5 Pieces of Wisdom Real Estate Must Learn from Uber

Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.

Is there an Uber of real estate coming to disrupt the entire industry?

The answer is yes, but disruption in real estate is going to start at the grassroots level with agents who embrace change.

Uber disrupts because they listen to customers, adopt the right technology and adapt with genius long-term strategies. Read on to find out how you can disrupt like Uber for long-term success in real estate.

How to Create Seamless Customer Experiences with Technology

The cab companies had a massive efficiency problem and Uber knew they could disrupt their industry with technology.

By focusing on software, Uber saved on overheads to gain an advantage over cab companies which had to pay for vehicle repairs, employee benefits and wages, and call centre staff.

Agents can use technology to disrupt in the same way.

Think about it like this: you can spend 15 minutes setting up a personalised email to go out to your database of 500 contacts. The leads you generate from that email give you an idea of who is in the market right now and lets you know who to speak to.

Best of all, it saves you hours cold calling. If you had to spend 5 minutes cold call everyone in your database, contacting the 500 contacts would take over 40 hours.

That’s a full week!  

Technology allows you to work smarter, not harder. The tricky part is knowing what the right technology for real estate is.

Why you Need to Embrace the Right Technology

The trick to being disruptive is choosing the right technology for your customer base and business case.

For Uber, this meant the smartphone because the technology is popular, it lets people connect to the internet and people always have them on hand. Unlike cabs, an Uber customer never has to hold the line, like they might if they called a cab company at a busy time.

Uber used the right technology to make it easier for people to become customers.

The right technology for agents is tablets and email.

Email, for example, allows agents to show properties to large groups of people. Everyone has email, so you are casting a wide net that will catch more customers.

Tablets are easier than laptops for a busy agent to use on the go. They are also perfect for gathering data at open homes because they are easy to pass around to multiple prospective buyers

How to Listen to Your Customers

One of the things that made it so easy for Uber to steal business was that people hated taxis. Consumer frustration is a powerful force for disruption and brand loyalty is a powerful thing.

The internet provides the best agents with a powerful opportunity to disrupt agents who are being slack on customer service.

AI makes it possible to automate communications and stay front of mind with buyers and vendors. Online services like ratemyagent.com.au make it possible to develop a good reputation and find new contacts outside your database.

You might be wondering how you can stay ahead of other disruptors who use this technology. Uber has a lesson for expert disruptors here too.

How to Adapt and be Original

Uber isn’t a taxi company any more. They deliver food. You can rent an Uber bicycle. In 2020 Uber will deliver UberAIR, which will offer short flights.

When Uber launched they were the rideshare company, which gave them a head start over everyone who came after them. When other competitors like Lyft, DiDi and Ola came along, they didn’t just stand still. They diversified.

There are a lot of agents in the world, so it’s crucial for you to stand out to your contacts. After all, only one agent can sell a person’s house so you need to make sure it’s you.

Originality in real estate used to be video blogs, or gifts at an OFI.

What’s original in 2019? Well, if we told you that it wouldn’t be original anymore (you’ll have to come up with the idea yourself!).

When you come up with your million-dollar idea for marketing your properties remember that you can’t depend on a gimmick.

What’s Important about Thinking Long-term

Uber is trying to build self-driving cars. Why? Because they don’t want someone else to invent it first and disrupt them like they disrupted the taxi companies.

To think about long-term technological prospects is to prepare for and guarantee long-term success.

If the taxi companies had invested more resources into an app before Uber, they might not have lost so much business to them. As it stands, they failed to understand what their customers wanted and had a lack of imagination about what kind of disruption technology could bring.

Like the Uber of real estate, the best agent in the future is the agent who listens to their customers and adapts to disruption by implementing the right technology.  

Want to Disrupt Like Uber?

Make sure you’re a disruptive agent. Get in touch to embrace the best email marketing tech and make sure you remain the ahead of the competition.


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Leader of Leaders: The Rise of Leanne Pilkington

Leanne Pilkington has been in real estate for a long time. In that time, she has accumulated prestigious awards, setup organisations and established herself as a leader and role model. She is the president of REINSW, Managing Director of Laing+Simmons, and Founder of Real Women in Real Estate (RWIRE).

For someone so accomplished, Leanne Pilkington is down-to-earth and candid. As a woman I look up to, I was honoured to sit down with her to discuss how she got to where she is today, and the bright future she’s continuing to forge for herself and all women in the real estate industry.

Origins of a Real Estate Icon

A twelve-year old Leanne started out answering the phones at her dad’s real estate agency and would go on to become one of the most influential people in Australian real estate.

“It was never a burning passion,” Leanne says, talking about how she fell into real estate after graduating.

“Honestly, I went to Schoolies like everybody does, and I ran out of money. Dad said, “Yeah, all right, I’ll send you some money, so long as you work for me until you go to uni.’”

Leanne would work for her dad for eight years, learning her way around the industry.

“Working for dad wasn’t really ideal for me because I would give him too much of a hard time. I wouldn’t take directions from him. Typical teenage girl,” she jokes. “I recognised that I needed to get out of that environment if I really wanted to grow and develop a career.”

This knack for pushing herself out of her comfort zone is something that has defined Pilkington’s career. For a period, she even made a move into other industries before returning to real estate in the 90s, when she would join Laing+Simmons.

Leanne has been there ever since. In 2015 when she was named Managing Director, she was the only female managing director in NSW, and one of the few across the country. From there, she has gone on to become the president of REINSW, where she wields tremendous influence in NSW residential property, an industry which turns over $107 billion annually.

Leanne Pilkington: Advocate for Technology

Pilkington says that in all her time as an agent, the biggest changes to real estate have come from technology.

“I think that in my first 25 years of real estate, nothing has really changed,” she told us, “the only thing that would change would be the market conditions. But now there is so much money being poured into technology, and although I don’t think we’ve really seen a disruption yet, it’s coming.”

Leanne is working to turn Laing+Simmons into the real estate brand of the future.

“We’re working on a lot of really exciting technology at the moment. I’m really pumped to see how that makes a difference in helping agents better personalise their communication, better manage their databases, have better information about what’s going on in their market.”

Leanne keeps Laing+Simmons agents and customers in the know with her weekly video updates on the market.

At the core of Laing+Simmons new platform is a CRM that is empowered with robust business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and virtual agents. Leanne says that this is a strategic move, with “much better information for our agents about what’s going on in the market and just better consumer insights.”

Already Laing+Simmons is seeing results. The virtual assistant alone has improved conversions off enquiries by 13 per cent.

“All of our marketing will be automated so that we can have a much better brand compliance,” she said. She emphasised that this would make it “much easier for agents to roll out the campaigns that we develop for them, across all of their different platforms.”

Far from being pessimistic about the disruption that technology will bring, Pilkington is eager to embrace it. She does not imagine a dystopian future where the robots take over. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“I don’t believe for a minute that it’s going to be the end of real estate agents. I think that the relationships are still really important. But agents need to get smart about how they utilise the technology.”

Leanne says that agents should get smart by thinking about how they can serve the customer.

“The reality is that consumers have changed as a result of technology. Their expectations have changed. The way they research things has changed. The way they want to buy things has changed. And so we’re going to have to change with it.”

Leader of Leaders

As the founder of Real Women in Real Estate (RWIRE) and nominee for three REB Women in Real Estate Awards, it might surprise you to learn that Leanne Pilkington was initially a reluctant hero for women in real estate.

It all started in 2015, when some of her colleagues were urging her to throw an event for women in the industry. Leanne resisted.

“I didn’t personally need something like that, so I didn’t understand that there was even a need.”

Leanne eventually caved in and the event blew up.

She got triple the number of attendees she expected and women were flying in from out of state. Leanne realised that there was a need for this kind of event and threw herself into the project that would eventually become RWIRE. Now, RWIRE has spread to 11 locations across Australia, to New Zealand and even LA. In June it will host its 50th event.

“It’s been much more successful than I ever expected. I didn’t understand it to start with, but I do now.”

Leanne Pilkington on stage talking to crowd
Leanne Pilkington recognises a need for more women in leadership positions and on stages at conferences and events.

Part of the popularity, Leanne thinks, stems from an absence of women in leadership positions and on stages at conferences and events. To combat this, RWIRE has a focus on outreach and education, including a new podcast, Courageous Conversation, which launches on the first of June.

“It’s about the conversations that we all have, not just women. But it’s really to encourage women that don’t like those difficult conversations around leadership, to be game enough to approach it and realise that good things happen on the other side.

When asked about all of the different advocacy projects she’s working on, she stops for a moment.

“I sound really busy when I’m talking about it like this, don’t I?” she remarks.

I acknowledge that she must get up early in the morning

“I do, yeah,” she laughs. “You’re quite right.”

For a person to become a multi-award winning Managing Director of an acclaimed agency, President of powerful industry institution and founder of a global organisation, I imagine Leanne Pilkington must get up very early indeed.


Face it, You’re Piling Leads into a Leaking Sales Funnel and That’s Not Okay

Everyone knows how important it is to get leads, but all of the hard work and investment involved can be for nothing if you’ve got a leak in your sales funnel.

To fix this problem we need to understand what exactly your sales funnel is, how to spot a leak and then we can learn how to plug up that leak so that you can rescue leads and help them on their path to close.

Define Your Funnel

The most basic funnel breaks the customer journey into three segments:

  • Awareness: all the people who know about you
  • Consideration: the people who are thinking of using you as their realtor
  • Conversion: the people who buy or list with you

At this stage, it’s important to understand that not all your leads will make it to the conversion stage.

What you want to identify are the lost leads you can prevent. These are the leaks.

Find the leak

You can’t plug a hole if you don’t know where the leak is coming from.

If you find you’re spending money on marketing but people aren’t calling to make inquiries, it means your leaking at the awareness stage. If a lot of people you know are signing with other realtors, that means you have a leak in the conversion stage

Identify the leak, then you can fix it.

Clean your Database

At the minimum, you should have a name and email address for every contact. You may have had a great conversation before, but without a way to get in touch with them, they will be stuck in the awareness stage. Remember, if you can’t get in contact, that person is not a contact.

Thankfully, you can use software to go through your database and eliminate contacts with incorrect, absent or out-of-date information.

Use Smart Marketing

The shift from outdoor and print advertising to email and social gives realtors wider and more targeted reach and also gives them better insight into which ads are working.

Email marketing is particularly effective because it is cheap, everyone has an email address, and smart software lets agents see exactly who is engaging with their emails. By using AI driven analytics, this new breed of software lets realtors identify people at the consideration stage and act before any of their competition. The key to effective marketing is hitting the right person with the right messaging at the right time.

Make the Right Calls

Cold calling is going out of fashion, and for good reason.

The problem is, cold-calls target people at the awareness stage of the funnel, long before they’re ready to convert. If you call people too early, you risk annoying them and putting them off.

Instead, you could look at technology like email marketing, search and social to generate leads nurture your contacts to the conversion stage, where you can use your metrics to make warm calls.

This article was originally written for and published in RISMedia.

What Women Want (from Real Estate)

Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.

As part of our Women in Real Estate Week we wanted to get the latest research on where women stand in the industry. We found the Grow the Talent Pool, 2018 report, which surveyed thousands of agents, men and women, from across Australia, about their perceptions of how real estate is changing.

The report showed that diversity in real estate is constantly improving. More women are now being attracted to the industry because of flexible working hours that accommodate carers. It also found that more men have an increased understanding of the issues women face in the workforce.

This is largely thanks to the hungry women of real estate who know what they want and are acting as a disruptive force to get it.

This article looks at four of the learnings from the Grow the Talent Pool, 2018 report that show what comes next for women in real estate.

Women on the Rise

The good news is that more women are being attracted to real estate from other professional backgrounds.

The numbers show that more women are coming to real estate because it offers working hours that suit their needs. This is good news for the industry because it means that real estate is stealing talent from other industries which aren’t as accommodating.

The improvement is partly thanks to attitude shifts from leaders who recognise the importance of flexibility for parents, as well as new technology that is disrupting the traditional working weeks by making agents’ schedules more flexible.

Attitudes to Inappropriate Behaviour

Unfortunately, a number of people who responded to the survey reported that inappropriate behaviour was sometimes an issue in real estate.

Men and women in real estate both experienced inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, such as sexist jokes or offensive comments, and role stereotyping, though women experienced this at higher rates to men.

However, the report also notes that things are improving.

“There is clear evidence that attitudes to everyday sexism are changing as awareness grows,” the report noted. It went on to say that the majority of the respondents to the survey left additional comments regarding everyday sexism, “indicating their keen interest in this issue.”

Talking About Money

The report found that women were very interested in discussions of salary, and showed that both men and women in real estate are thinking about issues relating to salary.

The report notes that improvements are very positive but says that there is still room for improvement.

As Andrea Brown, Partner at Knight Frank puts it, “I have had all the usual battles that females unfortunately still expect – salary being number one. But if you do not ask, you don’t get.”

Women in Leadership

The report indicated that 79 per cent of women in real estate desire career progress, which includes moving into leadership positions.

The report also showed that out of all women who are leaders, most of them were reaching leadership positions at younger ages.

This may partly be because women are less often promoted into the most senior levels, and because women spend less time in the industry (a result of women’s experience from other industries and decisions to have children).

These findings could indicate that starting a family is a barrier to women’s attainment of higher leadership positions. As the report notes, “The next challenge is to expand the support for women returning to the workforce after having children.”

“We lose a lot of women after they go on parental leave,” according to one of the respondents. “This is something I have noticed over the years, which is why it took me a long time to make the decision to start a family.”

However, the higher proportion of young female leaders may mean that the positive changes that real estate has made are starting to be felt. Things are continuing to improve and, as women in real estate make their voices heard, we might see many of these young women in real estate’s most powerful positions in the future.

What the Future Holds

The face of real estate is changing in more ways than one.

ActivePipe can automate your email marketing to give you an advantage over the competition. If you’d like to discover how we can help you get ahead, get in touch. Let ActivePipe turn you into a leader.


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How Agents Can Overcome Work-Related Stress

Every two years the Property Council of Australia and EY publishes a study on women in real estate. These studies take the pulse on women’s status in real estate and are an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.

Stress can be a normal and healthy part of life, but it’s not good to remain stressed for long periods of time. This is known as chronic stress and it can lead to serious problems.

Occupational stress (or, work-related stress) is a common type of chronic stress that, if left unaddressed, can cause serious health issues.

How Serious is Stress?

A 2015 study from Harvard and Stanford showed that chronic stress can be as bad for your health as second-hand smoke.

People who suffer from chronic stress can experience:

  • Weight gain
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Heart disease

Stress can even lead to death. In Japan, heart attacks and strokes that result from stress cause a number of deaths each year. This “overwork death” is common enough that they have even come up with a special word (karoshi) to describe it!

Why Work is a Major Cause of Stress

One quarter of people say that work is their main reason for stress. This is not surprising, considering we spend over a third of our waking lives working.

Work-related stress generally occurs when an agent feels like they have low control and have to meet high demands.

This means that techniques for overcoming work-related stress should empower you to feel more in control and condition you to withstand the high demands of real estate.

Sleep More To Manage Stress

Experts say that, “people are getting less sleep than they need due to longer work hours”

You might feel like you are getting ahead by sacrificing sleep to work, but a lack of sleep actually affects your ability to concentrate and deal with stress.

If you take time to rest, the hours you work will be more effective and you will accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.

There is no ‘perfect’ amount of sleep, but for most people seven to nine hours is recommended.

The conundrum is, if you’re already stressed, work-related stress might actually cause insomnia. If your sleep is suffering from work-related stress, then try these other methods to help get your stress levels under control.

Meditate Like a Wall Street Stock Broker

Meditation isn’t exclusively for tree-hugging hippies anymore.

In his 2018 book, author Robert Wright looked at many businesses, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, who are using meditation to manage the stress of highly demanding jobs.

Don’t have time to meditate?

According to Wright, you don’t need a lot of time to meditate. Even just ten minutes of mindfulness per day can go a long way to help you feel less stressed.

Exercise, but Not Too Much

It’s recommended that you do two-and-a-half to five hours of exercise per week.

However!

Do not over exercise as this can increase the amount of cortisol in your blood. Cortisol is ‘the stress hormone’, so be wary of overdoing it.

Instead, undertake exercise that you enjoy and makes you feel good to get your stress under control.

Communicate with Your Coworkers

So far we’ve talked about ways you can prepare yourself to meet the high demands of real estate work. It’s also important, however, to address feelings of low control.

This is where it’s important to try and improve your work environment, as having a more positive environment can help reduce work-related stress for you and your colleagues. There are things you can’t change about your work environment, such as market disruptions, but if you create a more supportive network, you and the team around you will find that you are able to cope with stressors more easily.

Communication is key.

There are a lot of different strategies you can implement in your workplace to eradicate work-related stress.

Some of the things that experts recommend are:

  • Clearly defined and understood roles and responsibilities
  • Make sure workloads aren’t overly demanding
  • Social interaction between workers

Remember, establishing a good work environmentisn’t the sole responsibility of your office principal. Your principal has a business to run, they could be suffering from work stressed as well!

By taking the initiative you will show that you’re a team player who cares about you work, your colleagues and the business. This reflects well on you, and helps you overcome work-related stress, so that you can focus and succeed.

Cold Calls Got You Stressed?

Everyone hates making cold calls. They’re a massive contributor to workplace stress for agents.

Thankfully, you can uncover buyers and sellers from your database without having to ever make a cold call again …

Get in touch so we can show you how you can eliminate cold calling from your business.


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Techniques for Effective Warm Calling

Warm calls are the best way to stand out amongst the competition in a property market that is becoming increasingly digital. Here are some techniques for effective warm calling that help you dominate the digital landscape

They say that every business is a tech business these days. As technology becomes more widespread, the line between tech companies and non-tech companies gets blurrier.

This means that the technologies which gave disruptors an edge stops becoming such a massive advantage when competitors catch up.

It’s the same in any industry, even real estate. As the majority of agents move toward being tech enabled, the advantage that early adopters enjoyed offers less of an advantage.

Get Ahead by Building Personal Relationships

Just like in the good old days, building personal relationships is still the best way to get ahead for any agent, and getting a contact on the phone is still massively important.

What you don’t want to do, however, is cold call. Cold calls frustrate contacts and add to your stress levels. Instead, you should be using data to find and call warm leads.

Ingredients for a Good warm Call

Because warms calls require a degree of knowledge, you need to have a bit more preparation.  

It’s good to draw on your prior dealings with a contact. Maybe you sold their property in the past? Maybe you only met them once at an OFI. Whatever the case, refer to your last point of contact to break the ice.

The problem here is you could have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of contacts in your CRM. You can’t remember everything!

This is the part where you utilise data from your email campaigns, web leads, CRM, OFI, and any other data you may have gathered.

What you’re trying to find is who are your most interactive contacts. Once you have those you want to gather:

  • A name (obviously)
  • Residential address
  • What properties they interact with

When you know these three things, the only thing left to figure out is how they all fit together.

How to Make a Good First Impression

Studies have shown that people form an opinion of another person within the first two seconds of a conversation, so a good first impression is everything.

When you call someone, it’s a good idea to address them by name to establish trust. When you use contact’s name, you trigger an emotional response making that don’t experience when they hear other words.

You can also use your own name to create a connection. Mention your brand and office, and reference the last time you had contact. This gives the contact context, confirming that you aren’t just a another telemarketer.

“Hi , this is Adam from Newtown Real Estate, I met you at that inspection on Main St last summer. How are you going?”

Without a prior relationship you can still get your foot in the door by being polite and human. If a contact is enthusiastic when they answer, be enthusiastic. If they are professional, play into that. Personality can’t be automated, so it’s a great way to get an advantage over the competition.

Show What You Know

You have established a conversation. The next step is to cross reference your data.

Do you have a property address? Are you 100 percent sure that this is their current address?

Unless you have spoken to this contact very recently, you can’t be too sure. Ask your contact if they’re still at the same address.

After you’ve done this check, you can start talking to a contact about your listings.

The properties you discuss will depend on your contact’s individual behaviour (this is where your research from before comes in). You want to open by talking about the property they’ve clicked on most; their ‘favourite property’.

If their favourite property is a sold property, then a person is likely to be self-appraising. This means you should talk about the great price you got for your vendor.

“Have you heard about the house on Property Street? We sold it for $20,000 above valuation.”

Talking about a property in this way assures the contact that you could get a great price for them as well.

On the other hand, if the contact has been clicking on a for-sale property, mention that property and confirm that they’re in the market.

“I’ve been getting a lot of interest in 4B Broad Street from potential investors. I just thought I’d call and let you know about this great opportunity.”

Ask the Right Kind of Questions

Perhaps one of the most important things to do when you’re calling people is to ask open ended questions. Open questions invite people to start talking, which is how you really catch leads and win sales.

Consider the different kinds of answers you get when you ask someone:

“Are you looking to sell?”

Compared to:

“What kind of properties have caught your eye lately.”

The first question only requires a yes or no answer.

The second question, on the other hand, forces a person to think about the kind of properties they’ve been engaging with, then gets them talking about them.

What if a Call Doesn’t Convert

If you don’t get the response you want from a contact, don’t be disheartened. It’s almost impossible that every single call you make will end in a listing. That isn’t the only reason you follow up on leads.

When you follow up on leads, you can make a sale, or you can get an appraisal, find a listing, garner interest.

Your contact might not be looking right now, but they might be looking soon, or they might have a friend who is looking.

Turn your contacts into connections. This is how you stay front of mind.

The road to success for any agent is paved with good connections.

Agility in the Workplace: How to Adapt to Technology So That You Can Get Ahead

As the business of real estate moves ever forward, there’s an inevitable push towards automating processes and incorporating more technology into the roles and expectations of agents.

Change can be scary, and for established employees, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an understandable gripe. The work day is already packed to the rafters, so finding the time to learn an unfamiliar system is a non-priority task that ends up at the bottom of the to-do list.

Over the years, I’ve seen many employees shine through the uncertainty of the ‘new’ and leverage themselves as invaluable upskillers, reaping the benefits of their increased productivity. I’ve also witnessed many succumb to the short-term anxiety of unfamiliarity and fail to capitalise on the opportunities within the challenge.

You can guess which group strode ahead, time and time again.

Real estate will always rely on exceptional human interactions, but the ability to react quickly to the changing tech landscape is imperative for survival.

Here are my tips on how to stay tech agile so that you can get ahead in real estate and make yourself indispensable to your employer.

Show Enthusiasm

Change is inevitable, so don’t bother dragging your feet in the mud, you’ll only appear stagnant. Even if you’re a full-blown skeptic, fake it til you make it. Have a positive attitude and step up as the early-adopter who helps others in the office get excited too. It won’t go unnoticed.

Use It as a Selling Tool

Savvy ActivePipe agents showcase the platform in their listing presentations to demonstrate how easy it is to find premium buyers for the client’s property. This is often enough to get them over the line and secure their business.

You can use this strategy for any new technology. Think about what the client gets out of it. Can you work that into your pitch and turn it into a selling tool? It might be the push you need to get around the product yourself.

Don’t Let Initial Failures Bog You Down

Just log in. The first time you poke around a new system, it’s normal to feel like a bit of a failure because you don’t completely understand what you’re doing. Don’t let this stop you. The more you log in and try, the more familiar it will become.

Compare it to the first time you started working in sales. I’m sure we can all look back and cringe on mistakes we made in the early days of our career, but if we had let that failure consume us, we wouldn’t have learnt how to do things differently. To do things better.

The Lowdown

We don’t have much control over the new technology that enters our lives, or the direction that a company takes when implementing it across the business.

What we do have control over is our attitude when we are faced with new opportunities. The best agents I know have one incredible trait in common. Their ability to adapt and make the best of the situation in front of them allows them to thrive, no matter what. They are always looking for the next challenge.

Technology like ActivePipe is there to make your life easier. It only takes a little effort to give it a go and ensure that you’ll stay relevant within the industry for years to come.

We’ve got plenty of content to help you get ahead. Join the thousands of agents who follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How Thought-leaders Maintain Relationships to Improve Long-term Portfolio Strength

On average, any property will be bought and sold every ten years. ActivePipe SmartFeeds helps agents become thought-leaders to stay front-of-mind until contacts are re-active in the market. Find out how it works and how we’re making it better!

Imagine you’ve just sold someone a house.

We know that a property will exchange hands every ten years on average, but your customers might sell more frequently. This makes it difficult to know exactly when contact interest in the market will peak.

One solution is thought-leadership, which many agents use to engage active and inactive contacts.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to show you how you can save time building your thought-leadership platform, and make customers for life.

How to Stay Front of Mind, Long Term

A property owner never stops caring about their property, so you can always guarantee they will have a level of interest in the market.

Most people aren’t real estate experts (as you know, all too well) and can often feel intimidated or inundated without access to reliable information channels.

For this reason, people look to thought-leaders.

Thought-leaders can remain front of mind with contacts even when those contacts aren’t actively looking at property.

It comes down to a value exchange.

Make it easy for people to get the information they want, so they don’t have to look for it. People who aren’t interested in your weekly listings can be engaged with broader updates and information that is relevant to real estate.

Content Ideas for New Thought-leaders

Becoming a thought-leader isn’t as simple as it looks. The most successful thought-leaders in any industry can sometimes spend years trying to develop a following.

The first thing you need is an idea. New technology is great for sharing, but old technology (pen and paper) is sometimes best for coming up with ideas.

In the brainstorming process, think about your target audience (property owners), and what they need or want to know.

For agents, good topics to cover are:

  • Local community news and events
  • General commentary on the property market
  • Trends in interior design and renovation

These are just some basic ideas to get you started. Use these to inspire your own creativity. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to start your own blog.

If blogging isn’t for you, there are heaps of websites online with sharable content that you can tap into.  Even if you aren’t necessarily creating all your own content, people will still come to you as a source of information if you’re sharing the best content from around the web.

Again, developing a following takes time. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if you don’t immediately see the results you dream of.

Now that you’ve got the content, only one question remains:

How do you share it?

The Easiest Way to Reach Your Audience

SmartFeeds is the digital tool that makes thought-leadership easy.

Email marketing has high engagement in all industries, so it makes sense to use a tool that taps into email and is the reason we’ve developed the ActivePipe SmartFeeds feature.

When you use SmartFeeds in an email, the ActivePipe Feed Engine:

  1. Goes to a website of your choice, such as a blog
  2. Fetches information about that content
  3. Automatically loads that information into an email

From there, it’s easy to send emails to your database that help to improve contact engagement with your emails.

Follow these steps and you become the obvious first point of contact for any client when they re-enter the market, whether that’s in 2 years time, or twenty.

Be the thought-leader that people follow.

 

Personal vs Personalised: Why the Difference Matters for Agents

The word “personalised” gets thrown around a lot these days. Saying that something is personalised isn’t just a fancy way to say personal. It has its own meaning. Read on to find out what those meanings are and why the difference between what’s personal and the personalised is relevant to agents.

What’s the Difference, Technically?

As an agent, you’ve probably used a “personal touch” and “personalisation” in your customer journeys, even if you haven’t realised it.

“Personal” is a describing word. It means that something is private or unique to a particular person.

“Personalised” is a doing word. It’s all about action and means that something has been made for a particular person.

These may just be words, but the ideas behind them carry weight.

What matters is how you understand the relationship between these two ideas and how you can use that understanding to improve your customer relationships.

Why Agents Should Care

As an agent, for example, you might sometimes add a personal touch. This could mean giving out pens with your name on it, or property profiles with your face on it. Some of the big-figure agents even take it as far as rolling out champagne for an open house!

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to add a personal touch. A personal touch just means doing something to make people recognise and remember the agent they’re dealing with.

This tactic is as old as the real estate game itself.

Making something personalised, on the other hand, is more new-school.

To personalise something is to make it unique to the customer.

More and more businesses are starting to do this. It’s easier than ever to order a t-shirt with a personal message or photo on it. Facebook creates personal videos about peoples’ online friendships and lets their users share them on their wall.

Technology has dawned a revolution in personalisation.

These companies are only making one product, but they change them so that each item is completely unique to the customer.

This takes the guesswork out of marketing and product creation.

In the past, companies had to try and create one product or marketing campaign that worked for the majority of their target market. The genius of modern personalisation is that it lets the customer create the product that’s perfect for themselves!

For the Last Time: How Does this Help Agents!?

To be fair, personalisation isn’t completely new to real estate.

Think of the classic: the agent Christmas card campaign, where an agent handwrites personal messages to everyone in their database. Some of the top agents even do this for all their contacts’ birthdays as well.

At least, it used to be just the top agents.

These days any agent can easily personalise in two steps.

First, you need to know about your contacts to be able to cater to their unique personalities. The obvious details to find out are name, phone, address. On top of that, go the extra mile.

What are your contact’s interests? Do you know what food they like? Do they have a pet?

This level of detail might seem like overkill, but people are doing it. It’s how you get ahead. Knowing these things about a person helps you build stronger relationships with your database.

Getting this information can be easy, if you’re a good listener. You’ll be surprised what kinds of information people reveal about themselves in casual conversations.

To keep track of all your contacts’ details, add an extra column in your database. The great thing about digital contact lists is that you can add heaps of custom fields without your data getting completely out of control.

Once you’ve got an idea about who your contacts are as people, the second step is easy.

There are heaps of digital platforms that let you integrate with you database and send personalised messages to your contacts.

Google Calendar is great example. Just plug your contacts’ birthdays into your calendar and send people a text when you get a notification. If you’re really clever, you can even use a third party app to send the texts for you automatically.

Technology has improved personalisation so that, like Facebook, any agent can deliver digital messaging that is unique to individuals.

What is the difference in something that is personal versus personalisation?

Something that is personalised (made for a particular person) lets you have a personal conversation (unique to an individual).

The ideas don’t compete with each other, rather the personal and personalisation compliment each other.

Things that are personal and personalised aren’t the same thing, but when your sales pitch contains both, it helps you have the better conversations that make customers for life.

 

To learn more about how ActivePipe can help you automate personalised comms, speak to one of our automation experts.


HAVE A CHAT

In Conversation with David Young Choi

ActivePipe’s catapulting global expansion of the last twelve months has allowed me to make some exceptional appointments to our executive team. The quality of these highly sought-after professionals is enviable, as is the wealth of experience and understanding of the sector that they bring with them.

When I first met David Young Choi three years ago, we quickly entered into a friendship driven by a mutual respect for what the other was ‘about.’ At the time, he was Chief Commercial Officer at Homepass, a proptech company moving in the same space as the recently launched ActivePipe; our paths were always destined to cross. I was instantly drawn to his astute intelligence and passion for the role and I was pleased to watch his career continue to shine as he moved into the position of Director of Corporate & Enterprise at Domain.

When ActivePipe reached the point of needing a CCO of our own, in my eyes, David was the only man for the job. He’s dived head first into the role and is already feeling like such a member of the ActivePipe family that it’s hard to believe he’s only officially been on board for a few, (admittedly, action-packed) weeks.

I’ve finally found some time to sit down and decompress with him. Here’s what he has to say about his ActivePipe appointment, insights into the company so far and the overall climate that’s defining proptech in 2018.

Dave, you’ve known me and ActivePipe for years now. What is it that got you excited to come on board and take this role?

DC: I was sold the first time that I saw ActivePipe. It was so intuitive and simple, that I was immediately drawn to its potential. ActivePipe addresses every major pain-point that brands and agents face. This runs deeper than just personalised communications and discovery technology. You’re talking about a platform that holistically revolutionises how an agent identifies and converts pipeline opportunities and then builds a lifelong relationship with them. From a corporate perspective, the power to create an automated email drip-campaign that seamlessly integrates properties which can be sent out on behalf of all their agents in minutes, is invaluable. How could I not be excited about this?

It’s the numbers that get me going. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you build into a product if you’re not getting results for the clients, what’s the point?

DC: Well, from what I’ve seen, the proof is well and truly in the pudding. From the ground up we’re now looking at servicing nearly 40,000 agents with the biggest brands across four countries, including the US. What are we at now? Over 16,000 appraisal requests for our clients. So yes, it’s both the numbers and the technology that has me excited.

Thinking about how these numbers will grow as we continue to push into the US gets me excited.

Of course! Our international expansion and opportunity were major drawcards for me joining the team. At the end of the day, the fundamental problems we solve are universal, no matter whether you’re in Australasia, the UK or US. ActivePipe’s value proposition spans all geographies.

Based on your experience dealing with agents from across these geographies, what are they saying about the introduction of automation for their business?

Well, corporations are always blown away by the ability to maintain brand integrity across the network without losing the personal touch that individually crafted communications provide. This is huge for them. Agents talk about how easy it makes it for them to stay in contact with the thousands of agents in their database and facilitate relevant conversations.

Yeah, I completely agree. I love how it’s not only positively enhancing the experience of the agent but also adding value and creating a pleasurable overall journey for their customers.

DC: Well, that’s what it’s all about. The reason ActivePipe agents are seeing such great results is that their contacts aren’t feeling like the recipients of spam or monotonous cold-calls. With each and every touchpoint being tailored to their needs, trust and rapport are consistently being built. When it does come time for an agent to pick up the phone and make contact, they are more productive and can actually add value.

You’ve already been throwing some big ideas around with me. Where do you see this company heading in the next few years and how are you going to help get us there?

DC: The customer is the centre of our universe, so everything we do moving forward must focus on customer centricity. This is already a dynamic business but we must always remain diligent and on the front foot of the needs, pain-points and solving our customers business problems. All I can say right now is, watch this space because big things are coming.

So, talk to me about how you see our role in the industry now that you’ve seen us from the inside and out.

DC: This is an easy one! The role of ActivePipe is to help real estate agents and brands get the absolute most out of their business. It’s like squeezing every last drop out of a lemon. ActivePipe takes the archaic lead generation and customer nurturing methods which real estate has relied on for so long and turns it on its head. Its role is to completely change the game.

Thanks, mate, as always it’s all about company culture for me, so no matter how you want to shake things up, you know where I draw the line.

That’s a great point to bring up actually. To return to your question about what excites me about ActivePipe, I’d have to say that its reputation as an organisation with extremely high staff satisfaction and retention rates was a huge drawcard for me. It’s been inspiring to hear you speak on the driving force company culture plays in the pursuit of innovation. I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team as it moves towards the next phase of its’ global expansion.

Thanks, Dave.

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Everything I Learnt at the EA Masters 2018

I’ve spent a fair chunk of the past two years in transit. Constantly travelling between London and Australia can be tiring and means sacrificing precious time with my young family, but watching our business flourish in the UK and meeting so many awesome and determined estate agents with a fresh perspective on the market, makes it worth every second.

I was recently asked to present at the EA Masters, which for those of you playing at home, is the UK’s premier real estate conference hosted by the prestigious Peter Knight. My duty: recap the key takeaways and hot topics of the event.

It was a great excuse for me to reflect on real estate in the UK. What these guys are doing well, not so well, and what the rest of us can learn from them. The calibre of speakers really was exceptional, so there was plenty for me to talk about. Here’s everything that I discovered this year.

The Good

Estate agents in the UK are talking, they’re sharing and they’re very community-based. It doesn’t matter which brand they’re working for, if someone jumps on a Facebook group and asks a seemingly normal question, everyone will jump in and help them, no matter the simplicity of it or whether they’re the ‘competition’. This provides a lot of helpful rhetoric. Whereas, in Australia, there seems to be a lot of ego getting in the way of those discussions.

It’s not just new agents who are benefitting from these, it’s a great way for the old hats to keep up to date with fresh ideas that may not have otherwise been introduced to them.

The other thing that I’ve noticed is that there’s a lot more leadership at an office level as opposed to a thought leader level. In Australia, agents want to be governed and guided by thought leaders in the space. In the UK, if someone has a good idea, it doesn’t matter who they are, they’ll put their hand up and say, “Hey, I’ve been trying a new thing out.” It’s working really well. The way live chat service Yomdel and data capture provider Valpal have been embraced, is a testament to UK agents seeing something that works well for them and sharing that knowledge with their peers. Although, in saying that….

The Bad

One of the main issues facing estate agents in the UK is that the systems, the technology and the processes are very redundant. We have employed some tech in Aus that has enabled agents to operate in a manner that addresses the clients needs and enhances the process. I feel like some of the tech in the UK is more like the tail wagging the dog.  

“How do we replicate what the Aussies are doing in the UK market to get an advantage, gain control and create energy, to push the process of selling property and getting the best outcomes?”

I heard a version of this question cut twenty different ways from twenty different players.

What I’ve Learnt

The level of service provided by some estate agents is equal to that given by hybrid disruptors Purplebricks. Basically, you have an agent saying, “I’ve called the owners of the property that you want to look at, they will show you around and you can call me back if you are interested.” This was a quote yelled out on day one of the EA Masters and I remember it being a bit like this in Australia in the late 90s, early 2000s. It really is the lowest form of service you can give someone. It is this kind of service that has really opened up the doors to competition from the hybrid and online models attacking the high street agents.

I put my hand up during the conference and said, “Hey! Isn’t that what Purplebricks does?” and you could feel that it was a kind of watershed moment for everyone in the room. If they’re providing the same level of service that one of these hybrid models is giving, why would you expect to do better financially? Their clients are just going to look at Purplebricks and go, “Hang on, why don’t I just pay half as much and get the same service?”

The bar has to be raised or there’s going to be some nasty surprises around the corner.

The Takeaway

Hearing Aussie big-hitters like Josh Phegan and Alexander Phillips address the UK market gave me a lot of confidence in what we’re doing at ActivePipe. If the UK can implement and get excited about smart technology that allows for automation and behaviour driven intent, they’ll ultimately address their biggest pain point; improving service standards.

For the rest of us, learning to embrace open channels of communication across the industry will lift us up as a collective and minimise Australia’s propensity for ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome.’ That can only ever be a good thing.

I look forward to EA Masters 2019!

 

To speak to Ben about the EA Masters, lessons from the UK or to discuss how ActivePipe can help your business grow, email him here.

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Craig Leo: Acumen and Accolades on the Peninsula

When I stumbled across a Facebook video of Craig Leo, the renowned director of Barry Plant Rosebud speaking on the benefits of ActivePipe, I was stoked to see such a superstar sharing his excitement with the world.

Craig is a well-respected and sought after leader on the Mornington Peninsula. He’s also the recipient of numerous accolades that celebrate his business acumen and his dedication to establishing and maintaining relationships that last a lifetime. I think that Craig makes the perfect spokesperson for our platform, so I couldn’t wait to catch up with him to learn more about how he and his agents are harnessing the power of ActivePipe.

Hi Craig, thank you so much for sharing your video. We love nothing more than a happy client! I want to talk about the beginning of your ActivePipe journey. When were you first introduced to the platform and how receptive were your agents to the new system?

It was part of an initiative from our corporate group. We were given training on it and we certainly found it beneficial and the agents were really supportive of it. They recognise that it’s something that’s there to help them, so it’s really been fine.

Can you tell me a bit about how you incorporate ActivePipe into your daily routine?

One really good example is a couple that we missed out on a listing for. They didn’t sell with the current agent they were with and they ended up heading off for a holiday. Whilst they were away they were still searching for properties, so we knew they were a genuine buyer. Through ActivePipe we could see that as we alerted properties to them they were clicking on them multiple times. We always contact a buyer if we know that they’re clicking multiple times, so I was on the phone to them everywhere they stopped at as they travelled up the coast of Queensland!

By the time they were back from their holiday, they were looking to relist. They invited us in unopposed because they liked the fact that we’d kept in contact with them and that was with the help of ActivePipe. We ended up selling at auction which was great and from there they bought from us. So, by keeping in contact we were able to facilitate a buy and a listing unopposed.

You’ve received an amazing 24 appraisal requests so far. How many of those have turned into listings?

When we have a prospective vendor or an appraisal request, 9 times out of 10 we’ve listed and sold that property.

Wow, that’s incredible. Would you say that ActivePipe is allowing you to have better conversations with your prospects and that’s why you’ve been so successful in turning them into listings?

Well, first of all, it’s relevant conversations because we know, first of all, that their active in property. Secondly, we know the conversation is a relevant one because we can see what we’re sending them which results in a far better conversation. Thirdly, I think it’s the consistency of the conversation that ActivePipe is allowing for as well.

It’s not just a typical database call where you’re trawling through your prospective vendors. We’re making as many warm calls as possible.

As a director, do you find that ActivePipe helps you in managing your agents?

Getting reports back from ActivePipe that we can sit down and talk to the agents about is great. More importantly though, it’s giving them direction. Rather than coming in of the morning and making a series of cold calls or prospective vendor calls off a database, they’re able to have a really relevant conversation.

So now when I talk to agents I find that the majority of the conversation is, “What has been happening on your ActivePipe. Who’s clicking on what?” It’s not just about the vendor referrals or request for appraisals or finance referrals.

Have you had any feedback from clients on your communications with them?

I make people aware when they come through our opens that we are going to provide them with a series of updates that are relevant to their needs. I also tell them that if they’re not happy with it they can unsubscribe.

What’s really cool about the system is that when we’re doing an appraisal, we can generally do what we call a ‘buyer match’. This is where I go into ActivePipe and determine how many people are looking for say a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, double-garage home. I can show the prospective seller the results and the search history of the buyer. Then I’ll say, “Let’s give them a call now” and I’ll dial them up.

So, it’s just one of those really neat systems where you can actually show the vendor that you’ve got relevant buyers who have a search criteria that’s relevant to their property and that I can call them as easily at that. It’s actually hilarious.

So, do you use ActivePipe as a marketing tool when you are meeting with prospective sellers?

So many agencies say to their vendors that they’ve got “this buyer” in their database and “this red alert system” and they print off a list of ad hoc buyers. To me that’s just a number and anyone can do it. But when you actually show someone that a buyer has clicked on a property that’s similar to theirs, in a price range that is similar to theirs, and in their area, that’s really powerful.

Every agency says, “We’ve got the buyer”, whereas we tell our clients, “Look, everybody has the same buyers.” The difference between us and the other agencies is that we’ve got a much more accurate way of determining who the buyer is and we actually demonstrate that in a follow-up rather than just pulling up a list of names that may not even be real people.

What would you say to other directors who are thinking of giving ActivePipe a go?

I can sum that up in one sentence. It will change your business. Off the back of a really good market in the 2017/2018 financial year we made a 61% growth in our business. There was good training and marketing and all the things that we implemented in our business but ActivePipe was certainly a catalyst for that. So yes, do it.

That’s an incredible achievement that we are so happy to be a part of. Thank you for taking the time to chat today. Before we finish, is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d say, just try to be consistent with your training, and consistent in updating your database.

One more thing! We were alerted by one of your team members that we were sending out far too many emails and that feedback helped us to cut down on some of the unsubscribes that we were seeing.

So I have to say that the service we’re receiving from ActivePipe is really good as well.

Check out Craig’s original video:

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How Edward Smyth Uses Cold, Hard Data to Sell with a “Human Touch”

How can an agent with under three years in the real estate game win awards, become a Director and feature on the cover of Elite Agent Magazine?

It sounds like an urban myth but Edward Smyth and the team at NGU Gold Coast are a force to be reckoned with and Edward has indeed ticked all these boxes in just three short years.

Edward started his career in the fast-paced game of international finance. Joining forces with business partner Karen Stewart, he’s gone from trading stock to trading houses and brought with him an expertise in big data to help nurture leads and build a fit database.

Central to his method is an eagerness to increase user ‘touchpoints’: points of customer contact, such as Facebook ads, a phone call or email.

We managed to steal some time with Edward, who told us how capitalising on user touchpoints with clean ActivePipe data helps the team convert leads.

This is how Edward Smyth uses a human touch.

In your recent interview with Elite Agent, you spoke about the human touch being so important to selling real estate. How does ActivePipe help you personalise the emails you’re sending to keep that human touch alive?

If you liaise with marketing specialists, they will tell you that it’s normally six touchpoints before you call to action. In my opinion, it’s probably closer to 20, based on the evolution of social media and the internet and associated ways to get to market quicker.

Having something like ActivePipe, where it creates a lot of the touchpoints, is crucial because it provides a real estate agent with a shortcut to touchpoints.

What layers of automation are you using across the platform? Do you have any sort of methodologies?

Yeah, my belief is that technology and automation increase the probability of the human touch. If you find an upsizer or a downsizer through the ActivePipe dashboard, jump on that, right away. I mean, if you don’t jump on that get out of real estate.  

Somebody’s asked for an appraisal; it couldn’t be more black and white.

Deliver that and deliver it quickly.

ActivePipe gives us enough alert so that we can deliver that within seconds of receiving the inquiry, and we do. Our rule is that no lead will ever sit in our pile for longer than eight hours.

In terms of efficiency and time management, how’s ActivePipe helping you and your business colleagues?

It takes a short amount of time to come up with the data for each weekly email. My secretary, Shannon Greaney, will pin an alert on my calendar and put in a time, saying ‘ActivePipe blurb’.

It’ll take about 30 minutes to come up with something because there’s enough information circling around the real estate sphere. It doesn’t need to be your own idea. You can show the biggest story in real estate from the week and talk about that.

How do you leverage your ActivePipe Dashboard to have those better conversations?

We have to digitally stalk everybody before we engage in conversation with them.

You digitally stalk them by doing a name search in RP Data to see what homes are associated with them. Then you go to LinkedIn, then you go to Facebook and you learn a little about them.

What I try to do is not make a phone call until I know everything that I can. What ActivePipe does is, it alerts me to somebody who’s active in the area, then the rest of the job is on me.

ActivePipe is an alert system.

It doesn’t do the job for you, but it alerts you to a possibility.

The way we kind of look at it is we give the agents the ammunition and the insights to be able to have those superior conversations, but it’s up to them to make the phone call and be proactive.

That’s right. If someone tells us, through ActivePipe, I’m a downsizer, looking for a townhouse that’s around 500, 600 grand, you don’t call them up and say, “Hey, you’re a Downsizer looking for a place that’s 500, 600 grand.”

What you do is you think about it. You look around and you consider somebody who might sell within that rationale.

You call the seller, the potential seller and say, “Look, would you sell at the right price?”

Then the seller says, “Yes.”

You call the ActivePipe buyer and say, “Look, I might have something for you, would you like to come and have a look on Wednesday?”

Then they say, “Yes.”

You match your buyer and your seller because that’s what real estate is.

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Maintaining Culture Across Geographies

Earlier this year we were honoured to receive three nods from the Australian Business Awards for being leaders in the fields of technology, innovation and marketing. These accolades are always worth a celebration but this year they’ve really got me thinking about the true meaning of success and the role that company culture has played in ours. If you’ve been following us for a while you might even remember that I wrote a blog about it.

Since then, ActivePipe has continued its crazy growth spurt and we now have a small army representing us in cities across the US, UK, AUS, NZ and The Philippines. Whilst extremely exciting, I’m also ultra aware of the importance and potential hardships involved in maintaining our strong, inclusive culture across these geographies. As with anything in business, it all comes down to planning with a little bit of gut instinct thrown in for good measure, and so far we’ve been doing well at keeping the family vibes flowing across the globe.

I want to share with you what I’ve learnt this year about maintaining culture across geographies.

Have the Right Tech in Place

To maintain good communication and a sense of community amongst your team members, it’s essential that you have the right tools in place to facilitate a seamless flow of conversation. For us, Google Hangouts is an everyday occurrence and it’s not unusual to see our Melbourne HQ filled with the faces of comrades from far off lands shining down at us through TVs linked up to conference cams. Google Docs and cloud technology allow for easy sharing and editing of work and whether they like it or not, in-house messaging service Slack means that no matter where you’re located, an instant message is only a few keystrokes away.

Virtual Gatherings

Monthly general meetings are important to me. It’s a great way to bring everyone together to share news and company goals and even have a laugh together in an informal environment. Just because we can’t magically apparate the entire team together doesn’t mean that anyone needs to miss out on the fun. Turn your meetings into a virtual gathering with the same video conferencing software I mentioned above.

Get to Know Your Geos

Each region you penetrate will have unique characteristics, customs, laws and language nuances that if ignored could spell the end of you and your business prospects in that market. You need to do your research and engage the brand ambassadors and team leaders in each geography to educate you on these cultural distinctions. Making a point of recognising their holidays and other important dates will lead to an even more inclusive employee experience.

Communication is Key

You’ve heard it a thousand times before but it can’t be stressed enough – good communication is the heartbeat of a business and the key to balancing the needs of your staff with the needs of your accounts department. Check in with people as much as you can. Showing an interest in how they’re going, even if they’re not physically in the room shows your team they are valuable and that you are experiencing this journey together.

It Comes from the Top

You and your leadership group need to be the type of people that inspire a sense of purpose. This runs deeper than just being involved in the everyday running of the business. This comes from the place inside you that is driven by a noble purpose and a desire to do something more than just ‘make money’. Work out what your ‘why’ is and it will direct you in maintaining consistency in your global expansion. If you know why you’re really doing this, your passion will trickle down to everyone in the business – no matter where they’re located.

Let Them Grow

Your employees are just as interested in your global domination as you are. Give them the chance to feel that they are growing with you by encouraging development initiatives that the leadership teams are accountable for. Up-skilling opportunities don’t just improve staff morale, they improve the productivity of your business.

Luck Has Nothing To Do with It

Whilst I feel incredibly lucky to have the team I do, luck really has nothing to do with it. It takes a hell of a lot of hard work and numerous sleepless nights to keep the cogs of an international business well oiled and turning smoothly.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where your people are located or what ethnicity they belong to or system they associate with, they have families and lives and needs outside of your organisation. Just as you do – so never fail to take care of your wellbeing too.

Trust in your staff, invest in your culture and you’ll be amazed at the magic that blossoms across geographies.

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Public Speaking Tips To Have You Sounding Like an Auctioneer in No Time

I was recently in London attending one of the biggest estate agency conference and awards event in the UK.

I was thrilled to attend the event and scheduled to present as part of a panel on the second day.

As I happily chatted side of the stage with two prominent CEOs and a celebrity in the UK real estate industry, the organisers positioned us at the front of the hall. We were mic’d up and ready to go when I noticed that one of my panel mates was looking progressively nervous.

As the other speakers comforted him, one of them stepped towards me and said, ‘I can’t help him, that feeling is infectious…..I’m sweating so hard I’m blurring my notepad!’

They looked at me in surprise when they noticed that I didn’t have any notes on me. I told them that I had been paying attention to the speakers and taking notes would have distracted me from really focusing on the content.

“How on earth do you calm your nerves? I’m shitting my strides, and I’ve been writing all morning to distract myself!’’

Even though I empathised, I couldn’t help but laugh a little at the situation. I took a deep breath as our buddy with the nerves sat wiping his brow. We settled into a Q&A that ended up going really well.

So what’s my point?

I’ve been on and off stage or auctioning for the better part of 20 years. I’m not the perfect public speaker, but I’ve learnt to be comfortable. I know how much nerves can be a pain point – even for some of the most confident agents that I know, so I thought I’d share with you the tricks I’ve picked up along the way, to help you get up in front of a crowd and wow them with your cool, calm, collectedness.

I Still Get Nervous

Nervousness is normal. It’s natural and if you’re not feeling it, you are not really in the game. However, to turn yourself from a sweating lump of jelly into someone who can string words together on stage, you need to get your head out of the fear and into the calm.

Zone Out to Tune In

To get into the zone, I think of three things:

  • Silence (yep, black space)
  • I smile (*not* my creepy smile)
  • I imagine what everyone in the ActivePipe team would be doing at that moment.

 

I picture my team at their desks or in the meeting room, making a coffee, on the phone or even driving home late, home or abroad. I think of the challenges that we have faced and conquered as a team and that brings me down to earth and confident to step onto the stage to represent with the right kind of energy.

This is something that any agent can channel when they need to get up and speak in front of a crowd of strangers, or even at a sales meeting. Channel all the hard work that you put into your work. You are an expert in your field and have plenty to offer those who are around you.

Practice a Mantra

My sales team has adopted the mantra ‘Serve the Team First’. We live this mantra and I repeat it to myself when butterflies start flapping before a speaking event.

What is your mantra?

It might sound a little hippy-dippy but practising a daily mantra will not only improve your focus at work but is an excellent way to calm nerves when you’re feeling a little shaky.

The Takeaway

There were around 1200 people in the audience at this event. When we wrapped up, my panel mates and I shook hands and some of the palms were still damp with sweat.

We all get nervous but if you accept that it’s not a bad thing, remember to breathe and visualise all the goals you’ve kicked in your career and will kick in the future, you’ll be fine. Practice your mantra, don’t try to be perfect and you’ll be speaking with the confidence of an auctioneer in no time.

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Reece Prewett: Recruitment, Retention and the Power of the Database

Reece Prewett is the proud business owner and principal of Ray White Papakura, New Zealand. A master of the corporate world, Reece’s career has seen him in senior executive positions spanning four continents and nearly twenty exceptional years. His ability to drive global teams through significant growth and transformation makes his insights into the benefits of ActivePipe incredibly valuable.

We were lucky to catch up with Reece to chat about the improvements he’s seen in his business and in his agents since joining the ActivePipe family.

AP: Hi Reece, thank you for taking the time to chat today. Even though your office is pretty new to ActivePipe you’re already seeing some fantastic results. Can you tell me a little bit about how are you using the platform and how you are finding it so far?

RP: We’ve had the immediate benefits of appraisal requests and loan market requests coming through, which is fantastic! But the real juice is coming from those who mine the data in the ‘Hot Leads’ category. It’s the people who are clicking on properties multiple times, revealing their intentions about buying and selling and putting their details in through the website. We are loving that.

AP: Do you find that the information that is coming through is allowing your agents to have better conversations with these leads?

RP: It’s giving direction. You may have 1000 people in your database but when it comes to 10am Monday morning, who are you going to call? You want to start your day by making ten calls and what ActivePipe does is make those ten ‘hot calls’ as opposed to ten ‘hit-or-miss’ calls.

You’re making the right calls, at the right time, to the right people.

AP: How does AP help you train and manage the agents in your office?

RP: We have 25 agents in our office and ActivePipe helps us to work out which of those need some support. In my experience, agents can be highly effective at their jobs but not run a good database. The truth is, they could make twice as much money and have twice as much leisure time if they utilise the platform to maximise their database. They might even get their weekends back for themselves.

I’ll give you an example.

Our Number Two salesperson has 500 people in his database but it’s not well constructed. ActivePipe has allowed us to see that this is a problem and we’re now able to use it as an opportunity for him to improve his business. The guy’s already getting really good numbers so we wouldn’t necessarily have noticed his mismanaged database but he could be doing so much more and in half the time!

AP: How do your agents feel about using this new platform?

RP: I’m now using ActivePipe as my recruitment tool! This is because agents want leadership, support and something to help them deal with being so time poor. A lot of agents are time poor, so if you told them you’d organised a PA for them, they’d literally grab you with five arms, give you a hug and say, “Where do I start”?

That’s not a particularly cost-effective thing to do. With ActivePipe, I’m effectively giving them half a PA for free and it does all that work for them in the background.

For example, I’ve just recruited one prospect who was sold by the platform. At first he was going to wait until next year to join us but he ended up saying, ‘‘Yep – I’m done”, and he literally joined us the next week.

AP: Let’s talk about the technology side of things. Has there been any resistance to learning the new system?

RP: Absolutely. People just don’t like change, right? People who say that they like change are bullshitting you.

I think the young, smart agents coming through know that they don’t need to be tech-savvy but they do need to be using technology wisely and properly. The good thing about ActivePipe is that you don’t need to be an IT savvy individual, you literally just have to walk up to it, turn it on and make the phone calls.

Once you’re in and swimming around it’s like ‘Wow’.

AP: So you obviously think that technology is important for the future of the industry but do you think it is, specifically for your business?

RP: I think it’s important for every business. I think other small to mid-sized businesses out there won’t embrace it and that’s good for me because I know those people will drop off over time.

You don’t have to be that far ahead of your competition. It’s just like running away from a cheetah – you just need to be that little bit faster. So whilst ActivePipe is a great recruitment tool, it’s just as much a retention tool. Once they’re in and setting up their stuff each week and checking their database it’s almost like they can’t leave. How could they?

AP: So it becomes a very sticky product?

RP: Yeah, but in a good way, right! If you can have steak at home why would you leave and have hamburgers next door.

AP: You’ve had some really good appraisal request numbers coming through your account. Has that helped in terms of numbers of listings?

RP: Has it improved our business? Yes, absolutely. For example, since we’ve started my Top Agent has received two listings through the platform which equates to  $30-40,000 NZD that’s coming in the front door. It’s probably paid for ten years worth of ActivePipe!

AP: So, it’s actually giving you as a business owner the chance to not only help your agents but to improve your business as well?

RP: It’s a total win-win. With ActivePipe, you’ve got recruitment, you’ve got retention and then you’ve got the ability to squeeze the juice out of a lemon. You’re presented with another money spinner by being able to generate leads that are not being managed and because they’ve been presented the way ActivePipe does, it’s very easy for the company to pick that up.

AP: Thanks Reece. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

RP: I’d just like to say that we were a bit timid about turning it on but you’ve just got to jump in the cold water and have a swim. ActivePipe has made a real impact and it’s a really positive one. I can’t think of any downside.

 

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The Digital Mind with Sean Birk

In my role as ActivePipe’s Creative/Design Director, I’ve always got my antennae finely tuned to the going-ons of the creative world. As mediums and technologies continue to evolve at lightning speed, it means there’s always something to talk about when my peers get together to bounce around ideas and muse on the future.

Through my work at ActivePipe, I’ve been lucky to cross paths with Sean Birk. Sean is the Creative Director: Digital and Integrated at award-winning creative agency, Fenton Stephens. His knack for producing innovative ideas that cut through the clutter have made him a much sought after leader in the industry and the recipient of many international awards including London International, New York Festival & Cannes. It’s this ability to see around corners that makes Sean the perfect brain to pick in my quest to find out what’s coming up in the world of creative technology.

We caught up to chat about how technology is changing the way we work and think.

Tech is everywhere

Unless you’re reading this in an isolated log cabin high in the mountains, you’re already aware of the importance of technology in your everyday life. Tech is now part of virtually every aspect of modern commerce, culture and communication. But it’s so ubiquitous that you may not have considered the radical ways in which it is changing the way you work, create and even think.

Your memory is getting better … and worse.

Since the advent of Google and the smartphone, you’ve had a flawless memory for information, video and more – right at your fingertips.  Which means a good short-term memory is something you’ve needed less and less. And what you don’t use, you lose.

This negative effect on the brain is a new and worrying trend. Young people who’ve been raised in the digital age are already showing signs of short-term memory dysfunction as a result of their addiction to technology.

It’s known as digital dementia, and as we become more and more tied to our devices, it has the potential to become a real challenge to the way we think interact and take care of ourselves.

Your voice is becoming your fingerprint

It has been predicted that, in the next two years, 82% of devices will have native voice recognition capability. Which basically means you’ll soon be controlling the majority of your digital interactions with your voice.

Your voice will also become your primary identifier for online security. Does this mean you’ll be locked out of your email, social and banking apps when you have a cold? Time will tell. But voice control will also mean efficiencies in ways we might not expect – from automated customer service calls to new ways to complete everyday tasks.

You’re turning into a cyborg

A further development of our ongoing connection to our digital devices and networked systems is high- bandwidth brain-machine interfaces. What? Basically, it’s a way to connect your brain directly to a computer.

Yes, this brain implant technology isn’t science-fiction. Neuralink, a company already working on a way to seamlessly combine your digital and biological self, says they will soon launch a product that will give us a shot at becoming “symbiotic” with artificial intelligence.

You’re becoming more creative

You may not become an artist overnight, but at the very least, you’re going to have more creative tools at your disposal.

Artificial Intelligence and deep machine learning have already resulted in computers that can edit films, write pop songs and create renaissance paintings autonomously. As we become more connected, we’ll be able to harness that power and augment it with our own problem-solving skills. How? Well, that’s yet to be fully understood.

But technology’s ability to proactively handle mundane daily tasks will certainly leave us more time and headspace to think, create and do business.

That should be a change we all welcome.

How Company Culture Helped Us Win 3 Australian Business Awards

If you follow the Australian Business Awards or are a friend of ActivePipe on social media, you may have heard that we took out their Software Innovation, Technology Innovation and Marketing Innovation awards for a second year running.

Being recognised amongst a pool of exceptional business talent is undeniably awesome and I couldn’t be happier that we get to celebrate these wins twice in as many years. But for me, the beautifully framed set of certificates now hanging at the top of our Melbourne office stairwell signify something far more important than profit margins, market placement or software algorithms.

What wins like these really show me, is tangible evidence that our team is doing exactly what it has set out to do. We’ve worked together, as a collective, to achieve an incredible set of goals by utilising the different skill sets, strengths and even weaknesses of each individual.

Through an eagle-eyed approach to creating a strong and inclusive company culture, each member of the ActivePipe family has felt confident to express all the fresh ideas that led to our product being as successful as it is. By giving the team unequivocal freedom and trust, I’ve discovered that the proof is well and truly in the pudding; a well-nurtured team give back in spades, and then some.

In the age of the start-up and a worldwide decline in lifelong brand loyalty, it’s a mistake for any leader to overlook the role of culture in strengthening their business. In droves, millennials are turning their backs on the traditional suit-and-tie job, unless it comes with a lifestyle balance and culture that aligns with their values. This means that if you want to attract top talent, you’ve got no choice but to get on board and rethink what you have to offer those that are offering forty-plus hours a week to you.

You don’t have to drop everything, run out the door and buy a foosball table and bean bags (although it doesn’t hurt, I’d be facing mutiny if I dared remove ours). What it does mean is stopping what you are doing, taking a step back and evaluating the happiness of your staff, and if you feel something is amiss, implementing a three point plan to address it. Get this part right and it won’t just be awards you’re winning, you’ll see every facet of your business winning as well.

Start With Your Why

This first step is the most important. Why are you here? What is the purpose of this business? If your only answer is ‘making money’, then you’re going to have trouble building an authentic connection with your team. Think deeply about your goals and make these plans known to all new interviewees.

If you haven’t already, work with your current staff to come up with your purpose together. At ActivePipe, we did this by identifying three words that truly define us: hustle, inspired and easy. They drive every avenue of our business and we know that if they’re being fulfilled, everything is chugging along just fine.

Live and Breathe It

Don’t pay it lip-service and then fall back into old habits once the novelty has worn off. You need to work hard every day to maintain culture. Live and breathe it! Keep the momentum going with team-building days that get everyone out of the office, communal spaces that encourage mingling and interiors that inspire creativity. Constantly remind your team how important your ideal culture is and make sure you always lead by example.

Pay it Forward

Encourage innovation outside the confines of the office and give kudos to those who strive for it. If a team member achieves something cool, let them know it. Be present in your company, not just a faceless suit behind a computer screen and be the company that’s known for giving back to the communities that support it. We see real estate brands doing this well, often promoting junior sporting teams and local events.

Remember, success is for sharing. Break bread with your staff and immerse yourself in your community.

The benefits of a strong, unified company culture

Maybe you think this all sounds a bit fluffy.

Perhaps you’re right, but in my experience, building a company culture that you can be proud of is no exercise in kumbaya hand-holding. If you get it right, staff retention rates will soar and your flawless brand image will attract customers in the thousands.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to this: no matter what someone’s job title is, whether they’re your right-hand woman or a fresh-faced graduate, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and humility.

Live by this everyday and it won’t just be your accountant that thanks you for it, you might even pick up an award or two along the way.

 

Shane Colquhoun: A Winning Principal

Shane Colquhoun is the principal of LJ Hooker Nerang, which was recently crowned ‘Regional Sales Office of the Year’ at the 2018 Real Estate Business (REB) Awards. He believes that cultivating team longevity through individual coaching and exceptional office culture are the principles behind a winning principal. At publication, his office has generated 122 appraisal requests through ActivePipe.

AP: Congratulations on your real estate success this year, what does it mean to you to see your office getting this type of recognition?

SC: It’s a reflection and an appreciation for all the hard work that you do over the years and it’s a big tick for the culture that we have here. It’s nice to be recognised with awards but it really assists with the culture.

AP:  Is there a particular highlight from the last year that you’d like to share with us?

SC: Moving into the new office was definitely a massive highlight. After years of having the goal of giving the team a better working environment, having it come together was something very special.

AP: What are the qualities that you believe got your team to the top?

SC: I’d have to say that working as a team and having team longevity helps. Recruiting and training are a big part of a business but when you’ve had people here forever the business will improve every year. It’s nice to bring people in who become part of the turning cog in a machine and working well, so it’s easy for new people to start because there’s a lot of long-termers here.

AP: Tell me about the everyday routine of your agents. What are the little things they do each day that sets them up for success?

SC: Everyone is coached individually. At the end of the day, everybody has a strength and a weakness and it’s about highlighting the strengths rather than working on the weaknesses. If someone has been working in real estate for ten years and has a weakness, I think it’s always going to be there, so we support in the weakness and grow the strength.

AP: Your office has generated 122 appraisal requests through ActivePipe, which is huge! How do you make sure that ActivePipe is incorporated into the daily routine of your agents?

SC: It’s a non negotiable. We have it in the office and you have to use it, whether you’ve been here for one day or for twenty years. It’s one of those automated tools that makes people’s jobs easier.

AP: What advice do you have for agents who are just starting out in the business of buying and selling homes?

SC: God help them!

No, I’m joking. I was actually driving to work today thinking just how lucky all these new agents are with the technology on offer. They need to utilise the technology but also remember that it’s all about talking to people. Too many agents rely only on the great technology and believe its going to be the answer to all of their wishes but at the end of the day, you still have to talk to people. You have to build relationships over the phone and touch base as regularly as possible. I look back at when I was a successful sales person and I didn’t have any technology, I didn’t even have an email address, it was all about knocking out 30-50 phone calls a day.

If you did that many phone calls today, with the backup of this fantastic technology there’s no excuse for anyone joining the industry today to not make it work.

AP: What mistakes do you see other principals making that are inhibiting their business?

SC: At the end of the day, it’s growth. It’s not putting on enough sales staff or failing to grow your property management team.

AP: What would you say to agents who are thinking about giving ActivePipe a try?

YES! But, remember that you can’t rely just on the technology. If a contact is in real estate mode, they’ll open your emails but if they’re not they’ll probably click out of them, so for those times you have to have other things in place to stay front-of-mind.

 

Daniel Oliver’s Secret to Success

Earlier this week, we had a chat to Daniel Oliver, Ray White SA/NT #1 Agent January 2018. We were so impressed with the results he’s generating with ActivePipe that we had to know more about how he implements it in the office and his everyday routine. So far, Daniel has received 17 appraisal requests and 142 profile updates, a truly staggering effort.

Here’s what he has to say about ActivePipe and how it’s helped him reach out and truly engage with the homebuyers of Adelaide.

AP: First of all congratulations on being named Ray White SA/NT #1 Agent January 2018. We’ve been looking at your ActivePipe data and can see you’ve received 17 appraisals through the platform! Great work.

DO: Thank you! Its nice to have received them, hopefully many more to come.​

AP: How long have you been on ActivePipe for?

DO: We were one of the first offices to get on board when Ray White took on ActivePipe. Our training was back in April 2016.

AP: How do you incorporate ActivePipe into your everyday routine?

DO: My assistant or myself will log into it everyday. We’ll look through and see which properties have open for inspections coming up and we’ll call anyone that’s clicked on that property and say, “we have this amazing property on offer that is similar to what you are looking for, have you seen it? Would you like to come to the next open home?”

That drags traffic to the property and it’s all through ActivePipe. It saves us a whole lot of time because we know exactly who’s clicking on what properties. They have no idea that we’re calling them because of that click, we just say “I keep in touch with all my current buyers, would you like to come by?”

This really helps us with our attendance numbers and sells the property.

AP: What are your favourite features of the product?

DO: Getting people to the OFIs is the first big help but we also love ‘Potential Sellers’ and ‘New Geo- Conversions’.

Our favourite is ‘Profile Updates’. We know for instance, that if someone is an ‘Investor’ we can hand it straight over to our BDM, who’s our investment specialist. He can take care of them straight away and hopefully turn it into a property management referral, which means more business coming in.

AP: In terms of efficiency and time management, how has AP changed how you operate in your daily business?

DO: It saves us hours. Literally, a lot of hours of calling everyone back. My aim at OFIs is to collect a minimum of 90% of emails from attendees but before ActivePipe, I didn’t really care to be honest. Now that I’m aiming for that 90%, it’s probably why I’ve received 17 appraisals. It’s because I’m building my ActivePipe database.

AP: How Important Do You Think Embracing Technology Like ActivePipe is for the Future of Real Estate?

DO: 100%. We are at the forefront of doing that and I think it’s been one of the biggest changes to my business. I can’t imagine life without it.

AP: How would you describe ActivePipe to other agents who aren’t with the system but who are considering giving it a go?

DO: I wouldn’t tell them about it. It’s a secret. (more…)

Everyday Things You Can Do To Inspire Your Team

With KPIs to hit, listings to win and commissions on the line, real estate is often considered a game of numbers and hard sells. It’s a high stress environment and the pressure is almost always on. This means that agent burnout is a real problem in the industry and leaders need to take a stand. To create healthy work-life balance and increase job satisfaction, principals must look out for their staff and promote a positive work environment that inspires self care, self belief and self motivation.

Here are eight easy ways to inspire your team and get the good vibes flowing in your office.

Build Core Values

This is where you need to start. At the heart of every good business is a set of strong and well defined values. Why does your company exist and why do you do what you do everyday? Once you work out your purpose, jot it down and use it to keep yourself accountable. Remember, this is your moral compass, so if you stray, the first person you’re letting down is yourself.

Set Clear Goals

You’ve established your values, so now it’s time to set some short, medium and long term goals. Where do you want to be in one, five and ten years time? For a team-building exercise, get everyone in your office to share these objectives and then brainstorm ways to achieve them. Having clear direction and a team of colleagues rooting for you is incredibly motivating, so always embrace opportunities to collaborate.

Offer Up-skill and Personal Development Strategies

The benefits of encouraging your staff to seek extra training are two-fold. On one hand you will have a team of highly skilled professionals that love what they do and on the other, your staff will feel supported by you. Not only will they work harder to achieve your vision, but retention rates will be high because they feel like you’ve got their best interests at heart. Ask them what they want to learn about, you might be surprised by their answers!

Friendly Competition

There’s nothing more motivating than a bit of friendly competition. Why not introduce a fun leaderboard that doesn’t just focus on sales numbers but includes referrals, emails sent and any other interesting ideas you can come up with? Sales agents tend to be competitive by nature, so use what makes them tick to get some extra energy out of their 9-5 grind.

Public Recognition of Achievements and Show Appreciation

If they’ve done a good job, tell them. Public recognition isn’t hard but it goes a hell of a long way.

Give Them the Tools They Need

You wouldn’t tell a plumber to do their job without a spanner so why would you send your agent out in the field without the right tools to back them up. Prospecting technology such as ActivePipe is an essential component of an agent’s daily routine. It takes the hard work out of nurturing their leads to sale, whilst streamlining efficiency and improving your brand’s public recognition. If you’re not on it, give it a go.

Update the Decor

An easy way to make people feel good is to create a nice atmosphere through simple interior design improvements. You don’t need a $20,000 renovation, research shows that having just a few plants around an office space lightens spirits and even cleans the air for you. Take note of the culture in your office. If your team is ducking out for a caffeine hit every couple of hours, why not invest in a coffee machine that not only hits that sweet spot at 3pm but also encourages a space where people can chat.

Practice Transparency

At the end of the day, none of this matters if your team doesn’t trust you. The only way to cultivate that trust is to be transparent in everything that you do. Talk about the business’ progression regularly and encourage an open door policy where staff can ask any questions they may have without judgement.  Always be straight with your answers because people can smell bullshit from a mile away.

Humans respond to authenticity, so don’t just be a boss be a role model they can rely on.

 

Rising To The Top With Glen Coutinho

When it comes time for REB to announce their ‘Top 100 Agents in Australia’ each year, the ActivePipe office is always abuzz. Our agents consistently place in top positions, so as you can imagine, we can’t wait to get our little mitts on the prestigious list and congratulate these real estate superstars for their outstanding achievements.

2018 did not disappoint.

Of Australia’s top five agents, three are ActivePipe users and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Taking out the number five spot this year is our friend Glen Coutinho, the Director and Senior Auctioneer at RT Edgar, Boroondara. With 33 years experience and a whopping $340, 529, 700 worth of sales under his belt in the last twelve months alone, he’s an undeniable powerhouse of the industry. ActivePipe was lucky to catch him for a quick chat and to pick his brain for the secrets to his success.

AP: Hi Glen, thank you so much for speaking to us today and a huge congratulations for being named the number five agent in Australia. You’ve had an incredible year, what’s been the highlight for you?

GC: The highlight for me is that I’ve been able to achieve all this whilst still having three and a half to four months off for the year. I was able to travel to America with my family and manage my customers whilst I was away, which means that the system works well for me.

AP: So you managed to achieve that elusive work/life balance?

GC: Exactly

AP: What are the qualities that got you to the top of the real estate game?

GC: I believe my greatest quality is loving people. My biggest strength is spoiling my customers. From birthdays to wedding anniversaries, I just always make the effort to acknowledge the success of all my clients. I spend most of my time with people and I just want to spoil them.

AP: Tell us about your everyday routine. What are the little things you do that sets you up for success?

GC: I start my morning between 7:30am and 8am on social media. I wish all my clients happy birthday, acknowledge special dates and all those types of things. I do this by 8am and then send out some gifts to my clients and get on the phone. I make 30-40 calls a day to past clients and I’ve done that consistently for 33 years.

AP: How do you incorporate ActivePipe into your everyday routine?

GC: It’s an important part of my routine because ActivePipe is the touchpoint for all my customers that are on email. I’ve got almost 30,000 customers and a lot of them get sent an ActivePipe email every week. It’s especially important for the local and overseas contacts that I can’t keep in touch with. It means they can get an email with my face on it and an update on the market.

AP: Do you think this has helped you in your pursuit to be one of the top agents in the country?

GC: It certainly has helped! I meet so many people that the sheer volume can be hard to keep up with. If I forget to ring someone, ActivePipe is like my backup. Say I’ve been chasing someone for twenty years and I forget to ring them for six months, they’re still getting my face in front of them every week. Each Thursday, ActivePipe puts my face in front of 5000 people and most them think that I’ve written the emails individually, so it really works in my favour.

AP: How important is embracing technology like ActivePipe for the future of real estate?

GC: Look I think it’s critical, especially if you’ve been in real estate for a long time. The younger guys are doing it but people in their 40s to 60s think they don’t need to. Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that you do. It’s a critical part of business in the 2000s and will continue to be moving into the future.

AP: What advice would you give to agents who are just starting out in the business?

If you’re just starting out, you need to be in the office and at your desk by 8am. You need to consistently make 40 to 50 calls a day and you need to make ActivePipe a critical part of your business. If you want to make the best of ActivePipe, you need to get it in front of 1000 people very fast. If you’ve got 1000 people getting one of these emails every week, you’re in the game. By the time you get to 10,000 contacts, it comes down to sheer numbers. You can’t lose.

Let’s Talk About Competitiveness and Drive in Real Estate

Whether you call it football or soccer, there is no denying that FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar. Fans around the globe huddle around the TV and get ready to watch their country battle it out on the world stage.

To celebrate this prestigious event we got in contact with our SVP North America, Mike Feller, who was lucky enough to play soccer for the US National team. Mike talks about the importance of self-motivation in real estate and how agents can channel their competitive spirit to drive more sales.

Mike, who are you going for in the World Cup?

Usually I’d be going for the USA but we didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Russia this year. If I had to pick another team it would have to be England because I almost feel bad for them. They’ve had such a tough run lately!

How did you get into playing soccer?

I started playing soccer when I was five years old. I didn’t really get serious about the sport until my sophomore year in high school but after that, things escalated quickly and by my senior year, I was playing on the US national team. I competed at this level for three years and was recognised as one of the top 20 soccer players in the country for my age group. I travelled a lot and had some great experiences, but was prone to injury. At one stage, I got hurt badly and that splintered my professional soccer career. After rehab, I decided it was time to hang up my boots. I went back to school, got my MBA and have been working with several startups ever since.

What parallels can you see between real estate and football?

Working in the industry for the past few months has made me realise that there are a lot of parallels between playing professional sport and selling real estate. Both professions are driven by a level of competitiveness, work ethic and an innate desire to succeed.

Tell me a little bit more about the importance of determination and drive for agents to succeed?

There are a large number of agents in the US, and the space is very competitive. In addition, the real estate industry is full of external influences, so agents need to adapt to a fluctuating market that they have no control over. Most of the time, the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is self belief, perseverance and drive. Just as athletes need to push through injuries and unforeseen circumstances, agents need to find new ways to overcome obstacles that they inevitably face.

How can agents train themselves to be better at their jobs and get an edge over their competitors?

To stay fighting fit, agents need to embrace the fact that they are running a business. They need to understand what drives their success, like the key conversions they need to pay attention to if they are going to turn a profit. If they adopt this mentality and truly dedicate themselves, they will be able to separate themselves from 90% of their competition. Another thing they need to do is ensure they are in tune with technological developments in the industry. Advancements are happening quickly, so agents need to understand what tools are out there and how they will help improve their business operations. The more relevant they are in that regard, the more likely they are to win listings and ultimately head a successful business.

Any other finals thoughts?

There are a lot of parallels between real estate and the sporting world. At the end of the day, self-belief, work ethic and competitive drive separate the winners from the losers. If you can simply harness those elements, you will succeed.

The Surprising Benefits of Going Green

Does driving across town for client meetings, writing a million contracts and spending hours on the phone negotiating a selling price when you’re meant to be on annual leave sound familiar?

Life as a real estate agent is indisputably hectic, so it’s fair to assume that the last thing on your mind is worrying about the impact your job has on the environment.

Last week, we spoke about the growing popularity of eco-homes and how house hunters are looking towards a green future. Today we are going to talk about how real estate agents need to get on board, practice what they preach and start implementing sustainability practices into their everyday routine.

Going full rainbow-warrior is daunting and unrealistic, so we’re going to talk about the small, daily changes you can make around the office. If everyone gets involved and implements these simple strategies, you’ll be doing your part for the environment and saving some cash along the way.

Get your green thumbs ready, here are our top tips for an environmentally friendly workplace.

If you can’t reuse it, refuse it

The key message of this year’s World Environment Day was to ditch single use items such as plastic cutlery, straws, shopping bags and take-away coffee cups. These days there are thousands of affordable reusable options out there, so there is no excuse to keep buying a new water bottle every morning.

Your local discount store has plenty of stylish utensils so why not stock up the office kitchen with products everyone can use. As an added bonus, many local cafes offer discounts for those who bring reusable coffee cups, so have some fun, branded ones the whole team can use!

Change your printing habits

Gone are the days of flyers, mailouts and OFI pamphlets; the marketing world has gone digital and so should real estate. Invest in some office tablets. They are incredibly versatile as you can email on-the-go and even use it to register attendance at an OFI. If you absolutely have to print, make sure the default setting is ‘double sided’ and you only use recycled paper.

Greenify your office

Leafy ferns aren’t just pretty, they filter pollutants from the office environment and clean up the air. Research tells us that work spaces which embrace plants and natural light boost morale and increase productivity. So take the team out to the local nursery and choose some gorgeous greenery to spruce the place up.

Be mindful of the way you transport

The reality is, agents need their cars to get around so we’re not suggesting that you ditch the wheels five days a week. To offset your emissions, consider teaming up with a work buddy and car-pooling every couple of days. Sharing the vehicle will save on fuel and toll costs, and might even encourage you to dust off the old bike and peddle your way to work and optimal fitness.

Remember you are what you eat

Our idea of what qualifies as food has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. Sadly, it is one of the world’s most wasteful industries but it’s easy to make a stand by buying fresh produce that supports local farmers. Not only is organic food more nutritionally beneficial than that from the supermarket, it’s far less likely to come wrapped in plastic and transported from the other side of the world. Don’t buy your lunch each day, bring it from home in some funky tupperware and you’ll save money and improve your health.

Embrace energy saving tech

Have you ever thought about how much electricity is running through your office? Lights are on, heaters are in full-force and everyone has their computer plugged into a wall. These are things that we never really take notice of but make a huge difference to the energy bill at the end of each month. Turning off your computer when you go home and installing some energy efficient light bulbs is a great place to start. As a rule, turn off any appliance when it’s not needed.  

Remember

Take one step at a time and don’t be disheartened if you slip into old habits occasionally. So long that your hearts in the right place and you can get a conversation around sustainability happening in your office, you’re already on the way. You’ll save money, improve your health and be surprised at how much fun being a greenie can be!

Prioritising Authenticity In Your Business

In a world driven by fake news, social media and an unrelenting 24-hour internet cycle, it’s not surprising that consumers have pushed back and demanded something more authentic from business.

The age-old saying, “the customer is always right”, has led marketing teams around the world to search for a more personable story that resonates with heart.

Some get it right. Dove is a great example of a corporation that’s replaced “corporate” with “human” and made millions of dollars telling women that they’re beautiful, no matter what their perceived flaws are.

Adversely, we see those who get it really, really wrong. You might have heard about the recent Pepsi debacle where millionaire reality star Kendall Jenner fronted a tone-deaf campaign that tried to connect Pepsi with the longstanding racial equality movement. The ad was subsequently pulled and Pepsi had to apologise for their distaste.  

So how can those in real estate cultivate their authenticity and let their personality shine through in a way that isn’t cringe-worthy or tired?

Identify your core values

The key is to work out your ‘why’. Research shows that ‘why’ driven communications are the strongest and longest lasting. Your ‘why’ comes from working out your purpose and why you’re driven to do what you do everyday. If you need some inspiration, check out our blog on why it’s so important to build your brand story.

Engage with your customers

Once you’ve determined your core values, it’s time to find a fresh way to communicate with your customers. In real estate this means not being afraid to show your flaws! Why not use the Facebook live stream feature as a means of publicising your latest OFI success. Leave the bloopers in! Have a laugh at yourself! Consumers really appreciate this and will feel like they can connect with you on an authentic level.

Show the moments that happen behind the scenes. Maybe it’s a co-worker’s birthday, so you get a cake and get the office to sing “Happy Birthday!” Don’t miss out on this opportunity to show your softer side and let your local community into your little family.

Drop the jargon

Quit throwing around complex real estate terms that the everyday person won’t understand. This will only alienate potential customers because they will feel intimidated and are therefore less likely to ask for your help. Instead, make an effort to explain things clearly and simplify the often daunting process for them. Using inclusive language is ideal for social media as it helps people feel like they’re part of your family. For example, “Thank you to our friends in Smithville. We love being part of your community”.

Explaining the problem you set out to solve

Every business exists to solve a problem. In real estate, you are working hard to help people find the right home at the right price. To discover the core of your business’ authenticity, you need to very clearly define the problem you set out to solve and outline how you do it. Are you a high-end brand dealing with luxury properties or do you specialise in helping families on a tight budget find a nook to call their own. Case studies are a great way to demonstrate your success without tooting your own horn.

Get Excited

Show your passion for real estate in everything you do. Whether that’s having a warm smile when you welcome someone into an open home, getting involved at the local footy club or sharing real estate tips and tricks with your followers, if you believe in what you do, people will want to work with you!