Over the last few weeks I’ve started being asked in by agents keen to gain an objective understanding of what’s happening out there in the world of estate agency.
The day to day ups and downs of Viewber, and sheer busyness, meant it was difficult to focus at first, but being out on the road and having the unusual opportunity of meeting every type of agent has given me a unique insight.
Having decided a few years ago not to slag off industry changes for the sake of it – mainly on the basis that we are all estate agents and to slag one off denigrates us all – I’m often weighed down with negativity and inertia, though.
Living in a bubble and taking pot shots at the competition is fine if you feel totally secure in your own position, but many out there, including market leaders, are nervous about the best way to fight increased competition, lower fees, increased costs and expectations, let alone increase profits.
If you don’t do lettings, should you? Do the new breed of airbnb managers offer a new income stream – even for clients selling empty properties? Can you expand without the pain and years of loss created when opening a new branch? Could your infrastructure support more? Should your staff be mining the database or be out on the road?
Can you put fees up? How good are your stats and do you REALLY collect data on who gets to you how?
Is your website collecting data or doing its job? And what about Rightmove versus Zoopla versus OnTheMarket? What about the office that consistently loses money?
How do you up your average selling price? What about public relations? Is your CRM system worse than useless? Should you be co-operating with local agents – and if so, how and to what end?
There are loads of answers but you need to know the questions first.
The fact that I’ve learned as much in the last six months as in the previous 38 years is precisely because I’ve been able to lift my head up out of the forest.
To be expected to see anything beyond the end of your nose whilst doing your day job is probably the reason most agents are resistant to change.
However, the ever-increasing array of opportunities means that for many there’s never been such an exciting time to be in the business, and talking can sometimes open those up and release the anxiety.
I’m reminded that meaningful communication is drying up just when supposedly we’ve never been more connected.
Email is one-dimensional, the phone is two, but we all know that full-on three-dimensional face-to-face talking is the real way to communicate what’s really going on.