“Consumer behaviour have changed. No one walks into an estate agents office to start their search for a property anymore.” I read this interesting quote from a good friend’s instagram post. Let’s just say the quote is not entirely true because the sales process does not end with just a search for the right property. It ends when the buyer is convinced that what he is about to buy is what he really wants to buy. Many years ago, I told this story to one meeting of Real Estate Housing Developers Association (REHDA) in one state. I said, “Assuming we suddenly think about buying a property, do we drop everything we were doing and drive out or walk to the nearest convenience store to buy a newspaper to see what are the properties available?” The answer is not really but that’s not for everyone. My parents continue to read the newspapers everyday and continue to tell me of new launches. Their peers continue to read newspapers and I am very sure many potential buyers continue to read the newspaper.
Thus, newspaper is a Lead Generator, no different from the few famous property portals. Without these mass media, it’s going to be hard to generate new leads. This is why advertisement will remain very important for a long time more to come. By the way, even Facebook marketing is just a lead generator. So, it’s partially true that people do not drop by the real estate agents office to start searching for properties BUT they will still call their trusted real estate agents / negotiators when they see any property advertisement and they will ask if it’s worth buying. This will also be true for a very long time yet. Every time I meet my friends, they will ask me this question again and again, “Ei… this property I saw the other day,worth buying ah?”
However, generating leads is just part of the whole story because potential buyers do not buy because they saw an advertisement in the mass media. Let’s be very honest. First-timer property buyer sees a RM500,000 property advertisement and they quickly run to the gallery with their cheque book? Seriously? For these first-time property buyers, it’s much more likely for them to start reading some reviews about the property developer, about the property, about the area and even about property investment advantages… And it’s far more likely for them to drop by the sales gallery to speak to the sales people, ask them lots of questions and then… visit other sales galleries nearby and speak to the sales people there before deciding many weeks later to visit the final 2-3 choices and then only decide.
This is why the PEOPLE touch will be very important. This is why some developers outsource their sales function to good Real Estate Agencies which trains their Real Estate Negotiators (RENs) well on objection handling. This is also why many developers upgrade their own sales teams in terms of property investment understanding because these first-time property buyers will have lots of doubts which has to be cleared before they buy. “I heard a bubble is coming, is it true?” “Your condo is very nice but I prefer to buy a landed.” “Your project is 45km from my office, it’s very far…” and more…
Online presence is compulsory these days. I dare not imagine any developer launching their projects without a proper website these days. Experienced property buyers will buy with less intervention from sales people but if we look at the scenario here in Malaysia, the number of new and potential property buyers are by far larger. This is why it’s very important for online media and people to work together. Online does not kill RENs yeah. It’s a great combo. Happy understanding.
written on 27 Dec 2018
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