Property ownership is a high stakes business. Huge sums are involved and decisions are life changing. In hot markets like Sydney, buyers face extreme competition. Traditionally, real estate agents work for property sellers and stack everything in their favour to capture the highest price. These dynamics won’t change. However, Cohen Handler is putting a little power back into the hands of buyers, providing research and sourcing services that connect buyers with the right properties, at the right time.
“We wanted to give buyers a competitive edge,” says Ben Handler, Cohen Handler CEO. “Real estate agents work for the vendor – they rarely assist buyers. This is a real problem, and Cohen Handler solves it by connecting buyers with a trusted professional, who looks after their best interests. To fulfil our mission, we needed a smarter way to connect and manage our clients and business partners. And we needed it to scale as our business grew.”
Cohen Handler agents work with buyers, from initial property search to post settlement. It’s demanding work that puts agents and buyers in frequent contact. There’s a lot of ground to cover. Cohen Handler agents investigate off-market properties, quiet listings, scan and view stock, and even negotiate and bid on the buyer’s behalf. Agents are rarely in the office. But when clients call, they’ve got to be ready with good answers.
The key to an agent’s success is in their hands – a smartphone. Availability is a good start, but the real edge is customer information at their fingertips.
Sales Cloud captures and maintains a single record of everything about Cohen Handler clients – who they are, their needs and goals, timeframes, property portfolios, and the state of play at any point in time. “Sales Cloud gives us an advantage. We’re more organised and act at the right times,” says Handler. “The automation around tasks makes us more intelligent. And when it’s on everyone’s mobiles – that’s fantastic.”
Cohen Handler clients are hungry for good information. Knowledge is power – and competitive advantage. Presenting good information on client terms takes the load off email. Salesforce Communities does the job, providing a secure destination that serves up information – things like research and market reports – tailored to specific clients. Communities also channels core Salesforce workflow and automation, so clients can connect with agents, ask questions, and post comments. Agents stay across everything.
A separate Partner Community does a similar job. Cohen Handler works closely with banks and mortgage brokers. They’re important referrers, who retain a strong interest in how their clients are progressing with Cohen Handler. The Partner Community keeps them in the picture. There, referrers can see progress and metrics, including leads, conversion and value.”
A young fast-growing company like Cohen Handler pays special attention to nurturing prospective clients. They cast their prospecting net wide, harvesting leads from a variety of social sites, and more traditional channels, including email, events and website visitors. To do the job, Cohen Handler makes good use of Salesforce Pardot – a campaign platform that automates marketing outreach and feeds information into Sales Cloud. Tracking and analytics score prospects, so agents don’t end up chasing deadwood. Pardot also makes it easy to maintain a consistent presence in social media. Agents can post to multiple channels simultaneously and track the success of their efforts.
“In the one year that we’ve been using Salesforce, our revenue grew 150%,” says Handler. “We can take on more people and measure their performance and contribution. Salesforce is instrumental to how we run our business. We’d be dead without it. It’s growth without barriers.”