Real estate has always been highly-localized. Business thrived through relationships that were established face-to-face. Today, technology is changing the game and allowing title & escrow businesses to grow through partnerships that are facilitated online.
During a recent Remote Qualia Live event, Perla Aparicio and Marty Landers of Qualia’s industry relations team joined Shelly Mannebach, Business Development Manager at Investors Title. The panel discussed how to leverage digital tools to engage with homebuyers, sellers, real estate agents, lenders, and other partners in the real estate ecosystem online.
Connect with homebuyers and sellers digitally
“It may sound counterintuitive since title comes at the end of the homebuying process, but demonstrating your value early on in the buying cycle is important,” Aparicio said. Today’s consumer is more educated than ever and most are taking control of the experience through online research before they even connect with a real estate agent.
Meeting consumers earlier in the home search process can be an excellent way to encourage homebuyers to consider taking more of a stance on which title or escrow business they work with later on. “If you show your value early on, they can insist on using you as their title agency,” Aparicio said.
Title & escrow business may consider the following tactics to meet consumers during their research phase:
- Be a trusted resource. Chime into virtual conversations (found in social media groups or other channels) and answer questions about the closing process.
- Educate your audience. Build a library of content on your website that empowers homebuyers and sellers to understand the closing process and the title agent’s role.
- Give them the opportunity to contact you directly. Offer channels of communication for homebuyers and sellers to speak with your team directly.
Create powerful partnerships with top-performing real estate agents through online tools
Partnering with even a handful of top-performing real estate agents can make an impact on your business. Marketing to these real estate agents requires a discerning use of your online marketing dollars. The panelists agreed that targeting the right real estate agents at the right time is key to gaining repeat business.
Mannebach noted that real estate agent performance is publicly available online. “You can search what they are doing in revenue and in units,” she said. She recommended identifying top performers and reaching out to them directly with personalized invitations to connect. Engaging with top-performing, like-minded real estate agents results in more impactful and synergistic partnerships.
Maintain relationships through a premium closing experience
Essential to maintaining these relationships is a differentiated closing experience. Real estate agents and mortgage lenders are looking for partners that can help them meet their client’s expectations for digital touchpoints and transparency.
Your business can elevate client expectations with eClosing solutions and digital communication portals like Qualia Connect. These tools bring the entire closing team onto one secure platform. “Understand that right now there are various [avenues] for doing closings. You need a Schmorges board of things that will meet your clients’ needs,” Mannebach said. “Some people may want to come in-person, and some want complete online notarization… you need all of these options in your toolbelt.”
Use virtual networking strategies
In the past (before the pandemic), business relationships were formed during in-person events. Today, these relationships must be forged virtually.
“Once we realize networking is really the same today as it was pre-pandemic, we’re going to feel a lot better about reaching out to connect with people,” Mannebach said. In her opinion, networking is all about delivering value and making another person feel heard. This is entirely possible online if you’re willing to go outside the box to form relationships.
Mannebach offered a few suggestions for networking online:
- One-on-one apps: Apps like Lunch Club, Bumble Biz, and Sharper Networking allow you to create a profile and find commonalities with people to schedule online or in-person meetups. “These people may or may not be in your industry. However, they could eventually be buying or selling a home— [these are] great prospects for your real estate agent partners,” Mannebach explained.
- Online conferences: Many big conference events went virtual this year. “If you’ve attended an online conference, you know about the chat rooms,” Mannebach said. She encouraged those attending virtual events to take advantage of the chat feature. Reach out to people directly and ask them about their favorite sessions and what they are looking forward to learning.
- Leverage canceled live events. Many events were canceled due to the pandemic. “Request the attendee list [of the canceled event]. Choose five to ten people to reach out to and see what they were interested in learning about at the event,” Mannenbach suggested. “Then, get them on a Zoom or phone call to discuss the topic.”
- Create a group: Mannebach also encouraged people to create their own special topics or interest groups. These groups can be professional or personal (such as a bookclub) — the goal is to meaningfully connect.
Overall, connecting with people online comes down to the same principles as in-person networking: make the person feel valued and treat them as an individual. This means finding commonalities and remembering to follow up with messages that add value and cement the relationship.