Christopher Walkey interviews Christopher Watkin

It feels like Star Wars when it comes to High Street Estate Agency vs Online / Hybrid Agents. If Online/Hybrid were the badies it is certainly Empire Strikes Back at present and we are waiting for the High Street response with Return of the Jedi… Is the threat of cheaper selling solutions such as those offered from Purplebricks, Yopa and eMoov being countered?

I am rather worried about the trend of some agents in reacting to the Purplebricks threat. By talking about Purplebricks model, hundreds and hundreds of times a day in their social media chatter, I’m sure no vendor or landlord is going to remember them when it comes to booking a free val. Spending your time CONSTANTLY advertising someone else’s business instead of your own makes total sense, doesn’t it? Do you really believe landlords and vendors will understand what you are talking about when you mention upfront fees and alert them to the big boys in town? I bet most of them haven’t heard of Purplebricks; but at least your having that discussion 24-7 on social media with the funny posts and videos etc is going to make sure they know which agents you have about your insecurities about. In the past, if you had a competitor who only had 3% to 4% of your market after a couple of years in your town with their cheap fees .. would you completely change your model or marketing? Purplebricks will end up winning – not because they are awesome, brilliant, etc etc .. its because high Street agents are too worried about them. I see it all the time – you are being paralysed by them. Stop focusing on them and focus on your own stuff.

In my opinion Purplebricks are on a march that seems to be built on purely the value of their brand awareness and name thanks to millions being pumped in. Will it hit their investors and their customers, ie property sellers, soon that this is just a hyped up storm in a tea cup with the tea leaves now showing very poor results and weak foundations?

But are they poor results?  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 it’s 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)

If you were going to go in to estate agency now, what route would you take, High street, franchise, online, hybrid or a combination of all or any?

Where someone trades from is a factor – but not the most important factor.   Your customers don’t care about you, your estate agency products or services or whether you hybrid or high street.

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.

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 us with the business and loyalty

Let me clear something up here, I am Mr Christopher W who mostly works in the Champagne industry though am founder of Estate Agent Networking, what about you Mr Christopher W – What service do you offer the industry and share a link with our readers to find out more please!

I ghostwrite monthly newsletters about a town’s property market for agents up and down the UK  .. here are 25 examples from the UK  https://goo.gl/1jqchr ..  but I am partial to a glass of decent Champagne!

 

Cheers Chris for answering our questions!

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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