| 9:36 pm on Jun 21, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|don't give them too much good info |
Good and bad idea. I have dealt with 4 or 5 realtors and they are extreamly hard to please. Give the most information you can, but make sure that any efforts you make towards a redesign are paid for. Try to keep answers to "advise" questions foggy until you have something signed. Smaller realtor companies have a tendency to get the advice and then go to the niece or nephew that "knows about computers."
No offense to realtors, but you guys want a Rolls Royce for the price of a Honda.
| 9:37 pm on Jun 21, 2004 (gmt 0)|
What is the purpose of the redesign? Do they think that vtours will being in more visitors?
I host/run a website for a realtor and he thinks that slideshows of lots of houses and vtours will bring customers knocking at his door. He was not impressed when I told him he needed "content".
I would give them general details (high-level) and when they agree to pay for the project give them the specifics.
| 10:56 pm on Jun 21, 2004 (gmt 0)|
God I hate customers that just want a site redesign. They're always cheap!
If all they want is a redesign, they can ask someone that "knows about computers." They wouldn't do this if they had real, measurable business objectives.
Now if they said to you "we want to double the number of leads we get", that's workable. Check out "real estate myCity" in OV, look at bidders if any; consider using Google geo-targetting for "real estate" or similar keywords.
Given the sorry state of sites in real estate, there's money to be made there for whoever can demonstrate a solid business rationale for having a good website. But given my experience with realtors, I haven't pursued that opportunity :)
| 11:17 pm on Jun 21, 2004 (gmt 0)|
I'm so happy to discover, after 5 or 6 years of trying to work with property sales companies, that I'm not the only one who has problems.
You'd think that with the money they make from sales they would be more internet/business savvy.
After I fired my last property client they promptly started using a database with 'ugly' coding, started using frames and deleted most of the 800 optimised pages I had made for them.
As for insight, Ask what they are looking for by way of results from the new design, so that you know where they want to go.
Maybe they just want more friends and competitors to say how wonderful their new site looks ;)
| 11:48 pm on Jun 21, 2004 (gmt 0)|
So, here is my advice, for what it is worth:
Ask about how they sell a house.
He'll tell you about getting qualified prospects in the door.
Say, that's the same concept on the internet. People use search to find the right thing. There are many right things (web pages on houses) you are competing with out there. Don't you want yours to be in the top ten at least?
Well, you need to focus on this, ..... SEO to get found. Then you can focus on pictures and information on the houses to entice the prospects to actually visit a house.
| 11:51 pm on Jun 21, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|I have my first proposal tomorrow...any advice? |
If you are uncertain what to show you are not ready to present a proposal.
|They briefly mentioned that they wanted a site redisign and some virtual tours done. |
So ... you actually have no idea what they actually want. Probably neither do they.
What i would do:
- print out screen shots of the current site. Only one of each "type" of page!
- diagram current navigation and site architecture.
- ballpark your price to do a redesign (same number of pages) plus a basic tour. This is x$.
- write a list of questions i.e.
- what type, how extensive a redesign?
- how do they visualise the new site, the visual tour (working from the screenshots of current site should help)?
- what is the budget?
Sit down with them and say that you need more input prior to submitting a proposal. Lay out the screenshots and walk them through the existing site asking your questions. Do not offer advice or direction - just look for feedback.
At this point you have spent 1 to 2-hours in preparation and perhaps half an hour in discussion. You have a feel for the amount of work likely to be required and the budget.
If the budget is too low (as said - they are realtors: it propably will be!) say: "I am sorry but you have not allocated sufficient funds to realise this project. A more realistic budget would be x$ to 2x$". Be prepared to walk.
If their budget and your pricing are compatible spend more time clarifying their requirements. Once back at the office, write out a memo of understanding detailing their requirements and send it to them requesting confirmation that you are on the same wavelength.
Now write up a detailed contract proposal and submit.
Remember: they are in sales. Do not negotiate; you will lose.
| 12:19 am on Jun 22, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Even worse .....
|Remember: they are in sales. Do not negotiate; you will lose. |
These are guys who aren't in sales but think they can. The admin types in real estate companies are ex-salepeople who can't quite sell anymore.
But still, don't negotiate with them.
| 5:40 am on Jun 22, 2004 (gmt 0)|
There are couple of ways you can do this. The first method is do what the typical web developer with no sales experience does. Spend lots of time with the prospect to find out everything they want on their website, offer lots of suggestions to demonstrate your expertise, then spend several more hours preparing a proposal, only to find out that it's beyond their budget, or they were just shopping, or that they're not quite ready to proceed just yet... you get the picture.
A better way is to first reach a verbal agreement with the prospect that your services are the best solution to his problem. This is called a "conceptual agreement." The conceptual agreement is conditional on price. It's a conditional commitment that the prospect will buy from you, provided that that no "showstoppers" -- technical or otherwise (such as price) -- are found.
To reach this agreement, you must uncover and discuss the prospect's bottom line business issues -- what he really wants, what positive results he wants to achieve, and what needs to be done to accomplish this -- rather than discussing the technical aspects of the site.
After having this discussion and uncovering/discovering his bottom line business issues, offering insights, etc., you're ready to close the conceptual agreement by asking for the conditional commitment.
If you follow this process, here's what will happen. The 'tire-kickers' will refuse to commit. But the good new is, you will have discovered this after only a 1-hour conversation, instead of after several hours of preparing a proposal.
By closing the conceptual agreement verbally, the proposal now becomes part of the fulfillment process (delivering what you've agreed to) instead of being part of the sales process.
The first method was me up until about 3 months ago. Having done it both ways, I can certainly say that the second method is far better.
| 12:10 am on Jun 23, 2004 (gmt 0)|
thanks for all your suggestions guys. Your words really mean a whole lot to me.
I just got back from the presentation and everything went really good. I didn't really get too much in detail as some of you suggested. Now I have to figure out how much I want to charge to build the site and do the virtual tours.
I really appreciate your help guys! I think I used the wrong choice of words when I mentioned that they wanted a "proposal." Todays meeting was more of a presentation. Now I have to send a proposal for the job. She was curious in knowing the price right there on the spot, but I told her that I needed till Friday to make the decision. She was cool with that, so I guess the "ball is in my court" now.
I'll let you guys know how it went.