Monday 9 February 2015

OnTheMarket - our take

One advantage we may have at HelpHound is that we are not industry insiders, but we do meet a lot of people in the industry. This sometimes gives us a slightly more detached and objective view (we hope). So what do we see when we look at all the comments flying around about OnTheMarket?

For the last three months we have been conducting a straw poll accross every client or prospective client we have met, and the results were enlightening (to us, at least). There were definitely two ends to the spectrum: some used every portal they could lay their hands on and swore by that strategy, others virtually ignored portals and claimed that their clients simply were not interested in the 'how' as long as the 'when' was right. 

There were a large proportion who had no problem with the OnTheMarket 'one other portal' rule as they were only using one (usually, but not always, RightMove or Zoopla). Where were they going post launch? If there was a pattern it was independents for RightMove and corporates for Zoopla.

But the main message was 'don't let all the fuss-and-bother about portals give you the impression that they are the be-all and end-all of estate agency'.

Let's stand back and look at estate agency...

From the consumer's point-of-view:

  • Sellers want the best price possible, usually (but not always) in the shortest time frame
  • Landlords want the highest rent possible with minimum voids
Do they really care how these are achieved? No. Do they know the difference between RightMove and Zoopla (or OnTheMarket)? Not always. Do they want to know? Mostly: not a lot.

So what do they want to know? They want to know that their agent is good at what they do, is professional, is responsive, has great local contacts and knowledge (and all the other good stuff we wrote about here). From the web point-of-view, when their property is listed they want to see it returned in search. Any search.

Find them a buyer/tenant (at the right price) and they're happy, often very happy.*


Want the right home, with the right facilities, in the right location, at the right (keenest) price. They really don't care where or how they find it (or who sells/rents it to them). They have little or no loyalty to any agent, let alone any portal. 

They can be, however, grateful almost to the point of irrationality to the agent who finds them the right property.*

Our conclusion... that some agents risk making far too much noise about portals when they should be thumping their own drum - promoting their own expertise. Acknowledge that portals have a role to play, but major on the service aspects of your role. 

Use reviews to demonstrate that you are great at what you do, not because you say so (or that carefully selected clients say so) but because your clients say so (and they're all invited to do so).

Why the asterisks above? Because those are the people who are going to sell your service for you: happy buyers and sellers, happy landlords and tenants. They are going to write great reviews for you and we bet they never mention a portal when they do!

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