Wednesday, March 31, 2010
First, develop a marketing plan. Decide how much of your income you need to set aside for marketing and develop a marketing budget. The budget should be based as a percentage of earnings. A good rule of thumb is between 5 and 10% of annual earnings. Spend what you can afford but remember that you cannot afford to spend zero. Look at it as an investment in future business.
Decide what type of marketing would be most effective. This depends upon the group of people that you are trying to reach, or your demographic, and you need to understand their tastes and habits. Find out what websites and publications they frequent. If, for example, your demographic is young singles you might want to consider email marketing or building a website. If your demographic is mature and has special interests you might try reaching them through print advertising in a publication that appeals to them. Electronic marketing is increasingly reaching across all demographic segments and is also very cost effective.
You need to have more than one means, or use multiple channels, to reach your prospects. Think about combining a website, with mailings and emarketing. Or, you might want to advertise in the local paper and drive traffic to your website. Use old-fashioned just listed and just sold cards, a tried and true prospecting method.
This is a great time to establish your credibility as a Realtor by writing a blog. Writing a blog is a strategy that will pay dividends over time. Blogging demonstrates expertise to new clients who will be Googling your name prior to your first listing appointment. It also will attract buyers searching for homes in your service area.
This is also a good time to reach out to your existing client base. Seemingly inconsequential techniques, like refrigerator magnets, can produce rewards. Stay top of mind and establish your following now.
Finally, consistency and frequency are the keys to marketing success. Develop your marketing plan and execute it without fail. Have some patience and remember that one month of marketing does not make for a successful campaign. The recovery may be coming slowly, but it is coming just as the sun rises in the East. Be ready for it. (www.themarketingimperative.com )
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The City of Chicago has been cracking down as of late on open house signs used mostly on the weekends. Brokers are paying thousands of dollars in fines to recover the signs and treat the fines almost as a cost of doing business.
Alderman Patrick O’Connor of the 40th Ward has introduced an Ordinance to allow real estate agents to put open house signs in the public way, as long as a permit is obtained. This ordinance would replace the cat and mouse game we all play with open house signs with a rational process that we can all agree on, regardless of what brokerage we work for.
Tell your Broker to support the O’Connor ordinance.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The new corporate identity for Koenig & Strey was unveiled at Showcase 2010, our annual awards ceremony. The event was very upbeat as our President and CEO, Doug Ayers addressed the attendees with his usual sense of humor. Before the unveiling of the final brand, Doug showed some ‘concepts’ that reflected our name in other major brands logos, tongue-in-cheek.
You might ask ‘Why is a logo so important?’
Our corporate identity is the prism through which the public sees Koenig & Strey. It is our persona in the marketplace and must be consistently managed so that when someone sees a yard sign, or a post card, an email card, or a building sign they instantly recognize who we are and what we represent.
Creating a new Identity required us to ask ourselves about what our corporate culture is, about our position in the marketplace, and what we aspire to be in the future.
Many of these questions were answered by our managers when they laid out our Business Principles last fall and I think they bear repeating in summary;
• Koenig & Strey is a full-service, quality, professional brokerage
• We set High Standards for our integrity as well as our professionalism
• We are the Chicago areas’ Luxury real estate experts
• We are a HomeServices of America company, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway
• We believe in empowering local management
• We strive to have a reputation for integrity, honesty, service
• We are moving forward & expanding our market share
Our corporate identity needed to reflect these ideals and goals. It had to reflect the professionalism & quality of our agents and the services they provide. It needed to capitalize on our 49-years of brand equity. And finally, it had to be forward looking and relevant.
The reception was brilliant and enthusiastic: our agents loved it! Koenig & Strey is moving forward with a new brand. Many challenges remain, but at last we know who we are and our path to the future is clear.
Monday, March 15, 2010
It also speaks to the future prospects of Koenig & Strey, part of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliated company. Mr. Buffett knows a good bet when he sees one. Koenig & Strey is already living up to its promise. For while the Chicago area real estate market is up 29% our sales are up 67%. We are in the black, we have no debt, and we are moving forward.
Our dedicated agents and employees are working hard toward a brilliant future by outperforming the market. Soon we will roll out our new corporate identity; a sleek contemporary new logo, but one that has roots in our prestigious heritage. Our marketing programs are in the process of a complete revolution including a dazzling new website. We are aggressively building our market share. Clearly Koenig & Strey has a brilliant future. Look out Chicago!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
It’s time to Spring forward! Literally. With an increase in daylight hours and warmer weather on our horizon, we all start to feel better about the future. Now is the time to tap that positive feeling of spring regeneration and use it to your advantage. Here are some reasons to be hopeful:
10. The economy is improving. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the US is growing at 5.9%.
9. Recent statistics from Manpower, Inc. show that Chicago area employers will start adding jobs to the local economy. Job growth is the fundamental driver of demand for homes.
8. Existing home sales are up year on year by 11.5% over January 2009.
7. Total housing inventory fell .5% and is 9.6% below that of 2009.
6. The tax credit is set to expire April 30; this is good because it creates urgency in the market, something dearly lacking in recent times.
5. The NAR housing affordability index is increasing, and has been increasing for 3 years. As prices adjust, access to housing increases and sales are likely to grow.
4. The press is starting to report that it may be time to buy a home. Recent articles point out that not only are prices and interest rates at historically low levels, but also it is difficult to know when the market has reached its bottom. Hence waiting may cost buyers money. Once the press starts to drive public thought in the direction of buying this is a clear signal of a turnaround.
3. Consumer spending was up for the 5th straight month in February. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity, so a recovery in this sector is crucial to economic growth.
2. Personal income is up and the savings rate is at historic highs. This will set the stage for future home sales as fear about the future recedes and pent up demand unleashes.
1. It’s not 2009. We all knew that time would cure the Great Recession. The stock market crash that started this painful recession is 15 months behind us. Every day that goes by brings the recovery closer to reality.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Ask anyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay area if they have heard of Joseph Eichler and you are bound to get an affirmative answer. A master home builder, marketing genius, and a visionary he revolutionized home building in America. His homes were not initially well received, but are now highly prized. They have become known as their own branch of architecture called “California Modern” and have been copied by builders all over America.
After living in a rented home in Hillsborough that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Eichler became inspired. He liked the openness created by floor to ceiling windows, the open beams and the dramatic use of space. He was also heavily influenced by the simplicity and utilitarianism of architect Mies van der Rohe.
His homes were described by his own marketing as “Bringing the Outside In” and were ahead of their time. He hired a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Robert Anshen, of the San Francisco firm Anshen and Allen, to design his first homes. The homes featured concrete slab foundations, flat or low sloping “A” frame roofs, post and beam construction, vertical wood siding, glass walls, open floor plans, and simple clean exterior elevations. They were best suited to the warm climate of California.
His vision was to create planned communities for middle class Americans with their own recreation, parks, and shopping. He rejected the open racism of the day, resigning from the National Association of Home Builders in 1958 when they refused to support a non-discrimination policy. He even offered buyers their money back if they did not like their neighbors because of their race. "If, as you claim, this will destroy property values," he once told some disgruntled Eichler owners, "I could lose millions...You should be ashamed of yourselves for wasting your time and mine with such pettiness."
Between 1950 and 1974, when he passed away, Joseph Eichler built over 11,000 homes. You can find these homes today all over the Bay Area from Marin to San Jose and in Southern California. Joseph Eichler will long be remembered for his drive and genius.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
To this point, we are working on the creation of a new corporate identity with our partner Pivot Design. Pivot Design specializes in branding and has helped many top flight firms transform their market image. The list includes Abbott Labs, Aon, Baxter Labs, The Chicago Stock Exchange, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Microsoft, to name a few.
"Who we are" largely comes down to our values. The values we represent are the key to our corporate identity. That is how our USP (Unique Selling Proposition) will be determined and give us a picture of what Koenig & Strey stands for in the minds of our clients and stakeholders.
One word comes to mind: Integrity. Because we help our clients negotiate the single most important investment decision of their lives, integrity is the key component of our corporate culture. This must be reflected in everything we do. If clients cannot trust us we are out of business.
Our President, Doug Ayers, recently took our managers through the exercise of establishing our corporate values and came up with an important document outlining our business principals. Chief among these principals was how we treat our clients, employees and our agents. Quite simply with honesty and fairness.
Koenig & Strey has been helping buyers and sellers of real estate for almost 50 years in the Chicago area. We are well known and well respected by consumers.
We are also part of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. HSA has brought its expertise and guidance to help us grow our market share. They also encourage K&S to stand alone as leader in the Chicago area real estate market by creating and using our own identity.
Koenig & Strey is a dynamic company, with cutting edge marketing technology, and we are seeking to expand our business at a time when others are thinking about survival. Our new website will be launched in June with an amazing array of features and functionality. We have a network of 900 top sales agents in the Chicago area. Our view is toward the future and we have an exciting story to tell. Koenig & Strey is all of these things. So, farewell to the Harry Nash syndrome, we are reinventing ourselves.