Take a moment and think about your competition. Can you see their names and brands in your head? Most people will think about their well-established competitors, or the enterprising start-ups in their areas who are annoyingly taking chunks from their market share. Afterall, it’s common and important for companies to know their competition (as well as you can from the outside looking in): What is their brand, their message, their market share, and their part of the digital conversation, see my last blog for more information around this.
What most estate agents fail to recognize is that in the modern day, you are no longer only competing with people in your industry, you are competing with all companies and the experiences they provide.
“The last best experience anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.” – A quote that is so popular that, in the last 5 years, it has been attributed to several different people.
Rings true, doesn’t it? You might even think this way in your own life, I know I do. Why can’t checking in for a flight be as easy as using Uber? Why can’t I book a GP appointment as easily as I order something on Amazon?
The experiences of Apple, Uber, Amazon and other modern brands are impacting how consumers see, operate and make purchase decisions in their day-to-day lives. This includes not only what they buy but who they work with and do not be fooled, they are comparing your brand to the big guys mentioned above.
For example, when someone visits your website, they are comparing it to not only every other estate agency website but to the websites of brands they know and love like Apple. The Digital age has brought with it a new level of expectations from your potential clients and if you do not level up, your bottom line will see the consequences.
You may be wondering, ‘how does my business compete with some of the largest and most successful companies in the world?’
To answer this complex question, you always want to start by asking yourself some hard questions about your business: Who is your perfect customer? The customer you feel you do the best with.
The customer who raves about your service. What kind of service do you provide? For instance, are you about luxury or families? Do you offer full service and an easy experience or do you pride yourself on getting the highest offers? It’s hard to break your business down into one or the other because you want it all! Everyone does. But focus on what you feel you do best and make a list of the qualities you want your brand to represent.
Another good place to start is to research your ‘new’ competition: Once you have determined the type of company you want to be – the type of service you want to offer, look at companies that you admire. Remember to look at more than estate agencies – it could be Prada’s experience you love and want to emanate or Virgin’s level of service. Whoever it might be, look at their websites, read their blogs, sign up for their newsletters. Learn as much as possible about their customer journeys and experiences – always remember a competitor is not only a foe but can often be an inspiration. Create similar experiences that translate to estate agency. Love the Lexus showroom? Add touches of it to your office. Appreciate Hubspot’s newsletter? Create a newsletter as helpful as theirs.
With the knowledge that your competition has changed from only estate agencies to the entire digital market, adjusting your customer experiences to meet this demand will be a continual process but well worth the time invested.