RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

MAY 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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64 May 2019 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE "The only thing con- stant in this business is change. You have to keep up with the changes so that you can be successful," Gatewood says. With 40 years of experience, she's seen a lot of changes in the industry. Gatewood, who started her career before there were cellphones, iPads and laptops, has noticed a drastically different relationship be - tween consumers and their phones. "There are so many robocalls these days, and people are reluctant to answer a call from a number they don't know," says Gatewood. "As an agent, we know that the No. 1 thing people do with their smartphones is text, and 97 percent of text mes - sages are opened and read." TextERA allows potential clients to immediately access the listing agent, pricing, video and details about the property by texting a num - ber listed on the yard sign. "Now we have a way for people to get infor - mation they want instantly," explains Gatewood. "But it's more than that. Through texting, you're opening the door to a long-term relationship in a way that feels less invasive to the consumer." Many times, Gatewood says, the texts that come in from the TextERA platform turn into leads that end up being longer, more strategic relationships. "Peo - ple get in touch via TextERA when seeing a specific house for sale. Once the texted infor - mation is provided, they can decide if they want to make an appointment to get a closer look or additional information. They may decide they aren't interested in that particular house, but many times, they're still interested in pursuing other proper - ties, so you've just started a new re- lationship from that initial text." For consumers who want to speak on the phone immediately, TextERA now has a new IVR (integrated voice response) system, which ensures that even when an agent is too busy to answer the phone, the call gets rerouted via criteria set by the agent, allowing them to send the call to another team member or the main office. The client automatically receives a text with listing informa - tion, and the agent receives a text that alerts them of the missed call, eliminating any missed opportunity. "Agents using the IVR feature saw three times as many leads, propel - ling TextERA to the No. 1 lead-gen- erating system within our network, surpassing all industry portals," says Simon Chen, CEO and president of ERA Real Estate. "We believe that the leads that come through Tex - tERA, when people are actively driv- ing through neighborhoods in search of a home, are more qualified than the leads that come from online browsing. Sixty percent of TextERA leads convert into actual showings, proving that the online portals may own the couch, but ERA owns the driveway." Lee Williams, who has been work - ing at Napier ERA for two-and-a-half years, has seen this work firsthand. "TextERA generates leads for you, plain and simple. And as a new agent just entering the business, that's crucial. In the beginning, you need a volume of leads in order to compete." Jim Napier, president and own - er of Napier ERA, explains that TextERA has been instrumental in helping agents secure buyer leads, as well as seller leads. "We're ex - periencing a tight inventory market, and TextERA is proving to be a key differentiator in the eyes of people who are trying to sell their home. When we sit with prospective sell - ers and our agents demonstrate TextERA—showing them that we can connect with prospects in real- time—it really sets us apart." RE For more information, please visit www.era.com. ERA 'Owns the Driveway' With TextERA by Zoe Eisenberg L ibby Gatewood began working as a real estate agent in 1979. She's been working at Napier REALTORS®, ERA in Central Virginia for nine years, as both an agent and the company's managing broker at the Colonial Heights branch.

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