Top Tip 1: Break through the noise
Nowadays, estate agents have their inboxes constantly flooded with prop-tech or mar-tech that’s going to ‘save their agency’, and it is becoming very difficult for agents to cut through that noise. There are so many different businesses and people claiming they know best and it is almost impossible for agents to know what the most effective approach is for their business.
Another challenge is that consumers have had their heads turned to the possibility of “cheap fees” for selling and letting, initially by the online agents and their monstrous advertising budgets. Subsequently, many high street agents have felt they have to bring their fees down in order to compete.
There will always be someone who will charge less than you, but for agents, the key is to make sure that you’re doing a better job than other agents, adding more value to your customers – and making sure that your marketing and teams on the front line are able to articulate this.
So, it could be said that there is internal noise and external noise.
To deal with the external noise that customers are subjected to and that affects every agency business, working towards complete clarity on what you offer your agency clients and how you really add value has got to be number one priority. This is also where training becomes most important, because the team have got to believe in your offering and be able to tell as many people as possible.
Once you start focusing and investing in your processes and in your team, subsequently improving performance and doing a better job than others around you, you will of course begin to see the results in your numbers.
Top Tip 2: Invest in your team and see results
Your team needs to be equipped with the right tools and skills to be able to increase their performance (and prevent over reliance on the portals)! A great example of this is Apple; each team member undertakes 40 minutes of training every single day.
When you choose to train and invest in your teams, you are adding such value to them and your customers that it is very difficult to put a price on, but the outcomes should be felt on the bottom line. When you provide your team with not just “great” training but specific and consistent training, it creates a culture where people feel valued and where they are highly engaged.
According to research carried out by Gallup, highly engaged teams and individuals are proven to be 17% more productive, achieve 20% more sales, and 21% in profitability. Who wouldn’t want these results in their estate agency business?
Top Tip 3: Build relationships
One of the most common reasons for poor performance is a lack of process and the right technology to support those processes. Many examples of reactive business models in estate agency instead of a more proactive approach, where customer relationships are nurtured. As an industry we are massively behind the curve with the adoption and implementation of technology that improves the experience of the customer.
Sadly, the home moving process has become really transactional and agents are struggling to get the basics done well. Many agents (not all), if they looked with a critical eye at their business, would admit that squeezed margins (amongst other factors) has created an “order taking” mentality from the front office. This is such a shame.
Agents can be really good at creating relationships but what’s equally important is maintaining them. At the most simplistic level, agents should have a multi-channel contact strategy for all customers in their CRM, in a more advanced environment and actually applicable to all businesses really, agents should be investing in tech that supports a great customer experience
Why let the portals do the work we promised we would do on the initial call? Often when someone is moving home there are highly emotional factors linked to it. Let us not, as an industry, forget the magnitude of what we are doing to help people move.
Top Tip 4: Embrace technology but don’t lose the personal touch
There is a plethora of really great property technology out there, however, there seems to be poor application of these technologies and in other cases complete over reliance. So many agencies invest in several dashboards for their agents to use, agents are logged in one day and forget to the next and then they cease to use them anymore. Agencies are paying out for them, but agents are not actually using it
Undoubtedly, some of this technology is really good at shortening transaction times and increasing conversion rates, with mio being one of them, but the adoption needs to increase. If you’re investing money into these technologies, teams should be taught how to best use them, and it should be embedded into the culture of the business to ensure the right blend of automation and personal touch.
This is another example of where congruent processes and training are key.
Top Tip 5: Utilise mobile to improve user experience
One of the most under-utilised things in agency, from a technology point of view, is mobile: texting, notifications and actually pinging people’s phones with push notifications. Agents should consider how they can adopt more mobile but then keep a personal element too, always thinking about the perfect customer experience.
Provided by Sarah Edmundson, co-director of The AllStars Group, and Mio, a sales progression and communication tool created by property experts for property experts