With Richard Hinton, Pitsford Consulting Ltd.
Just how well do you know your market? Are you confident you know who you’re competing against and how well you’re doing in that competition? Which firms present threats and which present opportunities? Do you know the size of the market you’re competing for? Do you know the size of adjacent markets? How in fact do you define your market? Is it by value, by geography, by introducer? Where do your strengths lie relative to your competitors and if the grass truly is greener, just where is it?
Unhappily, the answers to these questions are becoming ever more varied and complex. Gone are the days when conveyancers always knew the firm on the other side and operated within a geography dictated by how far clients would travel to their office. Today the market has seen the rise of the direct conveyancing industry operating without any such constraints and the related emergence of the national online conveyancing offerings and panel managers who have proved themselves adept at capturing and placing conveyancing instructions.
Traditionally conveyancers have had to rely on intuition, hearsay and best guesses to answer these questions and inform their business and market planning. My personal theory is that because there’s a historical dearth of empirical data available to provide objective insight, conveyancers have tended to shy away from the whole question of planning – both for the business as a whole and its sales and marketing functions. Conveyancers are trained to minimise risk in everything they do and relying on unsubstantiated, subjective views is after all, inherently risky.
Increasingly however, forward thinking firms are starting to tackle the issue. Employing or retaining professional marketing staff represents a step change in a firm’s capabilities and the ability to project a firm and its proposition onto the consciousness of the market using traditional and modern media is to be welcomed. These same firms will be more diligent in collecting information and forming informed opinions around the market questions posed above. Where they are not confident of the answer they will either conduct their own research or uncover suitable data sources.
Certainly more and more data is becoming available that lifts the veil on just how a market is structured. The Land Registry for example publishes datasets on house prices, transaction volumes and conveyancer activity levels and new tools are emerging that refine this data and present it to conveyancers in a readily digestible format.
Being certain you know your market is the most important baseline component of a successful business plan and the execution of such a plan will normally be stronger because of the compelling logic that underpins it.
Richard Hinton from Pitsford Consulting will be presenting ‘Know Your Market’ at tmgroup’s upcoming unique conveyancing CPD ‘Because You’re Worth It’ in Birmingham on Wednesday 22nd June and in Bristol on Thursday 23rd June. It’s completely free to attend and lunch will be provided – book your free tickets now.
Richard Hinton has spent 25 years working in strategic and business development roles in the conveyancing industry, first with a 12 year stint as Business Development Director of Shoosmiths solicitors then as Head of Residential Property for LexisNexis Visualfiles and most recently as Head of Business Strategy for DIIG. He has owned and operated Pitsford Consulting for the last 3 years and is a founding member of the Conveyancing Association.