Internet Consumers, IDX, Lead Capture and Agent Handshake

I thought it might be useful to present some insight into our position on Internet Consumers, IDX and lead capture.  This will come in a few parts.

Here is Part One:

To understand our position you must first understand the type of consumer that uses the Internet.  To explain what I am talking about I am going to use a story of a patient visiting a doctor.  The traditional consumers that many of you are used to are pre baby boomers.  These are people that go to a doctor and tell him what their symptoms are, receive a diagnosis and follow the doctor’s advice without question.   A second group of consumers are the baby boomers.  These guys go to the doctor, listen to what he has to say, and usually follow his advice but may get a second opinion.  The last groups are the Gen X, Gen Y and Reboomers. These guys go to the doctor and tell him what they think they have and may know more about what they think they have because they have researched it on the Internet.   They still go to the doctor because they still need his professional expertise, but they already have a ton of information.

Internet consumers are largely this last group.  They are further out in the buy cycle, usually six to nine months. They are largely just trying to decide if they want to sell their home and/or purchase a home.  They need information. They know they can spend X dollars and want to see what it might get them.  They also want to see what others are selling homes like theirs for.  For this purpose they need deep data not broad data.  This means they need descriptive listings with lots of photos.  We know that 50% of IDX listings and listings on Realtor.com don’t even have a single photo and many others have just one.  Listings like these will actually drive them away from the site they are on.  How many listings can a consumer see that say “3 bdrs, 2 bth, $350,000” with no other info before they get fed up and leave the site?  Our stats tell us the answer – not many.  The simple fact is that consumers that are beginning their search on the Internet do not need all the listings.  They just need listings with lots of data and photos.  If you provide them with these types of listings they will spend a lot of time on your site and, in fact, build a relationship with you.  We know this is true from the data we have collected. We also know that deep, rich data engages consumers and gets them to ask questions and contact you.

The NAR Home buyers and Sellers survey of 2004 tells us that 70%+ of consumers deal with the first Realtor they contact.  Handshake data will give you that first contact and simply put, IDX data will not. In fact poor data will chase visitors from your site.  Our job is to provide you with that introduction to the consumer.  We realize that once the consumer is serious about buying the home he will need all the data.  Then they will need you, the real estate professional, much like they still need the doctor and you will have to utilize your access to all the MLS data and your professional expertise to server them.

I should also point out a few other facts.  Internet consumers are more likely to use an agent then non Internet consumers. They also have the agent show them fewer homes and the homes they buy are more expensive.

In short Agent Handshake will help you to attract, capture and incubate more leads. 

Next part to follow soon J

22 Responses to Internet Consumers, IDX, Lead Capture and Agent Handshake

  1. Ron Jenkins says:

    Small typo in third paragraph from bottom ..more likely to use an agent then noninternet..

  2. Jesse Walker says:

    Mr. Jenkins – perhaps you’re not very familiar with them, but blogs are by nature a casual, informal media, so I for one don’t tend to point out trivial typographical errors.

    As to the discussion at hand, I think you’re spot-on Brendan, and I look forward to Part Two.

  3. I think IDX data can work side by side with Agent Handshake and can enhance their deep search capability. By working along side IDX you open the door to more exciting possibilities. For example you could expand on “listing expansion strategies” or even pass along even more data about a listings activity and provide a reverse prospecting feature that gives you a way to contact the other website owner, or even identify if the activity on that listing was by a registered user. Hits are no good to an agent, they need prospects. I think Point2 should embrace IDX strategies because the integrity of the Agent Handshake program relies on the agents ability to embrace Point2 and all it has to offer. At least until 1.3 million members milestone is reached. =)

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