Keeping Up with Consumer Trends: Helpfull

Helpfull Consumer TrendConvenience may be the single most important quality that customers look for in a business in 2014. Today’s on-the-go consumer demands that they be able to find information exactly when they need it, and if a business is unable meet this demand, they’ll likely lose their competitive edge. With that being said, real estate professionals must ensure that they provide a one stop shop for clients and prospects that helps them through every step of the home buying process.

Over the past several weeks, Homes.com has discussed consumer trends that may affect the way you market your business to clients and prospects. This time around, we will be looking into another one of these consumer trends known as “Helpfull.” According to a study performed by Trendwatching.com, people have become accustomed to services online that preempt and fulfill their needs before they ask for it. What’s more is that they are starting to carry this need for real time information into the physical world. This means that you should continually improve what your business has to offer, so that when a client or prospect starts searching for information, you will have already provided the resources to help. Not only will this help you grow your reputation as the local expert, but it will also help create and strengthen your relationships.

Patience is a virtue that “Helpfull” consumers lack, so you must provide a service that keeps up with their fast-paced demands. Your website should provide tools and resources that cover even the most minuscule details of the home buying process. On the off chance that your website doesn’t have what they’re looking for, you can expect a phone call shortly after and you must make yourself available when this happens. Be sure to provide prompt responses to “Helpfull” consumers, because the likelihood of them waiting around to hear back from you is slim-to-none; instead they will find someone else that can meet their expectations.

Humanizing your brand is another important thing to consider when working with “Helpfulls,” as they are sick and tired of dealing with voicemails and automated systems! Think about it: how frustrating is it when you are trying to find information and you can’t talk to a real person? “Press one for this.” Or “press two for that.” While these operational strategies can be cost-efficient, it can completely change a person’s opinion of a business. Not only does it waste their time, but quite frankly, it’s downright annoying. Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will make in their lifetime, so make sure that YOU are there to help them along every step of the way. This one-on-one interaction is crucial for building relationships and connecting with local buyers and sellers, as it demonstrates your dedication and that you value their business.

“Helpfulls” are all about the here and now, so you must position yourself as a resource they can rely on to strealine the home buying process. Try adding widgets to your website that address frequently asked questions, helpful resources like the Mortgage Checklist and House Hunting Checklist from Homes.com, or even try something as simple as providing them with a phone number for contacting you past normal working hours. In short, make the home buying process as easy and stress-free as possible while adding a little personal touch, because it will go a long way when working with “Helpfulls”! [cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf]
Keeping Up with Consumer Trends: YOUniverse

Homes.com has been keeping an eye on consumer trends that may affect what your clients and prospects look for in a home. We’ve already discussed how status seekers are looking for guilt-free products that reduce their impact on the environment, and this time around, we want to shed some light on another trend called “YOUniverse.”

The key thing to remember about society’s YOUniverse trend is that everything’s about them! These types of consumers expect a high level of customization, involvement, personalization, and instant gratification, more than any other type of consumer.  Continue reading

Homes.com is Headed to Real Estate Connect!
Inman News Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2012Homes.com is headed back to San Francisco for one of the industry’s biggest events, Real Estate Connect, San Francisco 2012!  This year the theme of the event is connecting the dots aiming at helping real estate professionals explore their business strategy, emerging technology, consumer insights, and much more.  Our very own Senior Vice President,Brock MacLean, will be a panelist on a panel titled Tracking Consumer Trends: Who’s Renting? Who’s Buying?” on Thursday, August 2.  Brock will be joined by Mike Simonsen, Co-founder/CEO of Altos Research and Mollie Carmicheal, Principal, John Burns Real Estate Consulting and it will be moderated by Inman News’ CMO Tracy Weir. If you’re attending the event make sure to visit Homes.com in the main exhibitor hall. We look forward to meeting you and sharing ways in which you can grow your business with all the new knowledge you’ve obtained from the event. If you can’t attend, follow our LIVE tweets on our @Homes_Connect Twitter handle and use the hashtag  #icsf for up to the minute happenings at Real Estate Connect. Hope to see you there!
What is the Generosity Generation?
On March 30th at 1pm EST/10am PST Michael Maher will be speaking to real estate professionals on how to win in the generosity generation. But what is the generosity generation? The generosity generation refers to a group of individuals who practice the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. People who fall into the generosity generation can offer thoughts, talk, talent, treasure, or time to aid someone in need. In fact, generosity is considered among the top 11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011 according to TrendWatching.com. Not only is it a widely accepted desirable trait in society, but it’s quickly becoming a crucial trend in business too. Homes.com TrendWatching.com shared that 86% of global consumers believe that businesses need to place at least equal weight (if not more weight) on society’s interests as they do on business interests. And, according to Young & Rubicam, 71% of people make it a point to buy brands from companies whose values are similar to their own. Continue reading