Updated: Nov 16, 2020
For most estate and letting agencies, the pandemic has been an intensely turbulent time: from a spike in job losses and worker precarity to an impending market bust following the stamp duty holiday, the existing business model is being pushed to breaking point.
Yet while for some this recalls earlier crunches – like those in 1989 or 2008 – there is one vital difference in today’s equation: technology.
Rather than simply hanging on for dear life, today’s agencies have the opportunity to actively rebuild their businesses with a more streamlined, intelligent approach. If they implement the right solutions, agencies can rise from the rubble with a far more sustainable, cost-effective way of operating.
Here are three key factors they need to consider:
1. Reducing staff
Job losses are never pretty, and when done badly redundancies can be a PR nightmare. But the reality is many agencies will find their current head count becomes increasingly unmanageable in months to come, especially as Government subsidies inevitably subside.
The mistake many agencies will make, however, is equating staff numbers with prominence or productivity, and assuming that reducing staff inevitably means shrinking the business.
With automation, the exact opposite is true.
By freeing up resources and increasing efficiency, reducing staff numbers can actually be a way of growing the business – especially if it’s done effectively.
Simply put, the need for manpower to drive conversions and undertake dull manual tasks is a thing of the past. And by offloading those tasks to a machine, talented employees can focus on what they do best without interruption – after all, around 40% of productivity is lost to task-switching.
Of course, agencies will need to develop clear-sighted strategies – to ensure their automation covers every base it needs to – and be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
But fundamentally, the workforce of the future will be increasingly streamlined– and leaders who want to be ahead of the game need to start looking at ways to turn this into an advantage.
2. Focusing on the right leads
With the popularity of window shopping on property websites and the massive competition in the industry, the quality of the average lead for estate and letting agents is pitiful.
According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the average conversion rate in real estate is around 1% - where other industries have more than twice as much success.
That means a huge number of leads need to be generated to produce an actual sale or client deal.
And with many experts expecting the wave of unemployment and economic crisis which follows the pandemic to create a major slump in the real estate market, this means simply wading through as many leads as possible will be even less effective than ever.
In a post-pandemic world, therefore, the key to value will not be quantity but the quality of leads – and the ability to discern it.
The technology for this exists: smart CRM systems help you track and manage leads throughout the entire customer journey, and combined with automation you can locate the highest quality and more likely to convert leads with ease.
But because this seems too good to be true, many agencies are still putting it off, focusing instead on simply increasing the churn.
By focusing on understanding their leads, agencies of the future will fundamentally change their approach to sales: they will have better, more mutually enjoyable sales conversations, and by sending the right message at the right time, they will see their conversions explode.
3. Enabling remote work
The pandemic has seen remote working become truly mainstream, and rather than assuming this is simply a peculiar blip, leaders need to embrace it wholeheartedly.
Aside from the overt benefits – saving on office overheads and gaining in productivity (by 13% in one widely cited test) – embracing remote work also prepares agencies for the future of work, where employees will need more flexibility and easier access to the information they need, wherever they need it.
Even if you still work from the office, remote working sets a good standard for the quality of tech post-pandemic businesses require
If workers are chained to their workplace computers, and can only access relevant client or customer information there, response times will inevitably suffer and the ability to react to relevant events in realtime will be severely diminished.
This is exactly why we’ve ensured Active Agent is fully operational on mobile platforms: so that you can access your full CRM system remotely, at any hour, from any location.
The entire point of technology is to free us from traditional strictures, and if your current system stifles your flexibility then it simply isn’t fit for purpose.
If you’d like to see how Active Agent gives you true flexibility, click here to book your free demo today.