David Crombie – EAC From the Boardroom Article September 2009

So much has occurred since the last From the Boardroom and, as a result, the team at EAC have been very busy. The last few months have seen Red Square 7 formally released with some 4000 users having now been upgraded to this new version.
This release introduced many enhancements and included the introduction of Current Market Information, a new version of Neighbourhood Reports and Street Maps. No sooner was the new version of the software out there and I was already planning the next round of enhancements.
The realestateworld.com.au web site continues to grow on all fronts with increases to unique visitors, page impressions, and subscriptions.The level of content has also increased over the past few months. We continue to update the site with new features and are working on a new, fresh design that will be released in the coming months.
Our realestateworld.com.au publications have remained stable with no real drop off in paginations. Some have actually grown in content due to increased support from the agents. This would appear to be against the trend that is being experienced by many other publishers. I think the quality, cost, your support and the fact that the realestateworld.com.au publications are purely real estate are the differentiating factors. The rollout of our online ad building system, AdBuilder, continues, providing those offices that use it with the flexibility to create and supply their ads electronically.
For those offices that produce their own publications or mini-mags, this solution combined with the very good prices we have access to through the printers who print our magazines, we can provide a very cost effective solution.
You would have noticed a new Stationery and Merchandise Order Form that came out at the beginning of July. If you need any stickers or marketing aids make sure you look at the extensive range of merchandise that is available at very competitive prices. As a result of increased demand we are also looking at the production of items such as personalised Sold stickers not only for your office but also for salespeople. We already produce these for many offices, so if you are interested let us know.
The training partnership with Think Real Estate is progressing well. I have spoken to many salespeople, property managers and principals who have attended courses and the feedback has been nothing short of excellent, with some commenting it has been the best training that they have ever attended. We can offer a wide range of training from Skills based, CPD, Certificate of Registration and even Licensing. We are already to go with the latest training requirements that were set by the Office of Fair Trading in May. Training is scheduled for many venues across the state but is also available via correspondence or can be tailored for, and delivered within, your office to suit your requirements. If you need training remember Think EAC Training and call 1300 818 874.
Geoff Hunter and the team have been out in the field performing many Compliance Reviews and I have to say that some of the findings have been a little disturbing. The cost of the Review and the peace of mind that it offers is nothing compared to the potential loss of commission and fines based on some of the issues that have been found. As a result of the success of this service and resulting feedback from the members we will be introducing several new services in this area in the coming months so watch out for the
announcement.
Early July saw the launch of a real estate search feature to Google Maps in Australia. The new feature allows real estate agents, franchise groups and portals like realestateworld.com.au to upload their listings directly to Google Maps at no cost, making them more easily discoverable by the millions of Google Maps users in Australia. EAC was a Foundation Partner and I have been working with Google since June 2008 on this initiative, initially helping them develop the specification for Australia and then the testing of the upload function.
More and more people are starting their search for a new home online The latest research shows that 87% of Australian home buyers use the internet to research properties. Google themselves saw more than 35% growth in real estate-related searches from Jan/Feb 2008 to Jan/Feb 2009.
There has been much talk in the media and the blogs about the effect that Google will have on some of the large existing real estate portals – I think it is still too early to tell. Do they feel threatened? Yes! Should they? Possibly. Why, Because Google “has” the potential to change the online real estate landscape in Australia. Stay tuned!
All listings in Red Square or on realestateworld.com.au are automatically uploaded to Google Maps at no additional cost.
I have also recently spent a considerable amount of time studying the emerging area of Social Media Marketing. I first came into contact with this area of marketing over two years ago and it is now quickly gaining traction. If you are not aware of what I am talking about it is the use of tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook and Blogs to name a few.
You will need to get your head around how to use these tools to promote you, your business and your listings pretty quickly. To make the job easier I have already begun putting together a package to help you do this and have been fine tuning it with a few agents before offering it as a service to EAC Members. If you are interested in finding out more about this emerging area, then just call me, email me or contact me on any of the social networking sites above.
There are many benefits of being an EAC Member and, in addition to access to many discounted goods and services, we continue to concentrate on delivering services you need and require in the day to day running of your business. We provide tangible services providing tangible benefits. Real Estate, as you would appreciate, is a business that revolves around people and over the past few years to enhance the level of service provided (in times when many other similar organisations have been putting people off) we have invested heavily in putting people on the ground. This was done to ensure that you gain the maximum benefit from EAC and our products and services.
I have to say that it still amazes me when I visit offices and talk to principals that many are unaware of everything that is available to them in the way of goods and services through their association with EAC, and not necessarily just new products and/or services but those that have been available for a significant time. I ask that, if you are not sure or would like some assistance with getting more out of our services such as Red Square, that you contact us and your area representative will come out to your office and take you through what you are interested in knowing about.
That is it for another update. As always we welcome any feedback you might have to help us make our products and services more beneficial to your office as, ultimately, we are about providing the best, most cost effective service to you and not attaining profit
at the expense of the industry.

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