Will the Real Estate Industry Ever Teach New Realtors Sound Web Marketing?

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This is actually in line with my previous blog today - I ran across this later tonight.  Realty Times columnist  Bill Koelzer asks the above question - Will the Real Estate Industry Ever Teach New Realtors Sound Web Marketing?   What do you all think?

In the article Bill supports the point I was trying to make in the earlier blog - even if you have someone else design your website, it is always a good idea if you know something about the process yourself.  You may ask - why? Why should I spend good money to have a website built, and then turn around and have to work on it myself? Maybe you don't - it's always just handy to have a resource in case you do.

Another point Bill makes,  and I'll paraphrase here:  The newbies know nothing about how to market themselves on the internet, and the Associations of Realtors do little to teach them.  Where do you feel the responsibility lies for education?  Are we all responsible for learning our own craft? Do you feel you should be offered more Internet Marketing classes, or would you even have the time to go if they did?

A client of mine made it a point to take the necessary courses in order to become an expert in real estate marketing online - she felt it was necessary to keep up with the times. To her mind, it was another certification she could offer to her potential clients - another reason they should use her services over another realtor's.

I personally made a choice to educate myself in my own craft - but then I'm a person who just likes learning new things.  From my clients, I do know this - real estate agents work HARD for their clients and to build their business.  Where is the line drawn between obtaining knowledge that will help you in your business, and the time you must spend to learn? 




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Laura Monroe
Inman News - San Francisco, CA
Dir. of Industry Engagement & Social Media

Hi Deb~ You and I are alot alike. I feel like I am responsible for my own education, and at least  try to be a valuable resource for my clients as well. But, its not so much having the time to learn, its that as soon as you learn something, there is something new and better to learn. That's why I love AR...we can all learn what we want to learn together!


Nov 16, 2006 02:06 PM #1
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate
Deb, with millions of licensees, I have come to realize that a huge number have no interest whatsoever in learning.  How else do you explain the fact that lead aggravators such as HouseValues and HomeGain continue to suck in new licensees by the thousands.  You are to be commended on your thirst for knowledge and education.
Nov 16, 2006 03:04 PM #2
Cynthia Sloop
Community Association Manager - Indianapolis, IN

Well you know if you really think about it, the classes taken to get a licenses verse what you actually need to know when you get out in the field and start working are two different paths all together. 

I too believe in continueing my educatio where and whenever I can.  But then I like gaining knowledge.  It's hard to say if the majority will ever take it upon themselves to learn more about web marketing or not.  Just remember all that you learn will be the reasons you stand out more from the next person.

Nov 16, 2006 03:30 PM #3
I'm a strong believer in education of agents and particularly of new ones.  I am thankful that I am in an office and company that is centered around education.  I spent 11 hours this week in preparation and teaching classes in my office.  But--I have to agree with Stefan in that many don't have an interest learning anything about websites.  Another observation I have contrary to the article is that the over 50 people have more of an interest in learning and using a website than those in their 20's and 30's.  The younger ones typically don't want to learn how to create a website and don't understand the marketing needs of it.  Website education is like any other education in that you have to have a desire to do it to become a good real estate agent for your clients.
Nov 16, 2006 11:12 PM #4
Mary McKnight
Sacrilicious Marketing - Orlando, FL
Great post.  I completely agree that Realtors should be more involved and educated on their overall tech strategy.  I've been in technology and web technology specifically for some time now and unfortunately there are planty of companies out there that will take advantage of you if you don't know the right questions to ask or enough about the technologies themselves.  I don't think every Realtor should becoem a web designer, but becoming tech savvy is a must.
Nov 17, 2006 04:10 AM #5
Toby Boyce
C.G. Boyce Real Estate Co. - Delaware, OH
MBA, Delaware Ohio

Interesting topic. Though, I have to say that I don't agree with the premise.

Real Estate is very similar to any other "venture". Those that are truly interested in making it, will do what they need to do to make it.

I am fortunate, I have a Web background. But, as a new agent, I think there are a lot of things that are more important to know than how to market myself on the Web. How about marketing myself period?

When I came into the field my broker said "it is the classes job to teach you what's on the test, and my job to teach you how to sell real estate."

And for the most part, that is exactly how it went. But we had one professor for P&P that would spend 15 minutes per hour "on tangent" as he called it. This was where he tossed some good industry tips -- the Ninja Marketing idea that Kristal blogged about yesterday being one -- but I felt like I was one of the few that paid attention. The 6-8 people around me where either reading magazines or asking "is this on the test."

So this supports most of what the blog has said. You can lead a Realtor to training, but you can't make them absorb.

And personally, I like it that way. If "newbies" don't want to learn -- that leaves more clients for me.

Nov 17, 2006 04:27 AM #6
Pierre Calzadilla
Trulia.com - San Francisco, CA

Well, well...

1. Realtor.org has tons of information on marketing on-line
2. Inman.com's major topic is real estate marketing on the web at the Inman conference's and their websites
3. Hobbs Herder is another source for info.
4. The Broker's themselves have to take the training reigns.
5. we have activerain

In my firm I teach 4 rotating classes a month for marketing on-line. we have 500 agents and 20 offices, and one of my major duties besides the SEM/SEO, is agent training.

We take it upon ourselves to teach and provide these classes because it is important to teach agents/brokers how to market on-line.

One of the major flaws in web marketing on-line is the breakdown of DOS (department of state) laws. Agents need to be reminded that you should always state your license type, state and who holds your license.

Many agents get websites all about themselves but never once follow some of the guidelines that we have to adhere to when we market in print.

Right now we are in a learning curve. the new agents have embraced it - but don't know what they're doing in real estate, and the older agents have balked at it, but know real estate. Then you ahve the others that are all in between i.e. - they use it a little, or know a little, or know alot and do it right.

One solution is the Broker power team. if you paired up an experienced agent with a tech savvy agent, you can sit back and count your money. I have seen many teams here in NYC succeed b/c they each work with their strengths, one example is an older lady, european, listing agent that was struggling so hard with technology. After meeting with me, i told her: "forget the computer, go list." and list she did. Then an agent from the same office comes to me that was new to the biz, but loved the tech side - kept getting appointments - but nothing to fruition- I sent him to her for lessons. they became a non-stop force that now work from NY to FL.

With time the industry will correct itself and many of us have. Mark my words, in 2007 the brokers will shake off the last market and bear down on the web - BIG TIME.

Nov 17, 2006 06:02 AM #7
Christine Adler
FindAHomeWithMe.com - Fort Lauderdale, FL
SE Palm Beach, Broward & NE Miami-Dade Counties FL
You are so right. You can pay people to do the work for you so you can be out there selling but you must know what you are trying to get done.
Nov 17, 2006 07:18 AM #8
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN
Easy answer to your question "will the real estate industry ever teach sound web marketing"  No and if they do please be carefull.  The average college student is way ahead of the real estate industry when it comes to technology.  get your training on marketing and tech outside of the industry.  There are many industries that use the web for marketing.  honest selling houses is not all that different.
Nov 17, 2006 07:26 AM #9
Lenn Harley

Internet marketing is just like any other marketing used by agents and brokers.

We have signs made for our companies.  We have brochures printed.  We have photographs taken.  We buy the services of "just Listed, Just Sold" cards. 

These are all services that don't take a Rhodes Scholar.  Web design and SEO are complicated.  Why do folks think they have to do it themselves??? 

Sell some real estate, but some good web site design services and let the experts do what they do. 

Selling real estate is more profitable. 

Nov 17, 2006 07:37 AM #10
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

I agree with Lenn, you don't have to learn how to put together a watch in order to learn to tell someone what time it is.

It is however nice to at least have a working knowledge of the principals of Internet 101 and they're not that hard to find if you look.

This nice lady seems to have found a way on her own.

"....................what a Godsend to have a program that will instruct REALTORS on how to use the internet to further their Business opportunities."

Nov 17, 2006 09:50 AM #11
Chris Tesch
RE/MAX Bryan-College Station - College Station, TX
College Station, Texas Real Estate
Ufortuately the industry doesn't teach us about marketing in general.  In fact I felt that most of my classes were about anything but real estate.  I learned riparian rights (which I haven't used since) and many other things that are unapplicable.  I didn't learn what to do when the seller is getting frustrated about their listing, how to tactfully suggest updates, or marketing.  It all needs to be addressed
Nov 17, 2006 10:15 AM #12
Joanne Brown
Rockland County Real Estate - Nanuet, NY

I agree with Chris, I thought went I went to the classes to get my license I would get an education in real estate.   

Some one should write a book, (I will when I get all the answers) and title it:  What should I do when:

What should I say if the other agent:

What if and so on.

Another approach might be to put a little burden on the brokers and not let them recruit new agents unless they use a standard of training, the training should be approved by at the state level.

It's not just the internet we need help with.

Have thousands of scenarios in it with relatively short answers.

Nov 17, 2006 12:12 PM #13
Ginger Sala
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

I think we are on our own to learn here, to the extent that we want to.

There is so much free info available also.

At our company we are blessed to have have an in house IT dept. and they are always giving free classes.

Nov 17, 2006 03:59 PM #14
Lucky Lang
Mel Foster Co. - Davenport, IA
SRES, Davenport, Iowa Real Estate

Thanks, Pierre, for those sites!  Some of us experienced agents are newbies to a lot of this technology but want to learn.  With me, business is booming and time is minimal to learn new stuff.  It's a constant struggle between wanting to learn more and taking care of all my business.  (I'm not complaining about being busy, just anxious to learn more)

Thanks, Deb, for spurring this discussion!


Nov 17, 2006 08:56 PM #15
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

I look at this from a different pair of glasses.  The question should not be when is the Real Estate Industry going to teach new agents.  The question is when will new agents wake up and get training?

When I entered the industry I signed up for Board of Realtors classes, GRI and CRS classes. I also took classes sponsored by lenders and escrow companies.  In my small office of 45 agents, I was only ever able to persuade one or two to attend classes with me.

I now have my CRS, GRI and a Brokers license.  I still regularly attend as many or more classes than any other agent in my office.

The real estate industry was not responsible for my training.  I made the decision that I would be a professional and as such proper training was required. 

Nov 17, 2006 09:37 PM #16
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

I think a team of specialists is the answer.  Someone with the skill set to quickly, accurately and efficiently keep the web marketing aspect of the business in high gear may not have the skills needed to close a Seller on a listing, or work with a Buyer.  It's important that the agent knows how to drive the car, but doesn't need to know how the engine works.

Nov 18, 2006 01:50 AM #17
Wanda Mills

I also love learning and any time I can improve my knowledge in this industry I certainly am the willing participant.  I just can't seem to get enough information about marketing on the internet.  I am trying several websites as an experiment to see which generates the most traffic and hopefully the most contacts.  So far, I'm not impressed with the results.  I must be missing something.  Where am I going wrong? 

Nov 20, 2006 07:40 AM #18
Deb Salkeld
I'd love to hear what sites you've tried, and see what kind of material you're putting on them.  Are you concentrating on Search Engine Optimization and keywords, and LOTS of content?
Nov 20, 2006 07:46 AM #19
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