Viewing by month: January 2013

A New Year’s checklist for business success

The New Year is now well underway and, hopefully, it is proving to be promising and productive 2013 so far. Nevertheless, amidst the excitement of what lies ahead it can be easy to overlook some important business components – components that, although may seem relatively minor, could be essential to ensuring a happy and successful year ahead. 

As such, if you haven’t already planned for the year ahead, a New Year’s checklist may be in order. What follows are four checklist points to help you improve your business in 2013: 

1. Be a self aware leader: before you assess the performance of the team(s) around you it is important to critique your own business practices. Ask yourself: what needs improvement? Was there anything in particular that didn’t work for my business in 2012? Then, with a balanced and considered approach, weigh up the successes and shortfalls of the previous year and try to discern what lead you to both.  

2. Make your current and former clients feel valued: a real estate agency’s business is only as good as its client and referral base. That’s why it is important to consistently let your current and former clients know that they are valued. If your team didn’t focus on these relationships in 2012, now would be a great time to encourage such. To this end, perhaps send out some hand-written Happy New Year cards or an informative start-of-year newsletter; you may even want to consider calling up your former clients up to see if they have any property plans for the year ahead. Let your current and former clients know that they’re special, and that your team is always available to assist; you may be surprised at the results.

3. Conduct quarterly performance reviews: in larger offices, the need to administer regular performance feedback is often outweighed by time constraints. Nevertheless, whether you own a boutique office or a large agency, it is important to assess and appraise employee performance at regular intervals. To this end, you may want to consider holding quarterly performance reviews in addition to annual performance reviews. These do not have to be drawn-out, formal meetings; a ten minute chat every three months with key staff should suffice. Though this process might require a little more time up front, you will likely recoup time and value over the longer-term due to improved efficiencies and employee productivity.

4. Examine your marketing plan: when was the last time you updated your marketing plan? Are your marketing strategies still effective and relevant? Do you need a marketing revamp? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself at the start of each working year. Whether your existing marketing plan garnered notable success or you decide to implement a new strategy, taking the time to re-examine your marketing plan now – rather than later – will likely allow for a more sure-footed approach over 2013. 



1 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 25/01/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Hiring the right fit for your team

With the New Year already well underway it may be time for your agency to start employing some new agents. As with any New Year, 2013 will likely bring a variety of changes that may require your existing team to take on new faces. If this does occur, it will be important for you to consider the effect(s) that your prospective hire(s) may have on your existing team members. A candidate may be qualified, but are they the right fit? If you’ve worked hard to establish a sustainable, proactive team environment, the last thing you want to do is jeopardise it by making a bad hire.

With the view to hire a hard-working, and above all, well-suited team member, here are three essential tips to remember: 

1. Focus on mentorship: with a heavy – or increasing – workload, it can be easy to lose sight of a simple, yet crucial piece of information: that at some point, we were all new employees. That is why as circumstances change and your workers move throughout various roles, you should aim to communicate the importance of mentoring within your team. Doing such will likely help to not only foster assurance and security within your employees, but also generate a positive industry image for your agency. 

2. Crystalise expectations: remembering, too, that an interview is a communicative experience; an employee interview should aim to outline the expectations of the job. To this end, you should endeavour to make sure that candidates are aware of what they could potentially be walking into and that you, as an employer, are confident that they will be prepared. 

3. Involve your team in the process: treading the fine line between subjectivity and objectivity during an interview can sometimes be a difficult task. For instance, a candidate with whom you relate on a personal level may not necessarily fit within the existing work environment. As an employer, and a team leader, your decision to hire a new agent should be informed not only by your gut and emotions, but also the people around you. 



0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 17/01/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Online presence crucial to real estate success

We have finally entered a new year, and with it will likely come some fresh challenges and exciting opportunities. While no one can definitively say how the property market will play out over the next 12 months, the general consensus is that 2013 will be a year of stabilisation and moderate growth. 

Whatever the outcome, real estate principals are going to have to recognise what makes their market(s) tick – not just at present, but in the future as well. That is, principals should – if they haven’t already – look to implement a system and/or procedure that enables their business to identify and leverage both current and future market trends.

An interesting trend that was recently reported by Real Estate Business (REB) is a growth in the number of homebuyers conducting their real estate searches on mobile devices. 

REB references a fresh study by Google and the US-based National Association of REALTORS (NAR) entitled ‘Digital House Hunt’ that shows that almost 75 per cent of homebuyers searching online take action the same day that they begin their research. 

The report also revealed that in 2012 real estate related searches on Google.com increased by 22 per cent, and that approximately 20 per cent of all real estate related searches occurred on mobile devices – a year-over-year growth of 120 per cent.

As REB notes, these statistics are relevant to Australian real estate agencies and highlight “the need to maintain a dominant mobile-internet presence.”

In light of these findings, real estate principals should arguably be looking to hone and enhance their online presence in 2013. If a growing number of homebuyers are in fact searching online, and taking action based on these searches, it is going to be fundamentally important for agencies to maintain up-to-date, accessible and engaging web content.

As such, you may want to have a close look at your own website. Has your office’s website got current contact details and write-ups on your staff? Are your online listings effectively marketed, properly copy-edited and accompanied by high resolution images? Do you regularly upload engaging content that will help your SEO and keep homebuyers coming back to your website? 

If your answer to these questions is “no”, you may want to consider spending some extra time and resources on your website; because without a strong online presence, your business may be at a competitive disadvantage. 

To read the full REB story, visit http://rebonline.com.au/breaking-news/5876-massive-growth-in-mobile-real-estate-searches. Alternatively, to view the full NAR report, visit http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/reports/2013/Study-Digital-House-Hunt-2013-01.pdf.



0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/01/2013 at 12:00 AM | Categories: