The Business of Real Estate 2018 kicked off yesterday on the Gold Coast with real estate professionals and leaders gathering for sessions on delivering superior customer experiences to savvy consumers. Here are the top takeaways from Day One.
Does your team actually know the difference between customer service and customer experience?
If they don’t, you need to address that. You need to work out who your customer is and what they want, really drill down to it. Kylie Walsh of Di Jones says the agency is focusing on delivering four things in all aspects of their business – relevance, reliability, responsivity and convenience. Every touch point is the chance for a wow moment – you need to create that rhythm in every detail. Di Jones’ research shows that clients want same-day responses, or they’ll start thinking negatively about your business. Kylie also recommended everyone do their Net Promoter Score if they haven’t already, to work out what their business needs to improve on.
Be quick, be right, be personable
An overwhelming theme of Day One of The Business of Real Estate was that every office needs someone who is solely focused on customer experience. Kingston Lane CEO Sharran Srivatsaa uses secret shoppers to track the experience his office is delivering to clients. Agents operate behind closed doors; it isn’t actually possible for leaders to know the experience they’re delivering. By making your team aware that they’re being tracked on customer experience, you’re going to keep it at the forefront of their mind.
Change the way you look at community
Megan Jaffe of Ray White Remuera says community isn’t just about the people in your town. She says her team have embraced a global community – finding people around the world who are of the same mind and want to do things better. But Megan’s other key takeaway was that you and your team need to work with your local community and give back because it’s the right thing to do, it’s your responsibility to them, not because you’re going to get something out of it. You need to be an anchor for your community because it’s a hard world to tackle alone.
Leaders have the biggest impact on the business – which is why you need to ensure you’re delivering
Leadership impact is massive, perhaps even bigger than you thought it would be. The man behind The Business of Real Estate, Michael Sheargold, spoke of how leadership impacts results in a 70 per cent improvement in team engagement and 48 per cent higher growth. Of course, that’s only if you’re doing it right.
Life in the attention economy
Time and mental capacity are the scarcest resources of all. We’re now living in the attention economy, where customers pay you with attention, says REA Group Senior Manager – Platform & Product Architecture Steve Caddy. Your advantage in the attention economy is in providing guidance and emotional safety. Vendors and buyers have more information than ever, but they need help with what it means. All data needs interpretation. Bring insights to the data.
The ‘daisy chain of wow’
“Showcase the complexity, deliver the simplicity,” said Kingston Lane CEO Sharran Srivatsaa. People don’t argue over doctors’ fees, because when you see a doctor they tell you what they’re going to do and it sounds hard. You couldn’t do it yourself, so you pay them to do it. Agents need to start doing the same – explain the complexities of the process, but impress on the client how easy you make it for them. That’s why they need you. How you sell is just an example of how you solve, and a series of wow experiences is what gets you clients for life.
Remove the ego from your sales process
We’re all hearing about how much cooler the market is across both Australia and New Zealand. Megan Jaffe of Ray White Remuera says agents working in a cooling market can fall into the trap of protecting the market. She urges agents to do the job they’re paid to do; in a good market the market sells the property, but when the market is flat agents need to do a price alignment. “Incorrect pricing in a low market is about agent ego – remove the ego and be honest about the market,” said Megan. You need to have intelligent conversations about the market and keep people informed. They won’t be surprised about prices if they have the information. Plus, if the stock doesn’t sell it moves to PMs, then you get a bulk of stock for rental and prices fall there and the cycle continues in your office.
Success is not a solo performance
Your values need to be a reflection of you as a leader and they need to be clearly communicated to your team. On that, your team is the most important part of your business, says high-performance coach Rik Rushton. If you don’t get the right people you can’t leverage your business; but talented people don’t join brands, they join a good culture. So you need to make sure yours is top notch. You don’t build a business – you build people and people build your business. Recruit around a growth promise and growth opportunities. Rik says the industry needs to review how it rewards – “How did you improve your role in the last month?” is a question you should be asking in your team. Stop only rewarding high numbers; start recognising the other people in your business who deliver great customer experiences and reward them. Discover, articulate, activate and embed your values into your team.
Provide a service your customer can’t afford not to use
Think about the services you pay for in your life. We’re all accustomed to paying for a service so long as it provides value to us and it’s not something we could do ourselves. Kylie Walsh of Di Jones says the network has changed their marketing to what value their agents can provide. No more free appraisals – vendors are too savvy. You need to show your value proposition and then back it up with excellent customer experience. Make sure your information is unique to you – too many people are using the same templates, says Kylie, and vendors are getting bored.
You don’t need to turn an enquiry into a sale, but you need to stop someone else doing it
Forty-nine per cent of people who contact a real estate agent never hear anything back. That shocking statistic was provided by Kingston Lane CEO Sharran Srivatsaa, who went on to say that, even though not all that 49 per cent would have been instant clients, by not calling them back you’ve left a bad taste in their mouth. You didn’t need to network them and get them onto your database – you just needed to make a good impression so you could take them off the market for another agency. Every interaction should be with a view to answering, “How do I take them off the market?”