Built to Grow your Estate Agency?

Several weeks ago I attended, for the second time, the Built To Grow course led by Perry Power (Power Bespoke) and Royston Guest (Built to Grow and Pathway Global). A two-day event for Estate Agents empowering you with a personalised blueprint to grow your Estate Agency to the next level. Having attended the previous event, my expectations were extremely high, but this time everything felt bigger, better and special. This made me think about the reason why? then it hit home for me.

This was more than a course and may require thematic music playing in the background, IMO the event arrived at a moment which could be pivotal for the Estate Agent Industry. A few pieces of relevant news occurred around this time, I watched the Russell Quirk video admitting the online model may be flawed, the aggressive fall in the Purple Bricks share price (losing over 50% of its market cap in 6 months) and the continual achievements of partner agent/associate models from companies like Giggs and Co, Power Bespoke, Hortons and in the US Keller Williams and Compass. Built to Grow felt like an opportunistic moment to me, the right place to be at the right time! Furthermore, in between writing this piece, Emoov filed for administration to cement my instinct further.

The models of the Partner/Associate agencies mentioned above have a core thesis that fees are low down the list of pain points for customers. Actually, it is the Negotiation, Service, Communication (particularly within chains) and Customer Experience when selling your home that has historically been traumatic and where Estate Agency needs to focus on. Transparency, Omnichannel and 24/7 communication, Instant Messaging, Groups, Sharing Knowledge, Customer Care and After Sales are the areas which Estate Agency can make a 10x improvement upon. With low fees, this is just not possible!

It was at this point I realised Perry and Royston were giving the IP to build the Estate Agency Model and Customer Experience which I think is set to win out in the long run and it was the perfect timing.

So here were my Key Takeaways from the 2 days:

Make your Estate Agency Performance Led and Data Driven:

EVERY business has to be data-driven, metrics matter, especially for your funnels. Attendees were given a breakdown of the Power Bespoke company dashboard real time, the insights derived from the previous year and proposed action for the next year based on proprietary company data. At a high level, were the Key Metrics for Power Bespoke, their North Star. This then broke down into separate parts of the business all the way down to the Individual/Partner Agent level. Conversion rates (by source), Time on Market, Prices Achieved, Avg Fee and much more are all be tracked. This means the Business and each Partner Agent can work backwards based on any target and know for each metric within any funnel exactly what they need to achieve. As a business they now know which metric an agent is falling short or over performing on.

Think about this for a moment, being able to pinpoint with accuracy how to fix a problem is gold dust for a business owner, but even better when coupled with Power Bespoke’s transparent sharing culture. Agents who outperform on any particular metric are encouraged to share how they iterated and executed to achieve success, Agents that are struggling benefit hugely. This culture that Power Bespoke has created is massive for me and it has created a fertile ground for success to grow quickly through there network of Agents.

Even smarter, Power Bespoke metrics are broken into two definitions, lagging and leading. In general, forecasting future events are based on instinct/indicators/data, in Trading/Investing ( I was a trader previously) there are two types of indicators, lagging and leading, the former tells you about the historical state of your business, the latter which is often more insightful and where opportunities really lie, are the indicators that predict the future health of your business. Understanding your lead indicators will make sure you are proactive, not reactive to any obstacles in your business.

The Age of Experience

It is all about the Experience, IMO every modern business has to let data drive decisions, but more importantly has to be Customer Centric, what I mean by this is you need to understand the customer journey and the experience your service provides during this journey. Providing just a service/product is not enough, you have to build an unforgettable experience for customers. Customers need to feel your offering is unique, liking your business is not enough and that won’t make them share success. We are at a time, thanks to the network effects of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp and the transparency of reviews, that information travels faster than ever between consumers. People share what they LOVE not what they like. This is why Customer Experience is vital and your NPS is the best metric of this, for Estate Agents its crucial as almost ⅔ of vendors come via recommendations (In the US) or have spoken to the previous customer before contacting you. Also, 82% of people would have read a review before making a purchasing decision, make your customer fanatical about you.

Royston shared some amazing videos and examples of how companies he has worked with have created outstanding Customer Experience, I will never look at TUI the same! Power Bespoke obsesses about this, they want to blow customers minds away. Their Move Van, 24/7–5 min response, WhatsApp groups, OmniChannel strategy, Help sheets, Transparency, Sharing and Customer Care is how they provide an experience to make customers feel special. At the event, they shared what I think was a great concept and drives their thinking: the value derived from a transaction is based on ROI or ROE (Return on Expectations) or both.

By what magnitude does your business over deliver? The ROE concept is the filter you should use to look at all your touch points with a customer, does your service at every point create a high ROE? The tips shared will no doubt grow your NPS and in turn your business. Build an Estate Agency people love!

Funnels

The Power Bespoke funnels were analysed real time. Funnels are an iterative process, you need to test, capture data, draw insight and test again i.e optimize your funnels. A big part was spent on how Power Bespoke derived what has worked for them and what hasn’t. If you spend time on this you will understand how to make your business lean and what are your customer acquisition costs.

Do you know for each marketing pound spent how much revenue this generates? They shared the funnels that are working now and importantly which they decided to turn off. We talked about Facebook Ads, Instant Vals, Referral Programs, Door Knocking, Word of Mouth, Portal Enquiries etc. This was a unique insight into how Power Bespoke became leaner and increased their bottom line in the past 12 months. Understanding the Customer Acquisition Cost from each channel and whether is it scalable were vital questions answered to shape how you will grow your business. This is where Royston talked about marginal gains, a small increment at each stage of the funnel can make a monumental change to overall results.

Value Propositions

What business are you actually in? Yes, you are an Estate Agent so you sell houses of course… but is that not your product or service, think about the problem you are actually solving, this starts to frame the whole service and experience you provide. Perry and Royston suggest you are in the business of moving people to the next stage of their life, their dream home or biggest life goal.

Think and obsess about this deeply, you are not just selling houses! If you think that your service is just transactional, how does this shape the culture? what value your team attach to their jobs? what they strive to achieve for customers? how your team communicate? This all affects the overall experience you provide.

For a moment ask yourself, when does the Customer Journey actually start and end? think of this through the customer's eyes, not your eyes and take a moment to empathise. Jeff Bezos says at Amazon they have always built their products backwards from the Customer, what they ask for directly dictates the products they launch. In essence, I think taking the start-up approach to building your estate agency will help you differentiate, as the owner you still should be spending as much time as possible understanding your customer's pain points and what selling/moving actually means to THEM, not for your business. This is how you build a service and product customers love because you listen and empathise. Your value proposition will then become unique and just replaying a solution to a customer pain point/need in a compelling fashion.

Do Not Conform

Do not compete and most importantly do not conform, why are you competing on fees? Agents who are doing this are crazy, if you drop your price point to PurpleBricks levels, you going head to head with a businesses that is Venture funded, Tech Rich and a better proposition for the cost. With no margins, you can’t pay great staff to offer what makes an Agency special, which is great service, communication and negotiation. Competition is for losers, seek to differentiate, there is a great book on this called Zero to One by Peter Thiel, I love this book and it gave me the confidence to only worry about mine and the customer's insights and no one else’s.

2 Game-changing actionable strategies.

I can’t go into these that much as it would give away the IP of the course. But what I will say is this there are two strategies in the course, which if you come away nothing else, these two will transform your business. The best thing about them both is that a bit like when you have a lightbulb moment, they are so good that you seem shocked that nobody is implementing them already. If you take the time to focus and execute on both of these strategies plus monitor the data, you will achieve so much more revenue with what you already have.

Ethos of Course

Actionable strategies, not just theory! Yes, you are given a theoretical blueprint for your business, but the blueprint is only as good as the action you take to execute. Perry and Royston are great motivators and they give you real-life examples of how these strategies have changed Power Bespoke. Finally, they give you actual tools to take away, Perry recommended his designer, data miner, the tools, tech and so much more which he uses to deliver his service. Royston provides his book, online tool for assessing your business health and all the material that has helped taking Power Bespoke to where it is today.

Questions are answered on the fly, not just listen and take notes, ask questions specific to your business and Perry and Royston will answer and apply their knowledge to your pain points. Everything asked was given full attention and that’s the beauty of having a more intimate environment, you can share your thoughts, questions and are encouraged to challenge.

Ultimately, this course as I said at the top, comes as a time where it is crucial to take advantage of a situation in the market when the online proposition is failing. Attend, soak up and implement what fits you and your Estate Agency will have the building blocks to grow into something quite special.

If you want to know more and maybe would like to attend the next Built To Grow event hosted by Perry Power and Royston Guest, it is running on the 13th/14th of March 2019 and I would highly recommend this. Perry and Royston are great leaders, but also thoroughly nice people.

Finally, if you are interested in finding out more about how Olivia. This is my startup, which has helped Power Bespoke to deliver an outstanding experience to leads who inquire with his business within 5 mins, drop me an email on sachin@getolivia.co or book a demo.