How does a sales agent create value and achieve customer satisfaction in a developer project sale?
Generally, there are two types of sales agents in a developer project sale, namely developer own sales staff who are employed or the appointed (engaged) agency Negotiators. Agency engaged Negotiators are contract for service and hence they are operating as "contractors" to deliver the service.
Overall, we understand that the position of the sales agent is to deliver sales and interact with the customer in particular for the process of selling. This scope includes prospecting customer until after sale service - facilitating the whole process of transaction and loan disbursement until vacant possession of the property.
Thus, the value delivery of service starts from the initial prospecting to a successful delivery of the property to its owner. The yardstick to measure its success or failure largely spread out between the engagement from the first instance on express of interest to purchase until the final hand-over of the project completion to the customer.
Value creation for customer satisfaction
During the whole process, the sales agent can create value and achieve customer satisfaction by numerous means, either by personal persona or utilizing tools which are able to enhance this delivery of service. Such tool greatly utilized nowadays is called CRM - customer relationship management. Nevertheless some developer firms are resources limited and this system of software is not available in its proprietary form. However, sales agent can self-develop own bespoke version to deliver customer satisfaction.
In short, a CRM system is a tool to capture and store information of the customer for better understanding of the customer and marketplace in order to formulate an approach to deliver a successful sale. Sales agent can form own personal CRM to keep a database of customers - e.g. customer contact information, preferences, budget range, legal status, loan eligibility, capacity of needs (big family or young family) and go back to this pool of database to identify and formulate strategies. Thereafter, deliver a value service of satisfying the needs of the customer by a well prepared presentation.
CRM in value creation
Sales agent interact with customer needs to listen to customer and feedback to the higher management what is happening in the field. "Salesforce" is an example of CRM - a proprietary brand established in the market for many Multinational Firms. This is also management information system at play with integration of CRM into the MIS of the company. Top management can extract data from this system to formulate its strategies in strategic planning processes.
Many different types of software are CRM integrated in the market specific to real estate. To name a few - Propsage and SAMS (Smart Agency Management System) are used by agency firms to track customer engagement with various opportunities for a sale closure. In a nutshell, this data capture system is to record customer information where it could be indicators of a successful sale. For example, identify customer segments and contact points (telephone or email, etc.) so as to best understand customer behaviour when such opportunity of the right property for the right customer.
Examples of how Value and Satisfaction could be delivered
- Prospecting - customer preference is matching to the budget range and build of the property. Customer psychosocial needs are satisfied. Customers are keep-in-view with other suitable launches, hence satisfy customer needs of variety of choices.
- Sale and purchase signing - customer loan approval is speed-up with loan products appropriate for credit profile of the customer. Customer feels empowered to make a purchase and acknowledged of financial ability.
- Progress completion and scheduled payment - customer contact points are alerted to inform progress of project completion. Customers are satisfied with the timely notification.
- Vacant possession - completion and CCC issuance (Certificate of Completion and Compliance) notified to customer. Customers are guided with informed fee payments (management charges, meter fee, etc.)
- Defect liability - customer is guided on all legality of warranty period and Liquidation Ascertained Damages claims. Customers are given reassurance of quality and safety.
Customers are assets of the company. Sales agent who develops rapport with these customers will have the long-term engagement with these customers. The continual interaction with customers over time will foster loyalty to the developer project sale. This will enhance its branding and its strength over its competition. It is greatly exhibited in our Malaysian culture that during celebrations like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali (Gawai and Keamatan too), that developer sales agents and Negotiators send out greetings to customers to keep the loyalty going. For this effort in keeping in-touch will foster future project launches. Indeed, satisfied customers who feel valued are the best mouthpiece for publicity of the developer project sale.
Sales agents are the biggest driver of sales in a developer project. Through their engagement with prospects, sales agents are ears and eyes of the developer firm. Customer reach is paramount to the success of a company. Sales agent can carry out their promotional activities with tools like CRM. Over and above, CRM is important to keep them with the company for feedback, long-term loyalty and future engagements. CRM systems are deployed to create value and enhance customer satisfaction with sales agents as vectors. The objectives are many, of course, to achieve sales and capture information for strategic planning processes within the top management. This will formulate future launches matching the market demand. Furthermore, information captured may enable the developer firm to avoid pitfalls with feedback mechanism in place mitigating such risks.