Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing editor with REALTOR® Magazine.
Screen-to-Screen Selling: How It Works
Screen-sharing technology will help you communicate with clients more thoroughly while highlighting your market expertise.
July 1, 2015
When it comes to the nuances of a real estate transaction, sometimes it’s easier to show customers rather than tell them. Unfortunately, schedules or distance can make those quick (or not-so-quick) face-to-face meetings unrealistic. That’s where screen-to-screen technology comes in.
Sharing your computer or mobile screen with clients via live video conferencing, mirroring, or screencasting is a convenient way to improve customer service and communicate more effectively. They see everything you’re seeing on your screen no matter far apart you are.
To help identify the right screen-sharing tools for your real estate business, first figure out what goal you want to accomplish or what issue you want to solve.
More on Screen-to-Screen Selling
Uses in the Field
Here’s how screen-sharing and video-conferencing tools have helped agents better serve their clients.
5 Ideas for Brokers
Screen-sharing tools are a cost-effective way to strengthen agent relationships.
Tools on the Market
Agents and brokers alike will find practical business solutions from this list of screen-sharing, collaborative, and video-conferencing products.
Sales coach Doug Devitre, author of the upcoming Screen to Screen Selling (McGraw Hill, 2015), says it’s important for practitioners to choose products that make sense for the different types of scenarios played out in real estate. Devitre has analyzed all the components of initiating an agent-client relationship to find ways screen sharing or mobile conferencing might improve the process. Here’s what he found.
This is the period after you’ve identified a potential client. Maybe they are an online lead or a referral. Either way, your first consideration should be to set a meeting. Sometimes a video conference call works well for an initial discussion.
“Use the technology that’s easiest and more convenient for the customer, not necessarily the one you know how to use best,” Devitre says.
For instance, let’s say you primarily use Skype, but your client is most familiar with Google Hangout. Don’t force your not-yet-minted customer to create a profile and password just to have a conversation with you. “Find out what the customer’s preferred meeting tool is and be adaptable,” he says.
Devitre offers some tactics for making sure your potential client doesn’t miss the meeting, such as sending an invite through both a text message and an e-mail. You don’t want to lose your lead if your e-mail ends up in the dreaded junk folder.
“Your meeting notification has to prepare the individual with what the meeting is going to look like,” Devitre says, so let them know what you plan to discuss up front.
If you’re trying to sell your relocation services to a major company, Devitre says, learn its platform of choice. Keep in mind that corporations can have firewalls that prevent employees from opening a screen-to-screen or video streaming platform link. “Always try to use their method to decrease the likelihood of tech issues,” he says.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so have a meeting backup plan (and a backup to your backup). What if the sound from your client’s built-in computer microphone is garbled during your Google Hangout session? If you’re both iPhone users, call them using FaceTime. “If you don’t have a backup method, then your time and preparation was for nothing because you relied on a technology that didn’t work,” Devitre says.
Don’t spend more than a couple minutes (if any) tinkering with technology during that initial call. If it’s not working right, simply call them over the phone.
Discussions are nonlinear; they don’t always follow a straight path. Conversations bounce, repeat, or come full circle. If a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible but you don’t want to lose agent-client engagement, try a screen-sharing platform such as Join.me, GoToMeeting, or Zoom.us, which are great for reviewing a document, website, or presentation with your potential client. You can use screen-sharing tools to pull up realtor.com®, REALTORS Property Resource®, or MLS reports, or to connect with multiple decision makers at once.
These platforms also offer whiteboard or drawing features for capturing ideas on the fly. This provides an opportunity to take notes, draw sketches, drop in images or charts, and collaborate in real time, making you look tech savvy and more responsive during the conversation with your soon-to-be clients. Skype also has a screen-sharing option, but you’ll have to use a separate whiteboard application.
“Insert the visual or slide based on what the customer is saying or asking. Don’t say, ‘We’ll get to that in a minute.’ Customers want their question or problem solved right away,” Devitre says. “Seeing the problem framed in a visual way gives them confidence.”
Devitre’s favorite whiteboard tool is Doceri, commonly used by classroom teachers for writing and presenting lessons on projection screens. This could be used for homebuyer seminars, too.
“Think of it like today’s napkin note,” Devitre says. “You have your prepared slides and the whiteboard, which can help you draw out answers to questions that arise. Even with chicken scratch, people will recognize it as expertise.”
Agents must also appreciate that there’s a level of trust that sometimes has to be established before it’s appropriate to ask for a screen-share meeting, Devitre says.
“It’s like a first date. You have to use a little judgment and know who your customer is,” he says. “If they’re not tech savvy or gave you a hint that it’s not their thing, then explain why the screen share is beneficial to them.”
Have you ever gotten off the phone with someone and forgotten exactly what you decided? It happens to your clients, too. Even in face-to-face meetings, the customer can walk away and forget points that were discussed.
Send the slides, the slide annotations, and your whiteboard notes to your potential clients directly after your screen-share meeting. “Providing a visual summary with highlighted visual areas of a website or report that you covered is one of the most customer-focused experiences you can create besides hopping in your car,” Devitre says.
Screen-share meetings can also decrease risk in the transaction. Say your client is looking at a property with a damaged roof. Review the inspector report together in real time when discussing the costs associated with repairs. Most screen-sharing platforms provide a recording option. State laws vary, but it’s always best practice to ask your clients for permission to record your conversation.
“You can take that prospective buyer or seller to the next level very quickly,” Devitre says. “It might take multiple meetings, but screen sharing will increase your productivity and shorten the length of a decision cycle.”