A new approach to professional services at REW.com
by Morgan Carey
on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 at 6:40am.
This year will go down in history as one of the strangest and most chaotic years ever. A global pandemic, a US presidential election, murder bees! I mean seriously, you can't write this stuff. There were just so many unexpected twists and turns, and so much uncertainty.
I can remember back in March, we were blogging about economic impact, potential major negative shifts in the real estate space, and even offering our customers deferred payments on their SAAS bills to help them make it through the year. At that time we were all cautious (as we should have been) because we seriously didn't know what was going to happen this year.
The Real Estate Market Blew Up!
What most of us didn't see coming was that instead of crashing, the real estate industry kind of took off. Most of our customers are reporting their best years in recent memory (or ever) and at Real Estate Webmasters we have been super busy as well. In fact, we're so busy that as I write this, I am preparing to head into a production meeting where we are going to discuss the hiring of more staff and the schedule for "next year" because it appears as though we are completely sold out for the rest of 2020.
Thank you so much to our amazing brokers, agents, and franchises for supporting us this year.
Looking forward to 2021 & beyond.
Since our schedule is now completely set for 2020, it is time for us to look to the new year.
We are focused on hiring and training new staff and finalizing the launch of several new and exciting products, the first of which is our brand new Renaissance website which has been flying off the shelves in pre-sale since it's the announcement.
We have several 500+ agent brokerages, some of the nations best indy's, many luxury brokers and agents, 2 national portal projects, and all of the MLS's in an entire state already started in our custom/beta track (working on their custom designs) and over 50 installs already booked for January alone.
This Renaissance platform looks to be the most successful website in Real Estate Webmasters Inc history!
Taking a measured approach to 2021 a win/win for REW and our customers.
With all this great news one would think the gloves would be off and we'd be attacking 2021 with reckless abandon. But we're not, and here's why.
2020 was the hardest year of my professional career. Even though things ended well, there was a period of time where it was VERY hard for my staff and my company (much like it was for many people at that time).
We realized that we had one major weakness in our business and that was our professional services business. When times are good (as they had been for the previous 16 years at REW) no problem! And of course, we love offering professional services, It's our "secret sauce" as it were. We have been and are still the ONLY large organization in all of the real estate marketing and tech business that offers truly customizable platforms. The only one! And we make the best real estate websites on the planet!
But it was also our Achilles heel in the hard middle of 2020.
The problem was not the fact that we "offered" professional services, but that professional services historically have been discretionary.
What that meant was when our customers thought they might be facing tough times ahead, they cut their professional services projects and budgets (many by up to 90%) and even more simply just canceled them altogether. Our customers are shrewd, intelligent business owners, I certainly understand why they needed to make these cuts, and imagine in their position I would have done the same. We simply didn't know what was going to happen.
What this meant for me (for REW & our leaders) was that during what was likely THE MOST stressful time in the history of many people's lives, we had to lay off staff for the first time ever at REW. We had to say goodbye to people we loved in order to make sure our company stayed strong and healthy.
I never want to do that again.
And so this is why we're taking a measured approach when it comes to professional services. Times are great now (and we hope they stay that way) but the one thing we know is that when it comes to the future, there is no certainty. But we also know that we can take steps to mitigate this uncertainty and make sure that when we do hire new people for all this demand, that they will have jobs, not just right now, but jobs they can count on into the future.
Making it a win/win for our customers
When you don't know where your next order is going to come from, or you can't optimize utilization (how much of your actual paid staff time you are able to charge for) you need to build this uncertainty into your pricing.
As such professional services (everywhere, not just at REW) are costly. $200 hour sounds like a lot but if you're faced with 50% utilization (for example) before any additional costs, it's already only $100 to the company charging it since their paying staff 100% of the time to work productively for 50%. And that's just for the person. You still have to pay their benefits, their manager, the rent, the power, the internet, and all the other expenses that go along with having full-time employees. Make sense?
But what if you had certainty in your professional services? What if they were guaranteed?
Well, a couple of things could happen.
First of all, you would not have to charge as much for the professional services making it far more affordable for your valued clients.
Next, you could hire confidently knowing exactly how many staff you need in order to fulfill your demand.
Your customers would be much happier as they would know when their work would be done, and would not be subject to wild fluctuations of demand.
We create jobs! With committed work ahead of us, we can hire more extremely talented people which helps our economy and feels great!
This is the world we want to live in at REW and this is where we are going for 2021.
I'm going to be releasing our 12 Days Of Christmas promotion which is always our best promotion of the year. There are 12 Offers (including being entered into a draw for a brand new iPhone 12) and the focus of these promotions is exactly what I've been talking about here.
The longer the commitment, the lower the price
As I mentioned earlier, we're already sold out for 2020. The purpose of 12 Days is to have our customers commit to their professional services retainer programs through 2021 and beyond. Ideally, we'd sell 75% of our current capacity for 2021 (leaving 25% in reserve for net new customers).
So each of the offers during this promotion related to professional services or SEO will have a significant discount available in exchange for a committed use retainer.
The first offer is simple: Book your retainer for 2021 (x hours / 12) and save $50 off every labor hour.
The second and even better offer price-wise is to have us build your retainer into a new contract by increasing your SAAS and your labor rate goes down even further (save $67 per hour) AND you get more CRM users included in your package.
And for every customer Launch and above, we also offer our loyalty program which gives you "FREE" professional services just for renewing your current SAAS contract.
The goal here is simple: If you can help us build certainty into our professional services program by committing to a retainer that you were going to purchase anyway, we will make your money go a lot further and make your retainer and SEO services far more affordable.
Reach out to me or any of our team if you have questions. You can find us at REW.com (just fill out any form) or hit me up on social, always happy to chat.
I hope you have an awesome rest of the year, get some time with your families for the holidays, and come back refreshed ready to dominate 2021 and take your market share in this hot real estate market.
We look forward to working on your projects in 2021 :)