TCS Marketing Systems has a leg up on other preconstruction sales teams in the Greater Toronto Area: its entire roster has experience working in-house for developers and, therefore, understands the finer points of marketing some of the region’s leading projects.
“What my team has is experience in spending developers’ money and there’s certainly no other agency that has that extensive experience with developers on its staff,” Mark Cohen, managing partner of TCS Marketing Systems, told CREW. “We might be exclusive in that regard. I was in-house with a few developers, and our senior people have in excess of 50 years between us working in-house for developers as opposed to just being contracted sales people. That’s unique in our business.”
TCS Marketing Systems has rebranded from The Condo Store Marketing Systems, and according to Cohen, a major reason is his team has a wealth of experience marketing and selling low-rise projects, including detached subdivisions and townhomes, in addition to condominiums. Additionally, Cohen’s team has worked closely with leading architects and market research firms.
“Previously, I headed up all low-rise sales at Tribute Communities and low-rise at Menkes. I have a lot of low-rise experience and didn’t want to be pigeonholed. We’re picking and choosing our projects very carefully and I think I can do that because I’ve assembled a very strong, unique team compared to other sales agencies,” he said.
“As much as developers want to sell, what you spend to achieve sales is as important as the sales themselves, and when you work in-house for developers, it’s not solely about sales, it’s about revenue. It’s about what you do to sell and what you spend money on. COVID has made it more expensive to market, but the issue is developers want to be COVID-friendly, meaning they spend more on social media and digital marketing, but they were trying to figure out if they still needed to spend on scale models and sales offices. They wanted to know if they needed to keep doing things like they used to.”
The solution, in short, is a confluence of the two. Cohen says that while the pandemic forced TCS Marketing Systems to recalibrate its sales approach, it’s taken a savvy sales team like his to walk that tight rope.
“The strategy was to maintain a sales office to make it consumer-friendly. We didn’t necessarily expect them to come, so we ramped up mechanisms in order to see people and sell real estate. From a promotional standpoint, we put more into social media and digital marketing because we knew people had a lot more time to search projects on their computers, and they ended up going video crazy. Our hunch was correct.”
Through the pandemic, purchasers have enjoyed a measure of clout they previously lacked visiting chaotic, pressure-cooker sales offices. Cohen says that, because prospective buyers received one-on-one videoconference meetings with TCS sales reps, they likely made better purchasing decisions—and look, the market is hotter than ever.
“It’s been better for the customers in many ways because the industry was forced to work with them on their own terms, not the industry’s terms. People could dictate to the sales office what time they were available rather than being told what time to show up—and they would because they didn’t want to risk losing out on their new home—but now they have their own personal appointments where they can ask all kinds of questions they don’t usually have the chance to ask. COVID has been opportune for buyers because they have really gotten to learn the ins and outs of what they’re buying into.”