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By Simon Shinerock

Owner, Choices Estate Agents

OTHER FEATURES

MovePal - a cautionary tale for agents

I’m going to declare upfront that, as an investor, I have a financial interest in the success of MovePal but I also need to say that while I’m happy to use our 14 branches as a test bed for new ideas, I only keep them if they work.

The truth is I’ve been very busy for some time developing another brainchild called the ARO, or Advanced Rent Option, which is property management plus guaranteed full market rent paid a year in advance - in our case at no extra cost to our standard fees. It’s such a great idea I’ve been obsessed with getting the messaging right and the sales process right before we scale it up, and as a result everything else has been a bit neglected.

So MovePal went in under the radar and I relied on others to let me know how it was doing without really picking up the hood and seeing for myself. Having nailed the messaging and completed the ultimate sales manual for ARO, I suddenly found myself reviewing my lead generation options and MovePal came up as part of this review.

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ARO is a wonderful lead generator even if you never sell one and we’ve sold hundreds. Our instant online calculator piques a landlord's curiosity and, as with ValPal, once they’re hooked what happens next is up to you.

However, having recently chosen Reapit as our CRM provider, I’ve become more and more interested in lead management and our databases. It seems to me that unless you have an intelligent strategy in place all these leads are like raindrops falling into the ocean where they become unreachable. So the idea of being able to keep in touch with these prospects over time and catch them as they become interested is the key to unlocking the potential that’s been lying there dormant ever since we started collecting email addresses and mobile numbers.

While it’s theoretically possible to keep in touch with your data by email, email alone is not enough, because it will only give you completed responses unless you delve deep into open rates and somehow link them them to your CRM and alert your salespeople - something that is not really feasible. As a result, most estate agents, including us, have this constant feeling of guilt and missed opportunity caused by the knowledge that the future of our businesses is in our own databases but somehow still out of reach

MovePal is meant to be the solution to this dilemma but even though business has been great lately, given my new-found freedom from the demands of creating a robust ARO process, I now wanted to look under the hood and see what we have been doing with it. The answer was quite shocking. Although we were getting worthwhile leads from the system, we had failed to add all the right data and we were not following the process through in the right way, which is the most effective way.

So, at the highest level, this is what MovePal is and this is how to get the best from it. MovePal is a dedicated marketing database in which you can set up a ‘contact journey’ for your prospects that can involve as many contacts as you like. We are using six - three emails and three texts - but you can just do emails or texts, the choice is yours. You can also set up MovePal to start a specific journey for a specific audience, like landlords for example, and you can segment the audience any way you want to optimise the response you get to your available resources. That’s the key to effectiveness

The crucial thing about MovePal is that it will send you a ‘Hot Lead’ every time a prospect interacts with one of your communications. They don’t need to send in a request or fill in a form, although they can, they just need to interact, which means clicking a link to an article or brochure request and you instantly get a Hot Lead alert. The crucial thing is to contact that prospect immediately while they are hot, and experience has shown that agents who use MovePal in this way get astounding results.

Of course, for this to work, you have to add the data, set up the journey and react quickly to the response. It turned out that we were, let’s say, suboptimal in all these areas, but the good news is it’s so easy to correct. Now I understand how it works I can see MovePal as an invaluable tool in the development of our core business, as well as ideas like ARO, it gives us the power to unlock the potential of our database, supercharge our prospecting and completely out manoeuvre our un-enabled competition

The caution in this tale is this, it doesn’t matter how powerful a tool may be, it only works when you use it.

*Simon Shinerock is Owner of Choices Estate Agents. For more information on Simon, see his blog or his LinkedIn profile.

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