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

14 Apps You Need to Succeed in 2014
Yes, there’s an app for that.  In fact, we have 14 recommended apps that real estate pros should consider for streamlining your business in 2014. Our friend, and Inman Top 100 Most Influential, Jimmy Mackin suggested these tools during his presentation, “Must Use Apps for 2014” during one of Homes.com educational sessions at NAR 2013.  From tools to optimize your inbox, measure your email campaigns’ performance, consolidate project tasks and more, these apps are a must-have for organizing your business and enhancing your clients’ experiences! Continue reading