Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing writer and editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Screen-to-Screen Selling: Uses in the Field
Here’s how screen-sharing and video-conferencing tools have helped agents better serve their clients.
July 1, 2015
How do you get buyers to sit down at your open house and talk to you for more than five minutes?
Well, it happens to Shay Hata, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff in Chicago, nearly every weekend. Why? She’s using Google’s Chromecast, a small device that plugs into an HDMI port on a TV, to stream compelling visual aids and data for potential buyers.
This $35 device allows Hata to show rotating pictures of the house and neighborhood, a top 10 list featuring reasons her sellers loved living in the home, the property’s floor plan, and more directly from her smartphone or tablet. The presentation captivates buyers who are serious about the house and impresses those who might not buy that particular home but are in need of an agent.
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Hata also uses Chromecast during listing presentations to pull up the MLS and do a live CMA. “They can see the real-time data and understand where I’m pulling the comps for their property,” she says. “I find if you go through the process of doing a CMA in front of them, then they understand it better and will buy into your numbers. It’s like seeing behind the curtain in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”
Real estate practitioners are finding it’s not only convenient but also necessary to use screen-sharing technology to demonstrate the sales process to their clients.
“Sometimes they think we are only pulling certain data to skew the numbers,” says Hata. “A live CMA alleviates the mystery for them. They get realistic regarding the value of their home.”
Screen-to-screen selling is an integral part of Krista Clark’s interactions with clients. Clark, an agent at Century 21 Signature Real Estate in Des Moines, Iowa, works with several out-of-state and international clients who buy investment properties without ever setting foot in the home or building.
When Clark lands a new client, she always starts with a Google Hangout meeting to go over the transaction process. She also provides her clients with their own Google Drive folder, where they share property data sheets. Google Hangout is a free video conferencing and screen-sharing tool, which she also uses to go over paperwork as the transaction progresses.
“I’m much better face-to-face than I am over the phone, even if it’s through the computer,” she says.
Clark regularly uses Skype or FaceTime — both free video conferencing tools — to show clients homes and buildings. If they’re unavailable to live-stream, whether due to schedule or time zone conflicts, she’ll record a walk-through video and upload it as a private video on YouTube to send to her clients. She always asks for permission via the listing agent to take video inside properties and never shares the video publicly.
“With any type of technology, I only want something that builds relationships or solves an actual problem instead of creating more problems,” Clark says. “Video-calling allows me to get into properties as they come on the market and give my clients a leg-up before they end up in multiple-offer situations.”
Clark also responds to leads by taking a quick video letting them know she’s a real person and that she’s looking into their query or property of interest.
“I’ve found that people don’t necessarily need to have an answer right away, but I do need to let them know that someone real is finding an answer,” says Clark, who always records her Google Hangout meetings so she can go back and review what was discussed to thoroughly answer questions.
Despite screen-sharing tools being simple and free, Clark says many agents still aren’t using them, and it helps her differentiate herself from the pack.
“If a buyer has e-mailed three agents, they’ll remember the one who replied with a video,” she says.