Basking In Gold
We have won a gold award in the Property Academy Best Estate Agent Guide (BEAG) in association with Rightmove. This puts us in the top five percent of UK lettings and estate agencies. When the news came in, a colleague asked why I was staring at the ceiling. “Leave me alone. I am basking” came the reply. Exit a slightly confused co-worker. It is fair to say we are all absolutely thrilled.
The BEAG is unlike most industry awards where you spend a couple of grand on a table at the awards ceremony, travel and hotel for staffs and guess what? You win an award. Strange that nobody who applied but did not book a table ever wins anything?
The BEAG is different. Setup in 2008, the goal of the Property Academy was to help estate agency business owners run better businesses, to foster and share best practice and ultimately, to raise industry standards. So, winning a BEAG involves rather more that writing a fat cheque to event organisers.
For a start, agencies have no idea they are being considered for an award. Working with comprehensive data provided by Rightmove, the Property Academy analyses every aspect of the business available online and today, that’s about everything other than the agency favoured brand of coffee (Lavazza if that gets included in next year’s criteria).
Every single listing is tracked then results are quantified – how long is a listing live before the property is sold or let? This is a vital test as no landlord wants their property gathering dust, so days to sale or let are averaged. Listing performance makes up 70% of the agencies score and at this stage, Property Academy makes a ‘golfing cut’. The top 2,500 UK agencies go through to the next stage when things get really interesting.
Enter the Mystery Shopper. A professional mystery shopper makes one sale and one lettings enquiry via Rightmove. The response is measured against criteria that consumers have indicated trigger feelings of ‘like and trust’. The agency has no idea the enquiry is a test so, is unable to turn on the charm as they might at an interview for a different award.
Getting the gold plaque to stick in the shop window is lovely but, there is always room for improvement. The Rightmove account manager will provide detailed feedback to the agency, enabling them to plan improvements where needed and compare their business model with industry best practice. And to identify upcoming trends.
One emerging development is agencies becoming community hubs. While our core business remains sales and letting, our staffs have a wealth of knowledge about their patch. You want organic fruit and veg in Heaton? Our people know where to find it. Same with restaurants, pubs, brewhouses, gyms, yoga venues, origami classes and pretty well anything else our owners, landlords and tenants might wish to find out about.
At this point I should do a Hollywood awards speech mentioning anybody and everybody. But nobody wants that. Instead, I will state the obvious. I do not answer all phone calls or emails. I was first to get my hands on the award but to all our staffs, both customer facing and our building and maintenance crew, I say “Thanks”. I raise a Lavazza espresso to you all in salute.