Sell me on the App! Customer AMA

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At Real Estate Webmasters, we are constantly creating new features and tools. I was recently in a conversation with one of our most progressive and innovative clients Davis Bass from Florida (we were discussing REW's new "Home Search App") and he challenged me with this question: 

"Sell me on the App"

As I replied to him, I realized that this was probably a question many folks are going to ask, so I decided to put some additional effort into a more robust response—one that all REW prospects could benefit from. I also realized that part of my answer applied to a much greater subject than the Home Search App.

What came to me as I was responding was that in order to properly describe the advantage of the App (to "sell him" on it) I should speak to why our first core value is Innovation—how we approach it, and how we leverage it for marketing and use it to drive customer engagement.

First and foremost, it must benefit your customer. 

Innovation is tied to our 2nd core value: Customer Success. Before we make anything, we ask ourselves, "will it benefit our customers?"

While this can be a very robust conversation, I often start with the most obvious questions / categories to benefit to our customers. 

Here are 2 of the primary questions I ask (think decision tree here):
 
Does it benefit my customer's customer? (For Brokers, their customer is actually the agent, and for agents of course their customer is the buyer or seller)

Or 

Does it benefit my customer? (Our customers are broken down into agents, teams, brokers and enterprise customers). 

I'll focus on a single persona (the persona of the question) and that is the selling team / brokerage. 

In this persona, the majority of revenue is derived from buy / sell sides. Their goals are things like: 

  • Lead generation (PPC, SEO, social) 
  • Lead conversion (lead to sale)
  • Marketing / brand awareness 
  • Recruiting (adding great new team members to their team or brokerage)
  • Retention (keeping their awesome agents) 
  • Increasing productivity (saving time by optimizing, automating or eliminating tasks)

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea.

I would also look at my customer's customer: the buyer or seller. 

Buyer: 

  • Does it help them save time?
  • Does it help them find the home they are looking for?
  • Does it help them stay organized?
  • Does it improve communication / reduce stress?
  • Are they more likely to find the home they want and not miss out? 

Again, this list could be far more robust, but in the interest of time (and so I don't lose you) this list should suffice. 

Back to the question: "Sell me on the app" 

In order for me to make a successful pitch, I need to be able to prove to my customer that there is a true benefit to them if they use it. If I REALLY want to sell them on it, I should also provide some guidance / insight into how they might leverage these benefits into dollars. 

So here goes: 

The app itself for buyers: For the most part, in its current form, the App is a buyer's tool. It connects directly to our MLS data feed and provides access directly to available inventory in a native environment (iOS and Android). 

Buyers will love the convenience of the well-designed interface, map search (Polygon / Radius < note we will likely be adding drive time in the future as well). They will be wowed and excited to show off the upcoming Augmented Reality functionality, and they will love the collaborative tools like notes, listing sorting and more.

And of course, with push notifications, they will be instantly notified on their device (that thing they look at hundreds of times per day) when a new listing hits the feed. 

So, back to our list. I think we can safely say the buyers will love / use it. 

  • Does it help them save time? Yes
  • Does it help them find the home they are looking for? Yes
  • Does it help them stay organized? Yes
  • Does it improve communication / reduce stress? Yes
  • Are they more likely to find the home they want and not miss out? Yes! 

So to sell you at this point I'd say: Your costumers will love this new app that you gave them. And because it's branded to you, you will have constant exposure and be top of mind. Your relationship will be more sticky and the likelihood of them contacting you when they are ready to transact (because of the convenient contact tools within the app) will be much higher. They might even share it with their friends! :)

Now let's talk about my customer bullet points (teams / brokerage) 

Lead generation (PPC, SEO, Social): The world has been "mobile first" for a long time now (but clearly not everyone has caught on, that is an advantage to you!). By having your own, fully branded app, you can leverage new / less crowded advertising channels to promote your app and your brand. Because there are so few good home search apps that are "local" in your market (often times none), the competition (and thus cost) is far less to promote through these App-only advertising channels. 

You can share, boost, promote through social, and even catch phrases in organic SEO like "home search app Florida." And a bonus / pro tip for all those folks who do NOT prefer apps (the other half of your customers) you are getting absolutely FREE advertising through PPC, because they will see your name come up again and again, but that group won't be clicking because they don't prefer apps. BOOM extra recognition for your brand (see below). 

Lead Conversion (lead to sale): The app is tied to the REW CRM (and anything else you have your CRM tied to generally). This means you can watch your customers' behaviour and know the exact time to contact them. Additionally, push notifications and in-App contact features mean they are far more likely to contact YOU vs. someone else when they finally see that home that pulls on their heart strings. If you don't have an app, and they prefer apps, what are their alternatives? Zillow, Redfin, Realtor? A direct competitor? Even if they "were" (or would have been) a customer of yours, if you don't capture them and keep them, they might go somewhere else, especially if that "other app" advertises agents that are not yours. 

Marketing / Brand Awareness: I touched on this above, but I will do so again. When you have your own app, every time they see it, open it, or receive a notification, they are being reminded of your brand, helping you be "top of mind." Because let's face it: while we would love ALL our customers to automatically be loyal, this is not the reality.

But now let's talk about the other advantage of the App: if you are first to market with a custom App, (or even if you're just the first to actually market yours) you can leverage it into earned or paid media.

Examples are press releases, newspaper articles, blog articles, social shares, etc. Not only is being the first to get attention GREAT for exposure, it's also great for SEO as well (and we all know how hard it is to get good earned links these days!).

Imagine for a second that you are the FIRST person to bring "Augmented Reality" home search to your area? Headlines like: "It's like Pokemon Go For Real Estate" - "Local brokerage bets big on augmented reality" - "This morning on Good Morning Florida, a local brokerage brings a new way to search for millennials" (begin TV segment). 

And what about all the agents that see this? Remember those recruiting / retention bullet points below? EVERYTHING they are reading right now from Inman / RIS / RT and social are all saying "Tech Enabled Teams and Brokerages are going to win."

Do you want to be seen as a leader in tech, or a laggard? 
 
Agents will see you as tech forward and innovative and you will have one more amazing benefit to offer those thinking of joining your team. Are you sold yet?

  • Recruiting (adding great new team members to their team or brokerage)
  • Retention (keeping their awesome agents) 

And finally there was Increasing productivity (saving time by optimizing, automating or eliminating tasks): We want to make interacting with your clients as easy as possible. Providing you the ability to engage them through the app & CRM through messaging, texting, push notifications, etc.

You can save time intensive manual emailing / calling and having to go to the MLS to recommend / share listings and in many cases the app & CRM eliminate this entirely by automating these updates for you.  

So there you have it! That's me selling you on the App! But not just that, I do hope that I have sold you on our partnership. Our goal is to constantly improve your business and increase both your top and bottom lines by giving you new tools & features that enable your business and give you your time back. 

Our thesis is simple: If we can do this for you (our valuable customers) continuously, we should be able to maintain an extremely viable and long term business.  

I hope this has helped. If there are any other questions you have of me, I am happy to answer as part of the free consulting September I am participating in.

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