Expanding: presence first, branch second
Moving into new areas can prove tricky for agents who aren’t ready to open a branch in unchartered territories - but there are quick ways to gain ground, as Viewber discusses.
Once upon a time, if an agent wanted to break into a new area, they’d start by finding vacant premises, open a new branch and try to put as many boards up as possible. It was a sure-fire way to let the community know they’d arrived, especially pre-internet.
In 2000 Rightmove burst onto the scene, allowing agents to reach an infinite and unrestricted audience without relying on staff having a physical presence in a new area. To this day, the property portal – together with its rivals and a more digitized transaction process – has revolutionised how and, more crucially where, agents buy and sell property.
Gaining presence in a new neighbourhood without opening a branch is now highly achievable for agents - you only have to look at online and hybrid agents’ business models to see this. Targeted e-marketing and social media activity can lead to new instructions in untried postcodes. Once this starts, the snowball effect kicks in and boards start popping up all over the place. This success, however, has also brought the need for new solutions.
Branches can be expensive to open and maintain, so agents may need to drum up income-winning business in a new area first and open a branch second. It’s a waiting game to see if the new area is a financially viable option before investing in a physical office. As a result, a grey area can easily develop – it’s a spot somewhere between being an unknown agent in a new catchment and being an established agency with a full quota of staff.
Chinks in the armour tend to emerge once instructions are won and home movers require more hand holding. If there isn’t a local branch staffed with local property experts, customer support can become patchy and perhaps feel less genuine.
As Vince Courtney, Sales Director at Andrews Property Group noted when writing for estateagenttoday.co.uk recently, there is ‘nothing quite like chatting in person, especially in our service led industry.’
We like to think Viewber is a great transitional support service for agents branching out (excuse the pun!) into new territories. Our Viewbers are local, vetted and trained and can be booked seven days a week to accompany viewings and open houses or do inspections. As they will live close to the property they are assigned to, a Viewber will offer the same level (or dare we say it, a better level) of local knowledge and insights as a member of branch staff. Research shows that Viewbers also get offers at the same rate as permanent staff.
As a service provider, Viewber offers nationwide coverage, so there is no geographical barrier holding you back. Start marketing your agency where chimneypot density beckons, new developments are being built, where regeneration is happening, where values are rising quickest or you preceive there is a real lack of quality estate agents. A branch can follow but in the first instance, Viewber will help you build local presence and reputation.
Our Viewbers are available now to help ground your agency in a next postcode, village, town or city. Want to know more? Let’s chat today.