Editor’s Note: After getting to know the Sage brothers online, I asked them to write a guest article for InmanNext outlining how their business has changed dramatically in the last two years. I think you will be inspired by their story – I know I was! – Katie Lance
There are no Ph.D.’s or Masters’ programs when it comes to Real Estate Sales, but we look at all the lanyards with name tags hanging in the corner and can see where we picked up our higher education for this business. Through years of Inman Connect conferences, Reboots, RE Barcamps, #140 Conferences, SoMix’s and NAR conferences we were introduced to the likes of The GoodLife Team, Corcoran Group, @Properties, M Realty, Tech Savvy Agent and other impressive players. Between the lessons from the stage, the roundtable discussions, the conversations in the hallways or the networking at the parties we mostly snuck in to (thanks Inman, Zillow, Trulia, Better Homes and Gardens, Google) we received an incredible education. It provided lightning bolt inspiration that illuminated our concept. We studied them all and soaked in their offerings. We realised that Toronto real estate was primed and ready for an alternative. After 16 years, leaving our prior ‘Big Brand’ franchise and its five figure a month franchise fees, was actually really easy.
Sage Real Estate has enjoyed the excitement of two all-consuming up and down years morphing and adapting. Being fluid and dynamic has contributed to our progress and success. Other unexpected opportunities have arisen as well: local/national/international speaking engagements, national media coverage and consultations with the Canadian Government. Even Apple Canada approached us to help them develop and instruct a training course for iPad and iPhone in the real estate business.
Here are some of the winning conference inspired concepts we employ:
1) Brokerage handles the marketing of listings.
Sage Real Estate leverages both traditional and digital tactics for its property-focused marketing campaigns. Maximum online exposure is essential. Our internal marketing department pays for and executes campaigns with the following key elements:
- Individual listing website for every listing on its own domain (www.18southleaave.com)
- Professional property photographs
- Google PPC campaign with targeted keywords
- Syndication of website to every listing hub available
- Emails to targeted outside agents
- Just listed/sold cards
- Video tours loaded on YouTube
- Feature sheets (professional in-house Graphic Designer)
- Social Media exposure (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube)
When Buyers purchase a home they not only buy bricks and mortar, they buy a lifestyle. We try to gear our marketing to convey a targeted lifestyle specific to each property.
A Brokerage that handles the marketing of its listings derives numerous benefits. Agents have more time to focus on higher gain activities. Marketing has a polished and professional look that is consistent throughout all of the brokerage’s listings. Marketing is not left to chance. Sellers are impressed. More referrals are made.
We have developed a customizable, high tech listing presentation for each agent to use. It can be delivered in print, on a tablet or through a smart phone plugged into a client’s television. Agents can easily and quickly prepare to deliver a top notch presentation on a moment’s notice. The presentation underscores the importance and benefits to our Sellers of a sophisticated marketing campaign that balances both traditional and digital tactics. It clearly outlines the buyer’s shift to online research as the primary means of finding a home. The campaign does not solely rely upon an Agent’s smiling four colour portrait and his nebulous neighborhood sales ranking.
2) Providing Meaningful Agent Support
We recognised that most Brokerages in our market were playing the numbers game. They sign up as many warm bodies as possible and the brokerage in essence only puts out fires and administers deals.
The opportunity today is about quality, not quantity. We spend considerable time and internal resources on our agents which is one of the reasons we turn down more agents than we hire on.
Our model is truly collaborative. When an agent joins we meet with them to understand their past successes and where they are trying to go. We then brainstorm with them to develop a personalized business plan and finally we provide the internal support and guidance necessary to execute that plan. This has the effect of rejuvenating many of our agents’ businesses. We are their valued ‘team’. We both need one another.
This approach helps the agents do more deals. We take the tasks off their plates that most of them don’t like doing or are not good at doing. They spend more time selling. They love making more money. We do too.
How many times have you wished you had a crystal ball to predict the future? Well for us conferencing has been that crystal ball and we plan to keep on gazing into the future.
We would be happy to chat with any individuals who are considering going on their own. Takes a firm resolve but it has been the best thing that we have ever done.