NOTE: What follows is bit long – and it’s worth your time – we promise!
iFoundAgent is two things:
- Product: an easy-to-use all-in-one real marketing platform specifically designed for keeping real estate agents (you) in touch with their contacts in impactful and powerful ways. Our platform includes a website that we set up for you with your input, an IDX subscription (shows listings on the website), and a contact manager that sends listings-based or content-based drip campaigns to your contacts.
- Approach: creating a mind-shift for agents in believing that they can compete with anyone for listings and referrals – including Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, iBuyers, and other agents by understanding “the why” and how to stay in touch with past clients and homeowners.
We developed our product and mindset in providing an answer for the time-aged million-dollar question: “Why don’t agents stay in touch with past clients?”
For years, real estate agents have struggled with staying in touch with past clients, and quite frankly, homeowners in general. Year after year, NAR concludes with their annual homeowner studies that roughly 90% of all homeowners would use the real estate agent who sold them their house again (and refer them) but only about 20% do.
Our opinion is that agents are faced with too many technologies (shiny objects) and strategy choices when it comes to staying in touch and marketing themselves. Additionally, staying in touch with past clients over the years is expensive and time-consuming and for many agents is an expense they choose to eliminate or dramatically minimize in their budgets.
We believe that real estate is still best as a belly-to-belly people and relationship-based industry – and there’s still real value in agents providing listings to buyers and homeowners (sellers). For buyers, provide available properties for purchase. For homeowners, provide “comps” (comparable properties) to help the homeowner understand the value of their home. (Zillow was designed for homeowners.) We also believe that real estate technology to a large degree has nothing to do with the inherent nature of the real estate industry – real estate agents going belly-to-belly creating relationships and providing listings to real estate consumers.
If you really think about the NAR stat, it can be stated differently: “nearly 80% of homeowners reach out to a new agent other than the one that helped them buy their home.” Said this way, it’s easy to see there’s a huge opportunity for agents with just staying in touch with their past clients, the homeowners they know, and farming their favorite neighborhoods.
There are numerous proven coaching programs and coaches that ALL teach agents about staying in touch. One important thing these programs teach agents is the use of some sort of communication tool to automate recurring emails/texts/phone calls to their homebuyers and past clients. These systems are called CRM – contact relationship management systems.
Agents who adopt the habits of staying in touch (automate their follow-up) typically build successful referral-based real estate careers. Many of these agents comprise the 20% of the agents that do get referred and called upon by former clients that NAR references in their homeowner studies.
One conclusion that can be drawn from these coaching programs is that any version of staying in touch is better than nothing.
Given agents are faced with staying in touch, many agents ask “what’s best to send/email/text past clients and homeowners to stay top of mind.” The question of what to send is simple – SEND LISTINGS! Isn’t that what a real estate consumer wants from their agent? Do they really want newsletters, recipes of the month, or schedules of what there is to do this month in this city or that city? We think not. Nowadays, that’s Google’s job.
The other key thing to understand in staying in touch is when to stay in touch to stay top of mind. Just about every CRM (contact management system) offers content-based drip campaigns and newsletters. Typical recurring content distribution offered by CRM’s is periodic and predictable, which often means its not too relevant most of the time to most consumers. This results in poor deliverability and reception. Ultimately the regularly emailed content just gets deleted without much attention paid to it by the consumer. The proof of this comes in thinking about your own email habits.
No doubt, using these systems is definitely better than nothing but falls short, in our opinion, of really keeping you top of mind when it comes to being there when your past clients need you most (when homeowners need you most).
When do homeowners need an agent?
At the very basic level, homeowners need their agents most in two specific situations – first, when they see new listings signs in their neighborhoods near their home, and second when life happens and they need to sell their home (because of any number of situations or events) or when they have a referral because they know someone who wants to buy or sell a home.
When new listings signs popup near a homeowner’s home, just about every time they want to know what that home is selling for. Often, the homeowner makes some comparison between that home and their home – value, condition, bigger, smaller, etc. To find out what they want to know about a home, homeowners overwhelmingly go to Zillow or Realtor.com or Redfin or even call the agent on the listing sign – but hardly ever do they call the agent who helped them buy their house. Bottom line: they aren’t calling the agent they trust – they are left to find a new agent.
With all of this said, our product is designed around sending listings to your buyer and homeowner (seller) contacts from your website not the MLS. Agents using our product send monthly listing-based drip campaigns that show all active, sold, and pending listings around a homeowner’s home. Additionally, and more importantly, during the month, the system sends any new or sold listing immediately. The monthly summary email matches and satisfies what typical coaching programs call for with periodic automated communications. The listings take care of what content an agent could send.
Surpassing the effectiveness of CRM’s and periodic emails/texts/phone calls, the instant updates match up to life events and to the spontaneity of new and sold listings popping up in the neighborhood which correspond more with when a homeowner needs an agent they trust and like.
Sure the MLS is free, however, agents who work with us typically send listings to their homeowner sphere using iFoundAgent website which offers the following benefits:
- agents rest easy with the peace of mind knowing that their system is working as it should,
- agents keep their homeowners from using competitor websites like Zillow and Redfin to look up listings in their neighborhood,
- agents build their brand with their prospects and contacts via email and text marketing which the MLS can’t/doesn’t do
- agents stay connected with their contacts with seamless automation and activity notices
- the system allows their contacts to set up new searches, save properties, read blog posts, real about the agent and more, which the MLS doesn’t do
- the system fortifys the agents credibility in the search engines when a prospect or past client searches for them, which the MLS doesn’t do
- the system improves their website’s ranking in Google, and
- fortify their referral opportunities and future book of business.
We don’t ask our agents to learn new things, we don’t offer tricks or shiny objects – we only ask our agents to bring their contacts. In return, we promise to keep bringing ’em back.
Of course, there’s a little more to the story.
Husband, Dad, Athlete, Volleyball Coach, former Volleyball & Tennis Player, Pro Sports Fan, Veteran, Hunter, Fisherman, Love to go off-roading, Music Lover, Dog Lover, Staff member for a pet Cat, Loyal Friend, Cancer Survivor, Well-traveled…
I graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Environmental Planning and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans. I’m a 6 1/2 year veteran of the US Navy where I was an ELT – Engineering Lab Technician and a Health Physics Technician in the nuclear power program. ELT is a fancy anacronym for nuclear chemistry tech. No, I don’t glow.
After getting out of grad school in 1996, I started in the mortgage/real estate industries when I joined my family’s mortgage company in Central PA. My first transaction was a self-employed buyer going through Chapter 13 bankruptcy buying a home in rural PA. I fell in love with financing as I quickly learned every deal was a puzzle and every deal made a dream come true for the home buyers I worked with.
In 2007, during the height of the real estate crash in Phoenix, I realized that I wanted to expand beyond helping home buyers with their financing to generating finance and real estate leads online.
This journey encompassed a few years of freelance jobs in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content writing (4000’ish blog posts), and building websites that ultimately led me to team up with a couple of experienced real estate industry professionals to start a real estate website technology company called iFoundAgent.
After building real estate WordPress websites for several years and installing quite a few IDX products I orchestrated building iFoundAgent’s own IDX which is specifically designed for getting an agent’s website found in Google and keeping an agent connected to their contacts and prospects.
Through our experiences in working with the different IDX products on the market back in our early days as a company, we weren’t sufficiently happy with the results that we were getting for our clients for really tailoring the SEO aspects of property details pages and search results pages, so we built our own IDX. iFoundAgent’s IDX launched in Nov 2011 when we were approved with our first MLS – the Arizona MLS which primarily covers the Phoenix Metro area.
I am very comfortable training as I first started teaching the basics of the mortgage business and rules and regulations to mortgage brokers and loan officers in the late 1990’s. I now teach iFoundAgent customers the in’s and out’s of using WordPress, SEO, IDX and marketing strategies to give them a chance to compete online. I say “I teach to keep my clients out of trouble – there’s a lot of bad information out there taught by people who don’t actually and successfully use in practice what they teach.”
To talk with me about how I can help you grow your business and to get a free demo please complete the form below. PS: I’m a good listener.