Property experts give their top tips on how to win in a volatile property market
““Let's value the work that we do, let's price it appropriately and move away from this notion of no completion, no fee.””
A major industry report, ‘Back to the Future’ explored the challenges faced by property professionals in what has become a volatile market, compounded by a rapid acceleration in the cost of living and rise in interest rates, that has left many in the industry feeling exasperated.
The property industry discussion series, tm:tv, recently invited a panel of leading experts to offer their top practical tops on how businesses can navigate and overcome these particular challenges highlighted in the research report, conducted by tmgroup, Conveyancing Data Services and mio.
So, what were tm:tv’s panel of property industry experts’ top tips for success in a volatile property market? Let’s take a closer look.
Pay special attention to your leads
Panelists encouraged property professionals to follow-up on every lead promptly, in a way that satisfies both your customers’ and your business’ needs. How you deliver lead management gives you the chance to outline your business USPs and show how you are best placed to assist the customer with their property transaction, at the right price.
Data is a key part of this approach, as in-depth analysis, as well as obtaining regular customer feedback, will drive business decisions as to the best course of action for lead management in your business. It also informs you as to where your business is coming from and your conversion rates, so you understand where and why you’re winning business, as well as losing it.
Will Coulter, Managing Director at Thomas Legal, explained, “It is much easier to understand and to affect the conversion of work that is already coming across your door than it is to go out and try and win new streams of work. So, get into the detail of the sales process and the conversion of leads that are coming into the business, but then marry that with external data sources as well, while understanding what the market is doing at the same time.”
Emma Phillips, Senior Legal Operations Manager at Foot Anstey added, “Our potential customers access a lawyer from the outset to give them the right advice, at the right time and at a price that works in the right way too. It’s also crucial that lawyers, estate agents, brokers and everyone else within the transaction work really well together.”
Decide your pricing approach
Think about what value-adds your business provides and place value in the important work your business contributes to the overall property transaction. The panel encouraged businesses to try to resist a race to the bottom on price, and instead show customers why the fee they pay is representative of the service quality they will receive.
Will Coulter commented, “Let’s value the work that we do, let’s price it appropriately and move away from this notion of no completion, no fee.”
Assess your income streams
As well as assessing how you will win new business, this is a good time to review your business costs. Understand your direct debits and what those suppliers deliver to your business. Can you work better with suppliers to maximise the potential of your supplier arrangements and make your running costs work more efficiently for you?
Some businesses may also explore acquisitions at times of market volatility, which can deliver economies of scale and greater long-term business security, as Lucy Noonan, Founder of Atomic Consultancy explained, “Acquisitions can speed up the growth of your business and help you take out a competitor in the local market.”
Focus on quality service delivery
It pays for businesses to understand the types of cases they are taking on and how they distribute that workload among staff. Allocating the appropriate resources for each case leads to better outcomes for customers, while preventing staff burn-out and reducing churn. When staff are empowered to provide a quality service, they can add-value while feeling valued as an employee.
The right technology can also play an integral role in the delivery of your service and ease of customer engagement. For instance, property professionals can enrich the customer experience through use of technology, without compromising personal contact and tailored approach.
Will Coulter commented, “I’m all for utilising technology to solve problems, but not at the expense of that tailored client experience and that interaction and clear communication that we need to have with our clients, our introducers, our agent partners and with our broker partners.”
Understand your target market, their wants and needs
Our experts recommended businesses put customers at the centre of your planning; to know who they are and understand and deliver what they want. Businesses must equip staff with the correct knowledge and skills to successfully deliver on their transactions.
Kirsty Franks, Marketing Director at Kirsty Franks Marketing, said, “Being crystal clear about your target market – making sure you’re messaging and activity is always relevant to that group of people – will really have a massive positive impact on the success of your marketing. Make plans that respond to customers needs and pain points, in order that you can talk to them about things that matter most to them, and execute your messages in the right way and at the right time.”
Digital solutions now allow business activity to function more expediently and swiftly than before the pandemic. Giving clients instant access to real-time data in the form of digital apps or portals can help businesses keep up with these shifting customer expectations for service delivery.
Emma Phillips added how customer feedback plays an important role in understanding customer needs, “We regularly review feedback from clients from a quality perspective as it’s vitally important we know exactly what our clients think and what they need from us. If we haven’t done what we’ve needed to do, we mitigate that and sure that we are doing the right thing next time around.”
Built trust and your business reputation
Volatile market conditions make people anxious and nervous, which makes the need to find a credible professional they can really trust and rely on more important than ever. Think about what more your business can do to elevate the sense of trust in your service. That may include more ‘show and tell’ about your success stories, the expertise of your staff, or the extra effort you go to or tools you adopt from the outset, to demonstrate your superior knowledge and professionalism.
Nathan Emerson, CEO of PropertyMark, supported the idea of providing customers stability in a volatile environment, commenting, “When people are uncertain at different times, they will always take the safer option. If you can provide that stability – that people know whatever happens you’re going to be there as a trusted partner to take the shoulder of responsibility – people will migrate to you.”
Look after staff morale
The ‘Back to the Future’ report revealed that while there’s much talk in the property industry about staff wellbeing and morale but many professionals are yet to see meaningful initiatives in their workplace. Yet when times are tough, people on the front line in particular can be pushed to their limits and easily demoralized as a result. Staff who are heavily reliant on commission packages may now be seeing their incomes fall, leading to weaker staff attrition too. Find ways to keep your staff motivated and feeling valued, with acts of appreciation and kindness, to keep staff morale high even when the chips are down.
Lucy Noonan suggested a simple way to boost staff morale without breaking the bank, “It’s brilliant that you can actually give £50 per month to each employee which doesn’t actually affect your PAYE tax. It can’t be given as a monetary thing and way of a reward or an incentive, but actually it’s a great way of saying ‘I really appreciate you and keep going.’”
Watch the full tm:tv episode and more
You can watch the full tm:tv episode “Top 3 Tips: How to win in a volatile property market” here. You can also register your free place at tm:tv’s upcoming online webinars, including “Top 3 tips: How to stop the blame game” on 6th June and “Top 3 Tips: How to drive material change” on 11th July.