The 7 digital best practices for estate agents

The 7 digital best practices for estate agents

Embracing digital best practice in estate agency is no longer just a case of matching and mailing from your old crm system. Digital tools now offer estate agents a significant competitive advantage when it is needed most. Here’s our pick of the top 7 digital best practices for estate agents, to help beat the competition.


1.    Transition to paperless
Whilst applicant cards became a thing of the past many years ago, agents still default to paper for too many tasks. Property details, post market appraisal follow up letters, offer letters and contracts are still either printed and posted or produced as a letter and then sent as an email attachment. All of these processes can be done in true digital and responsive format, allowing the customer to view and action them from their mobile phone while on the go, creating not only a better customer experience but a more efficient business.
 
2.     Remove new listing friction points
Most agents want more listings but by default we tend to throw obstacles in the way of this goal. For example, if the market appraisal does not instruct you whilst on the appointment the problems begin. The follow up process for agents is slow and cumbersome, requiring someone to actually phone that potential customer over and over again only to find that they hardly ever get through. This is not because the person is not there (can you even be 'not there' on a mobile these days?!) but because no one wants a regular sales call from an estate agent. Even when a new client is on the brink of instructing you our industry still makes them jump through hoops by having to phone or email you, wait for a response, then get a paper contract signed etc. All of these friction points can be removed through digital best practice, allowing you to have your own version of the amazon buy now button for clients to instruct you with one simple click and sign their contract electronically on the go. Automatic follow ups and notifications when potential clients are active on your website or proposals in order to try and contact them at the exact right time for them.

3.    Make your sales funnel more visible
The days of having a morning meeting about today’s tasks and looking no further down the line are gone. With the right digital partner you can have a much longer runway from which to manage what is coming down the track and ensure you stay on course without so many up’s and down’s. Visually being able to see how much traction your social media efforts are gaining, what the breakdown of every market appraisal you have ever attended is money-wise and where each of them are in terms of coming to the market and being pointed in the right direction as to what to do next and with who, gives a totally unfair advantage over the competition and is the ultimate example of working smart through technology.

4.    Reduce staff turnover by seeing what they do
Having to replace staff is a huge hassle for any business but having the right digital tools in place can give you might deeper insights into what your team do and how effective they are. This is not just great for identifying weaknesses but unseen strengths too. For instance, you may well have one valuer that seems to win all of their market appraisals and another that converts much less. However, what if your technology could also show you that you never sell any of the ‘successful’ valuers property because he keeps overvaluing them just to win the instruction but that you make much more money from the other valuers properties as whilst he brings less to the market, you do sell them, suddenly your view on these two members of staff would be different.

5.    Unlock the benefits of mobile technology
Increasingly the world is being run from mobile phones and there is no sign that this will slow down anytime soon. Even when at home many people use their phone more than their desktop computer. Therefore, it is crucial that estate agents begin to embrace the mobile first principles of other industries. For the last 2 decades estate agents have demanded a print first solution with web as the possible bolt on, but this has changed, and estate agency must change with it. The very first question must be how it works on a mobile for both the user and the customer, everything after that is a bonus.

6.    Maintain consistency without increasing staff
For as far back as any of us can remember estate agency has been a business that requires more people in order to scale up. You open a branch fill it with the usual suspects and then if successful move to another area and repeat demonstrating our success by talking about how many branches or staff we employ. Whilst that model has worked in the past, investors and modern business no longer work this way and have no interest in that type of business but instead specifically look at a company’s revenue per employee metrics. Revenue per employee, calculated as a company's total revenue divided by its current number of employees, is an important ratio that roughly measures now much money each employee generates for the firm. The revenue per employee ratio is most useful when looking at historical changes in a company's own ratio or when comparing it against that of other companies in the same industry as part of a fundamental analysis. For example, if your company revenue for the year is £800,000 but you have to employ 14 staff to cope your revenue per employee would be just over 57k per employee. When you consider the average wage for most people that does not leave much in the pot. However, the smart use of technology should not only lead to an increase in revenue but a decrease in manpower. Therefore, if you were able to raise your revenue to the £1m mark whilst decreasing the manpower required to 8, your revenue per employee would rise to £125k per employee placing you in a whole different bracket as a business. Without the smart use of technology that is just not possible.
Revenue per employee is a meaningful analytical tool because it measures how efficiently a particular firm utilises its employees. Ideally, a company wants the highest ratio of revenue per employee possible because a higher ratio indicates greater productivity. Revenue per employee also suggests that a company is using its resources—in this case, its investment in human capital—wisely by developing workers who are very productive. Companies with high revenue-per-employee ratios are often profitable.

7.    Build structure in the company
As agents we tend to have quite a random mixture of tasks per day. Even the most corporate of agencies have some days with lots of viewings, some days with market appraisals and some days with not a lot. This leads to a lack of productivity due to a lack of structure. Technology is now helping agents to become more structured and improve performance by doing much of the heavy lifting for them. Repetitive and labour-intensive tasks such as qualifying all of your buyer and tenant enquiries can now be an automated process. Allowing your team to have pre-set times each day to just go through the verified enquiries in order to book their viewing for them, whilst the computer continues to attempt to qualify those who have not yet replied. Everything from who to call and when to complete the maximum number of tasks in a day and increase productivity and revenue can be managed better through the use of technology.

All of the above features and functions and more can be achieved through the Lifesycle system. Built specifically to bring cutting edge technology to Estate Agency and help agents to work smarter in a meaningful way. If you would like to talk to one of our team about how to make the transition from traditional estate agent over to a more modern way of working book in for a discovery call now.

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