Viewing by month: April 2012

The family owned franchise – making it work

For business owners, working with family can be a highly rewarding venture.  Not only do you already know these people well and understand their strengths and weaknesses, you also get to share in your successes with loved ones. 

However, as many will know (and perhaps have experienced), there is the potential for issues to arise when running a company with family members, particularly as it becomes harder to keep your family and professional lives separate.  Circumstances such as poor market conditions or stressful financial situations can see emotions run high and relationships damaged (sometimes irreparably) as well as awkward circumstances come about with non-family members of staff.

It is therefore important for business owners, including those of real estate franchises, to remain aware of the potential risks that can arise when working with family members as well as the ways that these can be managed – in order to ensure the success of their franchise operations. 

Acknowledge the situation from the outset
Before purchasing a franchise with the intention of working with family members, real estate principals should talk through the situation with the relations who are to be involved.  This discussion should see responsibilities clearly delegated with salaries and remuneration specified – reducing the probability of confusion and upset down the track.
Don’t take work home
When working with family members there is certainly the temptation to simply carry on work-related conversations and debates after you leave the office.  Try to avoid this where possible – not only does it limit the interests you are able to enjoy outside of work, it also has the potential to alienate family members who are not involved in your business. 

Avoid bringing family issues to work
While working with loved ones might be highly enjoyable for you as the owner of a franchise, you also need to consider the working environment that you are creating for unrelated members of staff.  Being caught up in family squabbles or non-work related issues will not be enjoyable for your other members of staff, and you risk losing good quality agents if you bring such family issues to work.  In addition, too many public displays of affection can serve to make your staff uncomfortable and should be avoided. 

Despite the potential for issues to arise when working with family, there is no doubt that family owned and run organisations can be highly successful and rewarding ventures.  By acknowledging and taking steps to avoid the problems that have the potential to occur, franchise owners will better position themselves to achieve success while working prosperously with loved ones. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 27/04/2012 at 4:01 PM | Categories:

Align with local businesses and achieve word-of-mouth success for your real estate business

There is no doubt that word of mouth can be one of the most powerful forms of marketing.  People hear about the products or services of a business from a friend, family member, colleague or associate, and due to a level of shared trust and respect will, in many cases, be more inclined to engage with said business.  

For real estate agencies operating in today’s market, there is certainly no shortage of marketing mediums.  From television, radio and online advertising to social media platforms and gamifaction, organisations have a wide variety of ways to communicate with their markets.  

Yet with such resources at their disposal, there is the potential for the art of word of mouth marketing to be lost – to the great detriment of many property companies.  The irony is that word of mouth can achieve powerful results while costing a business little.  

Many organisations can find that aligning and building relationships with other operators (both real estate and non-real estate related) in their local area can generate such word of mouth business and have a positive impact on their success.  When other companies have a personal relationship with you, the owner and/or manager of a business, and understand what it is that you do, they may be more inclined to recommend your services should the opportunity arise.  

Building relationships within your community can be as simple as talking to the owner of a local coffee shop when you purchase your morning coffee.  

It could also involve you joining a community-based professionals’ forum or Chamber of Commerce, whereby you meet with other professionals to discuss issues of relevance to the community and wider market.  

Building these relationships often gives you an opportunity to connect with people and demonstrate the type of person you are outside of your profession.  Consequently, the values that you embody in an individual sense will often be associated with the real estate organisation that you run (these might include professionalism, honesty and integrity) and encourage your local associates to recommend your firm should they come into contact with someone seeking the services of a real estate agent.  

These relationships are reciprocal and if you believe in the work that a business close by is doing, you may also see it fit to recommend their services to a friend, colleague or client.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/04/2012 at 10:33 AM | Categories:

The importance of managing your database

For practitioners operating in the real estate industry today, information is one of your most valuable tools.  It is therefore incredibly important to ensure that all data captured by real estate organisations is correct and usable, as it could be the difference between simply having a large number of listings on the books and actually converting these listings to successful sales within a reasonable period of time.  

At CENTURY 21 Australia, we like to refer to the stages of data management as the ‘Four C’s’.  By having an understanding of this process, you should be able to enhance your own data systems and ensure your information is set on a path to success.  

1. Create Activity

Creating activity involves drawing people to your properties or office by getting their interest – such as through an interesting property ad, or enticing window display, etc.  Most agents are quite good at doing this.  It’s what happens once your agents draw people in that it becomes interesting.  

2. Capture Data

It is important that you as the owner and/or manager of a franchise put systems in place to encourage and make it simple for your staff to capture the data of potential clients – those who walk in the door of an open home or into your office.  This includes taking a full name, phone number, valid email address, etc.  

In addition, your agents should be encouraged to follow up with all attendees of open inspections to gain further information at a time that is more appropriate – such as buying preferences, budget, locations of interest etc.  While these people may not be suitable buyers for a listing in question, they could very well be perfect for another current or future property.  

3. Cleanse Data

Arguably one of the most essential steps of the process – data cleansing involves identifying incorrect or incomplete entries (such as bounce-back email addresses or disconnected phone lines) and modifying or removing these from your system.  Data is only helpful if it is accurate – otherwise it may serve to be a waste of time, effort and resources. 

Regular contact (or as appropriate) with your database will help to ensure that information is kept up to date and relevant.  By making a point of interacting with clients and potential clients about their buying intentions and preferences, etc, you can ensure that the data you have on file best assists your office to use it successfully.     

It is also important to respect the wishes of your clients in relation to your possession of their details. For example, if your office sends out an email campaign and receives a number of ‘unsubscribe’ requests, be sure to immediately take these names out of your system.  Those offices that continue to send correspondence to disinterested parties are at the risk of tarnishing their reputation and damaging relationships with potential clients.

4. Convert Data    

Once you have a set of correct information, there is no end to the uses for it.  Data will ultimately see agents achieve successful sales of properties, and as a result the growth and prosperity of your agency.  

Armed with data as a tool, your agents will have access to a pool of potentially interested buyers, who they can easily connect with properties that are of interest to them - according to the preferences as originally indicated and updated through the data management process.  By knowing in advance who might be an appropriate buyer of a property, agencies can potentially practice more efficiently, saving on resources and helping their clients to achieve the best possible result in the shortest period of time.  

 As you can see, the efficient management of a database is an incredibly important aspect of running a real estate business.  While the capture of data may seem simple, its uses are powerful and can have a significant impact on the success your company is able to achieve.  Investing in a data capture and cleansing system that works well for your business and agents is certainly worth considering as you look to secure the ongoing wellbeing of your organisation.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/04/2012 at 10:19 AM | Categories: