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— by Scott Hack

Want better answers? Ask better questions!

Participation in Facebook groups like Lab Coat Agents at times can get a little maddening. There is a finite amount of new information available. Other than that, it seems to be the same rehash of the same information over and over… and I don’t say that as a negative thing. POSITIVE reinforcement of best practices and tips on not chasing shiny objects is an amazing and worthwhile endeavor. Weekly reminders of best practices help to serve as course corrections while we navigate the choppy waters of real estate sales and marketing. 

If you ever want to get groans from nearly 80K people, ask a question about CRMs or website vendors in any real estate Facebook group. Most of the groans will happen because the question is very common and repetitive, but honestly… that isn’t even the issue. The real issue is the questions are just bad. I’m not saying the questions are invalid, or not important. I’m also ignoring the repetitive nature of the posts because that honestly doesn’t bother me. New people enter the business on a daily basis and the need for answering this basic information remains. Technology also changes on a daily basis. A company that was the clear and away favorite 3 years ago might not get the same glowing review today. What I’m saying is that the questions being asked do not include enough information or details about the poster’s needs. 

Asking an open ended question about websites or CRMs is just an invitation for a popularity contest. Each person is going to respond with what they are currently using. What I use is different than what thousands of other people use. In any given month there are 25+ viable options for website vendors. Many that are considered “All In One” companies where they provide a CRM, texting ability, action plans, etc. There is also obviously a cost associated with these platforms that sometimes dictate the feasibility for someone to use the platform. There might be additional costs and resources needed to run, maintain, or drive traffic to the platforms. 

As an example: “What website vendor is the best?” – That is a bad question. There are no parameters, the poster hasn’t identified their desire or goals. That is like asking everyone, what’s the best car? Cars come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of practical uses and costs. If you want better answers, ask better questions! 

Building a better question

A better question would be: “What website vendor is the best if I want to spend less than $500 a month, and have the ability to send text messages?” In this question, we have added a cost parameter of $500 and included a required feature of text messaging. Both help frame the poster’s needs. An even better question would be: “What website vendor is the best if I want to spend less than $1000 a month including PPC budget, has the ability to send text messages and do action plans and I can reasonably expect to generate at least 50 leads a month?” In this question we have established parameters, we have included features or benefits AND included an end goal. 

This is no different than qualifying a home buyer. We don’t let people just tell us that they want to buy a house. We ask qualifying questions to find out what their budget is. We ask if they need a certain number of bedrooms. We ask if they want to be in a certain part of town. We find out how much they want to spend. When asking a question in a forum or Facebook group, we don’t have the luxury of asking that information when we give a response, which means we have to give generic answers. 

If you ask generic questions, you’ll get generic answers. If you want specific answers, ask specific questions. Use features and parameters to frame your question. Will you get less responses? Probably, but the quality of your responses will be infinitely better! 

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