After many years of working in estate agency, it took just one experience as a client to fully appreciate what is needed most at the moment in time when a market appraisal is being carried out.
I had been an agent for some 20 years before moving into B2B sales selling IT solutions to hospitals. In this new role, I discovered the everyday use of visuals to ensure the consistent communication of key sales messages. While I found the use of slide presentations a little foreign initially, I quickly came to see the substantial benefits they offer. Prospects engaged far better both during and after meetings, and I found myself wondering why estate agency had not adopted the use of visual slide presentation to get sales messages across on market appraisals quickly and effectively.
Some years later, I was back in the estate agency environment, but this time on the suppliers’ side of the fence having set up a floor plan service called Metropix. During this time, I wanted to sell a property I owned twenty miles west of London along the M4 corridor. I invited the top three agents in the town to give me a valuation. I was comfortable paying up to 1.75% to the agent that was clearly the best and would get me the best price.
What happened next left me confused
Each appointment went much the same way starting with a general chat, followed by a look around the property and finishing with the valuers’ thoughts on price. Each had a Best Price Guide to give me, and one did not even have the pages stapled neatly together; it struck me as obvious that he had run out of the office late for the appointment. Funny how you remember these things.
After the completion of all three valuations, these were my lingering thoughts:
- No agent stood out. In fact, I was astonished that none of the agents tried harder to make it clear why I should instruct them over a competitor.
- I was left confused. Valuations varied by circa 10%. As an ex-agent I was better placed than most to understand the way things worked, yet I had no idea which assessment was most likely to be right. What I need was more information how each had arrived at their valuation figue, so I could make an informed decision about the right asking price.
- As time passed, I remember less about what each one had said. I considered going ahead with the highest valuation and the lowest fee (which I didn’t particularly appreciate when the public did it, yet here I was doing it now).
Since I had no clear basis for making a good decision, I called all the agents playing one against the other to get the best fee. I went into this willing to pay 1.75% and ended up with offers at 1%.
I know that no two agents are the same, but none of what I considered to be the top agents in this town did an adequate job in emphasising their competitive strengths and uniqueness.
As a result of this experience from a client perspective, it was clear to me that what valuers needed most was a better way to help differentiate themselves during and after a market appraisal. An improved method of communicating was required to deliver a consistent sales message, preferably using easy to follow visuals to paint a clear picture as to why clients should instruct their agency.
From these humble beginnings, Acaboom followed, and we have been innovating ever since.
Brian Farrell – Acaboom founder