I wanted to explore why some agents fail, some subsist and others truly excel.
I thought that this would inevitably end up with innovative management, using intellectual techniques combined with process and best practice, but have in fact found something quite different to be true.
Our most successful clients and by successful I am not judging on size but average single branch performance are those who have “Je ne sais quoi”. Yes, it really is that simple. That elusive “something” that makes them different, that gives them appeal and raises them from the competition.
Many of the agents that I spoke to felt they had a USP, but the key thing to determine is:
- Does that USP add value?
- Is it important to your clients?
So for example, I have been told that “our agency is well known for having very experienced, professional staff”. In a survey that we conducted of sellers and landlords, this doesn’t actually feature in the top ten “reasons to use an agency”. So internalising your USP really doesn’t work.
So where is your sweet spot? Well this very much depends on who you are and frankly that’s getting harder to decide these days, so I have created a kind of Property Agent Taxonomy.
This isn’t actually as simple as it may at first seem and I would be open to some discussion on this but here we go:
So what’s the sweet spot?
Well first you need to match anything that your competition can provide. Now in the case of a traditional agent they can absolutely match everything that a Hybrid Agent provides and of course is considerably more attractive than an online only agent.
The big ”but” is you need to invest in technology if you are a traditional agent, if not, as you can see from the matrix, the Online Hybrid is actually looking considerably more attractive, albeit in the current market conditions.
However, by definition the Hybrid Online can never match the traditional agency advantage of a High Street office.
Being that this is your biggest asset, what are you actually doing to maximize this as a point of difference? Over the last year we have seen some amazing ideas in branch usage. We have seen, becoming a ticket outlet, a charity collection point, internet café and even a bar. Certain agents use the branch as a point of local show case, collaborating with local businesses in property such as interior design, kitchens or even artists.
So back to the point (of difference), to start on the path to success, match the services that your competitors do and in fact exceed them and then turn your branches into the real world asset they can be.
Let me think if I can come up with anyone who has tried this … oh hold on, just look at any award winning agency in your area or UK wide and its patently obvious that they all do. Find out more about VTUK’s Openview property software, call us 0800 328 0460, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us vtuk.com.