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The Philippines has a relatively young market, as explored by the second track of the Lamudi Real Estate Conference 2019, co-presented by Philippine Daily Inquirer Property and Holcim Philippines and held at the Makati Shangri-La. This has changed the way real estate developers market their latest developments, with their sales strategy now involving consulting Google Analytics instead of just focusing on events.
The real estate market is composed of several pieces, with each one moving in response to the other. Now that we’ve looked at the developers’ changing target market, next up is a glimpse into the sales models leading Philippine developers to change to safeguard their success.
Continuing onto “Fresh Perspectives: Mapping Evolving Real Estate Sales,” the third track, which was moderated by Bhavna Suresh, Chief Executive Officer of Lamudi, identified new business models, strategies, and cutting-edge developments that have drastically improved how real estate is offered to customers.
The panelists were David Rafael, President & CEO of Aboitiz Land; Beth Ventura, President of Anchor Land Holdings, Inc.; Ricardo Lagdameo, First Vice President of Damosa Land; and
Raphael Felix, President of Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA).
Suresh went straight to the point with a question for the panel: “How do you create a sales team that is completely focused on a niche and then you kind of start fanning out?”
For the panel, this is an opportunity as much as it is a challenge.
Brokers Need to be Likable and Trustworthy
Rafael, who considers storylines as an important part of sales, admits to wondering about the future of real estate. “Will we ever reach a point where people would buy property the way they buy food from Food Panda or they buy a shirt from Lazada?” Rafael mentions that with completely no human interaction, brokers would be rendered obsolete.
Especially with online platforms such as Lamudi, which has all the information a seeker needs from a property, Rafael says all indicators point to the possibility of such a scenario in real estate.
Upon pondering, however, Rafael has come up with an answer: “At the end of the day, the human person buying property will really still need to talk to a human person.”
As the digitalization of most industries takes place nationally, there is a question of whether humans will be rendered obsolete in crucial parts of the sales process. The thought was quickly put to bed with the assessment of the Philippine market, in the words of Rafael: “That final decision, that final reservation or down payment is not going to be done without a human person there assuring them that this property is there.”
It is this line of thinking that has led to Rafael’s conclusion that the two most important skills of a broker are geared towards human interaction: being likable and trustworthy.
Intelligent Consumers Want Face-to-Face Transactions
For Ventura, who has been dubbed as the “Queen of the Bay,” the presence of an intact in-house team is important.
“What’s important is they have the same understanding of the product,” says Ventura. She notes that consumers are intelligent and that marketers need to think beyond after-sales. Ventura also mentions discouraging sales that are completed over the internet. She recommends transacting face to face with end-users.
A Purpose-Driven Approach
Lagdameo, who notes that all the major Manila developers are already in his turf, Davao, mentions that the practice of “poaching” the best talents in the industry is already common. “We really have to become creative,” Lagdameo mentions.
With the presence of high competition, Lagdameo has decided to use agriculture, which is in their DNA, integrating the industry into some of their residential projects. Knowing that this is how he wants to do it, Lagdameo’s next task was finding people who have bought into and “can actually sell that vision.”
He has turned inside his company and even to the relatives of people within their business group that understands who they are.
Lagdameo also mentions another human quality: malasakit.
“Once we find those people that can really buy into our vision, they’re normally very successful because they have that malasakit.”
Developer Reputation: The All-Important Element
Felix uses a more proactive approach, stating, “The days of ‘build it and they shall come’ are gone.” According to him, “Technology has made it easier and harder for developers.”
With information readily available online, buyers have become more discerning. They have access to pictures and price points, but they can also see comments, blogs and social media accounts that could tear down a developer in one fell swoop. This, for Felix, highlights the importance of the developer’s reputation.
Location, which used to be the most important factor when buying property, has become secondary to trust.
The real estate industry is one curious sector if analyzed from the perspective of technological advancements. There is no doubt that even with the presence of more advanced tools that make properties more accessible to seekers, the human element–particularly their inherent caring nature–will always remain important.