the talking with Text Messaging.
So, how do we market to this generation of homebuyers? For starters, we need to communicate in a way that fits their lifestyle. Although email is still one of the most widely used communication tools, young homebuyers use email differently today.
“Email, once the cutting edge ‘killer app,’ is losing its privileged place among many . . . as they express preferences for instant messaging (IM) and text messaging as ways to connect with their friends.”  
Just in Time Marketing, or Text messaging can be accomplished a few different ways: phone to phone and Internet to phone or multiple phones.
How do you start? First of all start asking your clients for their cell phone numbers. Ask them if they “text message” and if you can communicate with them that way? Be sure to check with your cell service provider and find out what your text messaging options are. You need a data contract on your cell phone plan to use texting. If not each text message can cost from 10 to twenty five cents each.
By putting in a person’s ten digit cell phone number and a short message – up to 160 characters, you can start marketing.
Just imagine . . . you need to confirm an appointment or need to tell a buyer client that a house they were interested in is back on the market. You want to tell your seller clients that you have showings or an offer coming in. You can stop wasting time on voice mail tag and get right to the message. By sending the message via text message, your client gets the message instantly.
What else can you do with text messaging? Send pictures. Most cell phones have a built-in camera. Practice using it and turn your cell phone into an instant marketing tool. Consider this…you just landed a new listing and have several buyers in mind. Since you already have their cell phone numbers stored in your contact list, take a few pictures of your new listing, access your contact list, create a text message titled “New Listing – Must See,” attach your photos and send. Your clients will receive a text message, complete with a few cool photos, right on their cell phone. Now that’s Instant Marketing!
On Verizon’s site, you can also send photo messages to clients. You just upload your images. They can be transmitted as a slide show complete with music and text.
Go one step further and record a personal marketing message and send that with the text message. Now that is marketing on the web.
Text messaging is also useful in the office environment. I was scheduled to speak for a company and the meeting room was double booked. As I ran to tell the secretary, she picked up a phone and very calmly called a local hotel and booked a room. She told me how to get there and not to worry; she would get the students there. We had 40 people attending. How did she do it? She sent a bulk text message to all the participants of the change of location. We only missed 15 minutes of the class.
Think about sending text messages for information that does not require a call.
Text messaging is not just for kids any more.
Amy Chorew is a national trainer who is highly experienced at helping managers and agents maximize the opportunities that technology offers them. Her relaxed and confident training style allows students to learn in a stress free and enjoyable environment. Amy also offers CE, GRI and skill development courses across America and Canada.

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