4 initiatives to escape from oblivion
I believe that half of the traditional real estate agencies will close their doors in the next 10 years. I know it sounds apocalyptic, but if they fail to adapt, probably many will disappear.
The swift to online property search is already a fact in many markets, and eventually it will be everywhere else. New digital savvy players are arising with a strong will to take over, while the business model is evolving as well.
In the meantime, many traditional agencies have barely embraced digital transformation, and publishing in property portals is almost the only digital strategy. Not good enough. So what can they do to survive? I don’t have the certain answer, but let me try to give ideas:
1. Excel in customer service
Adopting a customer centric strategy it’s been crucial for the disruption that we’ve seen in other industries with Uber or Airbnb. It’s not just about technical innovation. So everyone should try to give an outstanding level of service on every contact point with clients.
One of the reasons why people might want to avoid dealing with traditional real estate agencies is because of the historical shady reputation of some real estate brokers. Train and encourage your agents to be real consultants.
2. Diversify lead sources
Property portals are a good way to generate leads, but is not healthy to entirely rely on them to generate leads. If you are a middle or big size brokerage, I would recommend to invest in your own website for lead generation.
Marketing on search engines is the main way to attract property buyers. Competing there with portals is very difficult, but in many cases there is enough space to scratch traffic and generate leads. So work the SEO, CRO, UX, think mobile first and so on.
Also don’t hesitate to use paid channels: Google Ads, social ads, native networks, affiliates, email marketing, … Many options are available. Track everything properly so you know the real impact of your investment and as always, do everything with ROI in mind.
3. Leverage social media
Social media works to generate business in real estate and it will continue growing in importance in the next years. So take good care of your presence in the different networks, try to build real relations and be creative instead of just pushing properties.
I would strongly recommend to support and train your agents to be active in social media. We can already see agents doing a big effort to build their personal brand and making business out of it. Encourage it for their and your own sake.
4. Consider opening new business lines
Use your industry expertise to compete is the new era of real estate services. For example, Airbnb Management is becoming a huge business, while if you are already doing traditional property management, shouldn’t be so difficult to get into it.
Are you currently into commercial real estate? The co-working space business is growing a lot with WeWork as the head of the spear. Consider making a turn towards that.
In the upcoming years, most likely property portals won’t be just portals anymore, we will have hybrid agencies (half brokerage half portal), non-commission players will be more common and the co-working and co-living business will continue.
Things are changing and very exciting times are coming for proptech professionals. But like in every other industry, traditional players will need to adapt to survive.