The pandemic has shown even the most technophobic of businesses that technology is actually not that scary after all. The world did not fall apart if they had a zoom call over a face to face meeting or sent an email instead of a letter in the post.
But how many other processes are we just doing in Estate Agency without really thinking about it and why?
If we go back in time and look at the purpose of window cards it actually becomes quite funny that we still use them.
Window cards were a thing right back in the 1950’s and 60’s, as the UK began to really emerge from the Second World War and High Streets began to boom, a well-positioned office that could offer to put your property in front of all those passing people was a great way of letting people know your property was available. Newspapers were another option but the public were aware that if looking for a property then a stroll down the high street to look in Estate Agents windows was probably their best option.
Fast forward, 70 years and we are still just blindly following this principle, without really thinking about what the point of our office now is.
Apple have lead the way in terms of reinventing the way the public can interact with a retail store by creating an experience. Creating a reason for people to visit their store and taking in some of the magic of their brand and what is in their windows? Nothing. Of course, you may read this and think Apple is not comparable to a small Estate Agency and you are quite right, but the purpose of your branch is most certainly not for people to stand outside and find themselves a property. Our world has evolved and the public no longer need to do that. The office is a branding tool. Make it look nice, allow people to come in and experience something of value like a workshop, or a selection of iPads for them to browse properties. Perhaps a VR headset or a sofa and TV to watch your video tours. The window does have a purpose but filling it with a selection of your properties is not one of them.
In a digital world this again is a throwback to a time before the internet, email and SMS. Now I can send someone a link to a video tour or the details of a property online, so why continue to kill the planet and print out sets of details? Of course, if you have a new development or wish to create something very special about a unique property, it may have its place but please don’t be fooled into thinking that the world ‘LOVES’ your brochures that are made in Microsoft Word! They can’t be tracked; they are bad for the planet and even my 10 year old children know how to create incredible looking professional designs using tools such as Canva that make your Microsoft Word templates look very 1999.
Leaflets and prospecting letters:
Again this is a throwback. The reason agents have to ‘leaflet drop’ is because they have not yet fully adopted data platforms. The CRM systems that most agents use only hold the information of people you are doing business with today. The modern world of business all works around systems that look at the entire Lifecycle of prospects, leads, current business and future business. As you start to build a system like that you become able to communicate with everyone in your local are digitally and no longer have to push a piece of paper through their door.
Prospecting letters are even worse. A ‘temptation’ to try and steal a listing from another agent is just too much to resist but for anyone that has tried it you will be able to relate with the fact that the only people that respond to you will be the ones who have overpriced their property and blame the agent for everything – do you now really want that problem on your plate? The rest of the people that are not responding to your letters are not doing so as the world has moved on from this sort of marketing and you are just making them annoyed by interrupting them with letters they did not ask for, as if we are still living in 1984. There is a much smarter and more effective way of marketing in today’s world that allow you to always be the solution to the problem but without having to shout it through someone’s letterbox!