Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Is Kevin Rudd Stimulating You!

I am not an economist (thank goodness) nor am i getting the benefit of Mr Rudd’s stimulus package but many people I work with are and I was interested in how they intend to spend it.

A quick research and the responses were interesting:

Credit card, clothes, holiday, upgrades to home, shoes, rent, bills, drum kit; quite a diverse range of answers.

My question to Mr Rudd and the economists is how is any of the above going to help boost employment and improve innovation.

Handouts are so much easier to provide and we all know that cash is king but how is the country going to benefit into the future.

Recent research seems to suggest that many recipients will spend a portion up front and the balance within 3-6 months.

What do you intend to do with your stimulus package?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Social Networking is fast becoming the king of word of mouth!

As the market changes and slows what I consistently hear from many agents is that to generate activity in their farm area they are doing letter box drops. On the other hand for many agents it was the first thing they stopped doing due to the costs.

Letter box drops is one of the most traditional and oldest way of direct marketing there is in real estate to generate activity.

So what is direct marketing? It is an attempt to send a direct message to a consumer and it is focused on driving a purchase or a call to action.

Many agents fail to track the success rates of letter box drops and often this is the only form of direct marketing they use to generate activity.

Marketing today needs to be an integrated approach. Agents and businesses need to be aware of the impact of their website as this is the first touch point you have with the majority of your clients.

Social networking sites like twitter and facebook are starting to have an impact. Many businesses have banned these sites from their businesses and they certainly do not have a marketing plan that includes these options.

Most of the time it is because the agents or directors do not understand how to use it effectively.

Your clients however are using these sites to research and interact with others. The fastest growing demographic on facebook is women over 55; they use it to connect to families; majority of twitter users are over 35.

Do you have a blog site you can use to make comment or share information or podcasts on what the market is currently doing in your area?

Your clients are using different ways to interact and share information with each other, are you still stuck in your traditional ways? Social media is a cheap way to talk to your clients, to drive traffic to your website, to reach out and touch them. It is instant and cost effective.

What are you or your businesses doing to embrace the many direct marketing options available to us than ever before?

Have a great weekend

Sadhana or

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I want what she's having

Do any of you sometimes look at other women and think “I want what she is having”. And how often are we told.. you can’t have it all and often it is by other women!

I grew up in an Indian household and my mother was determined to ensure that I learnt how to cook and clean otherwise I would not find a suitable boy to marry.

I often tell a story of how when I used to visit my paternal grandparents the men ate first, I often had to ‘fan’ them as they ate as it was hot in Fiji and then the women ate what was left over.

Women congregated in the kitchen and the men in the lounge room.

Women certainly were not encouraged to have careers and often got married soon after the age of 16.

I question the tag line “having it all” because for me it is about living the life that I want to have.

When I left Fiji I had in my mind the life I wanted to have; it was never about having it all and Australia offered me opportunities to create and build that life.

Today women are more educated than ever before, we make 90% of the buying decisions, we are smart, focused on either having a career or running a household, we make great negotiators... talk to women who have children, husbands or boyfriends (that would mean all of us) – when was the last time we really lost an argument.
We want the same things that men want – financial security, family, careers and success.

The only thing that stops us from having the life we want is us. We take on the guilt, we sacrifice, we don’t put ourselves first and somewhere we lose the ability to be selfish from time to time.

Everyone is different and we are all achievers; some of us prefer to be CEO’s of our home while others of businesses. At the end of the day we are all working towards the same goal which is providing for our families and achieving our goals in life. And for each one of us that is different.

I just know that I want to have a life that when it is over I can go to wherever it is that people like me end up (there will be a party when I show up) knowing that I had done everything I wanted.

But more importantly; knowing that I left the planet a better place; and that my actions had created real change.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Your most profitable poor cousin - Property Management

Times are tough in real estate and suddenely many principals are starting to pay attention to a part of their business they normally have no interest in what so ever.

There are a number of rent rolls of sale in Australia and a common reason is because the business has not paid the ATO, GST/BAS, cash flow is tight or they are closing down.

Property Management is your bankable cash flow. It is the part of your business that in today's market will, if you run it well and it is profitable, sustain your business and get you through these tough times.

It is also your superannuation, too often I hear agents comparing the commissions earnt on a sales v property management transaction. Please keep in mind that when you come to sell your business it is valued on your recurring income that being your management fees.

Training is the first thing that we stop investing in as businesses and employees however consider an athlete going to run their toughest race, will they kick back, relax and wind down or will they train harder, do their research and get match fit to win the race.

We are corporate athletes however we dont seem to have the same level of committment to success. We act like ostricthes at times like this, if I stick my head in the sand for long enough when I come up it will all be okay.

An important reminder to all directors is that many of your competitors will have in place:

• a business plan and a budget based on percentage, dollars and numbers
• a prospecting plan – they will not just depend on business that walks in the door
• a marketing plan - they know exactly where their business is coming from
• a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis on their business but also on yours
• a competitor analysis – they will have a copy of your listing kit, your fee schedule, they will know what your key points of differences are and they will have developed the right scripts and dialogue to use against you
• a database that is up to date and used to market to existing and potential clients
• sales training for property managers who are listing business
• a separate profit center for property management

Now is the time to act on the above and implement these into your business to ensure survival and success.

Tough times calls for standards within your businesses

Real Estate Agents in Australia and New Zealand are going through tough times... to say the least. Only last night I had a chat with a client who had been cornered by his top sales agents demanding more commission or they would walk to an opposition agent. What do I do he asked?

My first reaction was to tell the sales agents to list and sell more properties at better prices and higher commission rate... perhaps this would increase their income.

However as a business owner he needs to review what it is that these agents bring in on average, what it costs him to have them in the business not just financially but the fact that they are the office gorillas and if he had two average performing sales agents would they in fact produce the same results.

Most businesses owners create their own gorillas and then when times get tough like it is now the agents know they have the director by the short and curlies because if they walk they normally take a large portion of the business and database with them.

So what is the answer?

Well to start with there is a lot to be said about having all sales agents on a commission structure within your business... everyone is the same. There are a number of high profile agencies who do this and attract and retain good people

Have clear standards and non-negotaibles within your business. If you choose to work for me these are the conditions and values you work with.

Manage the people and ensure that they do not become gorillas, do not favour agents by flicking them listings or buyers.

Make sure you create a culture and environment that people enjoy working in,the team they work with, values you have and have had input in creating all of this.

These are interesting and challenging times for everyone and your people will be looking for security, leadership, guidance and confidence that their jobs are secure.