Jody Zink Realtor

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Twitter helped me close a tough real estate deal

by Jody Zink, Realtor on June 7th, 2009

twitter_logo_headerI’ve used Twitter since early 2008, back when it was mostly geeks and before it began going mainstream. People on the outside looking in don’t quite understand it, and my trusted advisor and tech guru Ed Hunter has decided, it’s almost impossible to explain to the average person. While the Twitterverse can be overwhelming to say the least, it’s best to simply think about it as a tool to connect with other human beings and potentially build relationships.

Case in point: Clients often ask their Realtor to refer them to a reputable lender, someone they can trust who will get the deal done quickly and honestly. I have a few trusted people I refer locally. In this case, I’m an advocate of patronizing local business; after all–real estate is local and I like being able to “drop-in” and meet face to face with people I’m doing business with. It helps with accountability. In my community of real estate professionals, companies such as Lending Tree and Quicken Loans have poor reputations of doing this. So when a buyer of one of my listings deserted a local lender to work with Quicken Loans, both agents in this transaction (myself and the buyer’s agent) gasped and prepared ourselves for an even greater uphill battle. It turned out to be just that. Our Quicken contact had dropped the ball with mis-communication, unanswered calls and emails for over a week, and we were running out of time.
In my frustration, I tweeted, “Just say no to Quicken Loans. There’s nothing QUICK about it.” At which point, I received a response via Twitter from none other than Quicken Loans. Although unfortunate it came to that point, I was impressed by this. Kelly LaVaute of Quicken Loans offered to help. After explaining to her the situation, I received email from the VP of Mortgage Banking, Tim Berkmeier and even a phone call from Marketing Director, Matt Cardwell assuring me the issue had been taken to the highest level in the company and that we would make our May 28th deadline to close the this deal.

Quicken delivered on their promise and we closed on time with no more big hassles. Whether I would go out of my way to refer them to a client remains to be seen. I understand that no one is perfect and things happen out of anyone’s control. I am, however impressed that Kelly picked up the ball and ran with it, using a cutting edge tool such as Twitter that many people dismiss as frivolous. Kudos to Quicken Loans for “getting it.”

I was pleased to see that my exchange with Kelly at Quicken Loans via Twitter became a topic in a speech given by influential blogger, Steve Rubel at the MediaBistro conference June 2-3, 2009 in New York City. My conversation was mentioned in the Internet News and Marketing Pilgrim. According to Mr. Rubel, this isn’t customer service, it’s branding. I believe him. If this is the future, it’s best we pay closer attention.

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