Is the honeymoon over the for the new crop of online agents?
Someone told my wife the other day that I’m industrious!
It’s always nice to hear good feedback. It got me thinking about the market and how we’ve grown our business.
Recently I’ve seen my friends who are London-based agents prosper. One business has bought another, and had a record month in the new partnership. Others whom I’ve known long-term are all hands on deck. Pipelines are full, or filling up.
The head has been turned in the past year or so mainly by online agents. The big question has been ‘is this the end of retail agents?’ And with all the hubris, it has felt that way at times. However, amidst the headlines it’s good to know that real data is coming through to support the theory of ‘both, and’ as opposed to ‘either, or’.
In a post-truth world, facts are useful!
Yes, online agents have seen a 57% increase in business. But they still account for just 5% of all market transactions. So even with around 90% of property industry news coverage due to novelty, they are but a small slice of the cake. The test will come when the news value drops, and cost per customer stays the same.
It will take the mother of all marketing budgets to sustain pipelines like the ones they have had recently.
What’s far more likely is the online market will saturate quickly, and quality people and brands will be consolidated by a small number of genuinely successful players. The rest will fold, or fade away.
One ‘major’ online player has been accused of lying by two reputable media titles recently, about both their own sales stats and the user experience they offer. Notice the inverted commas – it’s impossible to tell how a new, privately held business is really performing, especially when it’s coffers are full with investor’s cash.
If property was as easy as biking some keys over to get in through the front door, agents would never have become such a phenomenon. In a flat market like the one we have today, what’s key is perseverance, tenacity, resourcefulness and contacts… allied with humanity, relationships, ideas and intuition.
And being industrious.
These things only help to ensure you don’t miss the low hanging fruit. They cannot be taught to a website, or a bot, or any other form of artificial intelligence.
They are innate to our industry, they are what makes it such fun. And they are why 95% of market transactions are still handled by real people.
Would be great to hear from you soon.
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