Today we will be talking about the importance of having a marketing plan in real estate. This is the second topic in the series; Sales strategies in real estate.
I have come across people who do agency and tarry on with their real estate business without a good marketing plan. This could be one of the reason they find it pretty difficult to get their business on full throttle. In other words they are not able to make a profitable venture out of the business. Due to the below par functionality of our society in recent times, sales briefs are difficult to come by which also applies to the fact that people contact agents for different reasons. There are people who call up agents with a proposition to sell their property, alas! What they really have at the back of their mind is to find out the worth of that property in the event of its sales which may not be anytime soon or may even not arise at all. That simply means the property owner is not ready to sell and the agent that was informed about it may be heading for a wild goose chase if he doesn’t have or work with a layout or proven system that briefs go through before he gets down to business. It would be a huge set-back for the agent if he goes to town to expend money, time and energy only to realize that the person is only interested in knowing what potential buyers will be willing to offer for his property and not particularly interested in selling at that particular point in time.
If a client comes to you with the hope of renting a house and you’ve not come up with a system and means in which you run your practice which will ensure that you ask him some basic questions to know how serious or ready he is then you would have succeeded in shooting yourself in the leg
The fact that somebody called you up to inform you that he wants to rent a house doesn’t mean he needs the house as a matter of urgency.
When looking for an apartment, a lot of people act based on the opinion of others. For instance, people are usually advised to start searching for a house to move into 3 – 4 months to the expiration of their rent.
Let’s say a certain Dapo who lives in a 2-bedroom flat in Ilupeju would be leaving his apartment at the expiration of his rent in December. He then decides to talk to his best friend, Nonso about it and Nonso in turn advises him thus:
“Look, we are in august if you want to move into a new apartment in December you had better start looking for it from August.”
This is usually the case with most prospective tenants/clients. Somebody sends you on an errand in August, meanwhile his money will only be readily available in December to pay for the property and you go about his demands immediately. This should go against the ideals of your real estate business and is usually detrimental to your work as a real estate agent. What this means is that, any property you show him that needs payment at that point in time is not in his immediate or short term plans. That is why it is essential you come up with your own marketing plan to be able to avoid such situations and avoid running expenses at your own cost.
Read also: Sales Strategies in Real Estate
What should be done?
I believe the major item that any practice should have is what I call a brief check list which may include;
a) How you take a brief
b) The things the brief goes through such that if somebody approaches you with the intention of selling a property, you should know the first items that should draw your fancy.
For instance, if somebody calls you up and says to you; I want to rent a property, one of the first steps you should take is to probably book an appointment with that person either to see him one on one or vice versa. Then you sit down with him and ask some basic questions that will lead you into the type of buyer he’s looking for or that will enable you to advise the person properly on;
1. What they should be looking for;
2. When they want it;
3. How much they are ready to pay for it;
4. Why they are looking for it;
5. When they are ready to pay for it.
These are 5 basic information you must have at your disposal when someone gives you a brief. Answers to these questions should act as a guide before you set out to work.
Read also: Knowing your market – Debo Adejana
To drive home my point, let’s take a critical look at the conversation that ensued between Dapo, who I talked about earlier and his agent:
DAPO: I want a three bedroom flat
AGENT: Oh that’s good! Where do you currently stay?
DAPO: I stay in Ilupeju
AGENT: So this property… you want it where?
DAPO: I’m looking at Surulere
DAPO: Well, I just changed jobs and I will really like to move closer to my work area.
AGENT: Why do you need a three bedroom flat, why not two bedroom?
DAPO: That’s because I’m married with two kids so my children will have to use one room or two as the case may be while my wife and I will be in a room
AGENT: So, when is your rent expiring where you stay at the moment?
DAPO: It will be expiring in December
AGENT: What’s your budget for the property?
DAPO: N600,000-N800,000 as the case may be
AGENT:When do you think you will be able to come up with the money for this new apartment?…
Now when a client provides you with an answer to the last question you must deal wisely with it because if the rent on his present apartment expires in December, moving from that apartment to another is not always feasible. There is a slim chance that they will move before the expiration of their rent except circumstances call for it.
If Dapo is not under duress to leave his present apartment then you shouldn’t hit the road yet. Start to search for the property in question subliminally and avoid incurring unnecessary cost in a bid to search for the property that was brought to your attention because it is not a matter of urgency.
However, if Dapo’s search for another apartment is due to mounting pressure from wife and family, or a situation that needs urgent attention then you can take it up immediately.
Nonetheless, you need to gather enough information that can help you in your search at the appropriate time. You need to learn how to effectively direct your search and how to advise the person as to what he wants. Having done this you will be able to understand what your job entails and carry out your duties in a more professional way. If you have laid out methods of finding answers to the 5 basic questions mentioned in the course of this write-up, for your client, then it will enable you prune down or eliminate unnecessary or unserious briefs.
Like I said, some people are not ready to sell, why go on a never ending quest?
A person who still has emotional attachment to his property will not let it go for any price other than the price he has earmarked to sell the property even if its not what is obtainable in the property market, and if the person still insists on the price which is usually on the high side, then you would have been able to confirm that the owner is not ready to part ways with his beloved property and invariably not ready to sell.
Convincing such persons to take selling decisions is always a challenge for the agents of such persons. It takes a whole lot of time; sometimes you would even have given up on them when they finally decide to sell.
Next on our series will be the importance of fluid communication between principal and agents.
MD/CEO Realty Point Ltd