In the real estate industry, service is marketing
Interesting fact, we stopped running expensive online ads long ago but managed record sales in the last 3 months (almost one new client a day). How did we do it?
1. Listen to clients and the problems we need to solve.
2. Take pride in the work we do and don’t make empty promises.
3. Be authentic, deliver and work with integrity.
Sales doesn’t always close, as our Operations Manager Mari will occasionally attest to — they might in the future. This can be attributed to the fact that she, like the rest of us, is a straight shooter. We are upfront about what we can and cannot do when advising agency owners.
I support that. I would rather have a client that understands the value of what exactly they are buying than make sales at all costs. I want clients to understand that the fees they pay contribute to improving the overall platform for the whole community of clients. I also want agents to understand that we don’t distinguish between clients based on their bill: if your bill is R20,000 a month or R2,000 a month, you’ll get the same service from us. I guess that is why we are such a hit with independent agencies as most of these are run by entrepreneurs with aspirations to grow their businesses from nothing: they certainly don’t want to go and stand in the back of the line behind their larger competitors to get something done.
Service and integrity goes hand in hand
Another foundation in Entegral integrity. Service and integrity runs hand in hand. So we…
- Don’t overcharge clients
- Don’t badmouth competitors
- Inform everyone if something goes wrong and take responsiblity
- Give honest, sound advice, even if it costs us the sale
So we still promote the odd Facebook post for a $1 or two (just so we at least show up in the overcrowded news feeds) but we don’t have the typical marketing fund, brick-and-mortar costs (we work remote) or any dedicated sales people (gulp!) so the savings adds up.
Point is, there are ways to save money in your business by simply focusing on great service and creating value. The effects are not immediate and is more long term investment than anything else. One good review won’t help you, but in a few years, 30 great reviews makes a noticeable difference.
You need to have an infinite mindset and stay away from knee-jerk actions based on what competitors are doing. You also need to invest in your products and yourself (read health). Our Flex template language took a year to build before we released it, and the refactoring is now an ongoing process.
Showcasing your service
To build referrals you need to invest in your brand (including a great website) and ensure you channel ALL your marketing to your own brand (why are you posting portal links for your mandate?). Spend a little to perfect your logo and don’t be afraid to freshen it (and your website) up every now and then to keep up with the times. Are you clearly defining your values, service you offer and making it easy for clients to reach out to you?
We all know that real estate is about relationship management, so why not put a face to the brand? You.
People want to work with agents they can trust, before they commit to offering you the chance to sell their home, or help them find the home of their dreams. I think agent and team websites are one of the most underutilised marketing channels today for agents. Register a domain and create a permanent marketing space for YOU…showcase your service and do incremental improvements. More and more agents are doing this and you need to elevate yourself from being seen as ‘average’.
Bottom line: if you are in the real estate industry, there is no point wasting money on expensive marketing if the very foundations of great service, is not in place.