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Opinion: Do 360 virtual tours impact leads?

360 tour technology company Made Snappy has grown rapidly over the past 18 months and whilst many agents have grasped the benefits of 360 tours, some are still concerned that, by showing too much of a property, they will put someone off viewing. They would rather do an in-person viewing and have an opportunity to sell them the property. They also feel it is better customer service to show potential buyers in person.

Here, Made Snappy CEO and founder Mark McCorrie shares his thoughts on this approach and addresses such concerns.

I think too often, agents have viewed technology as a trick to oust them of their job rather than the tools that they are to improve their performance. We have found that any reluctance to embrace technological advances such as 360 tours is soon turned into enthusiasm once they see the tangible benefits of using it.

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By making a property more accessible with a 360 tour, more potential buyers are able to view it than any agent could physically manage in person thus increasing the chance of deal success. And those who want to view a property after seeing a virtual tour are much higher qualified leads.

Agents using virtual tours have also said that the view counter for example is a really useful feature and a good indicator of how fast a property is going to sell.

If agents are still worried about losing leads, there are bolt-ons to virtual tour software that help. You can ‘lock off’ a virtual tour, so viewers have to register their details to view. This allows any prospective buyer to have instant access to view properties when you aren't in the office and not available for viewings, but you also still collect the details of people registering to view the tours.

Some agents are also worried about customer service, feeling that it’s better customer care to show clients around in person however there are advantages of virtual tours in this respect too. Imagine you are buying a property. You like the look of a house, but there's no virtual tour on the Rightmove listing. You call the agent in the morning, and they can't fit in a viewing for three days because they are busy doing lots of viewings. You turn up to the house but find the bedrooms are smaller than you expected, and the garden also isn't great. The photos on the Rightmove listing looked great with wide angle lenses used but in person it wasn't quite what you are looking for.

You like the look of another house on Rightmove, and there is a virtual tour on the listing. You open the tour and look around. The house looks great, so you call the agent the next morning to book a viewing. You go on a viewing, and it looks just like the tour. You make an offer on the property.

Some would say the traditional in-person only viewing approach demonstrates lack of customer care in making people drive all the way across a city or county at an inconvenient time to view a property when instead they can view it without leaving their house.

There’s a customer service element that comes into play from the vendor’s side, as well. Those with young children who enjoy liberally scattering toys around the house and smearing jam on surfaces at every given opportunity are a lot more inclined to appreciate an agent who offers virtual tours. An agent who books three viewings is making the vendor tidy and clean the property three times. If the agent has prequalified those viewers using virtual tours, they are more likely to result in offers, rather than simply wasting the vendor’s time because the home ‘doesn’t look like it did in the photos’.

People do business with people, and there will always be a need for people to sell and let properties, but technology can enhance and improve the process, not replace them. Using both people and computers to deliver what they are best at can result in better customer care for all concerned.

I first started using virtual tours in my agency in 2018. It reduced my viewing to let ratio by around 40%. After it revolutionised my business, I sold it to focus on putting the technology into more agents’ hands and allow more property hunters to have a better viewing experience.

Since then, agents have used Made Snappy’s technology to save over £30k per year in their branch, to have one negotiator across 600 managed properties, to win instructions, and to sell properties with fewer viewings and less admin. They are the future of this industry, and the more agents that adopt virtual tours, the better the property market will be for all.

*Mark McCorrie is CEO and founder of Made Snappy

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