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By Tom Mansbridge

Account Manager, mio


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The leaky bucket of estate agency and how to fix it

Gathering and analysing feedback at all stages in the customer journey is highly important. So, where do we begin?

For many estate agents, one of the primary objectives is to win more instructions and increase market share. This is both unsurprising and understandable but, adding more listings to the pipeline won’t always produce an increase in revenue if you aren’t converting them to exchanges.

This is why it’s so important to ensure that every stage in the process, from the initial enquiry through to completion, works as well as possible and seeking feedback is a great way of understanding where the weaknesses and strengths are.

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For those not familiar with the ‘leaky bucket’ analogy, it’s all about fixing the holes before adding more business to the hypothetical bucket. By fixing the holes, or even pasting them over in the short-term, more of those new listings will reach exchange and deliver revenue.

Without understanding where the holes are, you really don’t know whether it’s more instructions you need or an improved conversion rate.

Be honest about the figures

This is not about highlighting how great you are at converting business or selling, it’s about locating potential problems within your customer journey and sales processes, so you can establish what needs fixing.

This is why it’s vital to really understand your numbers. How many new enquiries convert to listings; how many viewings does it take to secure an offer; how many sales fall through?

Within mio, tools like our dashboard make it much easier to keep track of the pipeline between SSTC and Exchange and most CRM systems will provide equivalent monitoring from Listing to SSTC and from enquiry to offer, on the buyer’s side.

Armed with this information, you should be able to see exactly where the weak points are. You can then collect feedback to understand why those weak points are arising.

Understanding your numbers also helps with business planning, for example, how many viewings you need to complete to generate an offer on a specific type of property can help shape your resourcing plans and your sales and marketing strategy.

How do you get valuable feedback?

As Bill Gates said: “We all need people who will give us feedback, that’s how we improve.”

It’s really important to get honest feedback from as many people as possible that come into contact with your business and that includes your team and those who don’t instruct you.

This process isn’t just about focusing on the negative so don’t just celebrate the great reviews from happy customers, take time to read them and really understand where your strengths are.

Remember, it’s easy for people to get uncomfortable when providing honest feedback. So, make sure you make them feel comfortable enough to share openly with you. Otherwise you might just get excuses and that doesn’t help you.

This is particularly important when asking your team for feedback. Responding negatively to their views will stymie creative thinking and every business needs people who think outside the box.

There are lots of different way to gather feedback from the simple star rating through to qualitative feedback where detailed responses are gathered to specific questions.

Qualitative feedback will often provide more valuable insight but it’s harder to gather. A good approach to gathering feedback should blend both approaches.

We’re on a journey

Invest sometime going through a real-life customer journey with your business. From that first call or email, through to a valuation or viewing and onto your follow up communication.

Put yourself in the customer’s position and live their experience. There’s lots of tools you can deploy to help you here from the Rightmove call recording service through to businesses that provide mystery shopper services.

You’ve worked really hard and are rightfully proud of the business you’ve built so it can be hard to be honest about where your businesses weaknesses are. It can therefore, pay, to use an external consultant to help you develop that understanding.

You aren’t necessarily going to like what they say but do try and take their views on board.

Evaluate the results of the review of your customer journey against what you would deem as Acceptable, Good or Outstanding. Everyone will have a different perception of this criteria, but this is your business and you need to set the standard you’d expect for your customers.

Act now

Irrespective of how robust your approach to gathering feedback is, the feedback will be of little value if you don’t analyse it and act on it.
Take time to understand what the big problems are and work out how you fix them. Prioritise the fixes and be honest about what’s a nice to have and a must have.

Don’t try and fix everything at once as that’s simply not realistic and remember that 10 quick fixes can deliver the same results as one really ambitious project.

*Tom Mansbridge is an Account Manager at sales progression software provider mio

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