Today on the show we are going to be talking marketing, with one of Australia’s leading small business marketing advisers, and I’m sure you will get plenty of value and ideas from the discussion we have.
Before we get to that, here’s an update on what I have been up to. In the last episode I mentioned that we had been to our tribunal hearing and we’re waiting on a decision. Well, we have received the ruling from the planning tribunal following our appeal against council’s decision not to grant us a permit.
So the tribunal decided to uphold the council’s decision. Which means we lost. The tribunal member decided that our proposal was too big, compared with the footprints of the neighbouring properties, our design didn’t match the neighbourhood character of the area, and there was insufficient meaningful landscaping.
It is obviously very disappointing to lose, we felt we had a strong case given the location and zoning, but the tribunal felt otherwise. So we have to take the decision on the chin and move on.
Lessons for real estate developers from a planning tribunal loss
It certainly was an experience going to the tribunal and I learnt a lot from it, some of the key lessons I learnt are:
1. The risk of confirmation bias.
I was confident that what we had proposed was acceptable for the location given the planning controls and strategic policy of the local council, and this was shared by all the consultants we engaged to advise us. They all believed what we had put forward was acceptable, and because it aligned with my own thinking, it strengthened my own belief. However, we were all wrong, but I am the one without the chair once the music stopped. I remember reading about how Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, also appreciates the risk of confirmation bias and forces the company to challenge its assertions and ideas to ensure they really are robust, and not just nice ideas that lots of people like. And it goes back to the adage of there being nobody who cares more about the project succeeding than you. So be aware of the risk of people telling you what you want to hear!
2. The significant impact a tribunal loss has on the momentum and timing of your business.
We have essentially wasted 18 months getting to this point. This is time we cannot get back. We are basically back at square one, looking at another 12 months minimum before we get a planning outcome, which is pretty frustrating, given how long it takes to bring a project to market and get it finished. This lost time leaves a hole in my future pipeline of works. The key lesson to be learnt from this is the importance of having multiple projects at different stages so that a set back in one project doesn’t derail your ability to consistently be progressing your business.
3. Appreciating the risk associated with property developing.
In this case I underestimated the planning risk of not achieving a permit. I did identify it as a risk when I was planning the project, but I felt our mitigation strategy would be to go to VCAT and succeed there. Obviously that didn’t work, so next time I may have to reign back my expectations on what is possible from a design perspective.
There are many more lessons that I learnt but those are probably the big three. As I mentioned, it is very frustrating to lose but we have to cop it on the chin and move on. Fortunately the market surged during our holding period so the land has gone up in value, so we aren’t facing the prospect of losing money on the project, but we have to decide whether we sell up and realise our profit early, or start again with a new planning application.
I will let you know which way we decide to go…
Marketing for Property Developers
Okay, on with the show, my guest today is Tim Reid, one of Australia’s leading advisers and commentators on small business marketing. Sales and marketing of a project is such a crucial piece that I wanted to speak with Tim about how property developers can take their marketing to the next level.
Tim is the host of a great podcast called the Small Business Big Marketing show, which you can find on the iTunes store, he is also the author of the book The Boomerang Effect, and his website at www.smallbusinessbigmarketing.com is chock full of helpful ways that you can grow your business through marketing.
In this discussion Tim and I cover some essential areas you should use in your marketing, one thing that will help you stand out in a crowded market place, and why some people fail at marketing.
Marketing lessons for property developers
I think good marketing is one way that you can help your projects stand out in a crowded market place, and this will lead to your stock being in demand which will help your business grow.
Here are three lessons I took out of my conversation with Tim:
1.Make marketing your hobby
Tim mentioned how the successful business owners he has interviewed on his show have all taken a keen interest in marketing their businesses. They all committed regular time to marketing, and found ways to make it fun and enjoyable. And let’s face it, it should be fun to promote what your business is good at. If you can dedicate just 30 minutes a day to your marketing, you might be surprised what results it will yield if you do it consistently over a year or two!
2.Be helpful in your marketing
In Tim’s book the Boomerang Effect, he outlines how you know so much about your industry, and the products or services you sell so you should share that knowledge openly and freely. And build a tribe of long-term, loyal customers. Become a helpful problem solver. Not a pushy marketer, and you will see your marketing investment multiply exponentially. Start thinking about the questions buyers may have and set about answering them on your website.
3. Use stories and emotions to create a connection
I know I keep banging on about stories and emotion, but it works and it’s powerful. So use them.
Okay, if you enjoyed that chat about marketing then check out episode 8 (http://propertydeveloperpodcast.com/2016/02/21/selling-out-your-property-development-project/), with marketer Ben Buxton who I mentioned in the discussion with Tim, if you want to learn how to sell out your next development project, or episode 24 (http://propertydeveloperpodcast.com/2016/11/02/24-how-property-developers-can-stand-out-in-a-crowded-marketplace/ ) with selling agent David Stewart about how you can stand out in a crowded market place.
You can also find all the past episodes of the show at www.propertydeveloperpodcast.com
And you can see all my latest property development photos and videos on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/property_developer_podcast/)
Until next may all your marketing be helpful and emotional…
Tim Reid – Small Business Big Marketing website – https://smallbusinessbigmarketing.com