I spent most of last week with my colleagues at market leading agents, Butters John Bee and Farrell Heyworth.
I don’t imagine right now that any two agents can have a conversation for longer than a few minutes without the “purple bricks phenomenon” cropping up, and last week was no exception (by the way congratulations to my mate and former Countrywide colleague, Lee Wainwright on his new job with PB).
Of course, it isn’t just PB that we talk about, it’s the whole “digital opportunity” thing. In such chats, I’m always reminded of James Dearsley’s comment “any traditional agent that thinks that their way of working won’t change in the next five years is wrong, but any online agent that thinks that their current model won’t change is also wrong”. The point is that customer expectation is the only thing that matters and in our case, customer behaviour is still evolving - they don’t know what they’ll want from an agent in five years time, so how can we?
Self Service or Full Service
My own view is that in five years time, 25% of all transactions will be conducted through agents offering self service and the rest of the market will be full service. What I can’t tell you is precisely what the terms self service and full service will mean - all I do know (taking James Dearsley’s point) is that neither will look like they do today.
Also, I can say…..
• the uptake of self service will not be entirely price driven - today’s customer wants convenience more than they want anything else.
• full service will mean exactly that - agents must consistently deliver the service that they say they will.
• the middle won’t be a happy place - agents that fail to offer a compelling proposition in either self service or full service will see their market share vanish. A confused proposition will definitely fail.
But will you really have to be one or the other? Can you successfully deploy both propositions? Who will the winners and losers be?
Look out for my blog this time next week, when I’ll be sharing my thoughts on exactly these points.
PS - my admiration goes to Peter Knight at Property Academy for launching his new Awards this week. I don’t expect it to be popular with every agent, but it will throw a spotlight on what an agent actually does compared to what they say they do ….. and that is all that matters.