How shall I engage thee?



The Mission

Awhile ago fellow VARBuzz and AgentGenius contributors Jim Duncan and Daniel (The Zebra) Rothamel wrote articles regarding Paying NAR Dues and NAR Engaging it’s Members.  They are great posts, with tons of interactions from members who support and unfortunately some of those who don’t support the Association.  The entire mission of the Association is to be a relevant factor of support and advocacy for the REALTOR member.  A great deal of work goes into carrying out the directives to fulfill these missions, from both REALTORS and staff.  Having now been both a practicing Realtor and most recently a staff member, I am seeing that a vast number of the tools, initiatives and resources created to enhance the agent’s success have been underutilized.   I feel that the Associations are answering your call, but you can’t hear us.

What Is The Barrier

As a staff member of FAAR, I’ve received countless calls and e-mails asking for a wide variety of assistance, and I always have resources from our local association, VAR or NAR to give to the member.  The members frequently ask why they didn’t know about these tools in the first place – good question.

Recently our Association had a meeting planned for Brokers, so that they could come provide open-forum feedback in preparation for our Strat Planning session.  Four days before the meeting and after a ton of notices, e-mails and marketing we had two members registered.  The workgroup decided to call the Brokers and in response we had almost 50 people attend the meeting.

What Works?

While pondering this post, I asked my friends on Twitter how they would like to be communicated with.  Almost all of them said e-mail.  However, one commented  that e-mails have become so ubiquitous that they are almost irrelevant.  There are so many people trying to e-mail you and get your attention that people are scanning them over without registering their importance.

This would explain why only about 20% of our e-mails, sent to members, are actually read.  But it begs the question; why with so many agents asking for their Associations to provide services, are members not paying more attention to the primary resource for their business? 

Call To Action

Most all Associations use e-mail, post cards, brochures, fliers, etc…  Calling on the phone, for most Associations, isn’t an option because of the size of the organizations and lack of staff.  So, what do you feel is the best way for your Association to keep you up to date and show you the plethora of tools that we’ve developed to help you with your business?



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6 Responses to How shall I engage thee?

  1. Jeremy Hart says:

    Interesting question.

    I can see how email gets lost among some, and I probably fall into that category from time to time. I’m still a fan of email – or the Web in general – as an important source of communication, however, because it gives me a historical record of what’s happening. I can only speak from personal experience, but if you don’t (a) email me, (b) send me a note on Twitter with a link, or (c) hit me upside the head with something as I’m walking down the hall then I’m probably not going to notice it! If it’s not a hyperlink that I can leave open in my browser to get to at some point in time, then I just don’t pay attention to it. The local association “newsletter” that gets shoved in my box? Trashed – I just don’t need the extra paper around.

    If my association focused on delivering the content to me via email, or online sources, I’d be much more inclined to look it over later as I relax on the couch, have a drink outside, or even – and this is really far fetched, I’m sure – a podcast I could listen to when I go for a run. A stack of papers that I have to hang onto, that announce The Internet Guy’s next great tip for using Microsoft Office just doesn’t cut it for me. As the agents adjust their methods of communicating with their customers, the associations should be adjusting their methods of communicating with the agents.

  2. When we learn this answer we will have reached the mountain top. The answer that comes to me the fastest is to tell the person’s mother. It is amazing how fast I respond when my mother asks me to do something. From marketing classes I’ve learned that you have to get the message across nine times. When we want to sell a property we sure try to get the information out to the public as much as we can. If we want to be responsible Realtors© and keep VARs expenses down then we need to deal with the issue the first time. No contacting mommy, no sending multiple emails, no contacting the board members to make calls to the membership. Sorry, but I feel we need to grow up and be responsible.

  3. Jeremy – I agree with you, but our demographic only equates to about 19% of the membership. Our brokers routinely complain that we send too much e-mail and we only send out one every two weeks and a newsletter every six months. (I hate printed materials) Thanks for your thoughts!

    Bill – Leave it to you…. :) Most agents think the Brokers are their mothers! However, I am having issues getting the Broker’s attention too. I don’t blame them. Even though I am only sending one notice a month, legislative affairs, marketing, VAR, NAR and every vendor known to man is sending them stuff to – by every means necessary. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Julie Emery says:

    I think your post on demographics hints at some of the answer!

    For myself it should definitely be e-mail. Never paper!

    Most of the brokers I talk to are just not comfortable with technology. We all have e-mails coming at us like a firehose. But there are ways to better manage this. I wonder how comfortable most brokers are with tools that would help.

    I think we’ve got a problem with a certain segment of the industry that has decided they have all the technical knowledge they need and they don’t want to be bothered learning anything else.

    Ultimately, I think there’s no easy answer to your questions. If the members are your clients, you’ll need to find flexible ways to communicate that allow you to adjust for various preferences.

    I like Bill’s answer, but good luck with that!

  5. Tina Merritt says:

    Post updates and info. on Active|Rain and create a group for me to join as a VAR member. I’ll see the updates more often that way. Don’t tell my mom anything ’cause I still don’t listen to her. :)

  6. Frank says:

    I typically use e-mail because that is how i get most of my leads, unless it comes to me as a referral.

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