Purplebricks’ former chief executive Lee Wainwright has made a stout defence of the controversial agency’s sales progression process and its local property experts.
In his latest video interview with property consultant Christopher Watkin, Wainwright is asked head on whether there is a genuine sales progression process in the agency he worked for until earlier this year, and whether criticism of it has been unfair.
“Operationally, that [sales progression] wasn’t as good as it should have been when I joined the business [as chief operating officer, in 2017]. But it was recognised as being under pressure, that it was suffering from the growth pains, and there has been significant investment into the sales process capability” Wainwright tells Watkin.
He then adds that in his opinion Purplebricks is further down the road than most traditional estate agents in thinking how to “digitally enable” sales progression by communicating with consumers and other parties in a transaction, including particularly conveyancers.
In what may be the critical question in the interview, Wainwright is asked by Watkin whether it’s fair that some traditional agents tell their vendors to reject an offer if there is a Purplebricks-instructed property in a chain, for fear of it stalling the entire transaction.
“That’s definitely unfair” says Wainwright unequivocally.
The interview also looks at other key elements of Purplebricks’ activities.
Firstly its pricing policy: this rose from £545 to £899 for many of its customers, and Wainwright and Watkin discuss whether there should be further increases to improve the agency’s performance.
Secondly, Wainwright is drawn on the success of Local Property Experts - a concept he says was challenging at first, when the relative scarcity of them meant they were not particularly ‘local’.
“In the early days when you were covering the whole of the UK with 100 Local Property Experts then it obviously wasn’t as possible for people to be as ‘local’ as they are today” says Wainwright. He accepts that a well-told story in the industry of a LPE doing a 300 mile round trip for one valuation may have been true “back in the day” but he insists absolutely that: “That’s not true in 2019.”
The interview is as candid and provocative as the first in this series (which you can still see here). But we have this latest instalment at the bottom of this story, with thanks once again to Christopher Watkin for sharing it exclusively with Estate Agent Today readers.