One of the industry’s best respected trainers and consultants has outlined six key reasons why agents should keep offices on the High Street.
Richard Rawlings, in an article for Estate Agent Today, says he has “compelling” reasons why agents should not heed the advice - given by Keller Williams’ UK managing director in another recent EAT article - when he urged agents to move to serviced offices.
Rawlings says the serviced office option may work well in Keller Williams’ original territory, the US, where there is a multi-listing service and every agent has access to every instruction on a shared commission basis.
However, in the UK - where only buyers registered with an agent can be offered the properties that agent is marketing - there are six key reasons for retaining High Street office according to Rawlings.
Firstly, Visibility. “Volume of eyeballs is the issue, so a busy road, with both pedestrians and especially road traffic is key. Local people need to be continually reminded that you’re in business. Your visible office is as important as your for sale and sold boards.”
Secondly, Confidence. “The 89 per cent of vendors who have not chosen the online route, surely prefer the reassurance of knowing that you are a real estate agent … Without such an office you’d have to seriously ramp up your marketing spend to offset your invisibility.”
Thirdly, Commitment. “An agent with a local office is committed, both to the business, and importantly, to the neighbourhood as the local property expert. … People are more likely to trust the opinion of their blatantly local agent than that of some remote office, which could even be a temporary serviced office.”
Fourthly, Marketing. “The way [your office] is designed and presented, gives a clear message as to your agency style. … The image your office presents plays a significant role in the type of client you attract.”
Fifthly, Familiarity. “For marketing to be effective, it must be conveyed across multiple channels. So social media, digital marketing, boards, leaflets, letters, newsletters, branded cars, sponsorships, etc and your office presence all play their part.”
Sixthly and finally, Repetition. “Any marketeer will tell you that in order for any marketing device to be effective, the consumer will usually need to be exposed to it at least six times within two months. If potential vendors drive past your competitor’s office every day, but they don’t see yours, then you are instantly at a significant disadvantage.”
Rawlings - whose own website is here - will be developing these arguments at greater length in EAT’s Features section this weekend, and will be explaining more about why the serviced office option may be more suitable for the US than the UK.
In the meantime, if you want to read the original story about Ben Taylor’s comments in favour of serviced offices, you can see it here.