I was shocked to see one of the trends in the 2021 Swanepoel Trends Report.
The Swanepoel Trends Report is the most extensive and comprehensive report for real estate trends every year. For 2021, Trend 02 is The Lead Generation Focused Business Opportunity.
In the report, they are clearly referring to online lead generation. It took me by surprise because generating online leads isn’t merely a trend, but the cost of doing business.
In the real estate landscape, the three companies with the highest market cap are Zillow, Redfin, and the virtual brokerage EXP. These companies focus on helping the consumer shop online, generating leads at a pace traditional models will never catch up to.
Traditional brokerage models focus less on online lead generation and more on recruiting agents, with the hopes that agents will connect with members of the community using tactics like referrals, open houses, and mailers.
The traditional model is less valuable than the three companies with the highest market cap, not because it’s a trend for 2021. But because shopping online has been the driving force for consumers for over a decade.
In the last 12 months, 60% of consumers have used chatbots to find the answers to their questions. And for millennials, a chat box is the preferred support channel. They don’t want to go through the 1-800 number, sit on hold, listen to bad music, get a call back an hour and a half later.
In 2023, e-commerce is expected to make up a quarter of all transactions.
And we already know that 3 out of 4 consumers start their home search on Zillow.
The message is clear: consumers will continue to do their business online. Don’t be a company that is falling down in value. Build an online model for your business, for your market, for your community, that generates lead after lead after lead.
This way, you’ll actually be able to compete with what’s going to happen between now and 2030.
Building an online business doesn’t mean you have to throw out all of your old tactics. You know what works in your market.
But you will need the online model to generate your leads. Then, you can go back to all these leads with the old school tactics of a handwritten letter, sending gifts and doing a pop-by, or having a coffee and asking for a referral.
You can do those things a lot more often when you have a pool of online leads to pick from.