Agent Provocateur: Is this how independents should be working together?

Easter always takes two weeks out of the market, yet I’m somehow always surprised that it does.

I’ve been kept busy over the break by my daughter’s car packing up.

She’s young and hasn’t got a clue (neither has her twin brother) and she’s lucky she’s got me around who at least knows one end of a vehicle from the other.

But it does remind me of how many agents out there put themselves at a disadvantage by not having any idea of how the technical aspects of their business actually run and can often be significantly improved, let alone know what to do if it all goes wrong.

I’ve talked before how many tech companies hamstring themselves by not talking to agents before they try and sell their big idea, but the reverse works too.

With so many challenges to the estate agency sector, how does one work out what’s for you and what isn’t? The issue is exacerbated by the fact that the vast majority of agents are small companies and the average age of owners is, well, old enough to not know what a CTO is, let alone what they do.

Big companies, especially commercial ones, have cottoned on and now employ chief technical officers as a matter of course, giving them an edge and fighting chance of at least comparing apples with apples. They are often some of the busiest employees within these companies. This is true of finance and insurance companies – many of whom want to be ready for whatever is coming down the line.

I can’t help wondering if there’s significant value in smaller agents actually seeking to work together to get technical advice.

I know some do and have come across such co-operation in the Taunton area, central London, at The London Office and the Guild – there must be many more who could get together.

Taking advice from someone who understands how changes will interact with existing software, benefit future expansion/ changes and save money/ enable expansion will yield huge benefits even in the short term.

Co-operation amongst local competitors has often been a rare thing in our industry but perhaps the idea of taking a punt together whilst spreading the risk might actually make some pick up the phone.

I hope so – it’s the independents who need a CTO’s input now.

x

Email the story to a friend

3 Comments

  1. Trevor Mealham

    Very true. But place agents, and techs and legislators in the same room (and I have done) and you then need translation skills close to the translation systems in the United Nations.

    Agents should be collaborating (in non cartel ways), and when they do, great results happen away from what portals alone can achieve.

    There’s new tech happening all the time and some elements can be pulled over into agency. Key to agents collaborating is overcomig mindset and tech interoperability issues. In particular the RM schema is a great barrier to agents collaborating in that it works in a sole directional and not multi-directional way.

    Report
  2. VTUK

    We have recommended the services of freelance CTOs, with strong agency back grounds, such as @michaelhreed (ex Douglas & Gordon) and the feed back is that Clients won’t make technology decisions without this type of input in the future.

    Report
  3. Michael

    Ed, I couldn’t agree more and have been saying this for years.  There are so many agents who need to be thinking longer term especially on reducing the cost to sell/let and manage. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost and in the age of instant gratification is one many are too keen to ignore.

    Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment

Leave a Reply