Why don’t the public trust estate agents?
Perception is a funny thing.
It’s often pretty far removed from reality.
The Cambridge Dictionary definition of the word is this:
Perception – a belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on how things seem.
Note that it says ‘seem’ and not ‘how things really are’.
The general perception of estate agents is something along the lines of truth allergic, dodgy shysters intent on driving up property prices to satisfy their own insatiable greed.
The perception is backed up by opinion polls that regularly show the low standing of agents in the hearts and minds of the public. (It could be worse you could be politicians – regularly the number one most despised ‘profession’ in the UK).
In my experience the perception of dodgy agents is wrong.
I’ve dealt with plenty of agents who have strong morals, a deep sense of professional responsibility and understand that as an agent they are employed to represent another person’s best interests.
I was at The Grove Hotel in Watford last weekend filming for a charity do. It’s hosting some big golf event this week (I’m not into golf) and it’s where the England football team stay for games played at Wembley Stadium.
It’s perceived as being classy, having superb service and being expensive.
In my experience, which is therefore my reality, only one of the three perceptions was true. It’s bloody expensive.
My £4.95 double espresso was served in a stained cup.
The receptionist in the poshly named ‘spa’ didn’t even bid us goodbye as we left it, jut stared at us with venom. I’ve had better service from the Spar supermarket down the road.
80 per cent of the staff walked around with faces longer than England’s wait to win another FIFA World Cup.
Then the icing on the perception patisserie (at The Grove they would never call it a humble cake, too cheap).
It took them 90 minutes to deliver an absolutely ‘orrible cup of tea to the room we were working in – comically the World’s longest brewing cup of tea was delivered by three gormless looking waitresses, yes that’s right three of them!
There’s a joke there somewhere but I’ve digressed too much already.
Back to perception. It’s a tide that agents can turn, especially locally.
Things you could do as an agent to pummel any negative perceptions could include.
Personalise your brand – use photos, articles, and blogs to get across the human side of your business.
Get out in the community – Don’t just sponsor community events get out and press the flesh, meet people, have the craic with them and get to know them, show people the perception is a wrong one.
Show successes – Positive Facebook and Google reviews are fantastic for building trust but don’t dismiss the power of including well written testimonials in your printed marketing materials.
Be the ‘sprung to mind agent’ – By this I mean ensure you have a method of communicating with your database on a regular (weekly) basis – it could be via email marketing, a blog or newspaper column.
If someone is selling or letting their house locally you want them to say ‘I’m selling my home and your agency’s name sprung to mind.’
One final tip, if you ever go to The Grove – seek out Rebecca in The Stables Restaurant as her good customer service shone out like the Ready Brek kid through the dross of bored, unhappy looking staff there.
Here’s to your next instruction.
PS: If you’ve been shortlisted for any of the awards coming up over the next few months I’ve a great offer for you. Just ping me an email saying ‘I’m in the running,’