Tuesday 7 June 2016

Estate Agents: Online or high street? Does it matter?

In less than a week we have seen headlines in the trades about Countrywide and Savills, PurpleBricks and eMoov - the list is almost endless. City money is flooding into 'online'. But is the description 'online' all a red herring?

In our opinion - familiar to regular readers - yes. Let's re-examine our thinking.

First - what does the seller want from their estate agent?
  • the best price in the shortest possible time
There are exceptions to that general rule, but they are just that - exceptions. And basing a business - or its marketing strategy - on exceptions rarely succeeds.

So: to achieve 'the best price in the shortest possible time' your potential client is looking for what? Because we read thousands of reviews of estate agencies every month we reckon we have a fair idea: 
  • someone they can trust
And if they cannot find that - or if no-one stands out from the crowd? Their default position is...
  • the cheapest
It's really is as simple as that. The days of people buying and selling houses every seven years are now so far in the past that relationships (and understanding of the process) that was embedded in previous generations are much more tenuous today (we speak to lots of agents too). 

This leaves agents with relatively simple job, but often a difficult one to get absolutely right:
  • to gain their prospective clients' trust
You will all have mechanisms in place to do just that, and they will drive business through your door - maintaining contact with previous clients, local advertising and PR, social engagement through media and with your communities, but at the end of the day it is critically important to recognise that everyone you attract from all your marketing efforts, with almost no exceptions, will reach you through Google and then your website.

So you have to look as good - and as trustworthy - as possible in both those locations. 'High Street' or 'Online' - it makes no difference.

Ask yourself these four questions - would I be more likely to do business with a company that...
  1. has great Google reviews
  2. displays reviews on its own website
  3. allows all its customers to post a review, whenever they want (not just 'by invitation')
  4. has those reviews independently verified
We hope your answer is 'Yes'. If it is, we can do exactly that for your business.

Further reading:
  • And finally - for those about to dip their toes into the reviews pool: Just do it!

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