Real Estate

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One Important Key to Selling Real Estate

Thinking outside the box has helped two realtors establish their businesses and provide clients with one-of-a-kind service

Real estate has become a highly competitive business, with thousands of agents trying to make their marks in the industry. Most agents start out with little more than a cellphone and a business card, with their eventual success hinging on how well they market themselves and serve their clients.

When Faith Wilson was building her real estate business 20 years ago, she recognized very quickly that her success would depend on the satisfaction of every client. So she based her business around delivering an exceptional client experience, with clear communication and transparency at every step in the process. As her business grew, she felt that she couldn’t do the job alone. “I recognized that there’s a point where one person can’t wear all the hats simultaneously and wear them well,” she says. “What happens when you’re away or you’re not well?” So she began building a team of licensed real estate specialists who would handle different steps in the process.

Now, the Faith Wilson Group functions like an extension of herself, with a commitment to the same values she originally embraced. Wilson describes her approach as “client-centred,” and she has structured her team to meet that goal. She has a listing team and a showing team, with each member selected for their specific skills. “That way,” she says, “we never miss an opportunity.”

Wilson wanted her marketing materials to reflect her promise of performance, so she came up with the slogans “Faith moves houses,” and “Buying or Selling, you’ve got to have Faith.” She followed up this effort with publications describing her “Ten Point, 360-degree Performance Promise”—a reflection of the minimum standards she believed her clients deserved. Many years later, this declaration is still hanging in her offices.

As she built her website, Wilson decided she needed to market globally and sell locally. Her site uses many tools to track the traffic on the listings, and includes video presentations and very specific information about each neighbourhood, including census data and walk scores. “We’re very property-focused, as opposed to marketing a real estate company brand,” she says. “We’re marketing our listings.” The Faith Wilson Group continues to grow in areas such as mobile marketing, honouring her commitment to constant improvement.

Steven Oei also worked off of his strengths as he built his real estate business. While pursuing his education at Simon Fraser University, he would drive around to open houses in his spare time and meet realtors, just to see what the business was like. After completing his Bachelor of Business Administration, he completed his Real Estate Appraisal Training and began working as a realtor in 1995. “I have quite an analytical and technical perspective on evaluating properties,” he says. “I always have these three disciplines, real estate, real estate appraisal and marketing. They would all dovetail when I began working in the business.”

At the time, the market was at a plateau and even slipping. This was an opportunity for Oei to put his skills into practice. He took on expired listings that others had failed to sell. Through better presentation of the home and specific marketing efforts, he was able to remarket and sell the properties. “I think I was very astute at listening to the clients, and what they would share with me were very basic things done poorly by previous agents. That may be interpretation of the data, it may be how the realtors were showing the listing or a lack of feedback from each of the showings.”

He would improve the marketing materials, including the description of the property and the photography, and target the buyers to whom he felt the listing would appeal. “I would make sure the property stands out first in their mind as a property that they want to visit.”

Now, in a much different market, Oei finds that those same skills are effective. But beyond the results, he has always enjoyed the process. “I really love what I do,” he says. “When people are buying and selling, it’s a really big change in their lives. Being able to help people get through that change with positive results, that’s what always keeps me inspired with my work.”