Being a Realtor for the last 15 years, I’ve gotten used to running my business in a very specific way. As the saying goes, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Like most real estate agents, I have a full-time staff including administrative assistants, a secretary, and a receptionist. While this is all well and good, it’s undeniably a significant amount of overhead, and I’m in the business of making money. With that said, I’m always looking for new and creative ways to add efficiency to my operation.
I found a company called Apartment Ocean when I was reading one of my online forums. An agent on the forum was ecstatic about the results he saw by using an artificial intelligence technology called a Chatbot. It had something to do with his website, and communicating with his clients in a more effective manner. I didn’t completely understand how it was helping his business, but this individual was claiming that he was actually making more money and doing less work. Needless to say, he seemed jazzed about it.
Intrigued, I spent some time on my own researching the technology and was pleasantly surprised with what I found: more and more agents all giving this technology loads of praise. While this increased my confidence (and my curiosity), I still had to find out for myself exactly what this technology did, and why agents were raving about it.
Essentially, the Chatbot technology offered by Apartment Ocean acts as an intelligent virtual assistant, freeing up hours of time for busy agents. You set up an account and customize your Chatbot to say exactly what you want it to. You can make it ask specific questions, and use the same language and phrasing you do. Once you’ve got your Chatbot configured to your liking, you simply copy a line of code and paste it into your website. It’s incredibly easy. In fact, it was so easy that I was convinced that it either wouldn’t work, or I did something wrong. I’m not great with technology, so getting things right the first time is a somewhat new feeling for me.
When I had pasted the code and updated my site, it was towards the end of my workday. I checked my settings and left for the day, skeptical about what might happen. To my astonishment, I received a notification just a couple hours later that I had a new prospect. There must have been some sort of mistake. No, this was an actual client who received one of my mailers and was checking out my listings on my website.
Normally, if people go to my site, I have no idea unless they fill out the ‘contact me’ form. This Chatbot not only gathered all of my new client's pertinent information, but it found out what type of property they are looking for, their estimated budget, and requested time to close. This is about as close to having money served to you on a silver platter as it’s going to get.
The Chatbot ended up handling the vast majority of my web traffic and I was able to cut back on some employee hours and bring my overhead down. Not only that, I was closing more deals since I wasn’t wasting my time chatting up every single prospect that was thinking about buying. Using this Chatbot undoubtedly has changed the way I do business and is making me into a more efficient Realtor.