Viewing by month: April 2010

The importance of managing a database

Having names in your database does not count for much if your contacts do not hear from you on a regular basis or if the information you have is incorrect. Efficient structure and clear channels of communication are of the utmost importance when managing a successful database.   Collecting, maintaining and utilising information effectively can often have a significant impact on the core function of your business – sales. 


Efficiently gathered data is commonly viewed as a business asset.  So much so there is debate around whether or not databases should be included in company value as goodwill.  Managing your database should therefore be seen as an investment. Not only will the skills learnt processing information build both your organisation and your career, the return benefit from communicating with your client-base will prove beneficial for the business at large.


The key to unleashing a database’s value is to generate a reason to contact your contacts.  Sales in the neighbourhood, updates from within your office, birthdays and charity events can be motives to touch base with your audience. Whether members in your database require your services now, later or not at all is irrelevant.  Aim to keep your past and current clients, as well as other members of the community in the loop, ensuring your agency will immediately spring to mind whenever real estate services are required.


The starting point to any valuable database is capturing complete data.  What good is a name without a means of contact? As with any acquisition versus retention debate, as much time must be devoted to maintaining the accuracy of your current database as is devoted to acquiring new names and email addresses/phone numbers. Lucky for you CENTURY 21 encourages you to be a part of E-Sales, an effective tool which allows you to manage and grow your database (amongst other business areas) with ease.


Developing effective methods of communication is vital to any sales team or office environment. It is important for agency members to be attentive and polite, persuasive but not aggressive.  Once you have made initial contact with a person it is important not to annoy or irritate them.   Make an effort to get into the habit of following up phone calls and initial meetings with thank you emails.   Be a welcomed source of information by sending informative emails regarding recent sales or new listings. 


Try to take advantage of every contact and channel you have. Use property inspections as an opportunity to ask people if they would like to be put on your mailing list and place footers on the bottom of all emails sent out by members of your office encouraging people to subscribe to your database.  You may be surprised by how many people are interested in property and will contact you. 


Increasing and maintaining your database can be a challenge, but can also prove to be extremely rewarding.  Just remember your approach needs to be innovative and content relevant. Clear and constant communication within a well managed database structure can be key to building and utilising successful relationships. 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 22/04/2010 at 4:43 PM | Categories:

Marketing your agency through social media

Studying at the library, borrowing a video or writing a friend a letter in today’s technological world feels extremely archaic. The introduction of the internet has indeed changed the way we do things and business is no different – many methods of traditional marketing are now somewhat redundant. Although there is still a need to print brochures, mail flyers and advertise in magazines, businesses today need to seriously consider adopting social media marketing.

We live in a technological bubble where everyone who is anyone connects through the internet. The power behind social marketing is simple and strong. Follow these several easy steps and learn how to effectively expand your customer base beyond your retail store.

Make your mark
Today there is no excuse for dismissing the use of social media marketing techniques. According to Wordpress.org, 250 million people actively use Facebook and over three million messages are broadcasted each day on Twitter; social media marketing has therefore become one of the fastest online platforms for promoting, selling and communicating with your client. Being a CENTURY 21 franchise owner you have the added fortune of being able to branch off the company’s sturdy reputation as being ‘accessible, clear and expert’. Understanding the importance of marketing through the internet is vital within the property industry. Go ahead, use these tools to make your mark and connect with people.

Adapt and respond to consumer feedback
Social media marketing can assist your franchise through feedback and decision making and can lead to business development. Networking and promoting to the masses is an effective way to get the word out about your current listings, sales, products and services on offer. Adapt to social media by personalising your website, upload images, blogs and customer comments to make your site interactive, informative and creative.

Network to build your brand
There are several online networking communities that can be used to network with other professionals and potential customers. Tapping into Facebook, Twitter or YouTube can offer enormous marketing opportunity for your franchise. For instance uploading an educational video on ‘How to prepare your house for an inspection’ or a slideshow of current rentals in your area onto YouTube is an inexpensive and creative way to interact with potential customers.  

Communicate to connect
Build the CENTURY 21 brand by broadening your circle of contacts to promote your business. There are hundreds of social media sites available – stand out by paying attention to your own quality control and do not underestimate the human factor required when connecting with your potential customers. Interacting with a human voice by responding to your tweets and comments is the key to social marketing.  Acknowledging your followers will generate a loyal following and promote your business.

Overall you should aim to use the technology of today to advance your sales and contacts. Engaging in social media circles for marketing has the potential to create tangible, lasting benefits for your business.  

 


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 19/04/2010 at 3:39 PM | Categories:

How being ‘green’ from the beginning will help your agency

It is a constant source of surprise how many businesses, to this day, refuse to implement recycling and energy conservation practices, for fear of the cost to their businesses.  What these companies fail to realise is that by adopting environmentally friendly practices, a business will enjoy many tangible benefits.  For real estate agencies, where a solid reputation is an integral means of attracting sales, putting a variety of ‘green’ procedures into place will help to draw in customers, cut and control costs and position the company as being socially responsible. 

 For franchisees that are opening new CENTURY 21 offices, try to implement energy and environmentally efficient practices from the very beginning.  This also goes for offices undergoing renovation.  The installation of energy efficient lighting, air-conditioning, heating and appliances will be very similar in cost to their non-energy efficient counterparts, and will cut your business’ operating expenses substantially, increasing profitability. 

All CENTURY 21 agencies should consider purchasing environmentally friendly office supplies, such as recycled paper supplies and printer cartridges.  Energy conservation activities are also very important – the prudent management of energy is one of the most convenient and effective cost cutting measures a business can take.  Encourage agents in your office to switch off lights in closed rooms that aren’t being used such as toilets, and to turn off computer screens when leaving for the day.  Try to look into office equipment that has an energy efficiency rating, like printers and copiers, and research energy facts before you buy – laptops are much more energy efficient than PCs for example. 

In a market where environmental issues are at the fore and with consumers placing a huge emphasis on implementing greener practices in their own homes, it is definitely an unwise business move for companies not to follow suit.  From an expense perspective it is definitely in a business’ best interests to employ the most cost effective practices, which many energy efficient products have been proven to be.  

From a customer perspective, the fact that your agency has no environmental management program in place could be highly damaging to your reputation.  With the implementation of energy efficient practices in businesses becoming highly commonplace, customers are beginning to remember businesses not for their ‘greenness’ but for their lack of it.  Try to become known in your community as a socially responsible business, and reap the rewards that this image can bring!  


2 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 09/04/2010 at 9:41 AM | Categories:

Choosing a location for your agency

Location, location, location – the three little words that are so often cited as a mantra within the real estate industry.  When it comes to choosing a location for a new agency, agents should definitely follow their own advice.   

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a new office location which effectively could make or break your agency.  While budget considerations do of course need to be adhered to, so many agents fall into the trap of settling for an average location in exchange for a fantastic rental rate.  This is an error that could impede your success before you’ve even begun.    

The best real estate agencies are located in busy commercial areas with residential areas located close by.  These are the types of places where people will pop up the road to do their banking and supermarket shopping and will often just ‘drop in’ on the spur of the moment to see your real estate listings or enquire about your services.  Positioning an agency in close vicinity to a busy restaurant is also a great way to attract attention at night.  Diners walking to or from the restaurant often stop and view your agency windows and then make contact the following morning if something has caught their eye.    

High visibility is a key factor to ensure those important attention grabs.  Ideally an agency should be positioned on a busy street, so that people can see it as they drive past.  Easy accessibility from car parking areas is also an important aspect to note.  Never position your agency in an out-of-sight area – if people can’t see your business, you decrease your chances that they will remember your agency’s name the next time they need real estate services.    

Always remember, out of sight – out of mind!


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 01/04/2010 at 5:16 PM | Categories: