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The real estate industry is going through a period of rejuvenation at the moment. We have experienced an increase in enquiries from estate agents, and property management companies that have operated in a fairly analogue world, who are now looking to further digitally transform their businesses.

The first few websites that I ever worked on — back in the late ‘90s — were estate agent websites. There were no CMS’ and each week I would visit their offices and they would have a list of all the new properties for sale that needed to be added to the website. Additionally, those that were sold needed to move to a different section on the website and those that were “on show” needed to be showcased on the homepage. This involved cutting and pasting a lot of HTML!

At the time, my headspace was occupied with trying to come up with a business model that could use the online space as well as the real estate agents did, which resulted in a few businesses — the most successful being loadtheshow.com.

So at the time, the estate agents were super innovative but continued in their other ways

I was so impressed with the estate agent ecosystem: it was one of the first to embrace the internet, but they also continued to advertise in newspapers, and their back office was still very much analogue and paper-based.

Rolling out CRM to track sellers and buyers and unify the experience

I’ve also sold and purchased a few properties over the past few decades and the experience has been very much related to the individual person I’ve been dealing with, and not been representative of the brand they work for.

It seems that this is all changing though, as over the past two years we’ve rolled out the HubSpot CRM and Sales Hub to several different real estate and property management brands in South Africa.

This gives the agents the tools to better serve both the buyers and sellers, and it gives the head office insights that are needed for reporting and supporting their field agents. Through the use of templates and triggered automations, the buyers and sellers are also getting better at “on brand” communications.

Referral and repeat business is all about customer experience

For a friend or neighbour to recommend an estate agent, or for someone to come back to the same agent they used 5 years prior, the experience they had with that agent and brand needs to have been stellar.

This reflects the general trend in marketing at the moment — that word of mouth marketing is more powerful than any other media, and marketers are increasingly being measured by the Nett Promoter Score (NPS) of their customer base, as opposed to brand equity.

For small real estate agents, this can be achieved more easily as the Principal is actively involved and the client base is small. But larger estate agents need to embrace technology to scale customer experience.

If estate agents are embracing customer experience design and CRM, others will follow

Just as real estate agents were one of the first to embrace the internet with their websites, they are now adopting CRM and customer experience automation at a rapid pace. Doing so, they’re outpacing other industries and we will likely see others adopting these innovations over the next few years too.

With their knack for being ahead of the curve, it pays to take note when the real estate industry adopts a new technology. Working with marketing technology agencies like us, they’re better able to deliver exceptional customer service every time. If you’re in business and wondering how to take a page out of their book, why not contact us? As a HubSpot Elite Agency partner, and leader in MarTech, we’d be glad to support you as you implement the best automation or CRM processes to keep you winning. Reach out, and one of our team will be in touch shortly.

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