Congratulations! Your office just lost you an instruction!
If you’re like most HS agents, you probably have an expensive fascia and window display. And maybe some very expensive shop fitting? After all, the office is a major window to the world and your prime ‘fixed asset’- it’s advertising and marketing that promotes your brand and company image 24/ 7.
As the nights draw in, most EA offices will be lit up like a Christmas tree to ensure maximum exposure – hoping to be seen by as many potential vendors as possible, and for those potential customers who are on foot, to drive ,at least, a little traffic through the door. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into making your office stand out. It looks great.
But, many agencies seem to throw all that expense and marketing effort away in one go. Here’s why.
The devil is in the detail…
Last week, I popped into a nearby large town for a meeting. The agent make up there is not uncommon – roughly around 20 all vying for business. My route from the car park took me past perhaps ½ dozen. I rarely look in agent’s windows, as like most people I go online, but I had a few minutes to spare so I stopped outside 4 and looked. I then did what many potential vendors do – viewed the window display and then (and it may be for just a matter of seconds), looked past the displays and into the office. Here’s what I saw, and, based on the old maxim that “you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression”, is what I immediately thought.
- Agent 1.
No one in the office. My immediate thought was, who’s answering the phone? Were they out the back or on the loo? Would they appear, dashing out ‘superhuman’ style with their skirts / trousers round their ankles and grab the phone before it rang off? I waited for a few moments – no one appeared. Would I instruct this agent when there’s a possibility they might miss enquiries for my property?
- Agent 2.
All on the phone, or at least ‘looking busy’. Looked good, calm, & gave the impression of being pro active and hard working. It was a ‘corporate’ by the way.
- Agent 3.
3 young well dressed chaps, leaning back in their chairs, one on his mobile – all enjoying a joke – probably not work related. When they saw me looking in, they stopped. Guilty!
- Agent 4.
Shut. (back in 5 minutes on door) Say no more. This office also had the most expensive looking fit out too.
Now I’m not suggesting here that moments of levity should not happen in the workplace! Or that staff can’t go to the toilet, or have lunch etc. The best environments productively, are of course where staff work hard but enjoy themselves doing so. Equally, staff are not robots that should work continuously, without drawing breath, from opening to closing.
But the point here is this. Given that most agents spend a small fortune on premises, and maybe you have too, giving up the advantage by not adopting a professional outlook ‘within the office’ can effectively lose business.
If you were a vendor, would you call out an agent, who you saw with your own eyes, was not appearing to be working hard, acting in a completely professional manner or worse, not in?
Many larger companies spend on mystery shoppers and with good reason. They want to know what the public sees and experiences, so they can improve their service accordingly. So, if you’re an owner or manager, why not ask a friend to look through your window when you’re out? Get their feedback and then address any issues. As the top person in your office, you need to know what the public sees and what their perception is. It costs nothing to do. It will help you focus on what your ‘potential’ vendors experience is, however fleeting, and help drill down if they’re likely to call you out – or not!
Put yourself in the position of a vendor and make sure your passing traffic isn’t wasted for the simplest of reasons. Good luck.