The Evolution of The Modern Display Suite. How Does Yours Compare?

BRING YOUR IDEAS TO LIFE WITH
THE MODERN INTERACTIVE DISPLAY!

  •  Interactive 3D Building Rotations
  • The perfect exhibition or seminar presentation tool
  • Augmented Reality Experience
  • A mobile application ideal for international sales trips
  • High Definition Projection
  • Ability to shortlist and reserve lots simply and easily
  • Map and nominate your very own points of interest
  • Tabletop and Mounted Touchscreens
  • Showcase your projects lifestyle
  • ..and much, much more!

The modern display suite has rapidly evolved becoming more upwardly mobile and immersive than ever before replacing traditional property marketing mediums.
Experiential marketing is king to the client, touch-see-feel. In order to sell property,
virtual reality representations of your projects are now must-haves.

Whether it is an interactive display suite touchscreen solution to bring your project to life or an interactive app empowering your sales team with tools to sell more property, Brightfox are here to help by developing your next display suite solution.

Contact us now for an obligation free quote on (07) 3177 0505 and
ensure your displays are giving your projects justice.

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Why salespeople hate CRM? (& our solution!)

Why is it that salespeople generally dislike and do not use CRM software implemented by the Company that they work for?

After all as commission based salespeople don’t they stand to benefit from the primary reason CRM exists – to improve sales!

To start with you might even question this proposition. Perhaps in your organisation your salespeople do use your CRM. That is great if they do, but let me assure you that in most organisations with CRM software, the greatest problem with true implementation is getting salespeople to adopt and use the software. Over the 20 years that we have been building and implementing CRM software in the property industry, this has been and continues to be the single most difficult issue.

In the property industry we can charactarise a number of reasons that management elect to implement CRM software. We believe they are:

– improve sales

– improve systemisation

– provide better data clarity

– reduce costs

– reduce risk

I will go through each in turn:

1. Improve Sales. This is the most obvious reason and ostensibly the primary reason for putting in a CRM. “Lets capture every lead, put in sales source automation, coupled with fully integrated database marketing, and lets see our sales rates improve”.

2. Improve systemisation. In the property industry this includes everything from capturing leads, then implementing systematic database marketing, price list management, contract administration, financial reporting and so on. The implementation of a system to manage this entire process is a compelling reason to implement a CRM.

3. Provide better data clarity. A CRM should provide clear and realtime data on everything from leads, to live price lists, contract status, financial exposure and so on. All critical information to be a successful property business.

4. Reduce Costs. This is really a by-product of Point 2 – Improve Systemisation. Through implementing a CRM successfully, you should be able to reduce operational costs in your business.

5. Reduce Risk. This is not raised as often as it should be as a reason to implement a CRM. By centralising your company data into a single ‘silo’ you will eliminate significant risk in that data walking out the door, being lost and generally misused. Data is becoming an increasingly valuable asset to all property businesses, and a CRM should be an essential tool for collating and securing that data. Through systemisation of your business CRM will also reduce a businesses reliance on specific personnel, reducing the impact on any one or multiple employee’s leaving.

Quality CRM software is now generally good at delivering on the last 4 of these points. Industry specific software such as our foxEnterpriseCRM, are particularly powerful at Point 2 through many years of continuous optimisation to meet the specific needs of property developers, project marketers, investment groups and so on.

Point 1 – improving sales is however still a significant challenge for almost every CRM implementation I have seen. Why you might ask? The answer is simple. If you salespeople do not systematically use your CRM software, your sales pipeline has failed at the very point where it starts. If your salespeople are not entering new leads, are not updating leads as and when they communicate with them, if they are not following your automated activity plans, and not even accessing live price lists and other essential sales information via the CRM, then your attempt to improve sales through improved conversion rates, cross selling, database marketing or other techniques will fail…. or at the very least will struggle.

So we come back to the question at hand: Why do salespeople hate CRM? I will pose this in another way. What do salespeople want in a CRM? In our view it is the following:

1. Software that is easy to use.

2. Software that helps them perform their sales or admin tasks more easily.

3. Software that gives them the essential sales information they need (live price lists, sales kits, floor plans, fly throughs etc)

4. Software that is available to use no matter where they are

I have included below a screen grab of Salesforce, reputably the most popular CRM in the world.

The No 1 reason salespeople do not use CRM software is complexity. CRM software is just too complicated and confusing to use. When looking at this Salesforce screen grab there is nothing ostensibly easy about reading and certainly entering this data. Lots of of fields, lots of categories, lots of buttons. If you use the toolbar and start going into Accounts, then Opportunities and so on it just gets worse and worse.  If this software was developed and implement for salespeople, as every CRM vendor purports, just why has it ended up being so complex and difficult to use!

I am not just picking on Salesforce here. The is no CRM software that is as powerful and as full of features as our own foxEnterpriseCRM. For 20 years we have been customising and improving it with feature after feature to meet the specific needs of the property industry. The answer as to why foxEnterpriseCRM and other CRM software is just so complex can be found on my earlier points on why CRM software is implemented in the first place. As pointed out earlier CRM software is expected to do a lot more than just help salespeople make sales. Points 2 through to Pt 5 above all have nothing to do with salespeople and helping them make more sales. Each of them are fundamentally important reasons to implement a CRM however, so we can not say that a CRM should be developed solely for the needs of a salesperson. Marketing Departments, Contract Administration teams, Customer Service and Handover teams, Management and so on all have detailed requirements, and the CRM software has to meet all of them. By virtue of this, the CRM inevitably and inexorably morphs into a complicated beast that salespeople will simply not use.

If you have read this far then you are desperate to know the solution (or are a competitor of ours!). So I will let you out of your misery. The answer is you need 2 CRM’s. One for your salespeople, and one for your admin team!

One that gives your salespeople exactly what they want and need, and another that gives your administration staff exactly what they want and need. We think this is a revolutionary idea and is going to change forever how people think of CRM software. We are calling it CRM V2

One size does not fit all. One CRM does not work for all! Your current CRM almost certainly does not work for your sales team. So we have developed and launched a new CRM that runs side by side with foxEnterprise CRM – its called SalesCRM and as the name suggests it is made exclusively for salespeople. It is easy to use, beautiful, fast, available on every device and did I say simple to use! And it works.

Your salespeople will love it, and your management team will love foxEnterprise. Two CRM’s, working as one representing a whole new approach a successful CRM implementation.

Park Residences Interactive iPad Solution for Conrad Properties

As one of Australasia’s leading apartment developers with over 17 years experience in developing successful projects in Australasia (particularly in New Zealand), Conrad Properties approached Brightfox to begin developing interactive iPad solutions for use by their agents in their display suites and by their network of referral agents throughout South East Asia at Seminars and Property Road shows.

Park Residences

With the release of their latest development, Park Residences, Conrad Properties approached Brightfox to develop an interactive iPad solution. Consisting of 225 apartments over 28 floors in the heart of Auckland, Conrad Properties needed a solution that would help showcase the project to prospective purchasers both locally and internationally.

App Layout

The resulting product allows sales agents to take prospective purchasers on a ‘guided tour’ of the project. With image galleries, project video and an interactive rotating 3D model; users are able to not only showcase the development but navigate to specific levels and apartments for more in-depth information including views, floor plans and property details.

With a dedicated and highly successful team along with a myriad of successful projects in various stages of completion, construction & planning; 2014 is looking like a bright year of innovation for both Conrad Properties and Brightfox. To find out more about our interactive iPad and Touch screen solutions visit our website.

HTML5 in mobile and web development

You may or may not have heard the term ‘HTML 5’ used lately when discussing the future of web development and in particular the future of mobile web development. So what is HTML 5? HTML 5 is a browser-based programming language that can make your content more accessible and interactive. In short HTML 5 can deliver app-like usability and mobile friendly delivery in a website.

Is it worth jumping on the HTML 5 band-wagon? The continued support and growth of HTML 5 is undeniable and its capabilities were clear to Apple Inc’s CEO Steve Jobs over two years ago when in April 2010 he controversially issued a public letter that concluded that Adobe Flash would no longer be necessary to watch videos or consume web content as “new open standards such as HTML 5 will win . . .” in the mobile arena. The result of this statement? Apple does not support Flash based content on any iPad or iPhone devices and when you consider that global sales of these devices are in the region of 180 million units, that’s a whole lot of users without the ability to view your content and subsequently adobe gave up the fight and ceased development of mobile versions of flash.

With improved support for offline data storage, advanced form development and API support for complex web applications HTML 5 is clearly becoming the favoured path to follow, particularly for companies looking to avoid the increased development time & cost to publish multiple platform specific applications. Brands such as Ford, The Financial Times and Vimeo have paved the way, utilising the power of HTML 5 to develop their web based ‘apps’. According to the Burrows Communications Agency who developed the ‘Ford Showroom’ application it’s all about cross platform integration and “The cost savings of not developing twice (for multiple platforms) can add up to the hundreds of thousands . . .”

Here at Brightfox we’ve been busy building HTML5 websites (stay tuned and check out our revamped website due for release in a little over a month) and web apps for the property development industry. A new product that we have recently launched is a powerful multimedia sales tool developed for use on Tablets, and in particular for the IPAD. Combining the power of our live agent portal sales tools and our interactive display suite touch-screen solutions, we have developed a sales and presentation tool that not only allows our clients to interactively present their product to potential purchasers but also seamlessly roll their presentation into a sale utilising one dynamic tool. Stay tuned for more on this product!

Click Here to be taken to an interesting infographic about HTML 5 hosted by mycustomer.com

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Impeccable Customer Service!

Not long ago we talked about the importance of implementing CRM systems. As a winner in your industry, I hope you critically analysed your own processes and the available products out there and took immediate action.

This week we will be following up on the topic and adding to it, just like a builder will add the walls on top of a solid foundation for a multi-storey building.

 Let’s take two stories as an example:

1. Buying a Luxury Car – When you go to test drive a luxury car, let’s say a Jaguar or something similar, a good salesperson will be asking questions to get to know you; to get an understanding of who you are, what you like and more importantly what you don’t like, so that he / she can utilise this knowledge to persuade you to buy that expensive but lovely car. One sales agent I know of asks the question: What kind of music / artists do you like? When you do purchase the vehicle and return to the dealership to pick-up your new car, a stack of cd’s with all your favorite music is waiting for you!

2. Le Meridien Hotels – one of the well known, luxury hotel chains, has a unique service to ensure their clients always return to their hotels, anywhere they go in the world. So how do they get their clients to be so loyal? When you first go to one of their hotels they ask you a bunch of questions, silly things like what kind of pillows do you and your partner like (feather, downe, etc), how you like your eggs, do you like orange juice or apple juice, how do you take your coffee, etc. Silly questions right? Well, should you choose to stay with Le Meridien again, no matter where in the world you stay, when you walk into your room you will have your favourite pillow on the bed and when you wake up, your breakfast in bed will consist of your eggs prepared the way you like them, alongside your preferred morning drink, etc.!

Now the simple question you may ask, as a fellow salesperson, is how in the world did they know all this information and remember it? I can’t even remember a person’s name, let alone his / her partners name or where they work, let alone their kids’ names!

Well let me tell you that this is where the best salesperson leaves the rest trailing behind.

Just imagine, you maintain as much information about your prospective buyer or seller and even if they don’t do business with you now, you keep in touch with them (via email marketing as discussed in one of our earlier blogs) and when they do come to discuss their options with you in a year or two, you’re able to say:

“Hi Paul & Wendy! How is [insert kids names here]? Are they still at [Name of school]? Etc. And did you get my [Birthday Card /Anniversary of Purchase Letter]? . . .”

If I talked to you like that, would you feel a rapport between us? Would you like to do business with me? I hope you say yes!

How do you achieve this in your business?

Step 1: Build a strong foundation for your business with a good real estate specific CRM system.

Step 2: Capture the Data! You will need a process where you are able to capture the required information while you are on the move. This can be achieved by a paper based form which you fill out as soon as you have spoken to a prospect (buyer or seller). This information can be entered into the CRM by yourself or by your PA so as to maintain the accuracy of your CRM system.

Step 3: Implement the process. Time and again we have seen many agencies implement a fancy CRM program and even design a very good system but do not follow through. This is where your CRM supplier has to play an integral part to coach / consult with you to ensure the implementation is successfully carried out over the first 90 days. As soon as the Agency has been using the system continuously for over 90 days, it becomes second nature and the chances of falling back to the old ways of doing business will be reduced.

A Quick Brightfox Plug!

Brightfox is one of the world’s leading providers of CRM software and online marketing solutions for the property industry. We have a suite of software applications to suit individual agents, small, medium and large agencies, multi-office agencies, property developers, investment networks and retirement village developers and managers. We would welcome the opportunity to show you how we can help your busines, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Action Plan:

• If you have not finalised a CRM system as yet, please do so. And when you are talking to your supplier, please enquire on whether they provide a consulting / coaching system to ensure successful transformation of your business processes.

• Decide on what kind of information that you would like to obtain from your prospects (buyers / sellers) and put it in a form / CRM • Start collecting information today!

• Put a plan in action for sending cards to your prospects / clients for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

As always, please let us know your feedback on this or any other idea, as your feedback helps us to continuously improve these strategies. And don’t forget to pass these insights on to your friends / colleagues and help share the success!

Utilising Email Templates to create consistent communication!

Let’s talk about why you should be email marketing and how you can utilise email templates in your business to attract more buyers and sellers!

Some of the reasons that make email marketing so popular include:

*  It is one of the most cost effective methods of marketing / advertising
*  When setup correctly it is extremely simple to carryout
*  When used correctly, you can use it to become known as an expert in your local area
*  It’s instantaneous and can command a fast response

Following are 3 effective templates that you might look at creating:

1. My Profile

This is an extremely effective piece of marketing material that you can use as part of your pre-listing / initial communication process. As soon as you have an appointment set-up with a prospective vendor, just send them this email with your pre-list kit. The idea behind this email is to pre-sell yourself and your expertise / services to the prospective client, before you even meet them.

You can even add images of recent properties that you listed & sold in the local area. The Agents who use this on a regular basis find that their prospects are very impressed with the testimonials, the information about how they do business, etc.

This is exactly like giving your business card and company profile all rolled into one, which is easily accessible in their inbox and may even be forwarded to other prospects.

One of the systems we have successfully used with some of our clients, which you can easily replicate with your website / software provider, is to send this My Profile to all those who enquire online (from your websites).

For example, if a visitor sends a request for an appraisal, an automatic email will be sent to the visitor with your details (including photo, testimonials, other useful information on what a seller will want) thanking them for their enquiry and promising that you will be in contact shortly.

You can see how powerful this kind of email can be, especially in this day of instant gratification. The prospective seller feels that their request was acknowledged and they have been provided with more relevant information that they can use whilst they wait for your call. It also has the added benefit of acting as an easy referral mechanism. The prospect can also onforward your details with a simple click of the button.

2. Congratulations

This email can be used to send to both Purchasers and Vendors.

Imagine the following:

Sending a prospective purchaser an email as soon as their offer has been accepted by the Vendor congratulating them on purchasing the property. This email has the “next action” steps that the purchaser needs to take, such as organise finance, building & pest inspections, etc.

A similar email goes again when the property actually settles. However, hold on to this thought as we have another Email HTML template coming your way and the details to download it will be available in the next blog!

You can also send a similar congratulatory email to the Vendor when the property goes under contract and then when it settles.

So why do you need to send these emails and why ask for referrals now rather than wait till the property settles?

The experts in human psychology talk about RAS (Reticular Activation System), that’s a mouthful I know! What it basically means is people who are buying a property normally meet / talk / discuss with others who are also buying a property or looking to buy a property. Similarly, vendors normally talk with other vendors / prospective vendors.

The bottom line is this (30 or so days) is the best time to ask for referrals! And you can educate the vendor or buyer that you ideally work via referrals and ask them for people they know who might be interested in buying / selling. As we all know referrals really do form the core of a successful business. Understanding how to tap into the psychology of the buyer / seller to maximise the number of referrals
is therefore essential to your business.

In foxEnterprise (one of our software products), these email templates are already provided and are linked to changes in listing status. As soon as a listing goes from Listed to Under Contract, one or more emails are automatically sent to the Vendor and the Purchaser. The same thing happens when the listing status moves from Under Contract to Settled. These emails are automatically sent out when these triggers happen, without you or your PA having to remember to do them and physically spend the time doing these routine activities. Systemisation of your customer service processes in this way really does make these initiatives achievable.

Now for our plug:
If your current software system cannot do the above then perhaps you should give us a call!

3. Newsletter

This is one of the most effective marketing tools and, unfortunately, under utilised by many in the real estate industry.

It’s a simple technique but not easy to implement! That’s exactly why we diligently train our clients to gather latest local and national news (weekly) and on a monthly basis, choose maybe 2 to 3 relevant news items and send that out as part of their newsletters. When these newsletters are used in conjunction with Blogs (we will discuss on how you can setup a Blog in detail in a later blog) you will be able to cement your position as an expert in your area.

The newsletter is an extremely important piece of marketing material that you should use to keep in touch with your entire customer database. This includes prospects, current clients, past clients and your referral network. You need to think of it as your primary marketing piece for ensuring you are “top of mind’ with your customer base. Real estate is such a competitive and dynamic marketplace that being top of mind with your customer base is essential to success.

How to successfully use technology in the Retirement Village Sector

Below is an interview I had recently with the Sales & Marketing Director of publically listed retirement village operator Aevum Ltd in which we discussed how to use technology in the retirement village sector.

Cameron: Much is made of the need to use technology in a modern company to improve sales & marketing. In your experience what effect has technology actually had?

Karen: Having grown from an owner/operator of 4 villages to 21 villages in just over 2 years, part of our growth strategy had to encompass significant improvements to our internal technology. To summarise, the investment in technology has resulted in huge improvements in the integration and streamlining our sales systems and processes, the creation of efficient and relevant reporting, the creation of great direct marketing opportunities and significant improvements in the communications process, both internally and externally with all stakeholders.

 

Cameron: Technology such as the internet and email marketing are usually associated with today’s youth, and not people of retirement age. Are these technologies relevant to your business and if so, how are you using them effectively?

Karen: It has been clearly researched and reported that Ageing Australians are driving Internet Growth. In mid 2008 we revolutionized our website to ensure that we were in a position to capture the growing number of ‘web generated’ enquiries. We also realized that our target market have a lot of time available  to research their retirement options on-line, hence a key objective was to ensure that our web was rich with relevant information. Marketers who assume that a large percentage of our primary target audience is not ‘web savvy’ are missing out on huge opportunities. We also know from experience that the influencer (family or friends of our primary market) play a large role in the decision making process and are definitely predisposed to doing their research on-line in the first instance.

 

Cameron: I know you recently implemented a new CRM system. How important is building this client and prospect database to Aevum?

Karen: This is marketing 101 for Aevum! Today’s prospects are tomorrow’s purchasers in this industry. Our broad marketing strategy is underpinned by a very strong direct marketing focus that is targeted at maintaining a consistent dialogue with all the prospects on our database. Building upon our database strategy, we also take this one step further by focusing on building quality ‘Priority Waiting Lists’ for our villages where a prospect registers their interest in a specific style of unit for a refundable fee of $200. This strategy significantly reduces our reliance upon expensive above-the-line marketing when dwellings become available for sale.

  

Cameron: One of the difficulties in implementing a CRM system is ensuring that your staff use it. Given that the average age of salespeople in the industry is high, has computer skills been an issue in getting your staff to use CRM?

Karen: No matter what the age, we are all generally reluctant to adopt change in the first instance unless we can see the ‘perceived benefit’. The vast majority of our sales staff is up-to-speed with a basic windows environment and have reacted positively to the introduction of a new CRM system. The key to success I believe lies not only in the initial training, but re-investing in regular on-going training to maximize the functionality of the system for all users.

  

Cameron: Late last year you also launched the new Aevum website. What has been the effect of this on your sales and marketing?

Karen: This has made a huge improvement to our lead generation and subsequent sales conversion rates, not to mention the marketing cost efficiency. As I noted earlier, an integral part of our re-design strategy was to ensure that our site was rich with relevant information. The integration of a dedicated ‘For Sale’ section that allows the user to search for specific retirement accommodation options by location, village name or price has generated extremely positive feedback and more importantly, great results!

  

Cameron: How common is it to find personal PC’s in your resident’s units now? Do you see this becoming a more common trend?

Karen: This is a huge emerging trend. We proactively survey our residents on a regular basis to obtain feedback in relation to their social interests, internet usage, resident satisfaction levels, suggestions for improvements, etc. Not surprisingly, internet usage continues to increase year-on-year. In support of this growing trend, we have also introduced computers and internet access into some of our village community facilities for the use and benefit of all residents.

 

Cameron: It is now pretty common place in many business sectors to communicate with clients via email and even customer service websites?

Karen: I think it is far to say that the Aged Care Sector has been slow to adopt using technology in this way. Do you see technologies such as these playing a role in the future? I think the industry as a whole is becoming a lot savvier when it comes to the options available in relation to communication technology and its subsequent benefits. The evolution of websites in this sector over the past 12-18 months and the increasing integration of customized systems is evidence that the industry is adopting new technology and I am sure you will see a lot more of this in the near future as operators look to improve their levels of communication and customer service.

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Brightfox developed the Aevum Ltd websiteand also supplied to Aevum Ltd its leading software, foxEnterprise, that Aevum use as the company wide CRM, Sales Management and Property Management software.

Where to find some great tips on using technology in realestate?

If you are involved in real estate and you use technology (who doesn’t) then you need to sign up for our 50 Bright Ideas weekly email. Covering everything from CRM, how to build a great website, how to carry out email marketing, how to generate referrals, how to use youtub.com, facebook.com and twitter.com in your business and much much more.

Some great ideas in here – but also and most importantly, it is packed with action steps and templates that make it very easy for you to get started.

So if you want 50 FREE Bright Ideas for real estate marketing, go to http://50ideas.brightox.com.au

50 Bright Ideas launched to help and guide Australian & New Zealand Real Estate Industries

It is a tough market out there and we know that many agents are finding business difficult. To assist agents and agencies on improving their business in these tough times, we have recently launch a free weekly email called ’50 Bright Ideas’ which will send a new business idea to agents each week. Each week we will email a new business idea used by one (or many) of the leading agents around the world. Having recognised however that an idea without execution is a wasted idea, we are also including suggestions on how to implement the idea into your business.

So in a nutshell, our ’50 Bright Ideas’ campaign is a FREE weekly email that all agents and agencies can subscribe to, that send you a great new business idea and suggestions on how to implement the idea into your business.

You can register for these Bright ideas by visiting http://50ideas.brightfox.com.au/ .

We have seen many companies selling similar information for well over hundreds of dollars. However we have decided to impart this knowledge for Free. When you sign-up for 50 bright ideas you will also receive 3 professionally designed HTML templates that you can use immediately – straight out of the box.

Of course we don’t think for a second that we are the only people with great ideas on how to run a real estate business, so if you have suggestions or would like to contribute to our weekly emails, we would love to hear from you. Simply email us at 50brightideas@brightfox.com.au.

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.”