Innovation vs Traditional Methods in Estate Agency.

Yesterday I read an interesting piece from Michelle Wilden on LinkedIn regarding innovation in estate agency and thought that I would dig out the blog below that I had written a few weeks back to give another take on how innovation can play a part in helping estate agents gain a greater share.

Innovation is in my mind, just the latest way that we can communicate our business expertise to our target audience. Progression/innovation is everywhere around us in our industry from the latest interior paints to solar panels installs, new property portals to estate agency Apps.

What innovation does and I am sure many in the industry will agree, is gives us new ways in which we can quickly establish ourselves as an authority in our industry. Going back a few years, with less choice then, it may have only been how wisely and how bigger adverts we placed in the local newspapers, Yellow Pages or timing of leaflet drops and the offers they advertised or which buses carried our banners… Nowadays we’ve many more ‘latest marketing‘ avenues to choose from that estate agents are attacked left, right and centre on by leading marketing authorities saying that they ‘need to be adopting’ such as Social Media, Videos, Blogging, Rightmove/Zoopla or OnTheMarket, softwares, Apps, QR codes and more as we are indeed in the era now of #PropTech!

So is innovation really key to successful Estate Agency? Will innovation help us to sell more houses or acquire more listings? Does how innovative we are increase the amount of people hitting your website or walking through your doors and sitting down to discuss their property needs?

There are possibly two thoughts regarding this both for and against, though if combined, only then true innovation will show its hand and deliver the all important ROI.
If innovation is adopted early with the right amount of dedicated time and effort then no doubt a positive in business will be seen, social media is a prime example of this as it grows each day in importance and the early adopters who’ve stuck at things now see the desired results such as added SEO, increased customer databases and enquiries / leads. Keeping up to date with the latest additions from Zoopla and Rightmove will also help your business, especially if you excel at things to put you in front of your local competition. Is the new fad of Periscope (live video streaming) something which will generate extra business for estate agents if you adopt it early enough and establish a strong position, as a gamble it may be, if things take off then you’ll be ahead of the game?

So what are the thoughts against innovation? I do not think they are direct thoughts against the subject, but more towards that ‘traditional marketing’ plays a more important role over innovation in that estate agency has been around for years and there has always been basic principles on how to sell property. How many followers has your agency got on Twitter may be of much less importance to how well do you know the local architecture or results from the regional education system. Should you be considering live streaming videos on Periscope of you showcasing a house to just a few (early adopter) viewers or should you invest more in photography (though innovation nowadays plays a key part of great photography). You could well be seen as the traditional estate agency of your local town that are known for taking time and consideration with all your clients, known to go that extra mile for client satisfaction and if you’ve made that name tag stick, then it can really out weigh how well you are doing adopting Twitter, videos, QR codes and more…

Innovation is in fact progression, if you want to adopt it then it is of choice only and as many estate agents still prove, they do not necessarily need to be at the head of the latest marketing techniques to maintain a large market share. Though with more and more new estate agencies and importantly, new blood within the industry, then most of these newbies will have used innovation as their main ‘edge’ when entering the industry. I’m sure many would say that an update on Facebook could be seen by a growing percentage of the population much faster over an advert in the local paper, a new listing in the window display or even an email or telephone call.

Though I am not an estate agent myself, I would see that traditional methods of estate agency needs to be at the core of any successful agency going forward though by mastering certain avenues of innovation you will keep yourself in the public eye and in the public’s respect better over totally dismissing the advantages that innovation holds.

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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