Shortly before the Estate Agency of the Year Awards 2008 Peter Knight ran a seminar through his organisation ‘The Academy’ which was entitled, My top 20 ideas for the future (or along these lines).
Basing his concept on ‘having a plan’ and using the catchphrase ‘doom and bloom’ his talk was very much about preparing for the better times and making sure you are ready. He indicated that we are actually in a V shaped recovery which would mean a sharp recovery, opposed to a U shaped recovery. Apparently, this was the wisdom from the chief economist at HSBC bank, so who I am to argue with this, but 2 years is 2 years whether you say it is a V or a U or a W in my book.
Pleasantly, Peter emphasised the importance of the online space and the fact the landscape had changed dramatically (an understatement!!), but stressed the need to be cautious. I thought words of caution about the online space were a little unnecessary and of course I wanted him to stand up there and bang the online drum like a Japanese Taiko drummer. I felt he was restrained in his comments, perhaps by his audience.
Anyway, his top 20 were as follows. (my italics)
- have a plan for the recovery
- Measure and analyse statistics. (fundamental)
- New innovation (agents should not be cautious, but should lead, innovate, embrace, adapt, pioneer)
- Are you marketing your properties or marketing something else. You should be marketing the property.
- Are you marketing homes or just investments? (know your customer)
- Confused public (agents need to be experts, and need to provide better customer service. I have written about this before and all agents lose track of the actual end user the punter, portals are also guilty or forgetting the punter)
- Learn from your competitors (I would add to this, share. It may seem alien to some companies who were brought up stealing competitors for sale signs, but liaising with your competitors, working with them, sharing technology and ideas will benefit the punter and your business in the long term. If two agents have different skill sets, work together and provide your punter with an all round better service)
- Get vendors to buy
- Ancillary services (maximise the value of mortgages, conveyancing etc etc)
- Look at your sales structure, get the right people
- Look after customers – effective crm
- Buy when it is cheap – buy software etc (absolutely, we have slashed prices and so has everyone else. Never a better time to buy)
- Communicate through social media etc – these are your customers. (embrace the Internet. Have a look at www.juicyredapple.org for how this works within our industry, a social media for estate agents).
- Learn more
- Contribute to the Estate agency foundation
If you made it this far you will realise it is not 20, but I missed a couple along the way, sorry!