CEA Feature

CEA Feature

REITM Focus: Agents sharpen digital skills through in-house programmes


In this issue, we shift the spotlight to Huttons Asia – an agency who appreciates the value of providing their agents with the know-how to tap on technology to boost productivity and exceed consumers’ expectations.

This article is an excerpt of the original version published on the website of Council of Estate Agencies.

https://www.cea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/module/newsletter/1-2019/reitm-focus-agents-sharpen-digital-skills-through-in-house-programmes.html


Improving results through technology

Huttons has put in place training programmes to boost agents’ capabilities to harness the agency’s in-house tech tools and apply digital marketing techniques.




To help its agents adapt to market changes and empower them to support their clients in making better decisions, Huttons Asia rolled out its Huttons-Tech (H-Tech) initiative in February 2018. This is a $6 million investment that includes enhancements to the agency’s front-end digital assets and backend systems, as well as putting in place training programmes to boost agents’ capabilities to harness Huttons’ in-house tech tools and apply digital marketing techniques.

Huttons’ front-end systems include a 360-integrated digital platform that provides real-time synchronisation of data across Huttons’ corporate website, microsites of projects that the agency is marketing, and agents’ personal websites, as well as access to digital marketing tools that allow agents to create and publish social media posts.

The backend systems include the Huttons iPortal, as well as tools for agents to generate research analytical reports and business industry updates for their clients. Through the iPortal, agents can retrieve information on projects they are marketing, use financial calculators, and conduct submissions on their transactions electronically.

With the H-Tech initiative, Huttons hopes to enable its agents to not only work smart and more productively, but also provide better advice when homeowners and investors consult with them on property matters.

Technology: The right way to go




Patrick Low, Senior Associate District Director at Huttons and regular trainer for the agency’s digital marketing skills courses, says that seeing his students get online leads consistently and closing deals along the way is the most fulfilling part of his role.

Patrick Low, Senior Associate District Director at Huttons, is a regular in-house trainer for digital marketing skills courses under H-Tech. He has been in the real estate industry for 11 years and has been using digital marketing tools for eight years. Patrick took up various courses in search engine optimisation and advanced Facebook marketing to hone his skills in these areas.

As an avid user and strong advocate of technology use, Patrick said that with these online marketing tools, he has managed to save both time and costs in terms of prospecting compared to offline methods such as telemarketing and mailers.

Patrick shared with CEAnergy a success story, whereby he spent less than $400 on online marketing costs in the run-up to a new development launch. In less than a week, he was able to secure more than 50 leads. Of these, around 20 turned up during the preview weekend, and eight eventually made purchases through him during the preview launch. He attributes this success to a combination of his knowledge in digital marketing and the tools provided by H-Tech, which helped to complement and amplify his efforts. “It was a huge return-on-investment on my marketing efforts to be able to use technology,” he said.

As a digital skills trainer, Patrick has met agents who are resistant to change because they are unfamiliar with technology and its benefits. But seeing his students getting online leads consistently and closing deals along the way is the most fulfilling part of his role.

“My way of encouragement is to share convincing statistics and news articles with proven results (from technology use)…This (leads) them towards a mindset change, and (helps) them realise that adopting technology is the right way to go,” explained Patrick.

A whole new world of opportunities



Huttons agents who have attended the agency’s in-house tech training programmes have come away convinced that technology is the key to work more efficiently and provide higher quality service to their clients.

Huttons agents who have attended the agency’s in-house tech training programmes have come away convinced that technology is the key to work more efficiently and provide higher quality service to their clients.

Fendy Lee, Associate Group District Director at Huttons, said that technology not only frees up time for agents to focus on providing more client-centric service, but is able to help translate large amounts of data into meaningful statistics that can be presented to clients to help them make better decisions on when to buy or sell property. He added that he is now able to spend more time on adding value to his clients’ experiences, instead of “just hard selling”.

Fendy, who has been in the industry for 12 years, related to CEAnergy how he had assisted a client living overseas in a rental transaction without a glitch, all thanks to technology. With Huttons’ systems, he was able to facilitate the digital signing of his client’s tenancy agreement. Conducting anti-money laundering checks digitally was also a breeze. His client was eventually able to make commission payment conveniently by an online transfer directly to his agency as well. “Effortlessly, we made every process easier and faster,” he said.

A time-multiplier and builder of long-term client relationships

Another Huttons agent who has benefited from the H-Tech initiative is Bernard Yap, an Associate Senior District Director with 15 years’ experience in the industry. Calling the H-Tech initiative a “time-multiplier”, Bernard shared that technology has not only helped him keep up with his work ethic, but has also helped him, as a team leader, to monitor and manage the performance of his team members as well.

“At a glance, I can identify their strengths and areas where they need improvements immediately. I’ll be able to then advise my team on a proper direction and guide them accordingly,” he explained.

Like Fendy, Bernard feels that with technology, agents can now conduct research faster with real-time and accurate real estate market information. He said, “This lets me advise clients better, and they feel more assured and confident with their decisions.”

Indeed, the value of technology in enriching the client experience cannot be underestimated. Brian Yee, Associate Group District Director at Huttons, appreciates how H-Tech has transformed the way his team prospects for, engages, and value-adds to his clients for fruitful, long term relationships.

“Clients are very impressed with how we are able to bring them a world of reliable research, market updates and product offerings that best suit their requirements, in the most efficient and timely manner,” he added.

 

 

 

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