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Real Estate Broker – Take A Look At Your Office Now
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For a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a real estate client who would like to buy a property. You browse and find a broker online or through phone who seems to meet your expectations. Next you wish to fix an appointment to meet at the broker’s office as this would give you an insidious view of the broker and his business. And the broker who seemed to have fulfilled most criteria of your tall order says “Oh! But I don’t have an office!” Instantly the expectations come to dust and as a real estate buyer you begin browsing again. Well, at least most clients would begin their search upon being informed that their chosen agent does not have a physical office.
Importance of an office
An office indicates roots - a place where a business is firmly anchored. Clients do not want their agents to be floating around in space. They would like something more tangible. An office is the best way of non-verbal communication with your clients. An office builds trust that this person has an establishment where he can be reached. This is true for any business but more so for a real estate agent as trust is a big factor in broking transactions. Not only for clients, when you wish to expand and have associates joining you, they will also be more likely to go with a person who has an office and not somebody they meet at cafes and parks. So, not only do you attract clients with your office but also business associates with a high probability of retention. This gives an impetus to the overall growth of the business.
How to set up a good office?
First impressions are very strong and maybe the best chance you have to make a mark on your client. So, not only do you need an office, it should be impressive enough. It need not be opulent or plush, but basic amenities and neatness go a long way.
Let us see a few important areas that a broker needs to focus on while planning an office.
1. The basics of a good office
A good office should have a few basic things in order to create a long lasting impression. Impressions apart, research has revealed that a person’s office ambience enhances his or her performance.
A few amenities that an office should have are-
a. Reception Area: When a person enters an office, he or she is utterly lost without a person at the reception. There should be a proper reception table with at least one person present at all times during office hours. This person at the reception area makes the first impression and has to be trained accordingly. He or she should be aware of the people working in the office along with timings, activities and other important issues. He or she should be well-groomed and possess good etiquettes of meeting and greeting along with an amiable disposition.
One of our customers, Mr. Roopesh Jain, actually commented on this by saying “I was taken care of right from the beginning, irrespective of the fact that I was new, and this made so much difference to me. I was sure that I had stepped in to the right place."
b. Seating arrangement for associates: The associates will be meeting clients so it is important that they have proper seating positions. This could be individual or shared cubicles, individual or shared desks, cabins, depending on the need and the budget.
Even the performance level of an associate increases when he is seated in a place of his own in a good office. Yogi, an associate with us quoted “I love the level of comfort and the privacy I have while talking to the clients. I feel my performance has improved over my previous office due to the feel good factor of my new office”.
c. Meeting Room: Most clients would like to talk to the associate in private and this is possible when you have a good meeting room. Be sure to have a white board facility for explanations and a projector for display of properties. This room can be used for associate meets too.
Mr. Hardev Patel, who had come to us through a referral, actually commented on this saying “I really love the privacy that I get in your office. When discussing finance related issues, it is very difficult to be candid when you feel others are listening in to your conversations.”
Having a good office is of paramount importance to a broker and this could be the final decision maker for many of your clients. Just like ‘we tend to judge a book by its cover’ and go for apperances, at least while making the first impression, your clients will treat your office in the same manner. Not having one or having an unkempt one that is low on amenities could make all the difference to clinching a deal. Consider it money well spent as this investment on a good office is going to pay back big time eventually.
d. Pantry: It is a good form to serve your customers refreshments ranging from a glass of water, beverages like tea or coffee, juice along with a slice of cake, biscuits, etc. Ordering from outside may be unhygienic and costlier at the end of the day.
e. Wash rooms: A good office should have its own set of washrooms with all facilities. This should be clean and functional at all times.
2. What else makes a good first impression?
Apart from the above requisites, a good office should be able to make a good impression by adapting the following-
a. A warm greeting at the reception and by the associates sets the tone for the business meeting.
b. Layout should be inviting and getting to the associate should be easy.
c. Pay heed to the decor. It need not be very expensive but furniture, colour of walls and other artwork sets your style.
d. Scent of an office: When a person walks in to an office, a good scent adds to the overall ambience. It could be any neutral smelling fragrance that is not too strong but gives a pleasant feel. Using scented candles is also a good idea and looks decorative too.
e. Music: Channel music is a good idea and adds to the environment of any office while keeping public conversations more private. The music should be pleasant and low key and not blaringly loud.
f. Dress for the day: Dress plays a great role too in impressing clients. It could be either formal or semi-formal and has to be neat and clean at all times.
g. Phones that are attended at all times: Have several phone lines and make sure you have a person to attend them. Don’t leave calls unanswered and make sure to call back if you are not around.
A good office goes a long way in making transactions successful. It increases customer satisfaction and enhances the performance of the broker.
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