A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whale Sized Expectations

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in the wild is about 10 whales over a series of three hours, breaching, cavorting and dancing in the water only meters away from the boat I was bobbing up and down in.

I’ve got Imagine Cruises in Port Stephens, NSW to thank for that.

I’d been doing some research for a road trip I wanted to make up the New South Wales coast and come across the website for Imagine. They had a twitter link, so I had a look at their tweets. The predominant vibe I got from their tweets was that they were a casual, easy going company who seemed to get a real kick out of what they did.

I tweeted them asking about availability of times and visibility of whales. They replied promptly tell me their was lots of both availability and whales and the tone of their communication was at all times, fun, welcoming and casual. They didn’t make any special promises or offer me anything other than “whales and fun”.

When I arrived at my hotel I asked them if they could book a cruise with Imagine for me and was told that they could, however they preferred to book with another operator, the major competitor to Imagine. It was too late however, I was already sold on Imagine and proceeded to book the cruise myself and had what was one of the wettest, but most unforgettable mornings of my life.

Everything on board matched the tone of the communication I’d already received through twitter and I couldn’t speak more highly of the entire operation. To top that off we were lucky enough to go out on a morning when all the whales were cooperating as well!

In contrast, I’ve had other, very clever companies try to target me through twitter (which, as a sales person, I love to see), however it’s not always come across as 100% consistent. One company told me they loved to look after their twitter followers and wanted to send me a great deal on accommodation, however they over-promised and the offer sent wasn’t anything I couldn’t already find myself online and the communication that followed via email didn’t continue the style of communication they’d had with me via twitter. It wasn’t consistent and, they’d almost done themselves a disservice in fact by getting my hopes too high on twitter and then not delivering.

Imagine cruises (www.twitter.com/imaginecruises) promised very little, but did set a tone. They accurately depicted they type of organization they were via a social media strategy and I felt as though I’d already built a relationship with them. In fact, their twitter seemed like such an extension of the communication of the company, I doubt they even see it as a social media strategy, instead just seeing it as another way to have a chat with some great people.

When you’ve already built a relationship with an organization it’s hard for anyone, except that organization, to ruin that relationship.

Thanks again to the team at Imagine, it was simply breathtaking!

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, February 7, 2011

Buy An Ad Or Build A Relationship?

Unintentionally I set a rather controversial strategy for marketing of our real estate agency Elephant Property when we started in January of ’09: an advertising budget of almost nil.

We rarely purchase advertising instead preferring to focus on building relationships and providing exceptional “unforgettable” service to our current clients that makes them want to talk about us. Now, don’t mistake me, we market our properties for rent so that we have a recurring days vacant of almost nil, but, what I’m talking about is actually marketing the business.

This strategy always meant that fewer people looking for a property manager in our market place were going to know about us than the top advertisers in our field. However, when people do hear about us, they typically hear it from a trusted friend or adviser.

In our field – residential property management – we typically deal with three main groups of people. Our clients – property owner, our customers – tenants and our suppliers – tradespeople.

I’m sad to say, but in many real estate agencies only the first group – property owners are seen as being worth of first class service. Tenants are often treated with contempt or as a necessary means to an end and tradespeople are rarely lauded for the amazing work they do which makes our lives and jobs so much easier.

I’m proud to say a lot of our business comes from our tradies referring clients to us. Many of them deal with multiple agencies and there really is no greater compliment than knowing they choose to refer our services because they have a in depth knowledge of how many real estate agencies operate.

A rarity in our field however is to have tenants recommend your services. A fine line has to be walked between being overly friendly with the tenants to the point where it’s a disservice to your clients (the property owners) and being unfairly unjust with tenants and treating them like second class citizens.

About 10 months ago a tenant of ours in Launceston, met a lady in Hobart. They got chatting with the Hobart lady mentioning that her child was having trouble renting a property of theirs nearby to the Launceston tenant. Thankfully we’d developed the relationship with our tenant where they felt comfortable saying – you should talk to Elephant Property.

Cut to the present day and that one conversation that would have never happened if we treated tenants in a typical fashion lead to us gaining that one property to rent. Furthermore those clients referred us on to a friend, and bought a second property and the original woman in Hobart is about to bring over the fourth property in this line of relationships to us.

Each time we’ve pitched for the business without going up against competition and with the knowledge that the person we’re talking to has been given an honest, heartfelt testimonial by someone who knows and appreciates our service.

Let me tell you, that initial meeting is a completely different one to a meeting generated by an advertisement. There’s already an in-built connection, an existing level of trust and the foundation has already been laid for a great ongoing relationship.

A billboard, or an advertisement can speak your message – but to me, having a strategy in addition to any marketing that fosters a desire in people to personally tell other people about your business creates stronger leads for ongoing business.

What are you doing in your business with EVERYONE you interact with to encourage them to recommend and refer you in a heartfelt, genuine manner?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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