A special incentive scheme specifically designed to woo vendors who are less than pleased with the performance of their online agent is proving a hit, a high street agent has said.
Arun Estates said its softly, softly campaign has won it over £350,000 in additional fees within just over four months.
Under the scheme, vendors receive a cashback offer of up to £1,000 to compensate them for the upfront or deferred fees they are contracted to pay their online agent, in return for listing with their local Arun firm – Douglas Allen in Essex, Ward & Partners in Kent, Cubitt & West in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, and Pittis on the Isle of Wight.
Group managing director David Lench said: “We developed the scheme as a direct response to coming across increasing numbers of sellers whose online agents had failed to sell their properties, but who had either already paid an upfront fee or who were committed to paying one on a deferred basis.
“Under our agreement with them, we market their property alongside the online agent, and the cashback is triggered on completion.”
The scheme, says Lench, is a great way to help sellers who would otherwise have been out of pocket as a result of choosing an online agent.
But, he added, it has also proved good business for Arun itself after it launched the scheme at around Easter time this year.
It is understood that of around the first 60 ‘wins’, all but six were from vendors who had signed up to just one particular online agent.
Arun is now promoting the scheme more heavily online. The principal marketing message seems to be: “Online agents are guaranteed their fee whether they sell your home or not. Therefore they have no incentive to sell, so why take the risk?”
Arun – like Spicerhaart – is one of a number of large agents yet to reveal any online strategy, or if indeed they want one.
Yesterday, however, Belvoir said it will launch an online offering within the next three to six months, while LSL has invested £20m in online YOPA.