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Estate Agency - Overvaluing and Cheap Fees - How to combat them

2016 was a tough year for estate agents .. too many competitors chasing too few new instructions, the scourge of over valuing to securing listings, the competition selling themselves to the lowest bidder as fees remain low. Don’t even mention the colour purple and their mates Yops

.. but it made me think ..

My intuition tells me the same issues were happening in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 ..

‘Hold on’ .. I thought

Then I remembered my first year of estate agency, 1993 .. and whilst the players were marginally different and the landscape slightly different .. the issues of keeping and growing market share in estate agency, combating overvaluing and battling cheap fee agents was exactly the same.

It reminded me of Bill Murray who played the lead role in movie called “Groundhog Day”. In the movie, Bill Murray's character is TV newsman who travels to a small town in deepest USA where they bring out a small groundhog. If the groundhog can see his shadow, it forecasts at least six more weeks of winter. If it does not, winter will end sooner. The next day, Bill’s character wakes up to realise that he is re-living the same day, over and over. How he copes with it in this situation, is what makes the film so unforgettable.

Are we living in Groundhog Day in UK estate and letting agency?

Yes, we have the new things like Rightmove, yes we have social media, and the t’interweb .. the but the fundamental points are the same….

No Free Valuation/Market Appraisal = No chance of getting the instruction = No money

It is quite simple

The same issue hasn’t changed in mine 24 years (and yours) of estate agency …
How do you get yourself be one of the three agents sitting on the sofa in the property owners’ lounge?
Its the eternal question of UK estate agency

The old ways of 20:20 leaflets, the old ways sold in your streets, the old ways of plastering backs of buses with brand awareness, the old ways of leaflets saying buyers waiting, the old ways of dropping 10,000 leaflets with ‘Invitation to a Free Valuation’ … they still work … but have you noticed, as each year goes by .. they don’t work as well as the year before .. and the year before that .. and then come to think about it .. the year before that.

And yet we do it again and again.

Keep at the old school methods .. like the day in day out

But the world has changed over the last 20 years

That’s not your fault

People don’t like to be sold to.

Roll the clock back ten or twenty years, and homeowners looked at the newspaper and the number of for sale boards, and decided based on that information. Today, however, the information available about estate agents is almost limitless. With practically unlimited data online, customer reviews, and countless vendors to purchase from, the purchasing power is in the homeowner’s hands more than ever before.

In the past, estate agents had more power to influence and reason with vendors with regards to using their agency. Estate Agents were trusted, and a speaking to an Estate Agency directly was considered a reasonable step in making a decision on which agent to use. 

 Today, however, homeowners can locate most of this information before ever speaking with the estate agency. This makes estate agency more difficult for agents; how do you sell to a homeowner who already THINKS all of the facts? (because you know if only you could chat to them – you could inform them why you are the better agent)
Traditional strategies like cold calling, cold emails and newspaper ads have much less of an impact. The bad news for estate agents is that much of their marketing budgets are going to waste.
It's easy to be persuaded that these old school methods to attract homeowners and landlords are the only techniques there are to attract people to your agency.  Somehow, I believe a lot of agents think if every other agent is using them – then they have to be right?
No they don’t
You are not a sheep .. are you?
You are an awesome agent, who cares, who goes the extra mile, aren’t you?

You have a choice
  1. Stay in your Groundhog day, and continue you what you have done for the last 5 to 20 years. You are there by choice. If that is your choice – good luck to you
  2. It's a pointless thing to do repeatedly the same thing every day if doesn’t work. But if we don’t know any different (ie ignorance) – how can we know? There is nothing wrong with ignorance – if you don’t know what you don’t know – how do you know any different? If you are in Groundhog Day because of ignorance and not choice … but want to find out if there is a way to get out of it, then the good news is that there is an entire set of new strategies available for estate and letting agents who want to get an edge over the competition and get the clients they so awesomely deserve. 
What are those strategies?

This 5 minute video explains everything about how agents are using new techniques … and don’t worry – its not all about social media  - its actually going back to techniques that are so old school – even a 50 to 65 year old will not only understand them .. but appreciate them

It explains the process of how people chose an estate / letting agent

And if you want to know the sort of numbers.. here is another video of an agent telling 40 other agents how he increased his sales pipeline by 113% in just under a year (and he was already No.3 estate agent in the town before he started and increased his managed stock  from 140 to 200 in the same time frame

Open your eyes and find out a different way to attract business as a letting and estate agent

Kind regards

Christopher Watkin