Connect with us

Business Marketing

Real Estate SALE

Published

on

real estate Clearance sale


I have been bitting my tongue for the last couple of days with this Coldwell Banker 10 Day Sale Event that’s happening right now and can’t hold back any longer. Rick and I are Coldwell Banker agents and we believe in Coldwell Banker because of it’s corporate style and because it’s a huge company (it fits our business ethic).

Last month, our broker announced that Coldwell Banker was doing a 10-day Sale which would be heavily advertised and would bring new movement to our listings. This sale would require that current listings reduce their asking price 10% for a limited time (5% for for listings above $750,000). They sent letters to every active listing announcing the sale and expected each agent to follow up with their respective clients.

I have to admit that I was not very pleased with the whole concept. I started analyzing each of our listings and the position of each seller. The old lady who is selling in order to pay for her assisted living facility could not afford to reduce her modest home $25,000. The father who was selling in order to pay for his son’s college education could not fathom the thought of reducing his house $55,000. $75,000 could mean a down payment to the family being relocated to another state. Was this sale intended for those homeowners that were overpriced to begin with? Or was it intended for those sellers in distress who need every single cent of the proceeds?

Rick and I take pride in doing constant market analysis for our clients. We price our listing well, based on closed sales – 10% would not work for a house that’s priced competitively.

The letter

In our continued effort to expose your home to as many potential buyers as possible and get your home sold within the shortest amount of time, we are instituting an innovative summer marketing promotion. All Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate offices throughout the Gold Coast area will be participating in our 2008 Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Gold Coast 10-Day Sale, which will include e-flyers and announcements e-cards, website marketing, open houses, mortgage pre-qualifications and exciting newspaper advertisements……You will have the option to bring the price back up at the conclusion of the sale.

The Press

This is what Monica Hatcher from The Miami Herald has to say:

Coldwell Banker might seem the last sort of business to take a page from the marketing manual of the car dealer’s factory blowout or Memorial Day Mattress Sale. But for the prestigious real estate brokerage, desperate times call for creative measures.

Last week, South Florida’s largest real estate firm started hyping its own version of a door-buster sale that starts June 1. Prices on hundreds of homes, mostly in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, will be slashed by at least 10 percent. Like most sales events, the discounts are good for a limited time only, in this case 10 days, the firm says — or, presumably, while supplies last!

The unusual marketing ploy is the latest strategy of home sellers and their brokers to compete for limited buyers in a market recording some of the sharpest price declines in the country and awash in foreclosures and bank-owned homes…..

Not everyone is convinced that a sort-of-clearance sale is the best idea. Some said real estate agents should be helping their clients list properties at their true market value to begin with. A sale might lead buyers to suspect listing prices are inflated. At a time when prices may be settling, a sale also could bring about further declines.

Paul Owers of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has this to say:

In yet another sign of the desperation in the South Florida housing market, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is holding a 10-day sale, cutting prices of more than 1,000 properties at least 5 percent.

The Message

I do understand that I will not agree with every marketing idea that comes my way. I also know that I can be wrong and my opinion is not necessarily the last word. The concept bothers me for several reasons and they may be selfish reasons, and I’m hoping I get your opinion with the hopes of you bringing new light to this whole thing.

These are some of the thoughts that have been dancing around my brain: The “sale” makes it look unprofessional…..we are not selling mattresses or cars here. the sale makes it look like a marketing ploy and game. Will those that participate in that sale be regarded as the “motivated sellers”? If those sellers slash their price by 10% for a limited time, don’t you think they will accept more than a 10% reduction after the sale is completed? Is this a numbers game about selling quantity? Does this sale take into consideration the personal part of selling real estate? Am I totally off?

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
63 Comments

63 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    May 28, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Strategically, it’s brilliant from an advertising/marketing perspective and could surprise some home sellers, this does not remind me of a car dealership, or mattress company, it reminds that it is our job to move this damn market and help our sellers. There are some down sides in that they spelled out a specific discount at 10% and 5% which would lead me to believe into the future even after the sale to offer you a buyer price 10% below offer. However, if the hype around such a creative strategy works, some of your sellers could actually end up in multiple offer situations so it would be up to the individual agent to work with their sellers to create a strategy that works for them and that may include withdrawing their listing on the mls for 10 days.

    I see more listings in your future along with more buyers if the marketing piece is as strong as CB promises.

  2. Toby & sadie

    May 28, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I hate the concept and the message it sends to buyers.

    For the brokerage homes are a commodity, but to the seller it is not.

  3. Benjamin Bach

    May 28, 2008 at 11:26 am

    My first instinct, whenever I see a % discount, is that profit margins are generous to start with.

    An example. A good friend of mine is a distributor for high end shoes. A store he sells to marks up his good 65 points. That means if you pay 100$, the store likely bought the shoe for $45. This is why they can afford to take 10, 15 or even 25% off the list price for heavily advertised sales.

    If this was a builder, that’s one thing. Slashing prices on an inventory of new builds can make financial sense – i.e. I need to get my equity out so I can build the next project. Slashing prices on an inventory of resale homes, when the story behind each home is unique, is a different story.

    I can’t imagine your sellers have reacted well – did this letter go out to all active CB listings, regardless of if you wanted your clients to opt in ?

  4. Christopher Myers

    May 28, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Ines, I would agree with you. The way I see it…if the home doesn’t sell during the “blowout”, they’ll have a hard time raising the price back up once the sale is finished. They’ll likely need to lower the price again at that time. This does also give the impression that these homes were overpriced to begin with. The one good thing I see coming from this is a great way to get those price reductions that so many agents are afraid to ask for.

  5. Kathy Drewien

    May 28, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I think this is a brilliant strategy, although it smacks of used car salesman to me. The campaign is targeted to consumers whose perception of real estate is skewed from reality. One misconception is the industry overprices property for our personal gain. In our area, properties are most often overpriced by sellers, and agreed to by hungry, inexperienced listing agents.

    My question: Can the firm make the decision to lower prices without the seller’s consent?

  6. Paula Henry

    May 28, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Ines – I have to agree with you! I have listings which are priced competeively and still, no buyer. A 10% reduction may bring an offer, but what happens when the seller has to bring money to the table to make it work? Will they be able to? What if they could have sold for 5% less or even 2%. They can never make that money back.

    Will you feel you have represented your clients best interest by taking part in such an event? I cringe to think I could have saved my clients even $500.00 and did not. We have had issues in Indianapolis lately with property taxes and as agents who have no clue what the make-up tax may be, because the bills are not out, we are under pressure to determine how much to ask for our buyer clients and how much our sellers should give toward a future tax bill. The fact is, I will not know until maybe a few months after closing if I did, in fact, figure an appropriate amount. I don’t like to gamble with my clients money.

    “A sale might lead buyers to suspect listing prices are inflated. At a time when prices may be settling, a sale also could bring about further declines.”

    This one quote from your article would make me think twice about recommending such as “sale” to my clients. If buyers see a seller is willing to reduce their price 10% – the property will be always considered overpriced.

    You are truly between the proverbial rock and hard place.

  7. Faina Sechzer

    May 28, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Ines, all your concerns and questions are very valid. My view is that consumers are accustomed to the concept of “blowout” and could understand that after the promotional period the price is going back up. What concerns me is applying any promotion in a whole swoop to all houses. When retailers are doing it they are very selective ans pick specific merchandise for various promotions. they understand different goal and just the basic: “sell it and get it off the floor”. There has to be rationale where this idea could generate excitement and move some buyers that were on the fence. For other properties it may not work and backfire.

  8. Benjamin Bach

    May 28, 2008 at 11:47 am

    @Faina
    Exactly. Maybe if there was a SALE on REO, 10% off all bank owned homes, it would make sense. But to take a new listing down 10%, just because…. seems odd.

    I’d cancel my listing and go over to the neighborhood Keller Williams 🙂

  9. Mark A.

    May 28, 2008 at 11:53 am

    It’s the “raising the price after 10 days” part that’s mostly problematic. In most buyers’ markets nowadays, many buyers that are targeting a specific property are keeping an eye on it over a certain period while shopping around for other properties. The 10% price drop is automatically built into the offer when the buyer is ready to make the offer, no matter where the price stands today. In that regard, with the current market conditions, this pricing strategy will cause nothing but harm to the seller, imo. In a sellers’ market this strategy can work tremendously well to incite offers.

  10. Nick Bostic

    May 28, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Maybe I read this wrong or missed something, but the seller is taking a 10% reduction? If they are under contract, are they given the option to pull their listing? Like you said, some people have very specific reasons as to why they’re asking what they are and for the company to force this (if they are) seems pretty rude to me. I know as a consumer, I’d be annoyed. From a Marketing standpoint, I understand the concept of driving up some publicity, but it does leave a bad taste in my mouth.

  11. Sabrina Anderson

    May 28, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I think only the sellers who are interested in this will participate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sellers out there who would be happy to take a 10% reduction to generate a contract/offer.

  12. Trace

    May 28, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    That’s not only unprofessional, there is a strong argument to be made that such a move violates the fiduciary duty to the client. The 10% off across the board approach doesn’t take into account the homes that ARE price correctly or are already aggressively priced and does not account for many factors unique to each home such as how long they have been on the market, the seller’s timeline, the local market, etc. This also causes of loss of leverage in the future, built in fail for the future, if you will……Want to guess how I’m going to approach you to buy your that home is at $500k when I know it was previously at $450K?

    This is clearly not a well thought out strategy that is based in greed. My suggestion to any homeowner that is given advice to simply drop their price 10% on an already properly priced home is to drop that agent and never look back.

  13. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Great discussion! thanks for taking part and wouldn’t it be great if agents had a chance to brainstorm ideas like these before our brokerages just threw them out there?

    Benn – I agree with you that it is a great form of advertisement, my question is at the expense of whom? Those final sales will ultimately reduce comps and will speed up the slowing market. In the words of the Regional Manager “buy today in tomorrow’s prices” – after the sale…..what will be tomorrow’s prices? As agents we are always blamed for setting the market prices…..after this…..we will be to blame.

    Toby
    – a commodity and a numbers game – it’s all about volume

    Benjamin – the letter went out to all CB listings regardless. Some of our customers had a cow and called us very upset. It was not mandatory to participate though. Not one of our clients in over 20 listings agreed to do it.

    Christopher
    – I totally agree with you – the history of the listing stays in the MLS and after the sale, it would be easy to demand a 10% discount or even more. I also see it as a great thing for overpriced listings, for those agents that don’t know how to suggest reductions. Our clients come to us with reductions because we do monthly CMA’s.

    Kathy
    – no prices were reduced without consent – did you read some of the comments from the Miami Herald article?
    here are a couple:

    10% off this week.
    15% off next month. Who do they think they’re fooling?
    Save yourself another 6%; fire your realtor. You don’t need to pay a commission to give something away. Spend a few $$$ and hire a competent attorney.
    If they’ll come down 10%, they’ll come down 20%. And guess what, it still won’t be the bottom.10%!!!!! LOL… they’re nuts… How’bout 50%Growing desperate???????

    Paula – there’s a market for everyone, but I am truly in shock at the whole reaction from CB

    Faina
    – I can only see the backfiring aspect of this – but then again, it may be related to our particular listings – a developer blowout would be a genius idea.

    Benjamin
    – very funny! 🙂

    Mark
    – I wonder what raising the price after 10 days will achieve? Can you see a seller saying…..”nope, I’m not accepting that offer, you did not submit it within the sale period”

    Nick
    – no forcing here – sellers are given the option to participate (none of ours did) – but the only advertising that CB will do int the next 2 weeks will be those properties on sale – the others can sit and watch.

    Trace – I wonder where the thought process was behind the 10% reduction……it would have been interesting to see how CB came up with this strategy, which btw, was tested in Tampa already and they claim was a huge success. (sellers were not obligated to participate)

  14. Barry Cunningham

    May 28, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Ines , being in marketing for 20 years I think you are dead on.

    The timing stunk, it seemed desperate and they did not convey a message of credibility. They will regret this “campaign”. Ill conceived, poorly executed and what are you to expect from a company that has two dead guys in paintings talking as a commercial.

    This campaign is DOA and has been panned and the consumer most likely will not respond to a campaign that says you can have 10% off when on the same day the press releases stories showing the market has fallen nearly 20% here.

    The association of the numbers , in my opinion, will kill this campaign. But hey, we’ll all be watching.

    I do absolutely applaud the effort however unsuccessful the outcome may turn out to be.

    Like one above has said…10% off of what? An already inflated and unrealistic sales price?

  15. Will

    May 28, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    While i am not familiar with your market, I am somewhat familiar with who you represent yourself to be, Ines. Any truly good agent out there advises their clients on the proper valuation of their home and balances that with their need to sell. Thus, by CB “slashing prices” they are saying that you have not priced the home well and they need to reduce inventory. And after 10 days the price goes back up? I don’t think so. Likely an offer would come in even lower than that if it doesn’t sell (which is pretty likely in just 10 days).
    As long as Sellers are not obligated to participate then I guess they’re free to do whatever they want… though I can see potential buyers saying to one who isn’t that they “may consider” it if it was so in a way a corporate program could be perceived as a blanket promotion rather than an optional one.

    In any case this just smacks of desperation, questionable representation, and lacks appeal to me as a realtor.

  16. Bill Lublin

    May 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Ines;
    I agree with Benn the concept is awesome because it grabs attention – not only for the reduced homes but for the brokerage and the agents. How many buyers will call and be converted through the hoopla generated by the event?

    I understand your concern about the light that the agent is cast in, and like you , it makes me wince in my pride about my job, but the job is to get the homes sold, and maybe this is a way to get the consumers out and contacting agents to find those “bargains”.

  17. Jonathan Dalton

    May 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    From a high-level marketing standpoint – brilliant.

    From a low-level marketing standpoint, that of the particular seller of a particular property – stupid.

    I’ve seen many agents try this out here already – price reduction, this weekend only! Sure it is. Even if you raise the price back up, I’ve already seen what you’re willing to accept. And I’m going to go below that level, too, more likely than not.

  18. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Barry – it’s good to get the marketing viewpoint on this, since as Realtors we tent do be focused on serving our clients and could fail to see a big picture.

    Did you see the Miami Herald survey?

    https://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/548872.html

    Take a look and vote – when I last checked – 67% believed that the gimmick would not boost sales.

    Will – I totally agree about the blanket promotion…..we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Jonathan – offers are coming in, coming in 20 and 30% below asking price – some agents choose to overprice knowing this – some others stick to their guns. I turn listings down every day because sellers don’t have realistic expectations and then I’m supposed to push an unrealistinc clearance price?

  19. monika

    May 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    My manager tossed around a reduce 10% weekly until it sells concept. I was like… no way! That idea left a bad feeling in my mouth and I am so glad the concept was quickly dropped.

  20. The Harriman Team

    May 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real estate blow out sale before! I understand the concept, maybe even understand the reason why they’re doing it, but…did anyone ask the SELLERS if they agree to this?? As Ines pointed out, the people who need X dollars from their home sale for medical/education expenses or whatever may not be willing or financially able to go 10% or even 5% below their asking price. What is CB going to do if someone stands up and says, “No, I will NOT lower my price for your fire sale”?? I know if it were me, speaking strictly as a homeowner, I’d be pissed. I’m just sayin’…

  21. ines

    May 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Monika – I can understand price reductions, no one is knocking those – it’s the massive 10% that I don’t get.

    The Harriman Team – sellers did have a choice, nothing was forced – TG for that!

  22. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Sabrina – didn’t mean to skip you, I think you were being held by our filters. Many sellers may be willing, ours were not because they are priced competitively and many a bit under closed sales.

    Just found out CB’s regional manager will be in Good Morning America tomorrow morning.

  23. Benjamin Bach

    May 28, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Ines, I can’t imagine other agents or your broker is happy with the program being pushed on them – what type of reaction are you seeing around the office ?

  24. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    There’s a few agents that are ecstatic about the program – some who just take listings to have listings no matter the price. Some others have not said a word and have not participated (like us). My manager’s job is to encourage the agents to get involved and she is e-mailing us and calling us about how great the media is handling the news and just got the call that the regional manager will appear in GMA. The last office meeting was a bit surreal, everyone psyched about the outcome….an outcome that IMHO cannot be good.

    The only positive note I see is that in the big scheme of things, they really don’t have that many sellers participating. They are doing it in the tri-county area and even if they have 1000 sellers participating, it really is a very small portion of the inventory.

  25. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    May 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Ines,

    I’m going to say that it is a great marketing idea.. but horrible for creating value in the product. If I were your client, I’d feel like your company is telling me that you didn’t know how to price my home to begin with. I’d just trust that the realtor that is listing my home knows how to price it within the market. If I’m priced too high, I just won’t sell… and probably can’t afford to (or have too much pride).

    From a lenders point of you (and I’m SCREAMING thinking about this).. I can’t imagine the appraisal issues this would bring up in the coming months when it comes to comparable sales. I’m sure your market is already tough enough, but offering a week long sale isn’t going to help stabilize home prices at all. With that said, I also don’t think it’s your responsiblity to stabalize the housing market either. I just don’t think you want to kick it in the nuts again when it’s already down and hurting… Am I crazy here or do you see what I’m trying to say?

    Great post. I forwarded it to some local agents. I’m hearing they’re extremely excited their companies haven’t tried this.. In Iowa, I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved the listing to another company to avoid the ‘discount’ image. Every advertising/marketing campaign speaks your brand.. and last time I checked Coldwell Banker isn’t a discount brokerage…..

    Keep the conversation rolling…

    Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

  26. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Tyler – I absolutely hear what you are saying and you are right about appraisal issues in the future. Right now appraisers are not using foreclosed sales in my area and can afford to throw out a comp if it’s a distress sale – but with this sale……no excuse – the 10% will count as a comp. But as I said before, as many listings as may be participating, it’s a miniscule amount of the inventory.

    Now the trust part hits me like a ton of bricks. I am an expert in my market place and a 10% reduction is an out of control number (IMO of course)

  27. I am with you on this one Sistah!
    What I am most entertained by is your photo: The Cheezits WERE $2.50. Now they are on sale for 2 for $5.00 … What a deal.

  28. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    @mizzle – I’m glad you caught that one, I put it there for you! 🙂

  29. Athol Kay

    May 28, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I think the overall message buyers will receive is that everything was 10% overpriced before the sale, and all CB’s marketing oomph will simply drive that message home. CB won’t likely be saying that in so many words, but that’s the message buyers want to hear, so they’ll probably hear that regardless of the advertising content.

    I think this may be a serious mis-step in CB’s branding. The easy path to becoming a discount brokerage would be to… gee I dunno… start discounting. :-/

  30. Dan Connolly

    May 28, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I think this approach is unbelievable. You have a major company telling buyers that prices are arbitrary. As if any Seller is going to give up 40 or 50 thousand dollars on a whim, so that Coldwell Banker can have a nice burst of activity on their listings. And when the sale is over, the management actually believes that they could go back to their old prices and have any chance of selling for that price?…It is really nuts!…I just can’t believe that any Seller would go along with this unless they were on the verge of reducing by 10% anyway.

    I predict that the media will treat this as more proof that prices are falling and the housing market is in the toilet.

  31. Ines

    May 28, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Athol, you hit a point home that I couldn’t grasp before but it has become clear. If CB expects their sellers to discount, shouldn’t they give in a little as well? It only seems fair…..everybody discount! Then it would be a true SALE!

    Dan – you should have written the post…..my sentiments exactly.

  32. Thomas Johnson

    May 28, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Ines: As an ERA agent and “in the family”, so to speak, I don’t get it. This implies that CB listings are overpriced. If I were a competitor, I would be all over every expired CB listing with a correct CMA.

    As an agent, I would resent my franchise or my broker, to whom I pay healthy fees, disintermediating me and my professional pricing strategy as an agent. Does CB think that we take listings to watch our signs rust? If they picked up my health insurance and half my FICA taxes and paid me on a W-2, I might feel differently. Are you salaried employees?

    BTW: I will sell your house or ERA will buy it!

  33. Frank Jewett

    May 29, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Buyers as a group don’t really care if sellers need the money. Sellers waiting because they need the money may end up have ended up following the market down in many cases. I agree that the plan is unworkable, but I don’t believe seller need is a valid issue any more than bank need or builder need is a valid issue. You’ve missed the market. If you can’t afford to wait indefinitely, you need to price to sell as quickly as possible because the seasonal peak occurs right about now.

  34. Frank Jewett

    May 29, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Thomas, unfortunately many listing agents “pricing strategy” is to outbid their competition based on their superior marketing and negotiating skills. I’ve heard veteran agents confess to accepting listings that were more than $100,000 over their own valuation. I’ve also heard agents who have lost listings because they refused to go along with the highest price given to the seller by an overbidding agent.

    I agree the plan is unworkable because it resets the market, crushing prices for all of your competitors’ listings and all your future listings. Even worse though, it kills comps for any pending sales that require an additional appraisal before closing. Imagine all of the deals that would fall apart based on those low comps. Think any of those homeowners might file a lawsuit against a “clearance sale” gimmick?

  35. Jennifer in Louisville

    May 29, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Wow – makes me glad I’m not Coldwell Banker. The incompetent real estate agent that takes over priced listings can afford to do this – they got the room to come down. The real estate professional that has their properties priced appropriately can not, and should not.

    And only a fool would believe that prospective buyers are going to buy the “its only a 10 day sale”. Weeks and months after that “10 day sale”, buyers will still be looking to knock 10% off the price right off the bat. It affirms to the consumer that “listings are all over priced, so you can take 10% off right off the top”. Ultimately, if that assumption sticks in the consumers mind, it will only result in everyone over pricing their listings so they have negotiation room for when they get offers.

  36. Don Reedy

    May 29, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Just yesterday I watched as an experienced agent in my office played out the root cause of what CB is trying to solve above. It made my heart sink.

    Six months ago I went on a listing appointment, and the widow told me her home was worth (and she wanted to list at) $800,000. I showed her info, gave her my opinion, and told her with love that her home was going to sell for $675,000 to $700,000. Unhappy with that, she contacted another agent in my office who was happy to take the same data I had and price the home at $805,000.

    Almost six months later, the price has now been “reduced” to $675,000 to $725,000 (our California value range marketing).

    Look, CB and the industry should be shoving all the Realtors who can’t determine the honest selling price up front out the door. This is what happens when a good company relies on the 80% who can’t do their jobs, and leaves the remaining 20% of their quality people with a crazy ball and chain like this. I hope CB brings this to Southern California. I would love to gather the press together and provide them with enough info to help put this CB marketing campaign permanently on the shelf where it belongs.

  37. Bill

    May 29, 2008 at 6:59 am

    No, you are not “totally off” on this at all. The campaign is a blue lighht special, K-Mart absurd one.
    But what do you expect from a company that thinks the internet is a big black hole
    and that they must put their valuable listings for free on any site that will take them
    all in the name of “exposure”. This campaign, along with their internet marketing strategy, is constructed by people with false knowledge of how to drive qualified traffic to listings.

  38. ines

    May 29, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Thomas,
    You are absolutely right and we are not salaried employees, my $1400/month insurance would be a nice perk though. 🙂

    Frank – there are many agents that buy their listings – there’s a guy in my immediate market that takes any listing at any price for volume’s sake knowing that the seller will eventually reduce, an offer may come by and it’s nothing personal.

    You say buyers don’t care if sellers need the money and I agree, but CB is representing the seller and should at least consider their fiduciary duties. I see what you are saying about agents overpricing, but I can tell you that our listings are never overpriced. 3 years ago it didn’t matter what price the listing had, but now we turn down listings if the sellers have unreal expectations (even if they are in financial distress). We’re in the business of selling properties, not holding inventory.

    I also thought about the lawsuit opportunity from these homeowners – but, as I said before, not enough properties are participating to really make an impact on the market (at least I hope so).

    Jennifer – you got it – it may be a great marketing tactic, but every other aspect surrounding this concept is not good and the repercussions are horrifying. Funny is that those agents that achieved the “10% reduction” from their sellers, are those that overprice listings and those that have not been in the business long.

  39. SaraB

    May 29, 2008 at 7:33 am

    I like the idea in that Sellers get to leverage other Sellers in the effort to sell their home. Sort of like going to a mall verses a stand alone store. The concept is something you can use to create buzz. However, I agree with all the comments surrounding the percentage off.

    Maybe the marketing angle could be salvaged if it didn’t center around price. What else do Buyer care about that could be offered for this limited promotion? A mortgage broker offering something, a home warranty, mover’s specials, free painting, paid for internet/cable, a new big screen tv thrown in, just ideas. Because CB is as big as it is, you could just its size to get whatever it was promoting at a good price.

    I think the idea has legs, just needs to be refined.

  40. SaraB

    May 29, 2008 at 7:38 am

    PS- I like the picture. The Cheez-Its were $2.50, but the price has been rolled back to 2 for $5. Now that’s marketing! 🙂

  41. Fran MacDonald

    May 29, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Reducing properties by 10%? Would your family practioner or dentist do the same? I think not. If we are professionals rather than “salespeople” then we are not misleading the seller giving him/her an unrealistic CMA or suggested listing price. Everyday I see properties coming on the market for far more money than the seller can realistically realize on the sale of his property, which brings me to “why are Realtors doing that? Buying the listing? Where is the professionalism in doing this? There are times that I have to take a listing for more than I want to, sometimes, there are reasons, the seller is a bad situation and insists on trying it, and other times, I do it, but my seller knows without any doubt where I stand on what price he/she will receive for his property. I even have them sign and date that CMA suggested price so that later, they must own up to their own error.

    Where are the brokers when a newer agent is taking a listing? It is ultimately the responsibility to work with every new agent they bring on board, teaching then to do a fair and honest market analysis, and teaching them overcome the objections of over pricing. In the end overpriced listings sell for less than they would have sold for had they gone on the market for the right price, the still Realtor gets a slightly less commission. Who loses in this scenario? The seller and who led the seller up this path? The Realtor? And this is professionalism? Wouldn’t Mr Webster cringe if he were here today.

    My first broker, a Re/Max Office, worked with me on this, she did an excellent job and taught me good values. Kudos to my broker; Pam Young!!! But I was always there asking the questions, I had a thurst for knowledge and I wanted desparately to learn to do it right. She didn’t have to track me down to see what I was up to, I just asked too many questions for her not to know what I was up to. I left a franchise mainly because of the high cost involved and when I saw the market turning and finally settled for a small Real Estate Office with affordable fees, a knowledgeable broker, and take all the offered classes I can get under my belt. For me, I want to be a cut above the rest! If Fran says it, it must be true! That’s what I am striving for as a Realtor in my community. The reputation of being a fair and honest Realtor!

    As for leaving Coldwell Banker Franchise for another large franchise, let me caution you. Life is not perfect! I left one for another and I was very disappointed. Promises,oh yes, as for delivery, I didn’t notice anything. I like where I am today. We all work together, we all get along, and it’s a very nice environment to be in. But then, I prefer fewer personalities in a business environment. Simply a preference. Fewer distractions and more time to do what I do best, work with my clients who are buyers and sellers!.

  42. Benjamin

    May 29, 2008 at 8:05 am

    In all professions, downturns in the marketplace can call for new and innovative approaches. However, there are also lines that should never be crossed. This was one of them. Not only is it doing a disservice to the sellers who opted into this silliness, it is just adding more fodder for those that like to kidney punch the real estate profession every chance they get.

  43. Ruthmarie Hicks

    May 29, 2008 at 8:58 am

    This is an excellent example of “how to.” The question is “How to what?” If your answer is to further drag down the prices terrible market – and make sure they STAY down, then you’ve got the right answer. This is a miserable idea for all the reasons sighted above. I’ll site a couple that really cause the most concern.
    1) You are sending a message that all the homes SHOULD be lower then they are now. Implying that you regularly over price them.
    2) I question whether this our violates fiduciary obiligations to clients.
    3) It screams of despiration.
    4) We already HAVE reputations that put us lower than a used car salesman – do we really need sales tactics that help to solidfy this image?

  44. ines

    May 29, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Sara B – there’s always room for creative marketing, but the idea was thrown out there without being refined – the sale starts June 1…..it’s too late to turn back (and they are very proud of it btw)

    Fran – CB’s training is fabulous for a new agent and I really recommend it – the problem arises when you have office managers that are pushing inventory to make their quota at the end of the month and not only do they not know the market, they don’t take the time to discuss pricing with those new agents. There are many flaws, but we go back to the big corporate business model where a lot of the personal and small details are lost.

    Benjamin – and if you have read the comments for both the Miami Herald articles and the Sun Sentinel, you will see the low blows – I find them humorous…..but it just adds to our industry’s fire.

    Ruthmarie – it’s an interesting discussion for sure – wouldn’t it be nice for this to happen BEFORE the concept is implemented?

  45. Matt Thomson

    May 29, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I can’t imagine a company requiring this! I know several Keller Williams offices nation wide had done this same thing last year, and with a fairly high level of success, but it was optional. I personally hate the idea and would never take it to my sellers. I feel I’ve put too much time and effort into pricing their homes correctly, and for the most part my sales reflect that.
    That being said, there’s no doubt that the interest generated drew more buyers into the KW offices that tried this…but at the expense of the sellers? I’m not sure.

  46. ines

    May 29, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Matt – the letter was sent out to every CB listing, but participation was not mandatory. I can also tell you that my office has already had walk-ins from the advertised sale and it won’t even start until June 1st.

  47. ines

    May 29, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Here’s a video done of the sale in Tampa – although it was 5% not 10%
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bMz5muotwY

  48. Vicki Moore

    May 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I would be concerned about the perspective it would give my seller clients. I work hard to create trust. I’d be horrified if my company went around me and sent a boilerplate letter telling them that unless they lower the price of their house by 10% they’re not going to receive the marketing I had already told them they were going to; that I don’t know what I’m doing because I obviously priced their property too high; and that one size fits all.

  49. Melina Tomson

    May 29, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Ines,
    You are right on. I think it tells sellers that CB agents have no clue how to price a home and don’t know how to sell without a gimmick.

  50. Ann

    May 29, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I agree that it adds to the perception that we are not professionals but “salespersons”!
    Doctors and lawyers (professionals) are not even allowed to advertise!
    An “early summer” Special Feature of “Best Values” would have been more appealing to me!
    I left CB and the whole “corporate” atmosphere and am happier in a small office where I can focus on my business and not be subjected to this type of “hype”!

  51. ines

    May 29, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Vicki, I did some numbers this afternoon and I realize that there’s too much hype about this whole sale – Miami Dade has 268 participating properties 42,000+ listings (the effect will me minor).

    In my immediate market of Miami Shores, there’s only 1 property participating in the sale and it’s not even a local CB agent that knows our market.

    Melina – I do wonder how many will think it’s a gimmick. I also wonder if CB did this to raise the morale of their agents who have fallen into a slump…..everything is possible.

    Ann – we agree that there could have been better ways to handle it – of course this is my opinion

  52. Fran MacDonald

    June 1, 2008 at 7:59 am

    A property that is in good condition, and reasonably priced doesn’t need a sale. It needs a Realtor who has a buyer for it.

    Todays buyers are savvy and know a good value when they see one. They have been searching for months before reaching this decision.

    My Partners Realty office recently listed such a property and it went pending in 5 days. I rest my case.

  53. ines

    June 1, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Fran – “it needs a Realtor who has a buyer for it” …..I think that’s the bottom line, a willing and able buyer. The concept is supposed to jump-start the will of those buyers waiting for the bottom…..but the repercussions are massive IMO.

  54. Nadia

    June 1, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Ines,
    Thank you for this article. Unfortunately I am just seeing it now and reading some of the comments. I have to admit that I was one of the few sellers who bit the bait and have had to reduce my property price.

    I agree with most of what you have said, and some of the comments that I have read. I have to admit that when I was first approached about this idea, I was pretty upset, and my first thought was that CB would also reduce some of their fees to compensate or motivate me to want to reduce my property price. And when I heard not, I thought it unfair and no intention of participating. I think that my property was priced at its value, based on CMA’s done at the time of its initial listing 1 month ago, and I have already reduced the price once since then.

    The reason why I decided to go with the sale idea, even though I didn’t agree with it, was because I feared that if I didn’t, my property wouldn’t get the same press that others who are participating would be getting – and that my property would get left behind. My thoughts on that were, why couldn’t CB have done the same press that they are giving them now that they are on sale, from the get go. And yes, why 10% ?? I asked my agent that numerous times. While I would have been more able to do a smaller reduction, a 10% reduction will put me in the whole…and I’m still yet to figure out how to work that out.

    However, I am hoping that since there is in fact so much inventory, that the press will attract some attention to those properties that are in the sale (mine included) even though I do think that my property was fairly priced to begin with, it is now grossly under valued.

    But what’s a seller to do? I applaud CB for trying something, anything!

    However, I do agree with this point though, if it does generate an offer, won’t this make the slump worse?

    But what would you suggest as the solution?

  55. Nadia

    June 1, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    sorry, I realise a few typos in my last post, so hope you figured out what i was trying to say as i typed in haste.

    But another comment I wanted to make, when you (and other agents) say that you have priced properties “correctly” to start with – in these market conditions how do you know what is the “correct” price? For my property, the range at this point is so wide, I don’t really know what the correct value is.

  56. Frank Jewett

    June 1, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    But another comment I wanted to make, when you (and other agents) say that you have priced properties “correctly” to start with – in these market conditions how do you know what is the “correct” price?

    “Priced correctly” is one of those industry cliches that is more claim than fact, especially when part of the rationale for that correct pricing is what the seller needed to hear to sign the listing agreement.

  57. ines

    June 2, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Nadia,
    First, let me thank you for commenting here and hopefully I will answer some of your questions.

    Pricing, when done by an appraiser is considered an “art form”, so I can understand yours and many other sellers’ frustrations when trying to come up with the right price for your home.

    Pricing a home for sale in today’s market should take into consideration only closed sales (since there are plenty of overpriced homes still in Miami). The agent you hired should be proficient in your area and know the inventory well to be able to give you the correct assessment on price. Rick and I use 3 pricing models and put them together with our sellers when they are ready to price. One takes into consideration all the closed sales in the immediate area in the last 6 months, the other an average price per square foot in the last 6 months and the last a radius search within a mile in the last 6 months. Then you have to look at each property and compare location, condition and appeal – (example, we have a listing in a great location but needs a lot of work and doesn’t show well because owners refuse to declutter and stage). By being proficient in the area, your agent would know the condition of other closed sales to be able to compare to your home.

    There are plenty of well-priced homes in Miami that are not selling and you and your agent will have to decide on a strategy from the beginning. Will you reduce (as you said you have) or do you wait? That’s when you become a team and strategize together knowing your agent will give you expert advice.

    Honestly, I hope you get results from the sale but I urge you to have a plan if it doesn’t work out, for all the factors we discussed above. Feel free to keep asking questions and I am sure others will jump in as well.

  58. Buzz Factory

    June 5, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Wow, judging by the fact that this topic has generated 57 posts tells me that it is a hot topic in South Florida. Given the amount of free publicity that this sale generated, I’d say the promotion from a tactical marketing perspective has achieved its goals. The goal is to get buyers off the fence and inject some energy into a stagnant market, not to devalue the services of professional Realtors. Outstanding concept and unbelievable execution. If I were working as a Realtor in the area I would be asking my broker “What are you doing to help me sell homes?”

  59. Ines

    June 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Buzz – I have to agree with you that from a “tactical marketing perspective has achieved its goals”. Every agent should be looking for out of the box thinking from their brokerages – for that alone, the concept gets an “A” in my book, but you also have to agree that the healthy discussion generated from this post has pointed out some important pros and cons regarding the sale.

  60. Kim

    September 26, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Ines –

    Noted that you have not commented after the 10 Day Sales Event was completed. Do you have any personal opinions, along with any stats to update us on regarding the success/failure of the promotion? Thanks.

  61. ines

    September 27, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Hi Kim, I actually left Coldwell Banker and don’t have “inside information” anymore – but will come back and comment on a few facts I observed. Thanks for the reminder.

  62. ines

    September 29, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Hi again Kim,
    I found this article from the Miami Herald written after the sale – out of those 66 contracts, I don’t know how many actually sold. I know for a fact of one property that participated in that sale in The Miami Shores that went under contract and the sale fell through and the house is still on the market today.

    June 19, 2008 Thursday
    Door-buster home sales event draws buyers
    BYLINE: MONICA HATCHER, mhatcher@MiamiHerald.com

    They slashed prices and the buyers came.
    Coldwell Banker’s 10-day presummer sales event that ended June 10 netted 66 sales contracts on 597 properties. Not too shabby for a market in the doldrums, according to Gus Rubio, Coldwell’s senior vice president for the Southeast region. He said contracts were dribbling in by the day.

    Whether future prices drop, jump or stabilize, people know “they bought at a price that was lower than anything on the market and they got the most value for their money.”

    The sale, which was widely publicized with newspaper, radio and Internet ads, was an attempt to draw those buyers waiting for further price declines into the market sooner.

    To participate, sellers agreed to drop asking prices at least 10 percent for homes valued at $750,000 or less. Those with homes worth more could drop prices by 5 percent.

    The event itself implied further price declines, which some in the real estate profession criticized. Rubio even described it as opportunity to buy property “today at tomorrow’s prices.”

    But the results may indeed suggest, as some real estate professionals have claimed, demand has been pent-up over the years as values soared beyond the reach of most buyers, and that price declines will breathe new life into a stagnant market.

    Coldwell Banker, the largest real estate brokerage in South Florida, was responsible for one of every three sales in the region last year, according to data from the Florida Association of Realtors and the Real Trends 500 report, making their unusual sales-event noteworthy.

    Rubio said the homes under contract span the price range from the mid-$200s to more than $1 million. Open houses were scheduled at each participating home and buyers were offered a range of discounted services and products with their purchase. The average traffic per open house ranged between five and seven people.

    A Palmetto Bay home listed for about $450,000 drew 42 people to its open house.”Not even in the heyday, when we were in the real estate boom and things were selling in minutes, do I remember having 42 people at an open house,” Rubio said.
    ”With the 10 percent reduction — and it was already at a low price — it was 26 percent below anything within four or five blocks,” Rubio said.
    Some real estate experts have predicted prices will fall another 15 to 20 percent before they bottom out.
    None of the homes in the sale were bank-owned properties or foreclosures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Simple ways to improve your organic reach on Facebook

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Facebook continues to make businesses and pages pay to play, but businesses still have a shot of improving their organic reach, according to experts in the field.

Published

on

Facebook open on laptop with white desk and small potted plant, open to organic reach.

Facebook organic reach is not dead, but you will need to work harder to get eyes on your pages. Here’s a rundown of what experts are saying will help you reach your audience. Facebook is still the top social media platform that marketers use and where consumers tend to look for and follow brand pages. So don’t despair!

Those running Facebook business pages have been seeing ever diminishing returns on their effort at getting their content in front of their audiences and fans, especially since around 2016. Yet Facebook remains the #1 platform for building an audience. Once upon a time, Facebook was incredibly fertile soil to grow our entrepreneurial and creative gardens in, at little to no cost to us. Many businesses are seeing a drastic reduction in reach, meaning that a tiny percentage of people are seeing our posts, even among those who follow our pages.

Have you ever heard something like, “The first one’s always free; that’s how they get you”? This has long been a business philosophy to hook prospective customers, used by savvy marketers and drug dealers alike. Facebook went and took that to the next level, introducing an easy-to-use platform where almost anyone could find and engage with their target audiences of customers, fans, members, and more.

Of course, there had to be a reckoning, and now that Facebook has more than 2.6 billion active monthly users worldwide, they continue to change the rules. Consider the amount of users and the amount of posts being made, and it makes more sense that Facebook tries to narrow the audience for any single post to a reasonable chunk. Otherwise, our brains would explode (okay, my words, not an actual medical opinion). Really, you don’t need to reach everybody, because not everybody is interested in what you’re offering. You need to reach the right people who are going to engage and build a smaller, engaged loyal group of diehard customers.

Community is key
Here are some of the latest tips and best practices to increase organic reach in 2021, provided by Facebook pros. Mark Zuckerburg keeps bringing up the concept of community, and the algorithm favors engagement, not only on Facebook, but across platforms. Nobody wants products and services constantly jammed in their faces.

This is a conversation, not a one-way portal into your customers’ brains and wallets. A constant barrage of salesy content, urging people to buy buy buy, grows real tedious real fast. “If you build it, they will come.” Only instead of a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, work to build a community.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you creating conversations?
  • Are you using your platform to act as a resource and provide helpful or inside information in your niche or area of expertise?
  • Are you asking your audience what they want and would like to see more of from you?
  • Are you taking current events and trends into account, reacting to local/national/world news at all, and creating timely posts?
  • Are you using a variety of post types (photos, videos, links) and taking advantage of Facebook’s built in post tools?
  • Are you taking data into account for what content people are responding to favorably and when?
  • Do you ever invest in Facebook ads or boosted posts for important content or events?

Find the answer to these questions to reevaluate your strategy, work on promoting a dialogue with your audience, and ideally you will see more engagement on your pages, fruitful interactions that ultimately lead to loyal customers and bigger sales.

Create Conversations
Zuckerburg himself comes back to this point repeatedly in his regular updates on the state of all things Facebook and how the algorithm works, saying Facebook will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.” Not every industry lends itself to deep thoughts, but it can be simple enough to engage your audience with community questions. People love giving their opinions or talking about a shared interest.

Community questions can be fun, lively, and create fun interaction between your audience and the business. A simple This or That question posted on one of the background color templates can get the conversation started. If people don’t have to invest a lot of time to answer, then great! Depending on the industry, these can be easy one-offs: Red wine or white? Beach vacation or mountains? TikTok or Reels? Mac or PC? Harley Davidson hogs or Kawasaki crotch rockets? Early bird or night owl?

Hot takes, unpopular opinions, are another way to get people chatting. I’m not espousing trying to stir up controversy here, unless that is appropriate for your business, but people get emotional as all get out for something as simple as pineapple on pizza or beans in chili. What’s a popular or common opinion in your field? How can you introduce a hot take to get people chatting? For an entrepreneurial page, you could put out a hot take on a cluttered desk, or making lists, or standing desks.

Sure, these conversations may start out superficial, but who knows? When people begin interacting on your page more, they begin seeing more that you post, and that’s when you can introduce something a little weightier, asking them to share their expertise or advice on a relevant topic.

Become a resource
Whether your business is a science journal, digital marketing, interior designing, or a Texas Hill Country resort, your business and your audience is unique. Real estate agencies have become good at this, so we’ll use them as an example. If you are selling or leasing properties in Austin or San Francisco, sell the area. Don’t only post the properties you’re selling or agent profiles. Post those, yes, but also post industry news and local attractions.

When people are interested in moving to a new city or a new neighborhood or investing in opening a business there, they need to know why the area is attractive. What is the business climate? What are the financial perks associated with living there? What is the area known for (local restaurants, live music hiking trails, swimming holes, no traffic)? Has the area made a list for quality of life, affordability, great job prospects in X industry? Sharing blogs, articles, infographics, videos, and photos highlighting any of these can help your page serve the interests of your target audience. This is a good thing.

Ask your audience
This is a simple tip for keeping things closer to your audience’s interests, helping you identify areas where your page may be lacking–and opportunities for growth, and keeping the conversation going. Be careful not to overuse this one, but it’s an important tool.

  • Try a simple question, such as “What would you like to see more of on this page?”
  • Create a poll, which is much faster to answer, and helps you narrow answers down to what you really want to know.
  • Similar to the community questions, ask them to share something that has helped them. A classic example would be “What is the best entrepreneurial advice anyone has even given you?” Or “Please share some tips to fight procrastination.” Or “What is the top time-saving tool you use in your business (or for scheduling)?” Having your page followers (and hopefully others) chat with each other this way is helpful for them and for your organic reach.

Take current events and trends into account
This one’s simple: Read the room. This goes both ways. If there is renewed interest in, say, downtown lofts or sea shanty dances on TikTok, can you use this momentary heat to bring interest to your page? On the other hand, if there is a natural disaster, tragedy, or financial crash that has caused great suffering in an area? That’s a good moment to review your scheduled posts and delete or postpone anything that could be unintentionally triggering or offensive.

Some types of businesses are better suited to jumping on the latest trend. Do you have a bar or restaurant with a fairly young, social media savvy crowd? Go ahead, Photoshop that Bernie-Sanders-in-mittens image sitting on your patio (only if you can do it as the trend is hitting). Are you targeting an area that has recently been hit by extended power outages? I’m sorry to tell you, but this is not the time to promote that popup restaurant where diners experience eating in the dark.

Mix it up and use native Facebook tools
Of course you want to stay on brand, but please don’t get caught in a rut where all of your posts are one type. Consistency is one thing, but beware that this doesn’t turn into monotony. Assess where you can change things up. Add photos, videos, links to relevant blogs and articles, or community questions. Different people respond differently to different types of input. Use all the tools at your disposal to generate interest, draw people in, and get them reacting to and engaging with your page.

Facebook and all social media platforms have built in tools. They want you to use them. Often, this is a Facebook effort to capitalize on a similar, competing app. Trust me when I say, you will get brownie points (higher reach) when you take the time to use these native tools. Facebook Watch, Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, even using a background color template from the Facebook options, are all ways to show Facebook you’re paying attention and want to optimize the tools they are giving you.

Use provided data
You need to be able to look for patterns, evaluate the factors that made a particular post popular, and know when your customers and followers are likely to see your page and interact with it. Facebook provides a number of insights in the platform, but there are numerous external marketing tools you can purchase or sometimes use for free (depending on how many pages and platforms you are running, and how in-depth you want your data to be).

Posting willy nilly is not the most effective way to be. Decide what data is useful to you and make time to study it, and be willing to make changes to your content strategy based on the data. Like many other aspects of marketing, expanding your organic reach is a mixture of art and science, a balancing act of intuition and cold, hard numbers. Use them.

Consider paying to play
I know, I know, this story is about organic and not paid reach, but the fact is strategically paying for a Facebook ad or boosting a post to highlight a launch, event, special deal, or other important news will bring more people to your page. If the other tips, tools, and best practices referred to here are in place, once they find your page, you have the ability to keep their attention through organic means.

Keep on truckin’
These tips should help you expand your page’s organic reach. More importantly, they should help you build and support a community, earn loyal followers and customers, and generate positive buzz about your business. Keep working on becoming a resource and sharing helpful information. Have fun with it and experiment with new media and types of posts. Know yourself. Know your audience.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

Published

on

Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Should your content management system go headless?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) You may be familiar with your typical content management system, but had you heard of a ‘headless’ model? Let’s dig into it together.

Published

on

Person using content management system with hands on keyboard and small bit of desktop visible.

At some point, you have probably worked with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal. If you haven’t already, you at least know that this computer software is used to manage website content.

But, have you ever heard of a headless content management system before? We didn’t. So, we set out to find out what it’s all about and how beneficial, or not, it can be for your company.

What is headless CMS?

Unlike your classic CMS, headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It decouples where your content is stored and authored (body) from the front-end where your content is displayed (head).

This CMS isn’t tied to a particular output like a web page. Content is transmitted as data over an application programming interface (API). It’s a content repository that delivers content seamlessly to any device.

Benefits of Headless CMS

More versatile
Headless CMS isn’t your classic “monolithic” CMS so you aren’t constrained to an all-in-one system that might work for websites but not mobile devices.

Content is consumed by customers in more than one place now. Headless CMS provides a more versatile way to deliver multi-channel content to websites, Android and iOS apps, and even IoT (internet of things), like a smartwatch or in-store kiosk.

Businesses will benefit from this because only one back-end is needed to manage and publish content for different services and products.

No need for specialized developers
Developers aren’t tied to a specific programming language or framework. A developer can choose between using Javascript, PHP, Ruby, or any language they prefer.

If you already have a talented developer, you don’t have to scramble to find someone else who specializes in a specific system or language you are moving to. Your current developer can do the job for you in the best way they know-how.

Better Security
Security is important. Not being married to the front-end, headless CMS has a security advantage a regular CMS doesn’t. Usually, content provided to a headless CMS is read-only, and the admin portion lives on a different server and domain.

With the back-end detached from the presentation layer, there is a smaller target area to attack. Also, layers of code can be used to hide the content-delivering API making it safer than a traditional CMS.

Real-time collaboration
With two separate systems, content editors and web developers can work concurrently. This shortens a project’s timeline and helps get your product and services to market quicker. Also, content editors don’t have to spend more time creating the same content for each system. Designers and developers can take care of that.
Downsides of Headless CMS

As with anything, headless CMS isn’t perfect and isn’t for everyone. It has its disadvantages.

More technical
Little technical involvement is called for in a traditional CMS. As a result, the tool can be picked up quickly by almost anyone.

A deeper understanding of CMS, coding languages, and front-end technologies is needed when using headless CMS. You must have a developer that can build the web or app just for you.

Increased maintenance
With the body separated from the head, there are two systems to maintain. Implementation and maintenance could potentially become complex.

Bigger price tag
Building a system from scratch costs time and money. With a traditional CMS, there is one account, and, most likely, one payment. With headless CMS, you’ll have multiple payments for the CMS, a developer, and the infrastructure running your website or app.

Your custom CMS also isn’t coming from a pre-built content management system. All that hard work takes time (and patience) to get it done right.

Conclusion

Headless CMS lets you create a unique user experience and allow for cross-platform publishing, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all content management system.

Before you jump ships, take inventory of all your content needs. Does your content need to be published on different platforms? Will a simple stand-alone website work for you? Only you can decide what works best with your business, but we hope this information helps.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!