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The Master of Reinvention with Chris Henry

With Chris Henry, River Realty

Information has never been more seamlessly and readily available for consumers. The challenge for business owners though is in reinventing their business to make that information so beautifully realised and easily accessible. Sitting in the audience at an AREC conference, Chris Henry from River Realty had something of a revelation about digital marketing. He says, “I really made a decision at that point that I was sick of playing around with it. It was either take it to a professional level or don't do it at all."

Chris could see how social media and digitisation had changed the environment forever and how complex integrating marketing communications had become in real estate; that agents needed to focus on advertising, direct marketing, interactive/internet marketing, sales promotion, publicity/ public relations and personal selling. Working in a high-end market of multimillion dollar properties, he knew that his clients would expect the best and he had to deliver it to them.

He says, “You need to either reinvent yourself or find something that you can really hold onto. And video marketing and seeing some of the tools, technology, and some of the direction of the real estate industry, it was a light bulb moment."

Determined to succeed in the new environment, Chris reinvented himself and the way his office worked. He explains, “It was just as important for me as the leader to reinvent myself, so personal development was absolutely critical. The audio programs and Hot Topics have been so important throughout my career and listening to the great agents work through challenges and to come up with breakthroughs was important."

He also found he had to really deep dig to find who he wanted to be and what he wanted out of the business. He says, “What I discovered was I definitely wanted a team-based environment. If we're going to have a successful business, I wanted to be surrounded by people just as engaged in the process as I was. But more importantly, all heading in the same direction."

Every Monday, his team have a core values meeting. Chris says, “We discuss our core values, what is important to us, what came up last week, what's going to come up next week, what situations could've been handled better, and as a team we collectively come up with some great strategies of moving forward. Working in a team is much more exciting than being out there trying to do it all for yourself. We meet again on a Friday. We run through every listing - in web book format, actually. It gives the team an idea of what properties are coming up, what properties are on the market at the current time, and what changes are happening to each property.” The team also go through the full list of buyers that they are engaging with -- and try to play the dating game.

Changing marketing collateral and delivery

At the same time as working on himself and his team, Chris’ attention also focused on marketing and creating interactive/internet marketing opportunities for his clients. Working in a high-end market, and having worked as a builder, Chris always knew that it was very difficult for a potential purchaser to make a decision without being supported by great information. He developed outstandingly detailed Buyer Booklets with great photos and all the heavy-hitting information. Chris says, they have, “…the full inclusion list. The detailed photos. The floor plans. All of this information, in my opinion, is just the base level in what is needed to get a buyer to commit to a purchase."

Chris then added web books to his arsenal to create an additional interactive marketing tool to his business. He says, “Using the web book once we met buyers at the property, again just backed up that high-impact marketing and again, was used as a tool to be the silent salesperson when they get back in the car. Further, what web books allowed us to do was, as soon as the enquiry would come in, the web book would automatically respond, which meant that the client receiving that web book already had an elevated perception of not only our professionalism, but in our opinion, it created more value for the property."

He adds, “Then, once we spoke to them over the phone - it was purely just a confirmation of their interest or to discuss what they liked or didn't like about the property. I didn't have to explain the home to them. They already had the information. So it really just helped the conversation flow and either it ended up in an inspection booking or it ended up in a conversation about me sending them something that's more suitable.” The technology reframed the conversation.

With his office selling 110 properties last year, web books fly out of the office, giving people the information in a form they have come to expect. Chris explains, “There would be hundreds of web books flowing throughout our business throughout the week. We've got web books for not only the actual property itself, but for advice. Our marketplace really sped up in 2017. One of the big things that we had to face was once we listed a hot property, it wouldn't be too hard to receive at least 20 to 30 enquiries within an hour on a property."

As someone who is always interested in pushing the boundaries of what is possible, Chris is currently testing Buy Now and Make an Offer buttons. He says, “Clients can actually get people submitting offers through the web book. It's really at a testing phase in the moment. We have found engagement already. We've got offers coming through via the web book. It's a coaching moment. You have to spend more time with your buyers coaching them through the process. But once they get it, they really engage with it. I've found that all the feedback I'm receiving from buyers about web books is really positive."

Do we want to stay the same or be masters of reinvention?


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