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Phil Spencer - How To Prove The AI Bots Wrong

Artificial Intelligence is now a part of all our lives, but my attention was grabbed recently by an AI critique of estate agents - or more precisely how the public perceived agents. 

Perhaps provocatively the Property Industry Eye asked an AI bot Why do people hate estate agents?

I’m not sure people actually do hate agents at all - particularly those one million or so households who successfully sell their homes each year - but the AI answer was illuminating in identifying image problems that exist with some consumers.


In summary the bot chewed out five key issues, and I use the terms used in the original article: 

Trust: “Many agents admit that some of their peers indeed deserve the stereotype,” said the bot.

Communication: “Delays and lack of communication are common complaints” especially with online agencies.

Shady Valuations: “Honesty and clarity in this realm would go a long way.”

Aggressive Tactics: “Sales tactics - a blend of persuasion and persistence - can leave clients feeling cornered.”

Blame Game: “When deals crumble or expectations aren’t met, guess who’s in the spotlight? Estate agents.”

Many agents will justifiably dispute some or all of these but it’s undoubtedly the case that a caricature image of ‘dodgy agents’ exists amongst some members of the public - and these five points cover many popular criticisms.

So, what to do about it?

There are countless answers, but I’d say one all-embracing approach is to make yourself different from the opposition - different and, of course, better.

Trust: Demonstrate you are the definitive ‘trusted local expert’. For example, use local market information (we can help at Move iQ Pro) and share it with prospective customers on your website, local press adverts and add it to emails, texts and WhatsApp messages.

Communication: This is an old chestnut but make it a ring-fenced part of your day (or one of your colleagues’ days) to ring/text/message every single registered buyer and vendor just to check in - even if it’s to say, ‘no news yet’. The problem with not contacting consumers is that they don’t think ‘this means there’s no news’ but instead they think ‘the agent has forgotten me’.

Shady Valuations: I bet vendors who get a good price for their home don’t think this! But for every vendor, why not do the obvious - don’t just look at comparable properties on sale but show the vendors those properties online. And if an offer comes in at significantly below the asking price, pass it on of course as you have to - but tell the prospective buyer that other similar homes are on sale at much the same price as yours. If you are attempting a new local ‘high’ price - then explain to buyers why your client’s home is worth more than others. 

Aggressive Tactics: I’d say this is a throwback to when agents were more heavily incentivised than today, and especially when the market was thin. Even so, one way to counter this image is to agree a marketing strategy with your seller, including details of how you contact buyers or chase leads which come through your website or portals. More understanding of how you work - in your customer’s interest - will improve communication and reduce any suspicion. 

Blame Game: Again, explanation is key: there is plenty of data around showing average time for conveyancing, searches, surveys and the like. It’s a way of letting your clients know that possible delays are not down to you, without actually saying it’s anyone else’s fault! There’s another key element of course: the more your clients gather their information ‘upfront’, even ahead of you marketing the home, the quicker the process will be for everyone. 

Putting This Into Action

Clearly, it’s easy to produce these suggestions and it’s tougher - especially now when the market is busy - for agents to have resources to do all this. But I’m amazed at how those agents who adopt these strategies really do stand out from the crowd in their localities, with two benefits as a result.

Firstly, they have less hassle in day-to-day dealings with sellers and buyers alike: and secondly, they say they secure good word-of-mouth recommendations.

It’s all about being different and better than the opposition. Good luck!

Phil Spencer is a TV presenter, author, businessman, property investor and founder of consumer advice platform Move iQ. Now also helping agents engage with their local audience Move iQ now offer a bespoke video marketing solution for agents, personally introduced by Phil – click here to find out more and get in touch.



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