TECH­NOL­OGY: WHAT MAKES THE IN­VEST­MENT WORTH IT? Charles Tar­bey

THERE IS NO QUES­TION that new tech­nolo­gies have changed the world, along with the Aus­tralian real es­tate in­dus­try. Change is oc­cur­ring at an ex­po­nen­tial rate and, while new tech­nol­ogy is ex­cit­ing, an agent or of­fice can be for­given for be­ing a lit­tle unsu

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Charles Tar­bey

A re­cent study by comS­core sug­gested that US con­sumers now spend 60 per cent of their dig­i­tal time on mo­bile, with only 40 per cent of their time spent on desk­top us­age.

In­ter­est­ingly, the study also found that more time is spent on mo­bile apps (such as Face­book) than desk­top us­age or even surf­ing the web through mo­bile de­vices.

Vir­tual re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy, such as Ocu­lus (pur­chased by Face­book for US$2 bil­lion in 2014), is no longer in the realm of fan­tasy or science fic­tion. De­vel­op­ers and agents across the world have be­gun us­ing vir­tual re­al­ity to show­case prop­er­ties – prob­a­bly in an at­tempt to reach new mar­kets while creat­ing a level of ex­pe­ri­ence su­pe­rior to that de­liv­ered by still 2D prop­erty images or floor­plans.

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ ap­proach, Cen­tury 21’s fo­cus has been on iden­ti­fy­ing tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems that, above any­thing else, make an agent’s life eas­ier. That doesn’t mean help­ing them cre­ate more free time; it means creat­ing ef­fi­cien­cies in the way they op­er­ate, help­ing them gen­er­ate sales and creat­ing new and height­ened lev­els of en­gage­ment with the con­sumer.

We don’t do tech­nol­ogy for tech­nol­ogy’s sake. As a busi­ness run by real es­tate peo­ple, we look to iden­tify, an­a­lyse, test and use tech­nol­ogy that we be­lieve may make our fran­chise own­ers more suc­cess­ful in their mar­ket­places by mak­ing their lives – and the lives of their agents – as easy as pos­si­ble.

Here are some of the tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems that we have proven ef­fec­tive in our Aus­tralasian net­work, and may give you some ideas on how bet­ter to use or de­velop tech­nol­ogy to fur­ther your busi­ness in­ter­ests.

LEAD GEN­ER­A­TION SYS­TEM

Last year we had a bit of a ‘light bulb’ mo­ment at Cen­tury 21 Cor­po­rate Of­fice. We re­alised that most large real es­tate brands were in all prob­a­bil­ity re­in­forc­ing the same type of mes­sage to agents and of­fices in the field; namely, our brand de­liv­ers you leads on a con­sis­tent ba­sis.

While that is likely the case, most, if not all, leads were prob­a­bly in­di­rect leads. They weren’t qual­i­fied, track­able and mea­sur­able, nor sent from cor­po­rate of­fice to agents in the field.

We won­dered whether we could fuse old and new tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate a sys­tem that de­liv­ered di­rect and qual­i­fied leads to our agents each day.

Many will have seen the lux­ury Sun­shine Coast apart­ment give­away that was launched in June by Cen­tury 21 and pro­moted by main­stream me­dia, on so­cial me­dia, on­line and most re­cently, tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials aired on Chan­nel Seven (and af­fil­i­ated net­works) dur­ing their cov­er­age of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

To en­ter the draw to win the $400,000 apart­ment, peo­ple reg­is­ter their in­ter­est in trans­act­ing prop­erty through Cen­tury 21 and pro­vide their pre­ferred con­tact de­tails. This cre­ates a qual­i­fied lead that new Cen­tury 21 soft­ware au­to­mat­i­cally on-sends to the rel­e­vant Cen­tury 21 of­fice, to be as­signed to one of its sales agents or prop­erty man­agers. Cor­po­rate of­fice also sees the lead and can tracks its progress.

The new tech­nol­ogy has been an over­whelm­ing suc­cess, with hun­dreds of qual­i­fied leads be­ing sent to of­fices and agents across Aus­tralia and New Zealand in a short time.

This sys­tem would not have been pos­si­ble with­out ad­vance­ments in the on­line sphere and new tech­nol­ogy – all cou­pled with a tra­di­tional ‘give­away’.

The lead gen­er­a­tion sys­tem aims to make life eas­ier for our agents – and make our

We won­dered whether we could fuse old and new tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate a sys­tem that de­liv­ered di­rect and qual­i­fied leads to our agents each day.

of­fices more prof­itable. By au­tomat­ing the sys­tem through new tech­nol­ogy, we were able to re­move much of the hu­man costs that would be re­quired to run an ad­vanced sys­tem like this.

GLOBAL WEB­SITE

Ad­vance­ments in tech­nol­ogy have also made the world smaller and more in­ter­con­nected.

There has been a shift in con­sumer at­ti­tudes to­wards buy­ing goods on­line and away from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. Savvy agents have catered to this shift by be­com­ing more global in their think­ing and ap­proach to real es­tate.

With over 6,900 of­fices in 78 coun­tries, a num­ber of years ago Cen­tury 21 in­vested large sums in bet­ter con­nect­ing this global net­work, launch­ing cen­tu­ry21­global.com. This global plat­form al­lows users to search for prop­erty, agents and of­fices any­where in the world, in over 16 dif­fer­ent lan­guages and us­ing dif­fer­ent cur­ren­cies.

Prop­er­ties that are listed through Cen­tury 21 in Aus­tralia are au­to­mat­i­cally pro­moted across the world through this unique plat­form and at no cost.

By think­ing and act­ing glob­ally, and util­is­ing tech­nolo­gies that al­low you to pro­mote prop­er­ties and at­tract buy­ers from dif­fer­ent global mar­kets, you are likely to im­press ven­dors and cast the net as far and wide as pos­si­ble to at­tract po­ten­tial buy­ers and get a suc­cess­ful sales re­sult.

CRM

Ev­ery agent and of­fice needs to be sup­ported by a strong CRM sys­tem. A plat­form that has been built by real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als for real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als will make all lev­els of a real es­tate op­er­a­tion more ef­fi­cient.

Cen­tury 21’s eSales re­port­ing sys­tem al­lows fran­chisees ac­cess to a wide range of in­for­ma­tion, en­abling them to mea­sure the suc­cess of their busi­ness. From true breakeven anal­y­sis to list­ing/sales ra­tios, fran­chisees are able to get re­al­time data on how their of­fice is pro­gress­ing.

Since 2004, the Seller Lo­gin com­po­nent of the eSales sys­tem has been a sim­ple and ac­ces­si­ble way to keep ven­dors in­formed about the sales process, any­where, at any time. More re­cently we have seen many other groups re­al­is­ing the value of such sys­tems and im­ple­ment­ing their use in dif­fer­ent forms.

Cen­tury 21 launched its own EDM of­fer­ings to fran­chisees in 2002 and the team has con­tin­u­ously re­fined and de­vel­oped this in-house tech­nol­ogy over the years. This tech­nol­ogy is free to use and saves of­fices pay­ing thou­sands of dol­lars to ex­ter­nal com­pa­nies for the priv­i­lege of broad­cast­ing EDMs.

The in­tro­duc­tion of Google An­a­lyt­ics al­lows agents to de­ter­mine the suc­cess of EDM broad­casts, right down to the num­ber of times a po­ten­tial buyer or seller has viewed prop­erty in­for­ma­tion. It also helps agents con­nect with con­sumers at the time they are in ‘real es­tate mode’.

The soft­ware is sup­ported by a team of pro­gram­mers and con­stantly re­vised to en­sure it grows with our net­work and re­sponds to new chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Out­side of our brand, our CRM is the glue that con­nects our op­er­a­tions each day. I place enor­mous value in a strong CRM and would en­cour­age all real es­tate oper­a­tors to en­sure that their sys­tem caters to their needs and is adapt­able to change.

While one could talk at length about the ben­e­fits of util­is­ing so­cial me­dia, on­line tar­get­ing and other new tech­nolo­gies, I be­lieve that ev­ery agent needs ac­cess and sup­port from a re­al­time CRM, a global plat­form to pro­mote list­ings in­ter­na­tion­ally and at­tract buy­ers, and a state of the art lead gen­er­a­tion sys­tem – what­ever form that may take.

Th­ese tech­nolo­gies won’t guar­an­tee suc­cess, but they will make an agent’s life eas­ier and give them the best chance to reach their full po­ten­tial. This in turn may power real es­tate of­fices to new heights.

While the ben­e­fits of tech­nol­ogy are real and known, I would also like to em­pha­sise that I am a strong be­liever in many tra­di­tional real es­tate prac­tices and ap­proaches. Shopfronts, hu­man to hu­man con­tact, com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and pub­lic re­la­tions – all are tried and true ap­proaches that I be­lieve are as rel­e­vant and valu­able to­day as they were for agents 50 years ago.

The key is to achieve the right bal­ance be­tween in­vest­ing time and re­sources into de­vel­op­ing and us­ing new tech­nolo­gies, and in­vest­ing in proven tra­di­tional real es­tate prac­tices.

What is the right bal­ance? That depends on you, but a good start­ing point might be to get in the habit of do­ing a cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis on ev­ery­thing – you’ll very quickly get a pic­ture of what ini­tia­tives are de­liv­er­ing the most cost-ef­fec­tive re­sults and there­fore what mix is right for you.

Charles Tar­bey is the Owner and CEO of Cen­tury 21 Aus­trala­sia.

The in­tro­duc­tion of Google An­a­lyt­ics al­lows agents to de­ter­mine the suc­cess of EDM broad­casts, right down to the num­ber of times a po­ten­tial buyer or seller has viewed prop­erty in­for­ma­tion.

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