In the studio today, we have Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors. She is the vice president of communications she is here today to talk to us about how agents can showcase their real estate expertise.
Showcasing Your Real Estate Expertise Podcast Transcription
Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Minute, powered by Agent Sauce. With me today is Kimberly Small.
Kimberly Small: Hi.
Adam Small: How you doing today, Kim?
Kimberly Small: Doing great.
Adam Small: Great, great. And we have a special guest in the room with us today. This is actually our second time with her. It’s Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors, and she is the Vice President of Communications there. Hi, Stacey. How are you?
Stacey Hartman: Hi, Adam. I’m very well. Hi, Kimberly. Hi everybody.
Adam Small: Great. So Stacey, we wanted to talk to you today a little bit about agents and showcasing their expertise, but before we get into that, let’s learn a little bit about you. So, how long have you been with the Indiana Association of Realtors?
Stacey Hartman: In May, I celebrated my 11th anniversary, working for the Indiana Association of Realtors. I have enjoyed every minute. Every day is a different day, just like it is for our brokers.
Adam Small: So 11 years, and in that time, you probably learned an awful lot about real estate agents. What did you do before that though?
Stacey Hartman: Gosh, Adam, I didn’t realize that we were going to dig deep here. No, I’m happy to tell you. I attended Ball State University where I pursued a degree in political science and psychology. My first job out of the gate was working for the Indiana General Assembly. I fulfilled a couple a roles there. I worked in a media office where I cranked out press releases on what our legislators were doing, and then I also served as an assistant to a handful of state legislators. So, lots of constituent work. Keeping calendars, keeping organized. And then one of the legislators that I had worked for ran successfully as mayor of Evansville, and so I moved to Evansville and spent some time down there as his communications director, and did a lot of city government and stuff. Then got married, moved back to central Indiana, which is where I’m from, and have been with the realtors ever since.
Adam Small: So, really a lot of experience in dealing with legislative stuff, and big organizational stuff as well on a state level and all that, so and then you transitioned over into working with real estate agents. So, 11 years and you say you enjoy every day.
Stacey Hartman: I do.
Adam Small: Yeah. So that’s incredible.
Stacey Hartman: And then also married to a realtor, so I not only do this during the day, advocate and talk about their business, but then I go home and really get to see what they’re doing on a day to day basis. It’s a great reminder of how we should be communicating with people, and so yeah, I get it both ends.
Adam Small: Yeah, so you got a lot of perspective to draw on, right?
Stacey Hartman: I do, I do.
Adam Small: Great. So what are some of the things that IAR has to offer that helps agents increase their knowledge in areas in which they work, and basically from a local perspective. Because you guys cover a whole state, and there’s a lot of ground to cover in a state. So what do you do to help them on a local level?
Stacey Hartman: Well there’s a common phrase in politics that was coined by a former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill. It’s, “All politics is local,” and that’s the case with real estate. When I talk about our members to non-members, to those not in the real estate industry, I would say that realtors are truly the backbones of their communities. They are people who know what’s what. They know that the property on the corner used to be Dan’s Barber Shop, and before that it was the McHenry Insurance Company. They know the history of their communities. They know the big decisions that have been turning points in their communities. They know where to get information and so, I wouldn’t presume that the Indiana Association of Realtors lends a lot to that, because I think they come to us with that local information, but here’s what I say that we can offer.
Stacey Hartman: So, every year our association elects to do, our national association does a profile of home buyers and sellers. And we elect to do an oversample to that. So, basically we do a little extra survey work and we talk to those who have purchased property in the last calendar year, and we quiz them on about 800 different questions. Maybe not that many but it sure seems like it. So that annual profile is an amazing insight to our members’ clients. It talks about how they came to the home search process, how they chose their agent. What their thoughts were, what the biggest challenges they are. I mean it’s really, it really digs into what clients and perspective clients are thinking, and so I would suggest that everybody take a look at that, because it’s what your people are thinking.
Stacey Hartman: Then also, I would say that we, our national association actually, offers a website in an effort called House Logic. So, sometimes when you’re doing client work, it can be hard to give the advice that you need to, and so House Logic is a great resource for our members to share. It comes from a third party and it talks about home improvements, and the way to get your property sold and maybe some things, gives some advice maybe that it might be hard to get in person.
Adam Small: Kind of takes the sting out of it being personal, right?
Stacey Hartman: Exactly. Exactly.
Adam Small: Yeah, yeah. We had a customer one time tell us that they loved our drip campaigns because it was a great way for her to be able to put information like that in front of a customer without it directly coming from her, and if they didn’t appreciate it, she’d say, “Oh well, it was just automated. Don’t worry about it.” You know?
Stacey Hartman: Absolutely. That’s great. So I yeah, I would say to our members, “Go take a look at House Logic. Its got some good materials that you can use with your clients. Get to know those clients through the home buyers and sellers profile that IAR publish.” We also do market stats on a monthly basis. And our members know their neighborhoods. They can drill down and give this information, but the reason that we do it is, it tells the good, well the true and good story of real estate in Indiana. It’s a part of our lobbyist tool box, but I would say for our members, here’s why it’s valuable. And not so much with clients per se, because you’re gonna have that information in your listing services, but our report allows you to compare and contrast your area with other areas in the state, which can be a really powerful message for you to give to your local elected officials.
Stacey Hartman: Your city council people, and your mayors, and your county commissioners, to give to your community organizations, maybe you belong to a rotary, or another group or club like that, and it really lets you be the expert, but it lets you do that from a third party, so it’s not just you, Joe Smith as the broker or with a particular firm, but you’ve got a third party standing up behind you.
Adam Small: Backing you up.
Stacey Hartman: Yeah, backing you up.
Adam Small: Yeah. Nice.
Kimberly Small: So some of the other things that agents will wanna know about in the areas that they work, school’s a big one. A lot of people make moves and school is a huge consideration if they have children. So they wanna know the information about their schools. Tax information, any zoning information that might be applicable to the buyer and that kind of thing. What else should they know about, and do you have tools that address any of those?
Stacey Hartman: Yeah, actually I would say to folks, we partner with the Indiana Business Research Center within the IU’s School of Business, the Kelley School of Business, and IBRC is kind of the keeper of data for the state. Census data and all kinds of things that you might wanna know. And so, you can find out what your local government finances are like. You can give folks an idea of how your local schools are performing, utility rates, I mean you name it. What the demographics look like, and it really is a place for you to be able to show your clients that you really do know the community. So I would say that, Stats Indiana, is the name of that effort and so you can check that website out. But certainly, be knowledgeable in your schools, know what’s going on with regard to your local taxes. Know when your exemptions must be filed, and just like we at IAR serve to reduce your risk, I would say to you that some of your value as a broker is reducing your client’s risk.
Kimberly Small: We talk to our agents all the time about differentiating themselves. There’s so many realtors in any given area, and being able to stand out is sometimes hard. So, we talk to them about knowing vendors in the area, being that resource even after the sales, that you show your customer, your buyers and sellers that you know people that can help them when they’re, you know have an AC emergency or those types of things. Being that resource to them and kind of setting themself apart and continuing that relationship with the buyers and sellers after the sale or buying of the house. Knowing the restaurants and the other businesses in the area, showcasing some of those, and really just showing that you know the area in which you work.
Kimberly Small: The telling people, people work with people that they like, and so if they can show what they’re involved in, show they’re proud of the areas that they work in, show what charity things that they’re involved in. Inviting people out to join them and those types of things, but really standing out above and beyond shows not only your expertise but your commitment to the area and your knowledge of the area as well. So, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of agents do a lot of different things in order to stand out. Tell me about some of the things that have been really great.
Stacey Hartman: I think for our members really wondering about this question, you probably need not look any further than yourself. What is it that you expect from other people? What do you expect in a restaurant or a utility, or a cable company, or something like that? What kind of service do you expect? And so I would say, the agents who really know what consumers want are the agents that are standing out. Those agents who are providing information by text, who are doing video tours at their property, who just make it really easy for those consumers to reach out and contact you. Those folks who are incorporating maybe some aerial, some drone footage, giving folks the perspective, those are all really great ideas.
Stacey Hartman: And I think the agents who are also on social media online, who have a really strong online presence but who are thinking about their online presence as a dating profile and not necessarily as a resume. Those people who are personalizing themselves, making themselves approachable. So maybe on social media, you’re not just sharing your listings, but you’re sharing some of your community work and that maybe you were with your eight year old granddaughter doing this. You’re making yourself somebody that you’d like to sit down and have a beer.
Adam Small: Approachable, right?
Stacey Hartman: Yeah, approachable, that’s right. So, don’t just be about your job. Let somebody have a little insight, and I think that’s what you would expect out of somebody else that you’re gonna do business with.
Kimberly Small: Yeah, that’s great. So, on the flip side, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of things that you might cringe at that agents have done. Don’t mention any names, but …
Stacey Hartman: Oh, Kimberly, what a tight spot you’re putting me in.
Kimberly Small: But what are some of the things that you tell agents or wish agents wouldn’t do?
Stacey Hartman: Gee, how do I answer this? I would say to brokers and members listening out there is that, always keep your clients in mind. I’ll say that in my 11 years with the association, one thing that has gotten folks in the most trouble has been they forget that client relationship, and maybe they post a picture of an unsavory property on social media, or describe a client interaction that wasn’t so positive. I think that makes people question your trustworthiness and maybe how you would handle them as a client. And so I would say to our members, just keep your client first.
Kimberly Small: That makes sense.
Adam Small: So Stacey, tell me. How can agents get involved with IAR, or their local state association, and why should they be involved?
Stacey Hartman: Well make sure we have a way to communicate with you. Make sure that your local association has your best email address. We do most of our communication like everybody else through email, and I would say to you, maybe not everything is for you, but you should be getting the information that you’re entitled to, because of your membership. Follow us on social media. We’re particularly active on Facebook and Twitter. That’s a way that we share information. Ask questions. We don’t get a lot of inner activity, and so I would challenge folks, ask a question on social media. Let us know. Give us the feedback with regard to the perception of your membership. Come to some events. It’s not just about us, but it’s connecting with your peer groups all around the state. Sometimes I … This is an interesting industry, Adam, and I think we’re all competitors but we all have to get along to get to the closing table, right? And so it can be difficult for those new in the business to find mentors and good advice, because the guy next to you is your competitor, right?
Adam Small: Right, right.
Stacey Hartman: And so a statewide event helps you overcome that. Let’s say that you’re in Evansville, you can talk to somebody in Fort Wayne who’s doing the same thing to you. And it’s a little savor, same thing-
Adam Small: A little safer, right? Because …
Stacey Hartman: Yeah a little safer conversation.
Adam Small: They’re mentoring you, but they’re not in the same area, so they’re not competing with you as much, right?
Stacey Hartman: They don’t feel like they’re giving it away, if you will.
Adam Small: Right, right, right.
Stacey Hartman: So come to some events. It really will open your eyes as to what other agents are doing around the state, give you some contacts, give you a sounding board. Make you understand why the politics is so important. One thing that we don’t do a very good job at is we talk about legislation in terms of the things that we’ve been able to do proactively, but a big part of our job is the things that don’t happen. The things that we defeat. And we don’t do a great job of telling that story, so I would say, come find out why it matters and, least of all, we’re only gonna keep you for a little bit. Probably feed you, and make a friend or two and have a little fun. So, come to an event.
Adam Small: Hey, it’s a free meal it sounds like to me, I mean, I’m always up for that. Right?
Stacey Hartman: Come on Adam and Kimberly, you’re always welcome. You’re always welcome.
Adam Small: All right, great. Kim, you got anything else?
Kimberly Small: No, I think this has been great. Our agents ask us all the time, “How can I differentiate myself?” And they utilize our tools to do that, but this has been great, just getting another perspective on what they can do to stand out, and make sure that they’re always putting the customer first.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely.
Kimberly Small: So, I appreciate you being here.
Adam Small: Stacey, any final words? Anything else that you wanna throw out there?
Stacey Hartman: Happy selling. It’s a busy market and it’s a difficult market as I hear people say. They start out the gate, right now transactions. Everybody’s angry because it is such a good market. So you price the property where you think it should be, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got competing offers. And so, all of a sudden your sellers are upset with you because they think-
Adam Small: You underpriced it.
Stacey Hartman: … that you should have started high, yes. And so it’s a really competitive, interesting, hot market. And so, I would just say to you guys, I know you’re working really hard and you’re working through some tough situations. Know that we appreciate you and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.
Kimberly Small: And they can visit you at indianarealtors.com?
Stacey Hartman: That’s right, indianarealtors.com.
Adam Small: All right, great. Well, thanks for joining us today, Stacey. We really appreciate it, and I’m sure our listeners do, too. And thanks for listening, if you like what you hear, don’t forget to like us or subscribe. Have a great day.