Agent Provocateur: Will independents at last have a united voice?

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of activity directed at independent agents.

We’ve seen Graham Lock’s Federation of Independent Agents, the indefatigable Iain White driving The Innovation Collaboration Group, Charlie Wright’s Best Agent and now Simon Whale has floated his Kerfuffle boat.

All these guys are putting some hard work into good business ideas that’ll benefit the majority of agents – the independents – by driving down suppliers’ prices using group buying power.

There are differences in the way independents run their businesses compared with corporates.

Corporates have always enjoyed the ability to be first in the queue for Rightmove shares, a cheap trial on the latest proptech or a bulk-buying discount.

Many go on to invest in such suppliers to reap further rewards down the line.

Businesses used by the corporates tended to find favour elsewhere too as benefits trickle down.

Countrywide’s figures suggest that for every £1 from agency they make over 40p in referrals. They ARE much better at selling services to buyers.

For the rest, and I was part of that majority for years, it was tough working out which supplier to use.

Given the way agencies work, expecting your local competition to tell you what they’re doing was inviting polite misdirection – at best.

As an example, one result has been a plethora of competing CRM systems making advances in technology – that would ultimately benefit the consumer – even more difficult to manifest.

As a result most independents rely on pure agency services for the bottom line with referrals a welcome but small addition.

Finding and using best-in-class solutions could enable service oriented independent agents to introduce the buying and selling public to some serious and interesting tech that’ll make their journey easier.

Two simple examples.

First, why wouldn’t everyone want to communicate with others in a transaction when they want?

That’s what OneDome do.

Secondly, why wouldn’t buyers want to find out everything about a specific address before going to look?

This is what Sprift do.

These are things that buyers and sellers will love and give agents more time to provide the thing they do best – personal attention.

It seems to me that the FIA, ICG, BA and Kerfuffle are tailor-made to help agents do just that, and I look forward to supporting them all.

Who knows, if independents could even somehow agree that we’d like a united voice, maybe these outfits are also a first step towards a more productive future for those agents who put the consumer at the centre of their journey.

* Ed Mead is co-founder of outsourced viewings business Viewber

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3 Comments

  1. AgentV

    Anyone up for a new type of prop tech development as part of Collective Marketing designed to win new business?

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  2. smile please

    Ironic we now have leeches, leeching off leeches!

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  3. Chris Munroe

    Interesting piece – thanks. There certainly feels like there’s a change coming in favour of the well run value add focused independents, who, with the use of leading PropTech solutions like OneDome, Sprift & Kerfuffle, as mentioned in the article, can be more agile than the larger “vanilla” networks. The successful ones will win by using the technology and data insights from these leading solutions to provide the bespoke and tailored services current and future buyers and sellers demand.

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