My thoughts on Countrywide

Written by Christopher Watkin on - Estate Agent Talk -

It doesn’t seem that Alison Platt did anything principally wrong. From my point of view, she just didn’t do the most vital things right.

The burden the t’interweb is putting on traditional estate agents is relentless (and I’m not talking the online/PB threat when I say that). My intuition tells me that estate agency brands without strong identity and people falter.

The “Building Our Future” strategy rolled out in 2015 talked about how Countrywide could increase resilience to the cyclical nature of the housing market by centralising the business, using the offices to sell extra products when not selling someone’s house and align the company for growth.

Alison drove her efforts to driving market share growth through treating estate agency as a retail operation. It sounded great then and sounds even better today in 2018. The wonderful thing, the special thing about Countrywide is the many brands and the people behind them.

Estate Agency isnt just the brand and it isn’t just the people … it’s the way the brand and people are brought together.

Estate agency isn’t a commoditised business … even PB have proved that even spending £1m a month in advertising they only have a 3% to 4% national market share.

The special thing about Countrywide is/was the eclectic group of brands and the people within them. From my point of view, by retailing, centralising the decision making processes and commoditising the offering (with that awful £995 deal under the same High St brand) Countrywide’s positioning strategy was to offer even more choices that appealed to everyone.

Trying to appeal to everyone means you appeal to none. 

I wish Alison well in her future and I hope the Countrywide ship doesn’t get broken up, they find a leader for her and ensure the remaining ship mates on her continue to thrive …. Because the world of UK estate agency would be a lot worse off for not having HMS Countrywide sailing the seas  (I mean – where are all you independent agents going to get your well trained Negs and Valuers from if they go pop?)

Thank you for reading

Christopher Watkin

Author: 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
[email protected]


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