At the recent – and excellent – Negotiator Conference, talk of Brexit was never that far away from the lips of many of the agents and industry suppliers I chatted with.
It seems we should consider drawing up two different timelines according to most agents – BB – Before Brexit and PB – Post Brexit.
The most startling Brexit anecdote I heard was industry expert Adam J Walker telling his audience about the millions of pounds of agency sales / buy out deals that went down the Swanee the day after our decision to say adios, au revoir and auf wiedersehen pet, to the European Union.
That’s a bad day at the office and a real blow, that you can link directly to the fateful Leave decision.
But there’s no way that all estate agency woes can be laid at the door of PB fallout and uncertainty.
Some agents are doing really well, while others sit around grumbling…
I’ve one client whose agency has grown its market share considerably over the past 16 or so months. He’s too busy to be blaming Brexit. While he has no influence over the will of the nation he has absolute control over his agency’s marketing, training, customer service and PR efforts.
THE BLAME GAME
I’m not saying the historic decision hasn’t had a big impact on the property market in the UK it has and will continue to have, but there are plenty of things agencies simply can’t blame Brexit for when it comes to their marketing and PR.
1 Having no way of capturing details from visitors to your website. This can be done through offering free guides, helpful ‘how to’ downloads or offering to put visitors on a priority list when new properties get listed. I prefer the info guide approach as this way you can appeal to vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants through separate offerings. The goal of your website from a marketing perspective is to get visitors to leave fingerprints (AKA their contact details).
2 Being stuck in a 9-5 world. If you’ve no way of being contacted outside of usual office hours, you are missing out big time. Consider using one of the live web chat providers such as Yomdel on your website, or offering an out of hours reception service like Moneypenny so that potential vendors and buyers don’t swipe past you and visit your more available rivals.
3 Being digitally dirty. If your website’s news hasn’t been updated for more than four weeks, it ain’t news folks. It’s olds. And visitors to your site will see this as being sloppy, making your agency seem less than on the ball and rather disinterested. A prospective client could be thinking if you can’t summon the will to keep your website updated what other short cuts are you taking? This is simple to rectify – just ask me how.
4 Dull About Us sections. You can’t have a hissy fit at Brussels or Brexiteers if the About Us section of your website is written from a drab third party perspective, doesn’t have any personal team biographies / profiles or contains jargon and boring salesy stuff. If people buy people here’s your window to ‘sell’ your agency’s personalities.
5 Ditching print too early. I am always genuinely stunned when agencies don’t include some form of direct printed marketing to their marketing mix. Flyers declaring ‘we’ve 1000s of buyers for properties like yours’ don’t cut it anymore. Newsletters about your local area do get noticed. There’s still a big chunk of homeowners who respond to print advertising.
6 Not having measures in place to evaluate your marketing. When was the last time your agency genuinely gauged the success of a campaign? The tools are out there to do it easily, even print marketing campaign results can be worked out using inexpensive tracking numbers.
7 Not getting involved in the local community. Half-hearted attempts to get involved locally will always lose out to an agency which commits to local causes and campaigns. I’m really pleased with the number of agencies who are supporting their local food banks in the run up to Christmas.
This kind of thing creates good will, builds new connections, usually gains press interest and if absolutely nothing else is an act of doing something good in a world where’s there’s a load of bad going on.
Brexit may well turn out to be the biggest mistake since Blockbusters told Netflix they’d never take off. Or it could develop into the biggest opportunity the UK has had since the Industrial Revolution.
Either way Brexit has absolutely no influence on the seven steps highlighted in this article. But you do.