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Estate Agents Can Survive the Downturn

by Alison Feemantle

The housing market is unsettled at best and among the victims of the current property climate are Estate Agents. In March, the Times newspaper revealed that 80 agents had closed their doors in February of this year due to low sales volumes and the increased costs of running their business in the first place.

That would tend to indicate a gloomy outlook for Estate Agents as a whole as we enter the second quarter of the year but  Richard Murray from Eurolink technology limited – a market leading consultant to agents in the UK believes that if businesses are pro-active, they can deal with the current situation and stave off the threat of closure.

“The screws are tightening and estate agents who can’t run a tight ship are sadly diminishing,” Richard Murray warned.

“We are often called in to estate agencies to find solutions to cutting costs and increasing productivity and we find that simple changes can make a huge difference.“

As they continue to provide assistance to help agents thrive in the current market, Eurolink have issued a list of top ten tips for an efficient and cost effective property business.

1. Automation: Streamline your processes, in particular, the repetitive manual ones which take up valuable time that is better spent on negotiating and closing deals.

2. Setup a solid IT infrastructure: Ensure your systems are functional, reliable and easy to navigate and that staff are well trained in using them.

3. Maintain a dependable IT support network: Use a reputable IT support provider to ensure consistently quick access to data and to prevent being caught out when systems go down.

4. Keep staff knowledge up to date: Provide regular training sessions and news updates for staff, advising them of new legislation changes, local events and your key point of difference from local competitors, and how these might affect business practice and your varied client base.

5. Customer Relationship Management: Ensure that your software application can deliver all of the relevant contact information for every individual client you deal with. Understanding who the person is and what they mean to your business will ensure that all potential opportunities can be explored.

6. Integration: Utilise one software system for both estate and lettings work. This allows for the cross sharing of customer data, reduced data storage and is cost effective (you only pay for one license, one technical support team etc.)

7. Familiarity: Implement a software system that is familiar to your staff, as a complicated and unfamiliar interface will make adoption difficult. A product like the Veco-onesystem™ which appears similar to Microsoft Outlook allows for easy navigation and will mean staff take less time to embrace the latest and most innovative technology.

8. Organisation of data: A complete software solution allows your business to free itself from the restraints of filing cabinets and storage units and is also environmentally friendly.

9. Streamline customer communications: Link your network phone system to your software solution to enhance customer communications by delivering a fast and knowledgeable service.

10. Security: Store data in a secure software storage facility. Information can still be easily accessed by authorised staff, and access can be monitored.

By following these tips, Eurolink are confident that any agency can thrive through the harshest of market conditions.

“Your offering needs to provide more for less – that is, less cost to you, the business and less cost to the customer,” Richard Murray added.

“Innovative technology can improve business decision-making and, ultimately, customer service, which is one of the benefits of IT advances of the last few decades.”

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One Response to “Estate Agents Can Survive the Downturn”

  1. It is interesting that even though the housing market is much stronger during 2013, 80 estate agents became insolvent during August 2013. I guess this is due to historic debts catching up and the increased competition from online estate agents

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