How can I stand out from challenging competition online and locally?

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What makes your service different to everyone else right now?

This is the question asked by many home seekers. Staying ahead of the competition is key in business, so we've listed multiple ways which can help you stand out from your local and online competition.
All of these strategies can be implemented immediately, and you may find your own way of applying them to suit you and your business.

Some key outcomes of following this advice: 

  • An understanding of the methods you can employ to stand out from your competitors, which in turn can increase engagement and offer a more personalised experience
  • The ability to benchmark these strategies against your current strategies

This article includes: 

Video feedback (valuations and viewings)

Providing video feedback is a very modern narrative and has been excellent throughout the global pandemic. Many of us have had to adapt the way we work and how we work to suit flexible working arrangements.
The housing market hasn't escaped the changing landscape. Homes are selling faster than before and selling for higher prices than a year ago. Therefore, flexibility is key, and with recent working patterns/styles changing, not everyone is able to have a phone to hand immediately and be available for home visits.

Primarily, video feedback has been greatly used and received for viewings and valuations. Regardless of whether you've already spoken with the vendor to provide viewing and valuation feedback, it shows you're going the extra mile and offering a completely personalised service. It does take slightly more work to produce but the rewards are greater, as it could result in higher fees due to positive feedback and great reputation.
It's also worth bearing in mind that people work varied hours of the day and so those who aren't accessible by phone are great for video feedback. These people are ones that can watch the video at any point on the fly, or even during their break at work. 

For more information on Best Practice for video feedback, click here

Personalise everything

Personalisation is key to building a tailored experience. When you're using Zoopla reports such as the Comparables report builder, Listing performance report and the Property valuation report, you have a great opportunity to add a more personal touch.

The Comparables report builder is almost entirely customisable. We suggest you always add the new vendors name and address along with any notes, in addition to your details.
The same applies to the Property valuation report, as by using the vendors name alongside your notes and details, produces a highly professional report on brand that instils confidence. 
The Listing performance report can also be used to continue your personalised service as you can add additional Comments if required, as well as include your logo and portal Branding. If your customer has contacted you via Zoopla, continue the brand experience by selecting Zoopla as your portal branding.

All of the above are simple tweaks you can do, that take no time at all. They really do make a good impression, and have a big impact. 

For a home visit when you've left the property, or virtually after an appointment, the vendor will read through all of the supporting material you've left with them amongst your competitors supporting material. If you've included the vendors name, address and personal notes, and your competitors haven't, it'll be a clear indication that you've spent more time to come up with the right value for their home and have considered their circumstances and requests. The extra level of service should hopefully increase your chances for winning the instruction. 

For more information on Best Practice when using the Comparables report builder, click here
For more information on How can the Property valuation report benefit me, click here

Follow up

There's a lot of business to be won but on the flip side there is a lot of business to lose if you are not following up with your customers. Something very simple can lose thousands of pounds worth of fees.

When you're receiving valuation and viewing leads, call them back immediately. It highlights how proactive you are and hopefully you'll be the first agent contacting the lead so you'll have more time to build rapport with the customer. Remember though, when you receive a lead, on average the customer has been contacted from 5 estate agents so you want to be the first. If they don't answer on your first attempt, don't give up, keep trying!

Following up is important when you have already won the business, on your slow moving stock for example. This can be done when sending out listing performance reports for example. You're able to add in additional Comments to the report which can completely customise the report which shows the customer that you're very consistent and you'll be offering a good service from day one. 

Working with the vendor

Working with the vendor should continuously happen throughout the sales process. It can be perceived in many different ways, working with them to achieve the right price for the property and also managing their expectations as well. This could be great for slow moving stock when you need to work with them to gain price reductions.

It can be taken even further but it would depend on the style of property being sold. My role at Zoopla is to provide best practice tips and offer suggestions on what you could do to maximise your ROI from Zoopla. 
Looking back, there was a listing where a B&B was being sold, it had been on the market a while, and of course it's a unique property because an investor or someone who want's a B&B will be the ones looking to buy a property alike. On a listing like this, I raised the idea of creating a video with the vendor:

  • Use your contacts to your advantage! - A video post with the vendor in a Q&A style to discuss the pros & cons of the B&B and what life has been like owning one. Posts like these go down very well on social media
  • Build a picture for the purchaser and include some video shots of the B&B for sale
  • Link the property to the post - This might inspire someone to buy a B&B who hadn't originally thought of owning one. You could then use your PR department and marketing departments to boost the post. This could work well across all social media platforms, and may be worth thinking about with some of your slow moving stock 

Related articles:

Best practice for using Zoopla tools to promote your brand via social media

Using reports within All market activity

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