Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Year That Was

It’s only a few weeks left to the end of the year and it’s a great time to reflect on the year that was. It certainly has been a compelling year and there have been laughter, tears, stress and more tears perhaps.
Before we sit down to the traditional turkey or the great Aussie BBQ on Christmas day now is a good time to reflect on the year that was. Not just from a personal prospective but what’s happening across Australia.

Many of us can get into the Henny Penny stage and think that the sky is falling down and it’s all doom and gloom, however once we put things into prospective we quickly realise that this is not the case at all. So let’s take a ride through 2011

Reflection on 2011
  • We started 2011 with the hope that the GFC was well and truly over and bring on the good times
  • Major Tsunami in Japan killing thousands
  • Devastating earthquake in Christchurch levelling a beautiful city
  • Osama bin Laden the most wanted man on the planet killed
  • Gadafi killed
  • Floods in Brisbane, Victoria, Fires in Perth, cyclone Yasi
  • Carbon tax and flood levy introduced
  • Mass killings in Norway
  • 2 interest rate cuts
  • Crisis in Europe
  • China economy starts to soften
  • Borders and Angus and Robertson placed into receivership
  • Riots in Villawood detention centre
  • Virgin Blue rebrand to Virgin Australia
  • Ash clouds from Chile ground flights in Australia
  • Gillard Government signs “Malaysian Solution” deal
  • High court judge rejects “Malaysia Solution”
  • Census was held this year
  • Daniel Morecombe remains found
  • Ned Kelly remains found
  • Visits by various royalty
  • Commonwealth Head of Govt meeting held in Perth
  • Qantas grounded
  • Barrack Obama visits
  • Geelong wins the AFL grand final
  • Sea Eagles wins the NRL grand final
  • All Blacks win the world cup
  • Dunaden wins Melbourne Cup
The real estate market this year has been described as stable, flat, changing, challenging, soft…. Auction clearance rates have hovered between 50-70%, the much anticipated interest rate cuts have not really had an impact as yet and we all await for the new year to see if there will be further cuts to stimulate the economy.
Harcourts NSW is had an interesting year and looking at the figures overall we have performed well as a network in a changing market.

Harcourts NSW comparison 2010 to 2011
Sales Volume58.97%
Average Number of Sales Consultants30.18%
Average Sale Price5.68%
Number of Properties SOLD50.96%
Total Number of Properties Listed29.67%
Auctions listed37.44%

Refection on you
Now let’s focus on you, how have you performed this year in comparison to your business plan? In comparison to 2010 have you improved? What are the key areas you need to work on for 2012 to have an awesome year?
Work on your business plan now so that when you return in 2012 you have laid the foundations of success and most importantly ensure that you have someone to hold you accountable.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The customer has moved from passenger to pilot

I was catching a flight from Sydney to Melbourne and saw an ad that had the title - The customer has moved from being a passenger to pilot.
How accurate is this tag line. Our clients are now dictating to us the services they want, when they want it and how they want to receive it.
The mantra Customer is King has one premise in mind and that is no matter what we design - product, systems, processes etc we have one key focus in mind and that is the customer.

Your brand no matter how strong will not create loyalty or develop great customer relations. Your people do this.

Your clients today are doing all their research on you, the company, what others are saying about you on face book or google and then basing their decision on who they will meet that will best meet their needs at the time. These needs will include price, emotion, reason for buying or selling.

The customer is also extremely knowledgeable and they want to be treated as "kings".

How much effort are you putting into your customer service processes and experiences. When ever a client chooses to interact with your business it needs to be an experience, your people need to understand what the experience looks like and nail it every single time.

Here is a quick audit check for you:
  • what is the face you and your team present to your customer?
  • do your people know what this face is and believe in it?
  • one size does not fit all, you have different types of customers, does your experience cater for this?
  • do you and your people actually know what your customer wants before they ask for it; and the only way to find this out is to stay in touch and have an awesome database and contact plan in place?
  • when the clients transacts with you is the experience a memorable one and how do you know if it is?
  • how are you measuring customer service in your business?
  • have you actually asked your customers what they want?
  • have you told your customers the results and changes of those surveys you constantly send out?
As a customer when I interact with any brand in my mind they exist in that moment in time to only create value for me and I expect the best.

Value however is different for everyone and it constantly changes. Therefore for those of us in client facing industries we need to be constantly finding new ways to price our goods, be innovative, tap into the emotion of the transaction. Remember the balance of power is in our customers hands.

We need to change the way we think, from charging a fee to sell a home to merging your product and service together that provides the customer with not just value but an experience they simply cannot walk away from. Something that goes beyond a simple sales transaction.