Why the transition to the new age will be disturbing for most of us in estate agency

Most people love the idea of innovation, so why will the new age of estate agency be so disturbing for many of us in our industry?

Why the transition to the new age will be disturbing for most of us in estate agency

The CRM or ‘EstateAgency Software’ has been at the heart of estate agency for over two decades now. Because of this the principles and processes that we, as an industry work to, have remained largely unchanged. Even before Estate Agency CRM’s the processes were very similar but just carried out on paper.

Whilst innovation is something that excites many people. When it comes to changing the very way in which their company works, it is quite a daunting process for many. So daunting in fact that they could potentially, ignore the change altogether. But so what? If things are working then what is the problem? The problem is, how far behind you might have to fall before you notice and then can you even recover?

To give an example of this I’d like to look at a very simple process of buyer registration. For the last 30 years the process of buyer registration has been done manually by a member of your team. It can be done over the phone, by email or in person but whichever way it is done it requires the member of staff to manually input the given details into your estate agency software. If they forget to ask all of the right qualification questions or find it hard to get the right answers from a difficult member of the public, then you end up with partially complete data in your system.

The member of staff can then run a match for that person on your database, although that can also be a time consuming and sometimes skipped process.

In the new age of estate agency buyer registration does not work like this. Systems like Lifesycle are allowing buyers and tenants to not only register themselves directly into your database via social media, your website, the portals, over the phone and walk in’s but they are also fully qualified and communicated with automatically depending on any opportunities that have arisen as a result of the automated qualification.

They have a property to sell that in not yet on the market? The system can send them a link to our instant valuation tool to help.

They require a mortgage but have not arranged it yet? The system can ask them if they would like to book in for some advice.

They are buying for investment? The system can introduce them to our lettings team and give them helpful advice on where to go in order to get their new investment let and managed.

Not only that but these buyers and tenants are then able to keep their details up to date themselves directly in your system! Removing the need for manual data input and solving the problem of out of date information.

Your smart system will then automatically match all properties with all buyers and tenants whenever there is a new registration or new listing, removing the need to ever run a manual property match again. But just as with your vendors and landlords, your smart system can tell you WHO has been looking at which properties and when on your website, email and social media, allowing your team to focus in on the human part of estate agency and get more viewings booked with the right people, rather than just calling random contacts from your database.

Booking viewings through a smart system allows for automated follow up for viewing feedback, saving hours and letting your team work directly with the people that are keen without having to spend hours making calls to the uninterested parties and once a deal is tied up you can progress that sale through in the normal way.

However, once the deal is done, smart systems don’t end there. The new buyer will now be reminded as each anniversary passes that the price may have changed and asked if they would like you to update them on the value, with your smart system working away on them in the background ready to highlight them as potential future business when the time is right in the years to come.

By working this way and looking at the entire lifecycle of your business through one centralised platform you can see how estate agency will never be the same again. Manual registration is now a thing of the past, manual property matching is cumbersome and no longer needed and phoning lots of random contacts just to stay in touch when you could be staying in touch automatically and just speaking to the people that matter is a much smarter way of working and if your competitors are working this way and you are not, you are not only going to look out of date pretty quickly but also begin to be seen that way by more and more members of the public.

Leaving that too long will become a very hard process to reverse.

But where is the fear in making this leap of faith into a new smarter way of working?

Smart lifecycle systems are not designed to replace people and human interaction, quite the opposite in fact, as they allow your people to focus on speaking to the right people at the right time in order to have more meaningful conversations as opposed to pressing buttons on a keyboard.

The fear comes from having to let go of certain things that you are currently attached to and the biggest one of all is print. Printed window cards, printed details, printed letters etc. Smart systems are built to do incredible things but to do that takes much resources, time effort and money and so as innovators in a sector, building things that have never been done before, we have to be quite choosy about where to place our resources for the most impact and we must choose to work on things that we feel are in the teenage years of their lives as opposed to the retirement home. The result of this is that there will be features that you are used to, that no longer exist and THAT will make you uncomfortable. THAT, will hold you back. THAT will stop you from innovating. Just remember, it will not stop all of those around you and it certainly will not stop those new competitors to the industry.

Just don’t leave it too long to take the leap of faith.

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