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Real Estate Industry Stalwarts Talks on Automation in Sales and Marketing

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The real estate industry is raring to go despite the current Covid-19 situation.

This was the essence of the webinar titled Automation in Sales and Marketing: The Future of Real Estate Selling organized by India’s number 1 real estate news portal RealtyNXT. 4 young guns representing premium Indian as well as international real estate brands were on the panel and what followed through was a thoroughly insightful interaction covering vital issues and their solutions in today’s times. The panellists were as follows:

Mr. Rohit Poddar, Managing director, Poddar Housing

Mr. Ram Raheja, Director, S. Raheja Realty

Mr. Omar Gull, Head of International Sales and Marketing, Emaar Dubai

Mr. Himanshu Sirohi, Head of Digital Marketing, JLL

The webinar was moderated by Mr. Govind Rai, Co-founder, Insomniacs

The webinar began with Govind Rai introducing everyone present and he then dove straight to the heart of the matter by addressing the elephant in the room. As we all are aware Covid-19 has changed the way the industry used to function and that was going to be the prevailing theme throughout the session. Talking about the longevity of virtual tours by potential home buyers, Ram Raheja seemed pretty confident that this trend is here to stay. He emphasised that especially in the luxury segment, more and more home buyers would opt for this way of viewing properties and that only post virtual walkthroughs if the buyer liked the project would they actually visit the site in the near future.

Rohit Poddar on the other hand stated that the average mid segment buyer would still prefer to buy a house only through a physical visit and not a virtual one. However, he hailed the rising popularity of channel partners, digital marketing and digital portals in easing the process of filtering projects in the home buying process.

The other panellist also had a mixed reaction towards this idea, however they unanimously agreed that developers as well as home buyers will have to embrace the phygital process in the real estate industry.

Himanshu Sirohi gave an example of how ecommerce companies have been miles ahead of the real estate industry as far as providing a pure personalised experience to the customers thus enticing more and more of them. He added that the real estate industry will have to provide a thorough personalised experience to attract customers and connect the online experience to the offline one. Mapping the data set to the CRM will play a vital role.

The webinar then touched upon those traditional functionalities that would remain unfazed despite technology taking over. Agreeing with Poddar’s statement that 75% of home buying would still continue via brokers, Omar Gull then gave an example of one of the largest developers in the world Evergrande, a Chinese developer with a revenue of 50-70 billion dollars. On February 18, they launched a project and sold $6 billion worth of inventory of 30,000 units. He shed light on how different and fragmented India’s real estate industry is compared to established players globally. Unified CRM is the need of the hour.

The panel agreed with Gull’s analysis of the phygital scenario in India and that the actual closer of a deal will be face to face so that the buyer feels safe and secure.

The webinar also shed light on the changes in human behaviour and how there will be an emphasis on hygiene and hygiene driven behaviour for a long time.

In conclusion, the webinar focused on crucial burning points being faced by the industry today and came up with potential solutions for each one of them. Towards the end, the panellists also took a few questions from the attendees. The sheer volume of questions to the panel was overwhelming to say the least. Answering a query on the possibility of a price war post Covid-19, Poddar stated that people have understood that homes have actually saved their lives and there will be a rise towards people buying their own homes. There will be a spike in housing post the monsoon season. The reason people are deferring their purchasing at the moment due to the uncertainty surrounding their jobs however, there won’t be any reduction in the pricing of houses as per his analysis. No price war will happen but a few developers might go bankrupt and they might receive funding to complete the projects which will still be sold at competitive prices. Agreeing with Poddar, Raheja concluded by saying that residential real estate would emerge as the silver lining as the nomad lifestyle will be taken over by the sense of security.

To sum it up, PropTech as well as personalising the home buyer experience and providing them a big sense of safety is the need of the hour. India’s real estate has to embrace automation in a huge way so that it continues functioning in a smooth manner during and post Covid-19.

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