Jim Keaty, the owner of Keaty Real Estate in LaFayette, Louisiana, is always
looking for better ways to sell property. Keaty says the biggest challenge he and his agents have is converting leads (people they contact)—that is, getting them to say "yes" to either buy or sell real estate with the company.
More leads aren't necessarily better. Quality leads are. In other words, you want to find the "hot" leads—people who are definitely thinking about selling their homes, not just kind of thinking about it. Trying to find the five or six deals that are going to close in a month out of 1,000 not-so-good leads is much harder than trying to find five or six deals that will close out of 100 good leads, says Keaty.
This is definitely true when you're trying to find people who are willing to sell their property. Sure, you can make a lot of phone calls to people you know or are acquainted with. You can contact local homebuilders, who will usually pay agents for selling their homes. You can knock on the doors of people who are listing their properties "for sale by owner." You can also use social media. And agents do. But that's time consuming. The hot leads dry up quickly, too, because most homeowners agree to sign with the first real estate agent that contacts them.
That's where big data is helping. Keaty works with LeadsToday.com, a small data broker that specializes in real estate. LeadsToday tracks people's life events like job changes, pregnancies, divorces, and children heading to college—clues that could indicate homeowners may be considering buying or selling their houses. LeadsToday provides leads to realtors who then use the information to target potential customers with online ads and other types of ads.
Does targeting potential real estate customers this way sound creepy? "That's how it goes," says a homeseller who learned that he was targeted with a LeadsToday ad that led him to a good real estate agent. The practice has worked out for Keaty, too. "I went from having no seller leads to having ninety seller leads a month at a very low cost," Keaty says.
Is using big data to help sell real estate any different than using it to sell other products? Why or why not?
In some ways yes and no. It can help with the selling of other big investment products with the use of Big Data (for example... View the full answer