Why does every property developer need to systemise their business?

Your project has just hit an important stage in its development.  Your organisation is frantically producing construction updates, contacting prospects, organising advertising campaigns and trying to find where all the pre-sales enquiries were filed.  At the end of the day, the job gets done.  But could it have been done better?

 Undoubtedly, the property development and project marketing industries are founded on sales.  Usually, the sales and marketing process differs little from project to project.  However, in our industry experience we have found that sales and marketing are the least systemized processes of the whole enterprise!

Many property development and project marketing companies rely on the methods of each of their sales people to produce results.  The result is usually mayhem.  The company no longer presents a uniform, professional image to their clients and increases the risk of breakdown in the sales and administrative chain.  If you want to produce consistent and ultimately more profitable results, a system is essential to close the gap between the varying skills of your people and the skills your business needs to be the very best. 

Those developers and marketers that employ a systemized sales and marketing process equip themselves with the tools to produce results in the most efficient and profitable manner.  By utilising systemization, developers are better able to manage their resources to accomplish a project within a given time and cost restraint.  Furthermore, they optimize the use of those resources such as time, capital and manpower over the course of a project.

With technology changing the way developments are sold, most companies now cannot function without some degree of technological systemization or risk being left behind.  However, this topic does cause some concern for some developers due to the early industry producing technology that hindered rather than improved business processes.  By working in conjunction with the property industry, there is now systemized software that is designed to better align technology with the property development methodology.  Ensure that whatever software you choose to help with your systemization strategy, it must be able to customize your particular organization’s business processes.

If you want to reduce human error and make business tasks simpler and easier, it is software that can automate certain business activities.  We shall look into some of the ways that technological systemization can be employed in your business:

 

Contact Management, Lead Generation, Client Service

Applying a centralized system to the care and management of clients can have a dramatic and measurable impact on the developers and project marketer’s ability to grow.  In our experience, we have found that many developers and project marketers use systems such as spreadsheets with the names of clients, their contact information and any particular notes and activities pertaining to them.  However, as they grow and demands increase, spreadsheets can end up limiting the organisation’s potential. Spreadsheets are a way to capture information but do not enable you to analyse the information in a meaningful way.  They also do not allow to you create diarized activities and tasks relating to that information.

It is beneficial to use a software system that can combine customer relationship management (CRM) software and sales automation for your client database.  The best way to manage a prospect is to create an activity plan that is automatically generated for a contact.  For example:

 

Prospect

Activities

Time
Hot Prospect Subscribe to monthly newsletterSend information pack

Follow up call

Send email

Follow up call

Default system settings

1 day

2 days from initial contact

5 days from initial contact

1 week from initial contact

Warm Prospect

Subscribe to monthly newsletter

Send information pack

Follow up call

Send email

Follow up call

Default system settings

1 week

1 week from initial contact

2 weeks from initial contact

1 month from initial contact

Cold Prospect

Subscribe to monthly newsletter

Follow up call

Send email

Follow up call

Default system settings

2 weeks from initial contact

1 month from initial contact

Every 6 months

The software should be able to prompt your salespeople through these processes, and in some cases conduct some of these tasks automatically on behalf of the salesperson, such as sending ‘thank you’ emails. 

The system should ensure consistency in the capture and storing of client information as well as your company’s response to them.  This is relevant both for sales optimization, business reporting, as well as tracking the activities of your sales team and their relative success or otherwise.  Through the information captured, you can further identify and respond to the evolving needs and wants of your clients by using the information to constantly review your processes, and thereby making your organization increasingly effective. 

Technological systemization can assist in creating a consistent brand image that you present to your clients.  Setup professional html email templates and mail merge templates for your staff to use.  Having high-quality email and mail merge templates enables you to automate your communication, for example your software can send out automatic ‘thank you emails’ on behalf of a salesperson.

Have diarised tasks with automated prompts to ensure you send out weekly or monthly email newsletters regarding your company and/or specific project.  Integrate a response tracking system to help you automatically measure the results of your campaign. 

 

Marketing and Advertising

At the beginning of each project, a property developer or project marketing organisation should set out clear goals and methods of analysis for their sales and marketing process.  Without these methods, they subject themselves to ‘reactive marketing’ – it’s like travelling without a map.  In our work with property developers and real estate agents, we tend to find the same major problems arise again and again. 

  • The first issue: is your marketing working successfully?

Many developers and agents tend to use the old adage “Half of my marketing works; I just don’t know which half!”

How do you confront this?  An effective CRM system can enable you to track the cost of your lead generation and cost of sale.  The systematic capture of contact data and tracking of marketing campaigns enable you to review the success or failure of your marketing.  For example: if you receive 20 enquiries from your newspaper advertisement but none result in a sale, and only 5 enquiries from the internet but 4 result in a purchase – where are you going to concentrate?

  • The second issue: mismanagement of the advertising placement process. 

Many organisations encounter difficulties when trying to keep to their media schedule.  Using software to systemize this process can be a valuable tool when keeping to your media schedule.  Some systems can prompt your staff through a step by step process for advertising strategies – such as approval requests and updates.  The more automatic your system is designed to produce a marketing result, the more effective your sales will be. 

 

Stock control

Having a centralized system for your stock control is essential when selling a project.  This enables you to track each property and gives your sales staff access to live stock availability.  We find that out of date systems or spreadsheets are flawed in this regard, resulting not only in reduced customer service but can also create legal ramifications. 

While systemizing your marketing processes ensures a consistent professional image, it can also reduce sales and administrative error.  Sending out the wrong brochure can be a nuisance but if a salesperson does not have the updated price list it can leave you open to litigation.  You should not only keep your important documents in a centralised system that your staff can access, but you can also systemize your communication with your staff such as sending out automated emails when a price changes on a property or a construction update occurs.

 

Contract Administration

In property development and real estate offices around Australia, there are thousands of people involved in the day to day activities related to contract administration.  Most of them manage the same process – what letters need to go out, which people to notify when finance is due or settlement due.  However while this is one of the most important areas of the business, it is also the one that is most fraught with error.  If you are looking into systemizing your business processes, contract administration should be a primary focus.

For example, we find that a common problem is when a property is on hold for seven days, and then forgotten to be released back into the stock list for sale and agents are not advised.  A software program that can systemize your contract administration can automatically prompt your staff through the specific processes, such as emailing the salesperson and contract administrator to remind them when finance is due.  This reduces the risk of mismanagement, contract fallovers and missed sales opportunities. 

 

The way of the future

Ideally, through technological systemization, you should integrate all these elements required to make your business work.  Not only will you create a more efficient and successful enterprise, but it will also change your organization from one that is reliant on key staff skills, to one that can run smoothly throughout the years and subsequent staff turnover.  I’d like to quote Michael Gerber, the author of ‘The E-Myth’ – a bestselling book that focuses on the importance of business systemization: “Most businesses fail to fully achieve their potential. That’s because the person who owns the business doesn’t truly know how to build a company that works without him or her—which is the key.”

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