Brian Copeland, CRSBrian Copeland, a top-producing REALTOR® in the Nashville, TN market energized Illinois REALTORS® in his opening session presentation, Fever: Redefining Your Business for today’s Market.  Copeland received the National Association of REALTORS® Technology Advocate Award in 2010 and is the 2011 National Young Professionals Network Board Chair.

Using a play on the classic song “Fever”, a 1960s recording by singer Peggy Lee, Copeland discussed how there has been various renditions of the recording by other artists through the generations. His point? To demonstrate how the message is central but the delivery evolves and change is inevitable. Here are some highlights of his session.

Redefinition #1 – Just like pop singers, REALTORS® have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant in today’s marketplace. Top pop musical artists today aren’t just singers, they are songwriters, actors, clothing line designers, etc. Explore unique strategies available through social media to market properties  it is not just about just using traditional media any longer. Social media allows you to have a billboard at your freedom and use each and every day.

Redefinition #2 – Clueless REALTORS® are passe.  There is no longer an excuse that you can’t do something because you lack knowledge about it. Learn how to use new technologies as consumers will come to expect it.

Redefinition #3 – Tech Basics Matter. Understand how to use Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing to your advantage. Look at how Facebook customizes ads based on your interests when you are reviewing profiles of others. Learn techniques to make better use of search engine optimization such as rich links to your Web site from other sites, ensuring you use key words, meta-descriptions, image tagging and keyword entries.

Redefinition #4 – Your role as a REALTOR® has changed. “It used to be we were constant negotiator, representative, networker and connector. Now we have evolved to economist, lobbyist, technologist reporter.,” Copeland says. Step up to shape news in your communities. It is the first time in  history you have a chance to be the news steward of your community. Copeland has developed his online community and regularly sits down with his sales team to build content for his Web site/blog on news, features, finance, sports and lifestyle features. Make sure your content is excellent and stays fresh on a regular basis. Comment on other people’s blogs to build up your own Web traffic. Write “tight” content. People like to read in two sentences or less in a paragraph. Example: The top ten things Nashville does not have–if you are considering moving here. Make a list. Build content in top “threes”, i.e. the top three places you may get a speeding ticket in your community or the top three activities to do at your neighborhood park. Make content fresh and fun! Upload great pictures.

Redefinition #5 – Mobile Matters. Make sure you are mobile and have information easily accessible even if you are in your car with a laptop. Create a wireless car for your consumers when viewing property so you can answer their questions via WI-FI technology with laptop or IPAD.  If they have questions regarding crime statistics, neighborhood facts, nearby parks, lifestyle, property search, how can you go online in your car to get answers to their questions?

Redefinition #6 – You’ve gotta move to the cloud. Be able to access accounts/files/documents anywhere at anytime.

Redefinition #7 – Technology is not always about just technology. People are becoming digital natives. Learn and understand technology as your consumers expect you to know technology talk. When you increase your social media brand it raises your name and brand awareness to clients and friends. It helps you build referrals from other agents. It helps promote you.

Redefinition#8 – Consumers Expect personal connection.

Redefinition #9 – You cannot fear the confusing.

Refinition #10 – No excuse not to track–always understand what kind of Web hits you are getting to show your client. Every first showing now happens online. The second happens in the home.  Using data with his sales he has determined that for every 1000 first showings he should expect one physical second showing and for every 10 physical showings there should be one offer. If not it goes back to price. If the home is not being viewed online or is having regular physical showings that can translate into perhaps the price needs adjusting. With data in tow you have the opportunity to reevaluate price.

Consumers expect you to lead and they will follow.