Inman Real Estate Connect 2012– Understanding Mobile Real Estate

Last week, Smarter Agent attended the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference in NYC. This was my second conference as a member of the team at Smarter Agent. My first was the NAR conference in Aneheim, California back in November.

From our booth, we met with hundreds of brokers and agents alike, discussing the benefits of mobile real estate applications and fielding their questions on the subject. I’d like to share a difference that I’ve noticed between the conference in November and Inman Connect. At NAR, when presenting our product, many of the curious real estate agents and brokers we spoke with people seemed to be hesitant because of

  1. Being unsure about why they needed to invest in mobile generally
  2. Or they just couldn’t understand how our real estate mobile application worked and therefore didn’t see how it could help their business.

At Inman Connect, the focus shifted from “how much” and “how can it help my real estate business” to the real estate app’s ability to integrate with their current system, getting agents to adopt new technology, mobile web vs. apps, and maintaining branding consistency across multiple technology systems. With a lot of factors to consider, making the jump to mobile can seem like challenge with many questions. But I was glad to see it move from should I to “how I can best integrate”. 

It seems to me that the paradigm shift in focus between NAR and Inman Real Estate Connect was due to the fact that the primary reason to come to Inman is to learn about new real estate tools and technologies. Therefore, many of the agents and brokers are attending with an open-mind and have often educated themselves as to costs associated with some of the newer real estate tools and technologies out there. Many of these attendees are already implementing a number of these new technologies into their business, which made the crowd at Real Estate Connect in NYC last week a very informed group of real estate professionals who know exactly what they are looking for.

So instead of talking about price or purpose to our booth visitors, the discussion usually turned to other potential questions such as integration with their current system, getting their agents to adopt new technology, mobile web vs. mobile apps, and maintaining branding consistency across multiple technology systems. With these and other factors to consider, making the jump to mobile can seem like daunting.

In response to any hesitation of going mobile with their real estate business using a mobile real estate application, I spoke to people about the amazing statistics that show that moving towards mobile is definitely worth the effort (more on some recent mobile stats to come in a future blog post). One stats we have seen is that those clients who use a mobile app are 4x or more likely to convert into a lead than a website visitor.  The ability to put a real estate mobile application, literally, into the hands of each of their prospective customers, will not only measurable boost their leads (all call go directly to you – not the listing agent), it will also boost their brand recognition within their target market. That means, when someone is looking “for a real estate agent” in their area, that mobile real estate app their sister just downloaded mean a prospect call to your office, and not your competitor around the corner.

So, take the initiative in 2012 to learn more about mobile marketing as a real estate tool. If Inman Real Estate connect is any indication of what the industry is doing, there’s a good chance your competition is already mobile.

~ Phil Tomasello, Partner Relations

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