Purplebricks and online estate agencies have caused quite a stir within the estate agency industry recently. So many agents have taken to the debate to express their anger at the prospect of cheap online agencies stealing their business from under them. The result has been many of them feeling the need to drop their prices in order to compete, losing profit, business and eventually probably going under.
But here’s the real truth.
The introduction of online agencies like Purplebricks and Emoov can actually be GOOD for your business, if you go from it with the right angle. We’ve put together 3 reasons why these online agencies are great for traditional agents and how your company can benefit from them!
Reason 1: Productisation
Purplebricks is great at Productisation- but what even is productisation?
Basically productisation is turning something that is unquantifiable, into something quantifiable.
Imagine the scenario: You’re in a supermarket, and you want a loaf of bread. There’s a set price, so you buy it and walk out of the shop with the loaf.
What estate agencies are so often not putting into place is productising something that is intangible. For example, most agents will go around a customer’s house and they say:
“Yep, we’ll do your professional photography, yep we’ll do your viewings, and yep we’ll give you feedback.” They offer to do it all for free, just included in the service they charge a one off fee for, that they don’t even take if the house doesn’t sell. That leaves their customers just expecting the service for free and not really appreciating all the work being untaken.
What Purplebricks have been able to do, and what traditional estate agencies should be taking on themselves, is they tell the client:
“If we’re going to actually advertise your house on Rightmove, we need to pay to have a Rightmove account. We’re in business; we can’t do this for free. So you pay us, we’ll put your house onto Rightmove.” And why not? It’s a fair deal.
Purplebricks have opened the door for estate agents to stop for a second, step back, and think about all the different things they offer that costs them money, that maybe they should be making the client pay for.
You can go to a customer and say: This is how It works- We’ll put your house on the market, add it to Rightmove, produce your brochures, add the property to our window and take over the viewings. And it’ll cost you X amount.
It’s a very transparent, open way to do business, which allows you the freedom to charge for your time and effort. You can even say to them once the home is sold, it’ll cost X amount to do post-sold jobs. It’s an incredibly transparent way of working and it makes sense to your customers! People just want a good service that’s transparent for a reasonable fee.
Reason 2: Who are YOUR customers?
The second reason that Purplebricks can be good for agents is it teaches them about uniqueness. Not every customer wants to use Purplebricks- they know this and they’re fine with it.
Most agents I’ve dealt with over the last 20 years think that they’re target market is ANYONE looking to sell or let a property in a given area. But that’s far too broad of an audience to target efficiently. It would cost far too much money to make sure you cover everyone. The key is to create an “ideal customer”, and target them specifically.
Dig out your old files, and check who’s made you the most money over the years. Who paid you the right fees? Who bought into your values and your company? Who really enjoyed the experience and was happy with you all the way through the process? Who was happy with the way you work?
You’ll probably find extreme similarities behind all the customers you worked with.
THAT is your ideal customer, and that’s whom you need to appeal to. Target that audience and go after them. It won’t matter that there’s another marketplace out there that will pay £800 upfront to Purplebricks and choose them because they’re not your customers anyway!
Reason 3: How good is your tech?
Finally, Purplebricks can teach us a lot about the introduction of tech into agency. There’s so much property tech out there- some is useful, some isn’t, but what Purplebricks have highlighted is just make sure you cover the basic things.
In this day and age, I want to have the ability to book my viewings online. I don’t want to have to wait 3 days for a call back from an agent and negotiate; I just want to sort it online. I also want to book my evaluation online, I want to see my feedback online- basically, I want to be able to do pretty much everything I can from my sofa!
So this just highlights the antiquated systems that agents have stuck with for 20 years or more, and it allows them to begin thinking, maybe, if I want to offer a better service, I’ll need to upgrade my tech. Purplebricks have done a stellar job of introducing that to the market.
To summarise, we could bash Purplebricks about their customer service, or the fact they aren’t doing company viewings etc. or we can take a look at what they’re doing right and learn from that.
I’m not suggesting copying them, or setting up another version of their company- you’ve got your customers and they’ve got theirs, but what we can do is learn productisation, uniqueness and the importance of tech from them. Don’t sit there frustrated with the fact your estate agency system isn’t working. Just fix it.
If you have any questions about this article or want to chat with someone about how to get ahead in the property industry, then get in touch and speak to one of our experts today!
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We provide marketing automation and artificial intelligence estate agency software to estate agents. We work with thousands of traditional estate agents to transform them into more digital and data driven businesses, as this is the only way we believe they will exist in the next 5 to 10 years.