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Interview of Chris Summers
Written by the Estate Agent Today team

Chris Summers, Head of Franchising at Century21 UK

1. How would you say Century 21 franchisees have adapted to the challenges during 2020? 

If someone had told me at the start of 2020 that all our franchised offices would need to close for most of the year, I would have laughed them out of the room – honestly! But no, in all seriousness, our franchise network have been phenomenal and they’ve all pulled together exceptionally well, given the circumstances. I’d go as far as saying they’ve helped to keep my hopes just as high as I’d like to think I did with theirs. It’s just so refreshing and, actually, really impressive how they’ve stayed resilient, focusing on what they could control rather than the barriers that 2020 has brought to everyone’s door. Their number one goal was to keep clients happy and at ease, whilst keep property moving. They did just that and should be really proud of themselves.

2. Do you feel the new business models you’re now offering, Century 21 Max, Flex and Solo, would have been an option If we didn’t see a year like 2020? 

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We all knew a change was coming, didn’t we? Buyers and sellers expect a different type of service now, than they did even 10 years ago, and if this year has proven anything it’s that there are more ways to operate an estate agency than on the high street. 2020 definitely, without a doubt, helped to encourage us to drive the new business models forward a bit sooner than we had planned, but making us re-evaluate our operations a lot quicker too – so it’s all for the better! We just want to help agents make the most of the market. A lot of estate agents won’t make it through this year and that alone is a daunting thought.

3. What’s your favourite model of the three? 

That’s a tough one. Having been in the industry for over 30 years, the traditional route is all I’ve ever known and worked with so I am learning too! People want more flexibility with work, and it’s the exact same with franchising, and entrepreneurs looking to run their own business. I’ll be sure to let you know in a couple of months once I’ve had the chance to explore all three side by side!

4. What has the Century 21 UK marketing team got up their sleeve next? An estate agency business model branded up as an energy drink, that has got to be pretty hard to top surely.

The marketing team are always up to something but I feel after this launch, and all the communications challenges that 2020 has presented, they are all in need of a very well-deserved break! Our marketing team strive to deliver above expectations for our franchisees but also our central campaigns to recruit new agents. As a franchisor, it’s all about offering more; more services and income routes to our franchisees and agents, and we wouldn’t be able to do this without the marketing team. We’ll all have to wait until the New Year to see what’s next, but there is always something on the horizon! 

5. Homes under the Hammer or Location, Location, Location? 

Oh, another tough one! As we offer our franchisees and agents a full auction offering through SDL Property Auctions, who are regularly featured, it’s going to have to be Homes under the Hammer. Our agents have their very own white-labelled auction department alongside their traditional private-treaty selling route.

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