Winning new business

October 6, 2010

Winning new business is very much down to understanding your market and gaining useful knowledge in order to attract new clients.

There are a few steps to be taken under consideration when trying to win new clients:

  • Research:

Market trends news in the sector

What competition is doing

Maximise the use of old database of contacts – update them

  • Use Referrals:

Maximize the use of previous clients’ positive referrals from satisfied customers

Identify unique selling points and communicate these extensively.

  • Network:

Attend networking events, trade shows, seminars and exhibitions where potential new business can be found.

Join trade associations and relevant business groups that can help.

  • Work in partnership:

Get in touch with other businesses offering services that are aimed at similar customers;  it can prove very cost effective to get to new customers.

  • Professional  image:

Approach new business in the right way, using presentation material, professional image.

  • Assess, improve your image:

Update your business details, website with the latest news. Showcase success stories and case studies and highlight your products and services. Engage customers and attract new ones through forums, web-based seminars (‘webinars’) or podcasts. Maximise use of social media to get in touch with relevant businesses in your market.

Tideway Communications believe the best creative results come from properly knowing our client’s business. We make it our mission to fully understand and reflect their objectives and their values. That’s how we get the very best results.

We offer a full range of creative communications services including:

  • bespoke multi-disciplinary communications programmes
  • corporate identity programmes
  • strategic media planning and media buying
  • media relations, public relations and social media campaigns
  • writing for print and online media to include full length articles and features,
    corporate literature, sales brochures and newsletters
  • copywriting and translation
  • sponsorship
  • TV, radio and press promotions
  • presentations and conference organisation
  • exhibitions
  • event management

Contact us

direct line : 020 8878 0787
e: email us
m: 07973 836 503
www.tidewaycommunications.com

ADIT Brasil – the Government-backed association for real estate and tourism investment in Brazil – will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday the 15th September from 14:00 to 15:00 (UK time) focusing on Brazil’s real estate investment opportunities.

The webinar will be lead by Luiz Lessa, Chief Investment Officer at ADIT’s Investment Agency. The Investment Agency offers informative analysis on available investment projects in the country and conducts necessary negotiations – leading into deals.

Key topics of the webinar will include:

-Where are Brazil’s real estate opportunities?

-How to enter the Brazilian market?

-How to overcome cultural differences in dealing with local developers.

-How ADIT helps to identify the best investment opportunities.

The second half hour of the webinar will be a Q&A session open to all participants.

In order to take part on ADIT’s webinar please register at http://www.adit.com.br/eventos/ei/confirmacao.html

To participate and access audio and slides for the ADIT Brasil Webinar series, please log on the Webinar host address:  http://webcast.mzdp.com.br/publico.aspx?codplataforma=2135

This can be accessed only 30 minutes prior to the announced start time.

Senior members of ADIT including Luiz Lessa will be in London from 10-17 October for a week of business meetings and will be hosting a series of seminars and workshops including the “Brazil Investment Connection” seminar at the London Embassy on the 13th of October.

For further information about ADIT’s scheduled visit in London, please contact Tideway Communications on+ 44(0)20 8878 0787

Stop clamouring to be heard. It’s time to listen.

Without exception our agent clients have all asked me the same question: “Kerry, how can Tideway Communications help us to get better, more qualified leads in this tough market?”

I always say, “Start by listening.”

So what does that mean?  The market certainly is tough.  Sometimes the first sales method to be cut is the marketing budget.  We have been able to prove that media relations – influencing journalists to write articles about our clients’ services or products – is a cost effective way to get quality leads.  But it is no use harking back to the heady days of 1997 when we would get 127 leads from one article in the Sunday Times about a development in Portugal – which would then convert to 13 villa sales.

Today, people are not only reluctant to commit their savings to overseas property but banks are reluctant to let them borrow to buy anyway.  There is also so much competition out there now.  Almost every country is willing to sell real estate to a foreign buyer.   So, less demand spread much more thinly, is the agents’ dilemma.

Big efforts to capture more leads using websites are currently having mixed results.  Internet World Stats claim 1,733,993,741 people are now online (that total’s rising as you read) which represents over a quarter of the entire population and usage is growing at 380.3%. 85% of people hunting for a home use the internet to start searching. What do the other 15% do? I reckon they read something in the papers…. then they go online.

The internet may have revolutionised the way agents sell property, but things then began to get impersonal.  There are many more agents selling more property to fewer buyers – despite there being more people online.  And this has greatly contributed to that thinning effect.

“Pay per click” got agents very excited a couple of years ago but they are now starting to wriggle and writhe as the heavy click usage fails to convert to anything half decent.   One client commented, “I wish they’d stop browsing and clicking and do something useful instead.”

He meant he wished they’d buy a property – from him.  But in fact he is the one who must do something useful.  And that is the key to what Tideway Communications is helping our agent clients to do right now.  It is time to change.

An agent’s brand must be so much more than just an umbrella for showcasing a selection of properties.  Getting people to fill out a form may increase the database but it’s now looking very restrictive.  What do you really know about these people?  Some databases are currently proving useful to sell cheap properties to bargain hunters, but we believe there is little point flogging your consumer database again unless this time you are providing something personally useful.  We think the estate agent needs to get back to providing the personal touch because despite of the anonymity of the internet, offering value (and not just cut-price bargains) is especially needed today to attract customers.

We say agents need to provide an experience, an individual experience, ideally a very positive and useful experience which is going to result in customers telling their friends just how pleasant the whole process was.  What is more personal than having a conversation with a customer or potential customer?  It’s what agents have been doing for years and the best ones have been doing very well.  Finding out what is really on their potential customers’ minds and then acting to do something to help.

Welcome to social media marketing.

Social media – all internet based – sounds like a juxtaposition of terms.  Where is the socialising in being stuck behind a computer?  But there’s a great deal of noise going on across the web which can be used by an agent to help him identify buyers.  Tideway’s PR strategy for our agents is about listening and creating conversations.

Our job as marketing and PR consultants is to help our clients to plan. There is absolutely no point tweeting, blogging and posting videos on YouTube without a plan.  We sit down with our agents and ask them exactly what they want to achieve.  We talk about business objectives, we talk about goals.  We talk about what makes them different from their competitors.  We discuss research, training, inspiration, conversations. We make sure that our clients have their company story straight and we decide where to take that story.

We work out exactly who our agents’ customers are and exactly what communities are important to them.  We decide how we are going to reach them and we allocate the right people for the job so they can respond correctly.  We also set in place ways to measure what we find out and what we achieve.

Then comes the listening part.  So much of public relations has been about transmitting our clients’ message.  But today we advise our clients to listen first.  That way they can hear what people are saying about them or the projects that they sell or the countries in which they sell properties. And then our clients can respond to those concerns or questions and the qualified lead will emerge.

It’s important to search about and find out not only who is talking about you, but if they are not talking about you, then why not?  You must give them reasons to do so.  Ask them “How can we help?” and then help them.  Whether it’s telling them where the local hospital is or what the weather’s like, you are helping them to find out what they want to know.

Mike Cliffe-Jones, the MD of Estupendo Lanzarote has been using social media as a business tool for his agency for about a year.  He says, “Twitter allows us to start a real relationship with people well before they are ready to find a property.  The benefit of contacting people early is that we are already friends by the time we actually meet and they are keen for us to be the ones to find them a property. The point of contact for most agents is much later in the buying process – when that person feels no affiliation with one agent over another.  We help people with the general stuff: ‘Which are the best resorts? Where are the best beaches? Where are the kid’s schools? Which bank should we use?’ Ultimately the only way you are going to do business is face-to-face, but by this stage you already know the names of their kids, where they live and what they do for a living so they feel like old friends.”

The key point in this is that a potential purchaser is much more likely to purchase a property from a brand that he trusts.  Tideway is helping our clients to build that trust. The key is to be transparent and truthful.  A potential buyer gets comfort from hearing information from a trusted third party.  Journalists (mostly) fall into that category which, coupled with their ease of use, is why newspapers and magazines still play an important part in the marketing mix.  Many journalists are writing their information online as well and still providing that “third party” endorsement.  It works.

Of course much of that content can be provided by the agent – if he has the time – and we actively encourage our clients to participate.  But yes it takes time and energy to develop a relationship.  So content is also provided by PRs such as ours and we work with people to identify, develop, monitor and measure opportunities to have conversations – with the emphasis still very much on useful.  You need to be authentic in order to create a meaningful relationship.  It’s a fact that the consumer will actually prefer to go with someone he has already formed a relationship with.  That person can be you.

So take another look at social media marketing.  Used alongside traditional methods of PR, this is what is working for the big consumer brands and there is every reason why it can also work for the property industry.  We can understand in these tough times why many marketing budgets have been cut, but social media marketing is not expensive and I believe it is starting to bring in the better more qualified leads that agents need.

So come on… it’s time to listen.


Tideway Communications has been appointed by The Little House Company to manage the PR for their re-launch which will take place on 15th September 2010.

www.thelittlehousecompany.co.uk is the UK’s most established private property sales website and its re-launch date has been chosen to coincide with its tenth anniversary.

Kerry Nicholas, Managing Director at Tideway Communications says, “As house prices fall in many parts of the UK and estate agents still seek their 1.5 – 2 % cut, many vendors are taking matters into their own hands. It is estimated that private sales websites currently account for just 2% of the market in the UK – in the USA it is more like 15% and in Germany it is 60%. There has been very little change in the way properties have been sold in the UK for over 50 years and the market is ripe for innovation.”

She continues, “Already 80% of property buyers use the internet to search for what they are looking for. The next obvious step is to make contact with the vendor directly. Our client, Nick Marr, CEO of www.thelittlehousecompany.co.uk believes that private sales in the UK will double to 4% in a year and keep doubling each year until the figures are closer to 50/50.”

Kerry Nicholas also believes that the PR campaign may rock the boat amongst the traditional estate profession. Marr insists that he is not against the estate agency profession and does not discourage vendors to use his website alongside the services of an estate agent.   But he is keen to promote the fact that the law does not require a property transaction to be managed by an estate agent – that it is safe, legal and allowed for people to bypass the services of a conventional estate agent.

  • The Little House Company provides a leading online direct advertising service for private property sellers (selling homes without an estate agent). Over 70% of all UK buyers now use the internet to find their next home and The Little House Company offer one of the most established and effective services for advertising any UK home directly to a vast audience and potentially saving £000’s in agents commission.
  • Their SELF-SELL no-agent advertising packages give you complete control over your advertising with online 24hr access, no time limits, no hidden charges and superb customer service and support.
  • The straightforward online registration process allows you to set up and manage all your details easily and quickly and their automated systems update all the advertising on their entire network for you.
  • It’s just like placing a private ad in your local paper, but MUCH better, more targeted and effective. The advertising fees are fixed, there is no commission or anything else to pay on completion of your sale and your advertising continues until the property is sold – no time limits, no hidden costs.
  • The Little House Company properties are widely published on the leading UK property portal websitesHome.co.uk, Fish4 and Homes & Property (the Daily Mail group property website linked to other sites in their network) and well ranked in major search engines like Google – in all the advertising appears on over 350 UK websites, including 4Homes (Channel4) and 300 local newspaper websites around the UK.
  • The Little House Company is not an estate agent and therefore their advertising does not conflict with a Sole Agency contract. You don’t have to give up an existing agent to use their service, but you WILL save the agent’s commission if you find your buyer using advertising you purchase via The Little House Company.

This week sees the return of EPEX, The Exclusive Property Exhibition to Earls Court on Saturday 10th and Sunday the 11th of July.

EPEX is  aimed especially at luxury high end property from locations world wide.  The Exclusive property exhibition concentrates in particular on on luxury property priced from £500,000 to £25,000,000 . EPEX exhibitors are luxury property developers, real estate agents and organisations providing associated services.

Of course this is only one way for luxury property developers to raise their profile and to meet with potential buyers. There are now many channels of communication that sellers can interact with and Tideway Communications is leading the way in finding the right marketing channels for your product.


Tideway Communications is a specialist agency in public relations, marketing and event management services. We work with clients in the luxury homes and overseas property markets, property resorts and hotels.


Kerry Nicholas founder of Tideway Comms has over 20 years of experience in marketing and Public Relations. Back in 1995 Tideway began acquiring residential property clients including Vila Sol 5* Spa & Golf Resort in Vilamoura in the Algarve, Sapcote and Chesterton.  Tideway Comms is among the first UK PR consultancies to acquire overseas residential property well before the second homes market began to gather pace in 1997.

Tideway works on raising exposure leading ultimately to sales of luxury properties overseas. Tideway has worked on a media campaign to promote the high end  Tides Sugar Beach resort in St Lucia, a unique resort located in St Lucia’s Val Des Pitons, one of the most beautiful locations in the world, offering a range of luxury end properties. The resort has gained coverage in almost all UK national press and has recently confirmed sales of over $14.5m in the first six months of 2010.

Brazil’s government wants to tighten restrictions on foreign ownership of farm lands in Latin America’s biggest country, the Agrarian Development Ministry indicated on Tuesday.

VII Feira Nacional da Agricultura Familiar e Reforma Agraria - Brasil Rural Contemporaneo. Ministerio do Desenvolvimento Agrario. Concha Acustica, Brasilia, 2010 ©Foto de Ubirajara Machado

Ministry spokeswoman Denise Mantovani confirmed published remarks by Denise Mantovani who said that the government does not want foreigners to buy agricultural land in Brazil.

“We do not need foreigners to produce food in Brazil,” Cassel told the business newspaper Valor Economico. “This is the policy of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.”

“Because of food security, Brazilian lands must remain in Brazilian hands,” the minister said.

According to the Agrian Development Minister, the Brazilian government intends to tighten land restrictions on foreign ownership of farm lands in Latin America’s biggest country. Denise Mantovani, the Ministry’s spokeswoman, confirmed the published statements by the Minister, outlining the decision to restrict foreigners from buying agricultural land in the country.

Mantovani said that 10 million acres (4 million hectares) of land had been registered by foreigners as of 2008 and that between 2002 and 2008, foreigners invested $2.43 billion to purchase land.

According to Valor Economico, the decision to put a lid on foreign ownership of land is due to rising world demand for food, water and natural resources.

Mantovani said that current law says large rural properties can only be purchased by Brazilian citizens or residents.

“But foreigners often bypass that rule by setting up companies in Brazil, which are controlled abroad, to purchase land. This is a foreign company and this is what we want to control.”

“I am not a xenophobe but our land is finite. The population grows and demands food,” the minister said.

Mantovani said that representatives from several ministries were preparing a constitutional amendment to further restrict foreign ownership of land.

She said the amendment being drawn up “could include the revoking of land titles already purchased by foreigners.” She did not provide details.

Most foreigners purchase land to raise cattle and grow soybeans and other crops in the states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, Bahia and Minas Gerais.

We are going to draw up an amendment that will make it clear that foreigners can invest in any field, except land.” the minister said.

It is unclear when the amendment will be debated in Congress.

So how would this new law affect potential investors looking to purchase land in Brazil?  Currently this is a proposed amendment and not law. However if the amendment is passed and becomes law then it would mean that agricultural land would not be able to be bought by foreigners or by foreign companies.

Could this in turn have an impact on those who have already invested in Brazilian real estate? Under the regulations currently being formulated, foreign investors already owning land in Brazil or with large rural properties and have set up Brazilian companies are at risk of having their title deeds annulled if the tough measures are enforced, the government reiterated.

Brazilian government officials reiterated the country’s official policy over foreign land ownership, saying that foreigners should not be allowed to buy or own agricultural land. But we are talking exclusively about agricultural land. Land for real estate development is not designated agricultural land.  There is a clear zoning system throughout Brazil.

Felipe Cavalcante, Presidente of ADIT says: “The suggested measure only affects agricultural land and in Brazil there is a clear zoning between that and land for real estate. The toughening on foreigners owning land for cultivation purposes is just a suggested proposal at this stage and as before there are still a lot of members of the Government who express their opposition to this measure.

At ADIT Brasil we aim at attracting foreign investment in earmarked urban land by ensuring careful development in permitted areas and with consideration for the long term  future of our country according to the laws that are in effect.”

Success in St.Lucia

June 25, 2010

Cardea Property Consultants, sales and marketing agents for Sugar Beach villas in St Lucia, have sold luxury villas totalling $14.5 million in their first six months of operation.  Since the all-female agency set up in December 2009, four private residences and three freehold rental pool villas have been sold.


Lisa Basire, marketing director, puts Cardea’s success down to several factors.  She says: “Sugar Beach is being sold on a freehold basis, which is extremely unusual in St Lucia as beachfront land is leasehold.  We have been able to sell new-build rental pool villas, which form the accommodation for the resort because the existing hotel – the Jalousie Plantation – has 20 years of trading history.

That’s why Sugar Beach is able to offer owners an exact 37.5% of the pooled room revenue rather than paying a split of the profit because they know what the running costs are and they know the occupancy levels.  For added confidence, purchasers of these fully furnished rental pool villas enjoy a minimum 5% rental guarantee from handover and for the first 12 months after the hotel (Jalousie Plantation) re-opens as The Tides Sugar Beach in 2011.”

Owners are entitled to use their villa for four weeks each year. For a one bedroom villa this is the equivalent to a saving of around US$23,100 each year.

Lisa continues: “We are finding, however, that the three bed – roomed private residences are the most popular purchases.  I think the reason for this might be that the type of purchaser coming in at this level is more focused on retaining privacy and anonymity.”

“Another positive of Sugar Beach in this difficult world market, is that the developer is not reliant on bank finance to complete the $100 million development, giving investors’ peace of mind that the resort will be re-developed as planned.”

Most investors at the Sugar Beach resort are primarily from Britain making up 56% of the total purchases, followed by Europeans and Americans together making up for 30% of the sales.  Buyers of the Private Residences get all the benefits of the ongoing US$100 million redevelopment of the former Jalousie Plantation resort which will redefine the concept of luxury when complete and re-launched as the Tides Sugar Beach Resort in 2011.