We all know the three essential things an estate agent must have on their website include the ability to be able to make a valuation request, a property search and an applicant registration.
However, entry level functionality isn’t going to win you business.
Potential vendors need to think ‘Wow! This agency presents properties brilliantly, they are up to date with the latest technology and are going to actively work to sell my property. I’ll ask them to represent me.
People today are technology rich but time poor, including agents.
PropTech creates opportunities for you to save you time, win instructions and help get you sales, all while impressing your customer audience.
So what tools are out there to do this?
360° virtual tours: these are a fantastic tool for estate agents to increase viewings, save time and help build relationships with prospective buyers and tenants.
They enable applicants to view multiple properties at a time suitable for them without the need for travel. The agent can remotely show them around the homes, building a rapport just as they would in face-to-face viewings.
These guided and unguided virtual viewings then lead to physical viewings with legitimately interested and qualified buyers. In fact, when they do visit the property it’s really their second viewing.
Agents using this technology are:
• Winning more instructions
• Using their time more productively
• Closing more deals
Some agents are concerned about this technology replacing viewings.
In the hands of forward-thinking agents, virtual viewings do not eliminate real viewings. They only eliminate wasted viewings - ones that should never have happened in the first place.
Web chat: this delivers first person customer service in real time with real people on your website.
Web chat can be active 24/7 and doesn’t require the agent to man it at all.
The technology allows an online service representative to actively engage with web visitors and is a great way of generating qualified leads around the clock.
Web chat facilities can be customised to match your design, offer real time reporting and are mobile friendly.
Web chats are an extremely cost-effective way to engage with visitors and answer questions and queries in a proactive and timely manner.
Interestingly, both 360° technology and Web Chat have been around since the late 1990s. Both have now become mainstream tools, often expected to be there by site visitors, and are proven to make a positive net contribution to customer experience and revenue streams.
Marketing automation software: this is where newer technologies are racing to engage with client opportunities and nurture them before converting them.
Examples include Facebook remarketing. Following a visit to your website, the visitor can be shown your adverts when they use Facebook next. Taking it to the next level, they can be shown boosted adverts of properties that are likely to be of interest to them based on their expressed preferences.
Not only do applicants appreciate this because they are being shown what they are looking for, but vendors love it because they can see how this technical innovation can increase exposure of their property.
Many vendors are even willing to pay extra to have their properties boosted in this way, presenting agents with an additional revenue opportunity.
Another example of this type of innovation lies in qualifying portal leads.
Imagine an applicant requesting information on a property on Rightmove late on a Saturday. They can receive an automatic email response, branded from your company, thanking them for their enquiry and asking a few simple qualification questions.
This reply is then sent to your inbox providing you with happy, pre-qualified leads ready for you to follow up with information and arrange viewings/valuations as requested.
The beauty of this process is that the majority of these processes are automated, saving you, the agent, time and effort and providing the potential client with intelligent, fast service.
The tools mentioned here represent a fraction of what’s available to agents to consider using on their websites. More innovations, new software and tools are coming to the market every day.
Talk with your website provider about which tools will help your agency to run more efficiently, save you money, make you money and keep you ahead of your competition.
*Mike Smithson is managing director of The Property Jungle