Is it time, as agents, we look at ourselves and ask, what exactly do we do and why are we doing it? Put another way, what do we exist for, what need in the market are we fulfilling on? Not to get all deep, but the reality is estate agency is undergoing change and has been for some time. Increased challenges now face the economy and the consumer has been demanding something new for some time. So, arrived the ‘online agent’ and, possibly something else, much more interesting…
Let’s talk about online agency for a moment: Purplebricks and the like have successfully inserted themselves into the estate agency market as an ‘on-line offering’ and if they are not an ‘actual’ estate agent, it does raise some interesting questions such as:
What are we really, doing as agents?
What service are we providing and how are we seen by the market place?
What can we learn from the online disruptors and quickly?
What could we be doing differently to secure businesses today?
How do we start REALLY playing the long game?
These questions may not have straight answers though they are worth giving some consideration too. The online companies get that is nothing as effective as good marketing and a powerful brand that knows exactly what they do and are not shy in getting their message out there.
Let’s not kid ourselves, unless I have missed something, online agents have 1 objective and that is simply commercial; grow their organisations, make as much money as possible, grow their brands and play the long game (as this is where the winning is done – long game + talent). Are these online disruptors looking to add value and support to the communities they are supposedly experts within? I am not convinced, and here in lies the much more interesting point…
There appears to an opportunity for something new in the market, a space for agents and companies to reinvent themselves and change into genuine local property experts, people of the community who care and can be trusted, offer confident brands, with faces for their names and with staff who understand the products they offer and the ecosystem in which they deliver them in. Agents and companies who can influence not only their organisations but more importantly their local market too.
These agencies do not suffer from poor staff retention, or a lack of skills training or education, they are clear on their core values, organizational systems and structure. They know what their mission is and have a plan to achieve it. They are not backwards in going forwards when it comes to getting their message out there or sharing who they are. They know that no-one (apart from their mum) really cares about Rightmove stats, how much stock or market share they might have or if they exchanged on the most properties last quarter or last year. (By the way, I am not digging at mum’s because mine is my hero!).
What these forward thinking, progressive companies understand about staff, culture, results and making a difference is this:
Have a clear message and get it out there consistently.
Stop telling everyone how good you are and start giving value to your community.
Investing in training and education is paramount to success and growth.
Have an environment that makes people feel cared for will unlock potential.
Have a clear business model, enroll the company in this and play the long game.
What they are doing, are becoming people of influence who make themselves available to the whole community not just to potential immediate fee earning clients. Companies who are playing the long game alongside the daily hustle. The future for the high street agent may be a path less traveled, though this is more than likely a good thing.