Every real estate agent has data – from customer relationship management systems, to knowledge of the local market, email contacts, history of sales and rentals, accounting systems and access to third party market data.
So how do they use that and what do they really know about you? Kylie Davis from Core Logic RP Data, who supply a lot of this data, will explain.
Kevin: In the real estate industry, real estate agents use data for many, many things – to keep in touch with their future listings, to keep in touch with their past sellers and buyers, etc. – but there are good and bad ways to use it, and there’s a new thing called big data. Well, it’s probably not all that new, but let’s get a definition on what it is and how it’s going to impact agents and consumers. Joining me to talk about this, Kylie Davis from CoreLogic RP Data.
Good morning, Kylie.
Kylie: Hi, Kevin. How are you going?
Kevin: Well, thank you. Tell me what big data is, firstly.
Kylie: Big data is one of those catchphrases, and a lot of agents think they have big data because they know a lot about the houses in their local area, but what big data is is where you know everything about all of the properties in your area, not just the ones that you’ve transacted with, but all of the properties in your area – all of their features, when they were last sold, how long occupancy is, all of that sort of information – and then you overlay that with information from other sources.
You overlay it with information about the people who live in them and information about them and then any other information you can find so that you get a really deep and rich picture about what the area is doing.
You can then look at what past sales have done, like the behavior of people as well as the properties in past sales, and then you can overlay it across what hasn’t sold to see which are the properties that match that behavior the best, and therefore, work out what’s going to sell.
Kevin: Yes, well, I think RP Data has been around for quite a while, of course, and now known as CoreLogic RP Data, but that data that you provide agents is pretty much ownership and past sales data, and that’s what agents used to use as a bit like their spray and pray. They’d just send stuff out and hope that some of it stuck.
But it’s become a lot more refined these days, Kylie, hasn’t it?
Kylie: Absolutely. We are now working with partners like Experian, Quantium, and Greater Data to find out a lot more about the people and the behaviors of the people inside those properties, so that we can get a richer idea of what’s happening around the country.
Kevin: Can you give me a bit of an idea about how agents can best use this big data?
Kylie: Yes, sure. The first, easiest way is to use that information about the people in the properties to write better direct mail, basically. Every week, agents put thousands of fliers in everyone’s letterbox, and all they really say is “I sold a house,” “There’s a house for sale,” or “Let me sell you a house.” Everyone does it, and there’s absolutely no way of differentiating yourself if you’re doing that.
But if you’re smart and you’re combining that with testimonials – you sold somebody’s house down the road, you had a great experience with them, and you’ve helped them in a particular way – you can write to the neighbors personally, in an addressed way, rather than a flyer, and tell them the story about what you’ve done and also to help.
And we know that direct mail has a three times better open rate than just a flyer in somebody’s letterbox.
Kevin: What about agents talking to people on the phone?
Kylie: Yes, they can definitely do that, too. We’re now using big data – that information about the people in the house – to create lists for agents that help you warm up your cold calling. So instead of just calling a hundred people and trying to get one hit, we’re able to give the analytics and insights to give you a list of addresses where they haven’t sold yet but the behavior matches things that we can see that have been selling.
That gives you a warmer list of people to call, and that has about a five times greater chance of getting a hit.
Kevin: One of the big developments we’ve seen in recent times, too, is social media. Is there a way to integrate this into social media?
Kylie: There is. There’s a company called Quantium, who are one of the biggest analytic companies around customer behavior, and they’ve done a deal with Facebook. They have a thing called a QSegment. You contact them for free and they whitelist you, so that you can use their database to target people on Facebook.
You never get a list of people that you’re targeting, but you do a normal post on Facebook and you use their segmentation to tie in with things like “I want to target people on Facebook within five kilometers of my office who have three-bedroom homes, who have owned them for more than 20 years.”
You can really start to drill down into that behavior so that your post targets those people. That’s a great way of getting content out to people who are thinking of selling, useful things about your local market.
Kevin: Yes, there was a time – I guess going back even only a few years – when a lot of consumers would have felt this was a bit creepy, that the agent knew a little bit too much about me, but I think it’s a great way now that agents are connecting with future sellers and starting to build that relationship.
Kylie: Yes, I think it depends on how you do it. if you take the approach that you’re spying on people, that’s a pretty awful way to do it. It’s more about helping you understand what kind of service you can offer the best, and letting people select in and out of using that service.
Kevin: If you’re an agent and you’d like to find out a little bit more about this, there is an e-mail address you can send to and you’ll be automatically whitelisted. That is email@example.com.
Thank you very much for your time, Kylie.
Kylie: No worries. Thank you.