How Large Property Developers are Targeting an International Audience

Property Developers and Project Marketers Australia-wide have been casting a global net to try and reach buyers. Competing on a global stage to attract these international buyers is becoming increasingly difficult, demanding new and innovative ways to differentiate your project.

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At Brightfox, we create interactive applications for Touchscreens and Tablets. These tools use the power of the latest innovative technology and our proprietary foxSuite software to create a rich multimedia solution that takes takes sales presentations to new heights.

Demand for interactive applications from Property Developers has never been so high. This demand is being driven by savvy buyers and savvy agents. The buyers of today expect an information-rich experience, and are drawn into developments offering this. Agents demand the best tools for presenting to their clients. Our Touchscreen and Tablet Apps do both.

Built from the ground up to sell property in every market, in every language, our Touchscreen and Tablet Apps are truly international. Most commonly they are deployed in both English and Chinese, immediately being available to the majority of property investors interested in the Australia, New Zealand, US, Canadian and UK markets.

Our most recent iteration of our Interactive Property Apps was created for international developer Frasers Property for the latest project launch at Hamilton Reach, in Brisbane Australia. A large multi-stage Project built along the Brisbane River, this Project is the pinnacle of riverfront and riverside living in Brisbane. Nothing can compare to visiting this Project in person, but if you can not be on site, our Tablet App is the next best thing.

Our foxSuite Tablet App has given Frasers Property the ability to give internal and external agents located in Australia, HK and mainland China, an interactive sales tool which can be used to present to prospects anywhere at anytime, delivering a truly powerful multimedia presentation that enables both agent and purchaser to explore every aspect of the project, its surrounds and the greater Brisbane region. Our foxSuite Tablet Apps make every agent look and present as a true professional, making every presentation a winner.

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 interactive application solution.

Contact us now for an obligation free quote on (07) 3177 0505 and
ensure your reaching the global audience your project deserves.

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!

Real Estate Agents warned against breaching Spam Act in Australia

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We have long advocated the use of opt in only databases used for email marketing. You simply can get far too much negative feedback, poor publicity and can even get blacklisted if your email marketing becomes SPAM.

Regardless of how you built your database, you simply must always include the ability to unsubscribe or instructions on how to unsubscribe. This is simply good business practice, and in some countries, a legal requirement. In Australia it has been law for some years now to include the ability to unsubscribe from any bulk marketing email and it is not starting to be rigorously enforced.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to an Australian Real Estate Agency for breaching the Spam Act. Danielou Pty Ltd, trading as Elders Real Estate Wollongong, breached the Spam Act by sending emails without an unsubscribe facility.

The full press release is provided below:

“Real estate agency breaches the Spam Act

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued a formal warning to Danielou Pty Ltd, trading as Elders Real Estate Wollongong, following an investigation that found the real estate agency breached the Spam Act 2003 by sending commercial electronic messages without an unsubscribe facility.

‘This is the first enforcement measure taken against a real estate agent since an ACMA awareness campaign about unsolicited communications targeted at the real estate sector,’ said Chris Cheah, acting Chairman of the ACMA.

The campaign was held in response to the ACMA’s concerns about widespread non-compliance with marketing obligations by members of the real estate sector. The ACMA wrote to more than forty head offices of leading real estate franchisors and companies in 2009, informing them of key obligations and providing links to online training and resources to increase awareness of legal obligations and of the consequences of non-compliance.

‘It is disappointing that some real estate agents do not appear to have taken the opportunity to understand the requirements for complying with the Spam Act,’ Mr Cheah said.

The ACMA has a tiered approach to compliance and enforcement. While education is the first step, stronger enforcement action will be used if compliance is not achieved.

‘Real estate agents should consider themselves to be on notice,’ Mr Cheah added. ‘Members of the industry need to understand that, even when they are dealing with potential buyers on a one-to-one basis, these interactions are commercial and they need to comply with spam and telemarketing laws.’

Commercial electronic messages must be sent with the recipient’s consent and include a statement that the recipient can use an electronic address, provided in the message, to send an unsubscribe request. During the course of this investigation, the ACMA identified messages sent by Elders Real Estate Wollongong that did not contain unsubscribe wording to this effect.

The ACMA has taken a wide range of enforcement action against non-compliant ‘spammers’ in the last twelve months, including recent action in the Federal Court which resulted in significant penalties being imposed on both individuals and companies.

Under the Spam Act, potential penalties of up to $1.1 million per day may be imposed by the Federal Court for repeat offenders”

The simple rule is always include the following text or something to this effect:

Important Information: If you are not the intended recipient, please ignore this email. This communication has been prepared by . To unsubscribe from this email please reply with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line.

Cityscape Dubai 2009

Cityscape Dubai 2009 launched today and I was in attendance. Numbers are vastly down on last year – I would guess about 75% down. Having said that it was still busy, which says a lot about how crazily busy it used to be!

This is the first time in 4 years that we have not had a booth at Cityscape Dubai, primarily because we choose the exhibit at Cityscape Abu Dhabi earlier in the year.

It will no doubt be a more subdued year in terms of visitor numbers and deals done, but I am sure it will come back stronger next year, and we will be there again.

Even though we are not exhibiting at Cityscape this year we are running some great Cityscape specials, so if you are looking to purchase a new software solution for your business, I encourage you to contact us asap.

Brightfox Launch New Mobile Website Service

Brightfox today announce the launch of a new service called R.E.Mobile to build websites compatable with and optimised for viewing over mobile phones. The new R.E.Mobile service makes it very easy and cost effective for any property firm to quickly create a full mobile compatable website within weeks. Brightfox will take the existing content, including dynamic listing data for real estate offices, and build a searchable mobile friendly site that will enable the millions of mobile phone users to visit and search for properties or projects.

For more information on this product, and an example of a R.E.Mobile website, go to http://www.brightfox.com.au/au/remobile.asp

Version 6.5 of market leading foxEnterprise Software to be launched at Cityscape Abu Dhabi

The latest evolution in Brightfox’s flagship product line, foxEnterprise is about to received a major upgrade and is packed with new features design to help property firms succeed in the current tough market.

foxEnterprise is the software of choice for the region’s leading Developers, Real Estate Agencies and Property Managers. Combining CRM, Sales, Leasing, Property and Contract Administration, it is the most powerful software available and is ideal for market leading companies wanting to implement world best practice systems and processes.

In version 6.5, to be released at Cityscape Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 21st April, a broad range of new features have been added designed to simultaneously reduce operating costs whilst maximising sales and marketing opportunities.

Here are just a few of the features that are getting property professionals so excited about foxEnterprise 6.5:

– significantly reduced administrative costs through automation of key tasks

– increased sales through automation of marketing activities

– expanded leasing functionality, helping our clients to grow an essential division of their business

– a broad range of new features design to make administration easier and faster, further reducing costs whilst driving excellence in customer service.

– automatic uploading to more real estate portals, offering far wider marketing opportunities

– expanded webservices api enabling even easier integration with accounting and document management software, as well as your own corporate website

If you would like to know more about Version 6.5 of foxEnterprise and how it can benefit your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How to create a world class website for world class property developments

Barr Al Jissah

Barr Al Jissah

I was revisiting some of our old newsletters and came across this content – which was emailed out in October 2007. I think it is as relevant today as it was then, particularly as so few websites for property developments include the functionality that this site does. I find it very surpising that property developers do not demand more when it comes to internet marketing. They spend hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in the main stream media and yet usually have token websites and almost non-existent online marketing. I think it is a real oversight and is affecting the sales performance of so many projects. Given the number of property purchasers who start looking on line now (up to 80% in some countries), this really is something that property developers need to have a serious think about addressing.

Here is the original copy from that newsletter. If you are a property developer or project marketer and you would like to discuss what more you could be doing with your website or in broader online marketing, give me a call or send me an email.
——————————————————————————————————————————-

Barr Al Jissah is an exclusive development in Oman, positioned on the shores of the Arabian Sea with awe inspiring views. To market this extraordinary development, the Zubair Corporation and marketing agents PRDnationwide Oman required the very best in technology and web services and turned to Brightfox to meet those requirements.

Brightfox developed the Barr Al Jissah website so that it was both informative and attractive to view. However, to turn the website into a true sales tool Brightfox added some extraordinary new features that are sure to be implemented in other property development sites in the future.

Many websites are efficient in providing attractive images and information, but are generally out of date and act as poor sales tools.The Barr Al Jissah websites redefines what is possible with property development sites through an array of new features all designed to engage visitors, making them stay at the site for longer periods, visit more often and ultimately – to purchase.

What makes the Barr Al Jissah website possible? Seamless integration with foxEnterprise, the world’s leading CRM, Sales, Marketing and Contract Administration software. By integrating foxEnterprise with their new website, the Barr Al Jissah sales team can upload and maintain their properties on the site without advanced technical know-how.

While the Barr Al Jissah website has many extraordinary features, we have outlined a few key elements that give the website a distinct competitive advantage. These innovative features are what transform the Barr Al Jissah website into an effective sales tool, and will become the ‘must have’ features for leading Projects around the world.

Interactive master plan map
Visitors to the master plan can view the master plan map, and ultimately which properties are still available for sale. Further information can be obtained by clicking on the available property.
An informative window about the specific property pops up which contains pictures, floor plans, a photo gallery and price for the visitor to peruse. The visitor can also zoom in for a closer look at the properties
Photo Gallery & Slide Shows
Each individual property has its own photo gallery, which can be accessed via the Master Plan. Alternatively visitors to the Bar Al Jissah website can view individual images or a slide show about the area and the development.
Client Portal
Every purchaser is able to logon via the website and get access to secure private information on their own contracts. With purchasers around the world, this makes providing project updates, contract adjustments and other important contractual information easy and fast. Just as internet banking has taken the world by storm, secure client portals such as this will soon become standard in the industry.
Google Movie
Using Google Earth and Google technology, Brightfox was able to create a short movie display that highlighted Barr Al Jissah’s location, properties, facilities and master plan.

While these features are attractive and engaging for the visitor, they also aim to interact with the prospective buyer to facilitate the sale. The Barr Al Jissah has ensured that its first-class development is reflected in its premium website design, and we should not be surprised if its properties aren’t available for long.

To view the new Barr Al Jissah website, visit www.barraljissah.com

To enquire about Brightfox web design you can visit us as www.brightfox.ae

 

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.”

Web 2.0 continued…to blog or not to blog?

Another common web 2.0 ‘feature’ is the blog. While this concept has been around for many years, it only seems to be a recent feature for businesses. A blog is an online journal of commentary and chat, and usually people have written blogs regarding social ideas and life in general – for example travel blogs. However the corporate world has now taken up blogs as an innovative way to promote their company, products and services.

The best thing about a blog is that it enables organizations to build an informal dialogue with their clients and prospects. For example, General Motors runs a blog that discusses topics ranging from auto racing to car design. In the property industry, individual real estate agents are using blots to promote their experience in the market, property developers are keeping buyers in touch with new developments and so on.

Brightfox has built several websites recently that have incorporated the blogging feature, which enable the agencies with limited technical knowledge to blog for themselves as a way to keep in touch with their clients and maintain a leading edge.

Web 2.0 continued…communication with clients

Businesses from a myriad of industries are setting up their own Facebook profiles. Facebook is a social networking site with over 64 million users worldwide and specifically designed as a way for people to keep in contact with their friends. However businesses are seeing the potential and are hoping to delve into this market. While the business benefits of networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are yet to be seen, property developers and real estate firms can still embrace the idea of social networking and apply it in a more business sense.

An innovative method is the communication with clients and/or business partners via secure portals. Portals are one of our specializations that are becoming more frequently requested by our clients. They allow real estate agents, property developers and project marketers to connect online more intimately with their clients and each other.

For example, a property developer that has a large number of external agents working to sell their stock ultimately spends a lot of time emailing and faxing out updated stock lists, pricelists, construction updates, marketing material and so on. But via an agent portal – an external agent can logon to a secure website and access all this information in a live format, as well as viewing their buyers contracts and any commission owing to them, all uploaded by the developer at the click of a button.

Other innovative portals include vendor portals, where vendors can view all activities and inspections conducted on their property by the real estate agent. Another solution is for project marketers to enable developers to view the progress on the sale of their developments, activities and advertising…the possibilities are endless.