Benefits of The Hybrid Model
The above list makes it clear that technology alone will not create a successful agency. Consumers still want a human touch, and buying a home is one of the more stressful events in a person’s life. The speed and convenience of the internet has pushed Purplebricks to the forefront of people’s minds, but even they recognize the need for a physical presence. As a result, they have ramped up their hiring of local property experts to address this concern. As we’ve mentioned before ‘The Year Ahead’, once a disruptor enters a market, they almost always have to adapt their model.
Traditional brick-and-mortar agencies, strangely, find themselves in a unique position. They already have a physical location. They already are local experts. And they are, therefore, already more personal than purely online agencies. This means that it is less problematic for them to adapt to the changing model than it is for an online agency to become local. Getting software, in other words, is easier than setting up shop in a community. So how does technology benefit an agency, specifically, and how would one go about it? To answer these questions, let’s first look at the benefits.
- Automated tasks free up agents to focus on customer service
- Take advantage of 24/7 availability via the internet
- More opportunities for extracting maximum value
- Increase speed and flexibility
As an exercise, let’s examine the old model versus the newer, tech-based model to see how the different approaches would handle the same situation. In the past, for example, if an agent wanted to create a brochure for a specific property, they would tour the site with the seller while taking notes and photographs. Once that was completed, they would have to return to their office, sit down and start typing, editing photos and so forth. They would then have to get approval from the seller before then sending it off to be printed.
Now imagine the agent of the future who shows up to the meeting with an iPad. During the tour, they take photos and instantly incorporate those photos into a template, complete with text and information the seller wishes to advertise. At the end of the meeting, they can show the seller their customised brochure and have it approved or amended right on the spot. The agent could then email that brochure to a list of buyers in their database who are looking for such a property. All of this happens before the outdated agent even sits down at their desk.
That same database would also contain information on removals companies, conveyancing, insurance brokers, lawyers and more, allowing the agent to make introductions between the best possible matches and extract more value from a single sale than they may have before. This also might help them address the concern over excessive fees, as even a slight drop in those fees might attract new customers, leaving them better off overall as a result.