C21 Sustained Excellence 2014


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CENTURY 21 and USA Bobsled Go for the Gold!

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C21 Sustained Excellence 2014

  1. 1. 8Are Agent Ratings Driving Business? Page 57 Small Steps to Big Goals C aught up in the festivities and good will of the holiday season, it’s easy to make big promises about the year ahead. However, by the time January 2 rolls around, our convictions and commitments for a new and improved year often start waning. Why? Because more often than not, the lofty goals we set for ourselves in the heat of the moment can often seem crushing once the fast pace of the January grind sets in. Better to cut our losses and start muddling through as usual…right? Wrong. While the goals you mapped out for 2014 may now seem larger than life, there are small steps you can take immediately that won’t overwhelm you, but that will put you on the path to more business. Our January issue is flled with doable ideas for shaking things up this year. Some highlights: Sustained Com Excelle CENTURY 21 & USA Bobsl 8On page 16, REBAC’s Marc Gould discusses the importance of giving buyers what they really need in the new year, from effective online marketing strategies to knowledgeable real estate guidance. Make sure you’re in sync with what matters most to your clients in 2014. 8On page 26, fnd out how to map out a game-plan for working with millennials this year. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate President & CEO Sherry Chris calls them “generation next” and has specifc—and painless— suggestions for modifying your business strategies to make sure you’re reaching these up-and-coming buyers. 8On page 35, RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly shares the key client groups that will be largely responsible for increasing your transactions in 2014. Targeting these groups can make the difference between a fat year and an improved year. 8If you’re looking for inspiration from industry icons to get you pumped for the year, don’t miss our interviews with real estate legend, Barbara Corcoran (page 28), and CENTURY 21’s Rick Davidson and Bev Thorne (page 72), who detail the frm’s forward-focused approach to marketing, branding and technology. Remember, changes in the new year don’t have to be big to be valuable. Simple adjustments to strategies and mindsets can be all it takes to reach new levels of success. Here’s to a great 2014! John E. Featherston CEO & Publisher www.rismedia.com @RISMediaUpdates facebook.com/rismedia
  2. 2. mpetitive ence: led Go for Gold in this issue {highlights} 30 Upping the Game Realty ONE Group looks back on a year of extraordinary success, plans for a bigger and better 2014 36 People Who Need People: Customer Service Insights 47 New Year, New You? Women Professionals Share How to Turn Change into Opportunity 57 Trending Like ’Em or Not, Online Agent Ratings Drive Business January 2014 $6.95 Archives
  3. 3. 8Are Agent Ratings Driving Business? Page 57 January 2014 $6.95 Sustained Competitive Excellence: CENTURY 21 & USA Bobsled Go for Gold www.rismedia.com @RISMediaUpdates facebook.com/rismedia
  4. 4. Sustained Competitive Excellence: CENTURY 21 & USA Bobsled Go for Gold by Maria Patterson The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation team with Century 21 Real Estate LLC President & CEO Rick Davidson 72 January 2014 RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE
  5. 5. I n 2012, the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate organization set out on a course to “go for the gold” to help the maximum number of consumers in their online real estate search and sales efforts. The prize for the CENTURY 21® System was establishing a best-in-class real estate search experience. At about that same time, the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) team, with one of the most dynamic rosters in history, was winning races at World Cup events around the globe and thinking “gold” for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Today, due in large part to a shared focus on quality and excellence, and the desire to be the very best, both Century 21 Real Estate LLC and the USBSF are right where they want to be: in a leadership position and built to claim “gold” in the years to follow. “Our System’s commitment and laser-like focus on the customers we serve every day means that, together, we are all going for the gold! And it’s clear that the industry has taken notice.” – Rick Davidson, President and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC We sat down with two members of the C21® senior leadership team—Rick Davidson, president and CEO, and Bev Thorne, chief marketing offcer—to learn more about where the company’s drive for “gold” began, where the franchisor is today on a global scale, and what CENTURY 21 hopes to accomplish in the future. Maria Patterson: Let’s look at where you’ve been over the years… and let’s start at the beginning. When did this push for “gold” begin? Rick Davidson: As you may know, “Gold” has been a part of our heritage since the business began in 1971. In the industry, and with consumers worldwide, it stands for professionalism, dependability, and exemplary customer service. It represents “The Gold Standard.” This global recognition and strong association with gold is unmistakable, especially matched with the locally established reputations of entrepreneurs around the world. We have the legacy and the foundation from our very inception, but we have acceler- ated our fervor for gold standard performance since early 2010. That’s when I put the stake in the ground to become the global leader in real estate transactions. Our System’s commitment and laser-like focus on the customers we serve every day means that, together, we are all going for the gold! And it’s clear that the industry has taken notice. At the National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco, for example, brokers and agents came to our heavily-traffcked exhibit booth (where we had our branded Indy car and USA Bobsled). The feedback that we got there and at our third annual “tailgate” party was outstanding. MP: Bev, from your perspective, when did the push for “gold” begin? Bev Thorne: There was a marked shift that began with the celebration of our 40th anniversary in 2011. At that time, we unveiled our “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.® campaign. ” The campaign was unique to us and to the industry at large, and remains so today. The strength of the “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.” campaign is in its drive to showcase the capabilities of our sales professionals in front of the largest audiences, in association with momentous and iconic events, such as the Super Bowl, the Summer Olympics, U.S. Soccer, and the Indianapolis 500. Most recently, we became the offcial real estate company of the USBSF team and we will be advertising during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. The CENTURY 21-sponsored sled made its debut wrapped in our signature gold at our Leadership conference in Miami this past September, where the partnership was frst announced. RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE January 2014 73
  6. 6. Since that time, the C21®sled has been speeding down frozen paths around the world with stops in Calgary, Canada; Park City, Utah; Lake Placid, N.Y.; Winterberg, Germany; St. Moritz, Switzerland; Igls, Austria; and Koenigssee, Germany. While the Bobsled sponsorship helps our marketing efforts, we are also helping the USBSF team by raising funds to help defray the costs of being an Olympic athlete (see sidebar). Highly visible marketing efforts like these help us to differentiate our agents and brokers in an extremely competitive real estate market by showcasing their integrity and authenticity. MP: You obviously have a visible media plan. Can you share with us a marketing success in the past year and how it was achieved? BT: We are number one! According to comScore, Inc., a global leader in digital measurement and analytics, century21.com was the “most visited” real estate franchise organization website from December 2012 through November 2013, a total of 12 straight months. Plus, we offer customer relationship management tools that effectively complete the circle of real estate sales success. Think about that. That’s what we mean by “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.” We have taken customer relationships beyond transactions for both our brokers and agents, and their customers. We deliver more personalized online interactions, with innovative mapping, a taskfriendly mobile app, school searches and other tools that are “best in class.” For our agents’ consumers, we offer, at no additional cost, unique property websites for every property listing. Every time a new listing appears on century21.com, a unique URL is generated that features the property’s address like 555anyst.c21.com, showcasing the seller’s individual property for maximum homebuyer visibility. Here’s another example: We introduced a new global property listings website. With property transactions today occurring from country to country and continent to continent, we wanted to provide consumers with an effective means of searching for properties globally. In doing so, we are now a major presence in the global real estate online space. Our century21global.com site gives users access to listings from 24 countries, in 36 currencies and 16 languages. Plus, each country featured on the site has the option of including localized content for foreign buyers to assist them in making informed decisions. Consumers can also search for offces, agents, residential, commercial and land properties. The search results can be fltered by features like property type, and numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms, to provide the precise listings that match the user’s needs. RD: Our biggest success is our global growth. Our growth 74 January 2014 RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE strategy includes attracting the best and brightest real estate sales professionals to join the CENTURY 21 family. The results we’ve achieved recently are evidence that our “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.” campaign is making signifcant strides around the world. Our brand is coming to New Delhi, India; Tunis, Tunisia; Vienna, Austria; and the fnancial capital of the world, Manhattan, with CENTURY 21 Metropolitan, an exciting new franchisee in the Big Apple, New York City. Not only will you fnd our brokers and agents in 24/7 cities around the globe, but they are prominent in secondary and tertiary markets as well. This growth is affrmation of the positive impact we are having on our industry and for those who seek the dream of homeownership. Our global growth comes at a very interesting infection point in the real estate business. Our franchisees are strong and they come in all shapes and sizes. They understand that growth for this generation and generations to come will result from being more connected and collaborative with all partners in the real estate transaction, from buyers and sellers to lenders and insurers. It is critical that we continue to attract the best brokers and agents to our family, leverage our resources to expand our international footprint and move the company into a global leadership position. MP: The challenges and the opportunities of creating a “connected experience” with real estate consumers are bigger than ever, in large part because of the digital age. What are you working on in this space to meet these challenges head-on? RD: There’s no denying that digital media consumption is exploding. What we have done is cut through the clutter and brought to market technologies that are easier to learn and directly help to improve the productivity and proftability of our brokers and agents. For the consumer, we make sure the tools we create are enabled for smartphone and mobile devices—both phones and tablets. Today, all generations are media-hungry users, from tweeting to “snap chats” to text messaging, real estate consumers of all ages are enthusiastic media users. Now, agents must not only provide immediate feedback to consumers, but also deliver access to information on mobile devices, tablets and smartphones. If not, consumers will tune out, and seek a real estate professional or organization that understands this reality. Meeting the needs of the mobile consumer is a must. Time spent on digital media is growing exponentially, led by gains in smartphone and tablet activity. Our marketing team has been on top of this trend for some time. In fact, from the day we introduced our unique
  7. 7. property websites, we made certain they would be optimized for mobile use to help drive website traffc, and we made sure they also included built-in social sharing tools, too, to maximize visibility. In March 2013, we went even further by providing every CENTURY 21 offce with customizable, personalized mobile apps. Each offce, at no additional cost to them, receives a unique App downloader and text codes. Consumer downloads are approaching 1 million, and year to date, they have completed more than 10 million searches on these mobile applications alone. Our website traffc has increased 53 percent year over year. Traffc from mobile devices now accounts for about 33 percent of all century21.com site traffc. BT: It all boils down to two words: “marketing convergence.” We are balancing traditional and digital-age strategies, in collaboration with key third-party service providers, to help us transform the way we connect, engage and deepen our customer relationships, and drive market differentiation. Marketing convergence, therefore, means that we create messaging not only around our iconic events and advertising campaigns like our Indy car, USA Soccer and Bobsled sponsorships, but we also maximize “real-time” marketing around trends, holidays, and pop-culture events. This combination of traditional and digital-age strategies helps to position our agents as “SMARTER. BOLDER. FASTER.”, and keeps our brand in front of homebuyers and sellers at the point of consideration. Timing is critical and real-time marketing enables us to stay front-of-mind in the industry and with real estate consumers. For example, we released our “Tryptophan Slow Jam” song at Thanksgiving as a download for our philanthropic partner, Easter Seals. The song is available on iTunes. We also shared a corresponding music video on YouTube and Vimeo. Consumers shared holiday photos and comments about the song using the hashtag #Tryptophan as they recovered from their own turkey-dinner comas. The “Tryptophan Slow Jam” came on the heels of three other successful real-time marketing campaigns: 1) Our Facebook post with a message for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge about their expanding family and their need to upgrade to a bigger place after the birth of their son; 2) A video we shared across our social media channels offering the President and Speaker of the House a central location for a freside chat during the government shutdown, and; Help Team USA Go for the Gold CENTURY 21 is asking all C21 System members, as well as other real estate professionals, to help support the USA Bobsled and Skeleton teams as they go for the gold. Donations will help fund: - National team travel to competitions - Training and competition expenses, such as: coaching fees; apparel; accident insurance; medical staff; equipment; technology To donate to Team USA, please visit www.C21supportsUSBSF.com. 3) The C21® Delivery Landing Pad, designed to accomRISMedia’s REAL ESTATE January 2014 75