How can estate agents lose the ‘necessary evil’ name tag?
Estate agents have often been labelled as a “necessary evil” in the world of property transactions. A recent survey showed that only 1% of people surveyed consider estate agents to be trustworthy. However, this negative view presents an opportunity for the industry to redefine itself and offer a better experience to customers. By addressing common complaints and embracing innovation, estate agents can shake off this negative reputation and become valuable partners.
We conducted a survey of 2,342 UK adults who have either sold or purchased a house in the last 3 years. The top three complaints are as follows:
Roughly a quarter of the survey participants mentioned that poor communication was a major issue with estate agents. Inadequate transparency during critical stages of property transactions can lead to frustration. To tackle this, estate agents can use technology to maintain clear lines of communication. Creating a customer portal where clients can track their sale’s progress, receive updates, and communicate with their agent in real-time can bridge the communication gap.
Prioritising Customer Interests
23% of respondents felt that estate agents often disregard their best interests. To counter this perception, agents should emphasise integrity and openness. By providing comprehensive market analyses and explaining the rationale behind pricing strategies, estate agents can show their commitment to achieving the best outcomes for clients.
Enhancing Marketing Quality
Inadequate marketing was noted by 11% of participants. To improve the marketing experience, estate agents can invest in professional photography and virtual tours to present properties in the best possible light. Crafting marketing campaigns that not only highlight unique property features but also speak to the needs of their individual prospects can help properties stand out in a competitive market.
Insights from an Industry Expert
In a conversation with a sales negotiator from a respected Winchester estate agency, key opportunities for improving marketing, customer experience and altering industry perceptions were identified:
1. Streamlining Communication with Online Conveyancing
A significant source of frustration is the breakdown in communication during the legal stages of a property sale.
Online conveyancing platforms can provide transparency to both agents and clients, ensuring everyone is informed about progress and potential issues.
Agents can actively help move the process forward, leading to smoother transactions and happier clients.
2. In-House Sales Progression
The hands-on involvement of the sales negotiator from the initial meeting to completion sets them apart.
Many agencies outsource sales progression, resulting in frustrations due to a lack of personalised attention.
Agents who manage the entire process can offer consistent updates, promptly address concerns, and build trust.
3. Personalised Customer Identification
Identifying customers solely based on price points might overlook important factors like motivations and preferences.
Utilising a comprehensive CRM platform can help agents better understand clients, enabling tailored services and identifying future opportunities.
Opportunities for Transformation
Using Data for Personalisation:
The absence of a CRM platform for customer data limits the industry’s ability to offer personalised services. By gathering insights into clients’ motivations, preferences, and purchasing behaviours, estate agents can create tailored experiences that resonate more deeply with clients.
Innovative Marketing Strategies:
Finding ways to stand out in a saturated market is difficult, adopting marketing strategies that trigger an emotive response from prospective buyers can help estate agents stand out.
Estate agents have a chance to redefine themselves from being seen as a “necessary evil” to becoming trusted partners. By addressing communication gaps, prioritising clients’ best interests, and embracing technological advancements, the industry can enhance marketing, customer experiences and build trust.
The industry should focus its attention on becoming a trusted partner to realise the lifetime value of prospective clients and customers.