We could pitch any new client and pretty much knew we would get the business. There was no company better and what we brought to the table was unique in a market that set our listings apart, which was a ‘back-to-basics’ approach to real estate sales. We were the best of the best when it came to marketing and selling real estate, and we knew it.
But as the market continued to grow, so did the company. Other companies got wise to our strategies and began to offer similar products and a streamlined approach to new business development. Our company followed suit with our volley of new real estate marketing reports, complete with a fancy name, look, and a subscription only group of followers…unless we were marketing your development, then the reports were free. The company hired a public relations firm to give our company a face-lift, including a new logo, company marketing propaganda and even a fancy telephone call center. The company also hired a new business development person, which, for some reason, also required a new business development coordinator, all housed in the “biz-dev” section of the new office that was just completed in the hippest part of town.
But even with the new look and new feel, and fancy new titles that barely fit on the fancy new business cards, the powers that were had decided it was still not enough. So like the children’s story of that fish that kept growing out of his bowls because the little boy kept feeding the fish too much food, the company was caught in a feeding frenzy that eventually led to the need for expansion into other, lesser know markets.
It did not take long before new and fancy branch offices opened in those expanding locations. Of course new offices meant more support staff and more “biz-dev” people to further expand those territories as well. Heck, the company was chasing developments that had no clue how to market or sell, it simply relied on the extremely hot real estate market to get it to the end. It was evident that the company needed to return to its ‘back-to-basics’ approach to the real estate market.
Sadly, the more resources the company threw at the expanding company, the further it got away from the very foundation that made the company great. The company hired sales people to fill positions just because it needed bodies. But those bodies further diluted the company experience and moved the company further away from the ‘start-up’ energy that was so vital to its success at the beginning.
Then, the real estate markets changed. Some of us within the company saw it coming from a mile away, but others refused to see it at all. Developments started to convert from ‘for-sale’ product to rental, as developers searched for a way to hedge their investments against the downward spiraling real estate markets. As the market worsened, the markets the company once dominated began to dry up and the company was forced to close many of its expanded office locations.
The body count began to rise and the company lost some very good talent that they could have used in today’s market. It’s the expansion and contraction that many companies feel, real estate companies included, but evidentially was never to the degree that was planned nor expected.
It happened to many real estate companies over the last couple of years. The importance of recognizing the cycles of the real estate market and how best to plan for the down cycles is essential in real estate survival…whether you are a developer, broker, agent, or simply looking to buy or sell. One thing for sure, there is no magic in real estate sales. Those successful in this market have developed and stuck with that ‘back-to-basics’ approach that enables them to survive.