Viewing by month: June 2011
As a society we are undergoing radical change in the way we think at work and are embracing the importance of creativity. Creativity in the workplace is the art of turning new and imaginative ideas into productive results. Incorporating creativity into your daily activities as a CENTURY 21 real estate agent can be key to improving the effectiveness of the time and energy you put into your role.
According to the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study which surveyed 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, many CEOs believe that creativity will be required to successfully navigate an increasingly complex corporate world. The massive shifts that CEOs are faced with, including new government regulations, changes in global economic power centres, growing volumes of data and so on, can be overcome, according to the study, by instilling creativity throughout an organisation.
It is for this reason that as a real estate agent you should not just rely on traditional means of marketing and managing, but rather position yourself for success in a changing marketplace by tapping into your creative resources.
While encouraged to experiment with generating new ideas, many people may not know how to incorporate creativity in the workplace, especially if used to operating within rigid corporate systems and structures. It can certainly be difficult to restructure your approach in an environment that is heavily focused on meeting targets and building client relations. Once you have identified an area into which a creative concept may be incorporated, the challenge is to tailor and execute the idea within your real estate office to improve efficiency all round.
Creativity is about delivering fresh solutions to common problems and enhancing your competitive edge in the market. The next time you assist a client with the buying, selling or management of a property try to think outside the box wherever possible. CENTURY 21 agents who introduce new ideas to enhance their performance are set to improve their own personal success, as well as the achievements of their agency and the company as a whole.
For most of us, creativity and imagination can be easily buried by rules and stress. If you are able to understand the relationship between creativity, innovation and performance you can enhance your personal growth towards becoming a successful real estate agent.
The open inspection is an incredibly important part of selling real estate that agents need to perfect in order to achieve true success in the property industry.
Not only is an open inspection a chance to display the property at hand in its best light, it is also a chance for you as an agent to exhibit your real estate skills and professionalism, appealing to the buyer who purchases the property, as well as to those who for the time being may just be looking, but who may have a property to sell in the future.
So, what can you do to ensure your open inspections are a resounding success?
Dress professionally and respectfully
Your role as an estate agent is to complement the property you are selling – not to distract people from it. This means that your clothes must be fresh, clean and ironed. Essentially you are telling your audience that the same level of attention to detail that you put into your professional appearance will also be put into the sale of their home.
Provide appropriate take-home marketing materials
People want to leave an open inspection with a set of paperwork that answers most of the questions that could come to mind after leaving. This includes floor plans, colour photographs, recent sales in the area and of course your contact details should they have any other questions. The presentation of this marketing collateral will often be perceived as a reflection of the property itself, thus try to use professional printing and good quality paper where possible.
Use technology where suitable
There are some fantastic devices that real estate agents can use to up the ante, so to speak, at open inspections. These include the various tablets and Smart Phones available, which can be used to display information and pull up relevant data instantly in answer to questions.
However, be mindful that such technology should be used where appropriate to the demographic of your visitors. For example, in a young, tech-savvy area, using an iPad display could give your open inspection a definite competitive advantage. However, in an older market such tablets could be seen as confusing and may even do more harm than good.
Tailor the number of agents present to the number of participants expected
While it is your job to be on hand to provide information at an open inspection, you are also responsible for the security of the seller’s property. It is thus important to have only one entry and exit point to the property which is manned at all times. Another agent should be free to rove and answer questions where needed. The number of agents on hand to provide information is dependent on the number of people expected at the inspection.
Follow up with everyone
The follow up is one of the most important aspects of the open inspection. A follow up allows you to touch base with those genuinely interested in the property at hand, while also giving you the opportunity to enquire about an attendee’s future needs, potentially securing new business.
With these strategies and others that you have found to be successful in your area you will be able to execute successful open inspections – ultimately selling properties and obtaining new business.
It seems like most businesses these days are thinking about the way that various social media mechanisms can be incorporated into their marketing strategies. Whether they use them or not is a different story – smart companies understand that just like any other marketing strategy, social media needs to be evaluated in terms of its appropriateness to a business before it is implemented.
There is no doubt that social media devices such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs can be incredibly valuable marketing and networking tools for real estate agents. However if you are going to take full advantage of social media, it is important to make sure your strategy is in line with the residential market in which you operate, as well as consistent with other pieces of your marketing collateral.
CENTURY 21 Chairman and Owner, Charles Tarbey, recently appeared in the June edition of publication Real Estate Business, in an article entitled ‘Real Connections’, where he commented on the use of social media in real estate. He expressed the concern that some agents failed to consider that social media may not be appropriate for the demographics of their target market and that they just used it because other agents were having such success with it.
Charles commented that when implemented effectively, social media can allow agents to integrate themselves into the daily lives of their target audience, becoming a valued source of information regardless of whether people are looking to sell or buy.
Such successful implementation requires that real estate agents ensure consistency between their marketing collateral and online social media presence. According to Charles, internet users should come across your blog or Facebook page and be able to recognise who you are quickly. He advises that this could mean agents need to spend some time designing the look and feel of their online social media to ensure that it is consistent with the rest of their marketing collateral.
In the article, Charles names blogs as a powerful tool for real estate agents, and says that by regularly posting about interesting real estate issues of particular relevance to their locality, agents can position themselves as a valuable source of information. According to Charles, this can ensure that people regularly return to the blog for updates, and that the agent will be front of mind when it is time for their readers to sell a property.
Charles warns however, that time is a significant factor when it comes to all social medial – to maximise effectiveness your various platforms need to be monitored and comments and questions responded to.
For real estate agents it is therefore important to consider how you will most effectively manage your social media tools before jumping in head first. By ensuring a consistent message and the use of social media mechanisms that actually relate to your target demographic, you will be able to maximise the power of social media for both your personal success as a real estate agent, as well as that of your organisation.
Most people you talk to have a customer service story that sticks with them. For some it is the frustration of dealing with a company that wastes their time by making them wait on hold over the phone. For others, it is the generous loyalty discounts that allow them to return and save money on repeat purchases.
It is clear that in the retail industry customer service is key to building loyal client relationships and ensuring repeat business. It is no different in real estate.
Good real estate agents know that by providing exceptional support throughout the sales process will leave a vendor feeling positive about their experience. Great agents understand that the provision of ongoing support, well after the vendor has sold and moved, builds solid, lasting relationships, which can result in repeat business, great word of mouth referrals and steadfast client loyalty.
Providing ongoing support to your vendors does not have to be an arduous undertaking. In fact, it is usually the little, less obvious activities that are likely to leave the lasting impressions. These can occur at various stages after the actual sale of a property has taken place and your official duty as real estate agent has ended.
Selling a property, whether through auction or the acceptance of an offer, is a big deal for many people. If appropriate, it may be a nice gesture to offer your client a congratulatory gift, such as a bottle of sparkling wine/champagne or a gourmet hamper, to mark the occasion.
Packing up/moving process
Moving is not an activity that people do often and thus usually do not have trusted contacts or know-how to assist them with the process. A helpful real estate agent could stay in contact with previous clients and offer advice regarding the best removal and storage companies they have dealt with in the past – making the entire process much easier and less stressful for the vendor.
Over the long term
While your past clients undoubtedly do not want to be hearing from their real estate agent on a highly regular basis, it may be worthwhile to establish with them their interests regarding the property market, which will allow you to stay in touch to provide legitimate and helpful information.
For example, if your past clients are investors who are constantly on the lookout for properties fitting certain criteria, you may be able to catch up with them from time to time to update them on various market happenings and opportunities that may be of interest.
It is the real estate agents who stay in touch with past vendors post-sale in an unobtrusive, helpful way who will succeed in building loyal, mutually beneficial client relationships. These agents will usually enjoy excellent repeat and referral business and could become a trusted source of information.