Viewing by month: February 2010

The big real estate brands and their challenges

As part of CENTURY 21 Australia, we work with a large and diverse group of people, a situation not uncommon to most franchise networks. For this reason, I find franchising particularly interesting. People aren’t the only great thing about a franchise network - it’s also widely accepted that franchising has had an unquestionable impact on the economies of many countries, being acclaimed for its contribution to GDP, retail sales, job creation and training. That belief makes me wonder however, if people believe that big brands don’t face the same challenges as small businesses. In some ways I think the challenges are sometimes even bigger.  

Some global networks such as CENTURY 21 have managed to create an incredible level of growth and brand awareness but the perception that some international brands are invincible, even the likes of McDonalds, is misplaced. Like any business, and especially during times of economic uncertainty, franchise groups face changing market conditions and the need for change to remain competitive. In the case of CENTURY 21, our offices are independently owned and operated, so although we are an international brand, your local CENTURY 21 office is actually also a small business.  Regardless of their size, in the current economic conditions, smart companies operating in competitive environments are working very hard to operate more efficiently. This often involves testing high yielding new initiatives and introducing new ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. If you look at McDonalds as an example,  initiatives they have introduced in the not so distant past have included menu changes, operational changes, restaurant layout tests, operating certain support functions offshore and the introduction of new services like wireless Internet access.

McDonald's is also promoting a much greater focus on quality in a further attempt to differentiate itself from others. Interestingly, the increased emphasis on quality monitoring has reputedly led more US franchisees to leave the system in the past twelve months than had exited in the previous five years. CENTURY 21 also prides itself on striving to provide quality service and advice to our customers, but I am happy to say that even in these tough times, our network is continuing to grow. It seems our focus on quality is having the opposite effect to that at McDonald’s and is attracting the type of people who are good enough to uphold the brand.  

Regardless of in which area of business a prospective franchisee is interested, someone considering joining a franchise group needs to assess the company and market they are interested in before setline on an individual franchise opportunity. Like I am proud to say CENTURY 21 does, a franchisor should know its industry, the trends affecting it, and be able to demonstrate a clear vision for how future challenges will be addressed. 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 22/02/2010 at 11:20 AM | Categories:

Beating the real estate competition

In the real estate business, we all have competitors, some of which can be a little too close for comfort at times, but it’s the nature of the game. It’s also a way to ensure you stay on your toes and work to the best of your ability. Winning business is about providing the most professional level of service possible, and at CENTURY 21 we pride ourselves on training everyone who works with us to do just that.

I read a very interesting article last week which demonstrated the lengths that some people go to in order to outdo their competition – but in completely the wrong way! In Fort Mill, South Carolina, a real estate agent ended up in handcuffs after he was caught on tape removing his competitor’s business signs. Allegedly he was seen vandalizing the sign, cutting it down and then stomping on it. Although the mental pictures this conjured up for me did make me laugh, in reality it’s really not funny and being unable to handle your natural competition to that extent is a sure sign you shouldn’t be in the business.

The owner of the signs in question had planted a hidden camera after five months of continually losing signs or having them vandalized. It was his former boss that he caught on tape, and he’s claiming no wrong doing. Despite admitting that the pair parted ways on less than ideal terms, this kind of retaliation can never be tolerated. Behaving in a less than professional – and in this case illegal – manner towards your competitors is only going to be to your detriment in the long run.

If you're ready to get ahead of your competition, talk to us today about becoming part of the world's largest name in real estate - CENTURY 21.   
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 19/02/2010 at 11:28 AM | Categories:

Becoming part of the real estate industry

Did you know that on average an Australian will change their career ten times? TEN TIMES!

Many people say there are certain types of people that are better at certain types of jobs, and for the most part I have to say I agree. After all, stereotypes aren’t created in a vacuum. People who end up as nurses tend to be caring, people who end up as lawyers aren’t afraid of a fight and so on. I can also admit that as far as stereotypes go, we in the real estate industry definitely have our own, although when I look at the CENTURY 21 Australia network I strongly dispute them!

When it comes to looking at personality types and career choices, I do take real estate as a pretty good example. If someone who isn’t driven, passionate and very much a people-person enters this industry, chances are they aren’t going to last that long. I can admit that when the real estate market was booming, which it was until the end of 2008, real estate did become somewhat flooded with agents and salespeople who weren’t necessarily of the required breed. When everyone has money to buy and there is plenty on the market to sell, it’s not necessarily your level of skill that makes you successful. However, the economic downturn we are experiencing globally has definitely resulted in a bit of a weeding process in the real estate industry, and it’s certainly separating the true professionals from the rest in this industry.

The type of people you want helping you with your real estate decisions will be the ones who are still keeping their cool, playing by the rules and getting the job done.If you're that type of person, maybe a career in real estate is for you. If you're interested in discussing become a CENTURY 21 franchise owner, contact us today.

  
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 18/02/2010 at 9:47 AM | Categories:

In real estate, customer service is key

I’ve talked about the importance of customer service previously, and I can confidently say that CENTURY 21 Australia prides itself on the level of customer service we provide. Even when times were booming, our Offices were striving to work harder and smarter for their customers. Now in the current market where many people are facing property challenges, there are no excuses not to be going above and beyond when it comes to helping people through these often stressful transactions.

  

The core of the customer service attitude exercised by CENTURY 21 is the belief that selling real estate is more than those three words imply. Working in this industry, we are charged with assisting people through what is considered one of the most significant and stressful events in a person’s life. In particular, the process of moving house involves a lot more than just your real estate agent – you will be possibly be considering storage, removalists, cleaners and insurance amongst a myriad of other things. If your new home needs work you’ll be looking at trades people, or if you’re purchasing a house with a pool you’ll be considering pool security and maintenance. For many, this growing list of things to do means the process can become a daunting one.

CENTURY 21 partners with relevant and trusted suppliers to help ease as much of this stress as we can. Being able to put you in direct contact with the likes of surveyors, instant storage and utility connection services can reduce what is otherwise a very long list of things to do! Talk to your agent about how we can assist with more than just finding you your dream home.    


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 17/02/2010 at 4:11 PM | Categories:

Business success is up to you

The importance of professionalism in the real estate game cannot be underestimated. In fact, if you want to succeed in any business, if your focus isn't on exactly that, chances are it isn't going to happen. At CENTURY 21 Australia we pride ourselves on our level of expertise and how this is delivered. In any walk of life, how you handle yourself is (more often than not) intrinsically linked to your success. Success is not an accident – it happens on purpose, when you make it happen.

Being a success in the real estate game is down to hard work and passion. When it comes to this market, it has always been incredibly important for an agent to communicate their value to a prospective seller. Regardless of whether or not the market is booming or faltering, it is an agent’s professionalism and expertise that will win business and create success. Some may think that a property boom means agents don’t need to try as hard to work for their clients, but when there is so much choice out there, the opposite is often true. Similarly, when times are tough, sellers know that there will be others vying for their listing should their chosen agent let them down.

In a nutshell, an agent can never cease to do their absolute best for their customer. Again as with many aspects of life, to be a success, it is imperative in this industry that agents continue to learn. No matter how good an agent is, there is always someone better. An agent should be seeking these people out to try and share in their knowledge. It’s important as an agent to know what trends are taking place, how many days on market is the norm for a suburb and average listing prices should be top of mind. It’s not hard to do – use online tools, attend seminars, network with leaders in the industry and more importantly – get out there and see houses! Lots of them!

Success is earned and success is created. To be successful in real estate, it helps to have the world's biggest name in real estate behind you. If you're considering becoming a CENTURY 21 franchisee, contact us today. Success is waiting!

 
0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 11/02/2010 at 12:46 PM | Categories: