4 Questions about the PurpleBricks

1. What have Purplebricks done to the UK Estate Agency market? 

The biggest problem that the UK estate agency industry has, is that we all look and sound the same, to the members of the general public. Our websites are identical (apart from changing the font and the colour), our brochures are the same, our boards are the same, and we all go on the same portal websites.

It is a fact UK estate agents, in the early 2000’s created Rightmove. All of us went out of our way to push it and put 6ft banners in our estate agency windows. We created the ‘RM creature’, we nurtured it, fed it from its embryonic stages, through childhood, the dominate person in the relationship. The creature we created has now become our master.

… and even when we had the chance to set ourselves free from the ‘RM creature’ with Agents Mutual, most of us sat on the fence waiting for the ‘other guy’ to jump first. Issue is, everyone else was waiting for everyone else to jump first – so nothing happened.

Now the all-powerful ‘RM creature’ has indirectly allowed another set of creatures to be created. This new breed of creatures has been spawned, the ‘born out of wedlock love children of the tinterweb and Rightmove age, and those fatherless children are the ‘national hybrid/online estate agents’ …. and they are coming to your town to destroy your High Street estate agency.

.. but here is the worse pill to swallow ….  I believe UK High Street Estate Agency has only themselves to blame if Purplebricks and their National Call centre estate agent mates take hold in the coming years.

This is tough love people so suck it up and I hope no offence is intended.

Most High Street agents have become lazy glorified Free Val order takers with out of date marketing from the 1990s that don’t work anymore. Their idea of actively marketing is dropping a few business cards through the doors of a few competitor’s sale boards at 410pm on a few Friday afternoons, yet by 430pm cradling a nice refreshing cold pint at the local public house.

The world has changed, that is not our fault, but as an industry but it is our responsibility to change our techniques to match that world.

It’s no wonder Purplebricks are getting decent market share with their fun and groovy  TV adverts. UK estate agent marketing relies on marketing techniques that haven’t evolved since the 1990’s, with their crap leaflets saying ‘Properties Wanted’, no sale no fee and A5 leaflet with the list of bullet points saying how marvellous you are as an agent… its no wonder two blokes standing in front a Purple screen have done so well.

It is my opinion that the Purplebricks model isn’t that special. It’s just Purplebricks were there at the right place and right time and just happened to be the estate agent that caught the wave of indifference to the commoditisation of the UK estate agency market with their exceptional marketing.

We, as a High Street Estate Agency industry, need to change and change now and that doesn’t mean necessarily turning ourselves into hybrid agents, with cheap fees…. but being more relevant interesting and intriguing to the home owner masses of our country.

How do we do that?  I will answer that below

PS Note I use the word ‘national’ hybrid/call centre estate agent.  Just for the record I am not anti-hybrid as I strongly believe there is a distinct place for local hybrid agents offering a very personalised service in their town

2. If Purple Bricks disappeared tomorrow, do you think it would have left a lasting impact on the property marketing industry? 

Purplebricks get paid on the listing, not the sale. But vendors don’t care because they believe their house will sell overnight. PB marketing uses comedy and entertainment to attract the attention and interest of potential house sellers – and its done very well

UK estate agency can either outdo them by being even more comedic and entertaining or even cheaper ……or start using a tried and tested 2,000-year-old marketing technique that has worked since Adam was a boy.

People do not like to be sold to but that is how UK estate agency performs its marketing.

We should stop talking about our estate agency, our estate agency services or our fees and start talking about the homeowner and the landlord, so we become interesting and relevant to them.

… because human beings are naturally attracted to things that they find interesting and relevant to them (everyone says we are in the people business – not the property business)

3. What marketing tactics do all estate agents need to throw out right now? 

Your customers don’t care about you, your estate agency products or services. That is what you should stop doing right now.

They only care about themselves, their own wants and their own needs. I believe estate/letting agents should create interesting information that our potential clients are passionate about so they pay attention to us.

So often we as estate agents believe that our estate agency services are so special, so amazing, and we think if more people knew about them … our lack of stock issues would be solved overnight – nothing could be further from the truth.

4. …And which ones are must-dos? 

I am a very passionate advocate of a marketing technique that has been around since caveman days.

The type of marketing that I strongly recommend all estate agent and letting agents should the use is content marketing.

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your potential house sellers and landlords without selling.

Instead of trying to sell your estate agency services, you are delivering intriguing and educational information that makes your potential landlords and house sellers more intelligent or perhaps entertained, to build an emotional connection.

The essence of this content marketing strategy is the belief that if we, as an estate or letting agents deliver consistent ongoing information which is intriguing and valuable, House sellers and landlords will ultimately reward is with the business and loyalty

Christopher Watkin

I teach, guide, support, mentor, consult, counsel, partner many hundreds of UK Estate and Letting Agents in their quest to grow their estate and lettings agencies business. Old school techniques of touting, landlords wanted leaflets, ring us for a free valuation, we have sold this in your street leaflets don't work anymore. There are too many competitor agents .. meaning cheap fees are epidemic, overvaluing is almost a norm to get the stock and don’t even mention about the online/hybrid threat. So a few years ago, I set about looking around the UK and spotted that certain agents (not many mind you) in certain towns were still seen as the ‘go to person on property’, the person the newspaper editor rang up every week for a comment and I looked at what they did and they were doing some thing quite remarkable…. Only one thing but they were doing it so well .. and reaping the reward in terms of decent listings and decent fees, happy staff, decent sales pipeline and exchange income, managed lettings portfolios in the many hundreds .. but more importantly, they really enjoyed the job… they enjoyed getting up in the morning and people looked up to them Over 400 agents around the UK are on a mission to change the way our Estate and Lettings agency profession is perceived and looked upon, doing it town by town, city by city. I guide these 400 agents, teach them, mentor them and support them to be seen in a different light, to be seen as the ‘go to person for property’, actually be the ‘local property expert’ and prove it. Christopher Watkin 07950 147 572 christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk

You May Also Enjoy

Breaking News

Weekly News Roundup – 19/04/24

A roundup of the week’s top property and proptech news stories in partnership with Proptech-X Table of Contents Ascendix deep dives into the world of the AVM CEO Adam Pigott on tour in Norfolk with tlyfe App VTS Activate Multifamily launches   Ascendix deep dives into the world of the AVM This month Yana Yarotska from Ascendix…
Read More
Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 18/04/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   Scotland to get to Net Zero by 2045 in stunning U-turn Because of its serious implications here in full is the Scottish ‘apology or explanation’ why it thinks it is OK to let the planet burn for the next two decades. Net Zero and…
Read More
Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 17/04/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   CEO Adam Pigott on tour in Norfolk with tlyfe App Full disclosure CEO Adam Pigott and his team are one of my earliest clients, so it is always a pleasure to hear what they have been getting up to. And this week they were…
Read More
Love or Hate Rightmove
Breaking News

Rightmove’s weekly mortgage tracker

Headlines The average 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.84%, up from 4.45% a year ago The average 2-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.23%, up from 4.77% a year ago The average 85% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.77%, up from 4.46% a year ago The average 60% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage…
Read More
Rightmove logo
Breaking News

Rightmove comment on inflation reducing to 3.2%

UK inflation slowed less than expected last month, making traders and economists more cautious about the likely pace of interest rate cuts. Matt Smith, Rightmove’s mortgage expert said: ‘It’s positive to see inflation continuing to fall this morning, albeit not by quite as much as expected, as the blocks continue to build towards the anticipated…
Read More
Estate Agent Talk

Multifaceted Rewards of Vineyard Estates: Investing in Vineyard Estates in Provence for a Fulfilling Lifestyle Business

Vineyard estates provide an exceptional opportunity to invest in a lifestyle business that aligns with a passion for crafting something unique, freedom for creativity, and business interests while harmonizing with the rhythms of nature. In Provence, you can invest in winemaking and foster authentic connections with the land and community while enjoying your returns. It’s…
Read More