GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Spring Thaw?
Richard Haggerty | March 3, 2015
Let’s hope so, (he said, knocking on a lot of wood). The title of my last article for this publication was “Deep Freeze.” In hindsight I should have called it “Deep Freeze with Several Snow Storms Thrown in for Good Measure,” as we were pummeled with snow storms every week and the bitter cold persisted. It wasn’t until the past several days of mid-March that the winter chill has loosened its grip—who would have thought at the beginning of the winter that we’d be yelling a collective “woo hoo” just because the thermometer has climbed into the 40s. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a four seasons kind of guy, but having to deal with cancelling meetings and postponing classes and sending employees home early as they navigate snowy roads wears on you after a while.
For the last couple of years I’ve argued that the spring market really begins in the depths of winter, but it’s difficult to build real momentum when confronted with the weather we’ve had to deal with. As I write this article we have had 57 consecutive days of snow on the ground. However, I think that’s going to change quickly and we need to be prepared for increased activity. Folks who have been house bound for the winter months are now coming out of hibernation and, as the old saying goes, we need to strike while the iron is hot.
I’ve written in the past about how technology has dramatically changed our lives both personally and professionally. I confess that I’ve gone to the dark side—not only am I on Facebook, I’m also on Twitter and Instagram. I may not be a big fan of social media but it’s a force that cannot be ignored. Both the Association and the MLS are constantly evaluating new technologies that will enable us to more effectively provide our members with the services and tools to help them succeed.
On the Association side we offer the “Tech Helpline” (866-829-1440, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 8 pm; Saturdays 9 am – 5 pm) for when you are having technology meltdowns. On the MLS side we just recently negotiated direct syndication agreements with Zillow and Trulia that will allow for your listings to flow directly to those sites.
While various forms of technology can be extraordinary tools in helping us succeed in our businesses, it’s important to remember that they are only tools and not a substitute for direct contact and interaction with consumers. I hear complaints from agents from across the country about how we’ve given control of our leads to the Zillow’s and Trulia’s of the world. If that is indeed the case then every agent and office should realize that we still have the ultimate control should we wish to exert it. From my perspective that means going back to basics. Make the phone calls. Re-establish connections. Refresh your contact lists. If we don’t want to be dependent on third parties providing us with leads then we have to do the work to generate those leads ourselves.
So as we enter this spring market remember there is no substitute for the personal touch. That’s what we bring to the transaction and that’s how we as Realtors will maintain our relevancy for years to come.