Property marketing case studies – Relationship management at DTZ, GVA, JLL, Knight Frank and Savills

Posted on: January 28, 2015

I recently reviewed the book “Effective client management in professional services – how to build successful client relationships” by Jack Berkovi  (see blog http://www.kimtasso.com/book-review-effective-client-management-professional-services-build-effective-client-relationships-jack-berkovi/). The article will appear shortly in http://www.pmforum.co.uk/magazine/. Meanwhile, I summarised the key points from some of the real estate strategy and property marketing case studies for ease of reference:

Property surveyor

  • Wanted to increase current 20% rate of conversion from leads to instructions
  • Spoke to various partners to create six different types of seller and six different land agent buyer interview scenarios
  • Partners prepared for each role and were filmed – key findings were that sellers were not actively listening but focusing on explaining their skills and services without giving reasons to use their firm. They also missed buying signals.
  • The material was reviewed and pitfalls and opportunities were identified before the training programme was rolled out to other partners and senior managers
  • Conversion rate rose to over 30% within six months

DTZ

  • Diane Nagy is Head of EMEA Client Relationship Management
  • Identifies and develops global and regional clients across business lines and geographic territories
  • Works with multiple country leadership and business lines to agree client lists, revenues and reviewing performance in line with strategic goals
  • Leads the client audit, automated feedback and post decision review (PDR) programme for the firm
  • Uses a prepare, engage, deliver, enhance model to describe the client service cycle
  • There is a standard set of training, procedures, and knowledge-sharing forums to ensure staff use best practice and leverage internal sector or skill expertise
  • In addition, each client is assigned a senior member of staff to focus on the quality of service which is within the framework of the firm’s quality systems 

GVA

  • Vikki Bingham – Director and Head of Client and Business Development
  • Team includes 11 business developers, a data team of six people, a bid team of two and a small international team
  • BD focuses predominantly on existing clients – for six years the firm’s top 20 clients have been largely unchanged and generate about a third of GVA’s fees
  • During 2012/2013 the GVA bid win rate was 55% generating £13.5m from contracts
  • Most clients assigned a fee-earning manager responsible for development
  • Works with HR to provide client development skills training
  • During 2012/2013 GVA carried out 150 client interviews
      • Overall satisfaction:
      • 7% unsatisfied (score 1-6)
      • 66% satisfied (score 7-8)
      • 27% very satisfied (score 9-10)
  • In its 2013 trading report, GVA reported the following Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey results:
    • Likelihood to recommend:
    • 8% detractors (score 0-6)
    • 47% passives (score 7-8)
    • 45% promoters (score 9–10)
    • NPS was 45% – 8% = 37% 

JLL

  • Dr Charles Doyle is global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and also heads the 350-strong global research team
  • “Whether clients are global or local, they are affected by global forces and demand a global service or access to a global platform”
  • A truly global brand with wholly owned operation in the majority of countries which is a key differentiator and guarantees a seamless service
  • Deep client relationships – many over 25 years in length – have developed through four factors: expertise, track record, research and personal relationships
  • All clients are allocated a relationship manager and succession is in place in case of moves and transfers of staff
  • Many clients expect the provision of specific and customised portals so that they can access market data from us directly
  • A benefit of being a public company – as opposed to a private professional service firm – is that clients are perceived as belonging to the whole firm
  • The firm is structured around its clients – both by geography and industry sector
  • Making its extensive research available to its clients is considered to be an innovation that differentiates JLL
  • The firm has developed a series of innovative web-based applications that can be accessed through mobile devices. Web based property marketing is also increasing
  • Another innovation relates to running sustainable building using high-tech, intelligent tools

Knight Frank

  • Philip Gardner is Head of Client Services – responsible to three heads of their residential business for a business generation team of 10 UK based Client Managers that are organised by service line, country, London and lettings
  • Re-establishes contact with clients that they have lost touch with
  • Team soon to expand to include Applicant Management
  • Key clients include private clients with assets worth £1m+ and private banks
  • Client feedback sought after each transaction using email and a standard form
  • All of the client facing teams are fee-earners and have targets and performance measures – remuneration is linked directory to client fee income
  • There are three CRM systems on the residential side of the business, one transactional system for sales, one for letting and the other a contact management system

Savills

  • Richard Crook – Head of Business Development and CRM
  • Uses external consultants to conduct client interviews
  • Recently the programme increased in volume and now includes members of Savills’ internal research team and board members to interview key clients
  • Post transaction surveys sent out with invoices
  • Social media are used to monitor trends about the firm
  • The residential property business uses mystery shopping techniques to test the quality of its office locations
  • Measures include:
    • Repeat vs. retained vs new business
    • How many service lines are sold per client
    • Satisfaction and favourability scores
    • Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
  • Client Relationship Management team forms a bridge between marketing and business development teams
  • Four tier approach:
    • Pilot group – a mix of key and potentially large B2B clients. Client account directors, client feedback, analysis of income
    • All clients generating over £1m in fees
    • Next 100 clients by income
    • Fast track 50 where it is important to develop a relationship
  • Underpinning the CRM programme are CRM systems (with an Internet style front end with “taxi” and “long haul” reports – it took a year to plan and around two years to become fully operational) which enable greater visibility across the business and ensures a joined up approach
  • Mandatory for anyone about to visit a client to pull off the appropriate report to be fully informed and after a visit the key facts arising are added to the system 

For an example of a client charter: http://www.propertysurveying.co.uk/INDEX/ISA.html

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