Estate agency suppliers to be grilled by agents at event organised by ex-CIELA pair

A conference is taking place in north London today that will discuss the issue of collaboration between software suppliers.

Most of the 70 attendees are industry suppliers who will be asked questions by, and hear the views of, agents on a panel.

They are Katie Griffin, former NAEA president; Iain McKenzie of the Guild of Property Professionals; Christopher Watkins; Kristjan Byfield; and Perry Power.

The conference is being organised by Charlie Wright whose own software company is BestAgent, and whose previous venture was aspiring trade body CIELA.

Wright said: “Agents are currently under-served by the proptech community, not because there aren’t great products out there, but because they don’t talk to each other.

“This means agents can’t currently get all the tools they need in one place. This translates into frustrating data-entry duplication, slowing down attempts to streamline their businesses.

“There are some first class products out there, which add real value for agents, but too many of them are still stand-alone and require a separate log-in.

“If CRMs and suppliers work together towards one single proptech standard, it would benefit everyone.”

His colleague Samantha Westlake, also instrumental in putting on today’s event, said that only industry suppliers had been invited to the conference.

Despite this, a number of agents had asked to attend and had been turned away because of lack of space.

She said: “The panel guests are agents who are known to represent the wider view of many agents, and will be trying to explain the view that much proptech is solving non-existent problems.”

BestAgent is free CRM software currently only available to single office agents. It makes its money from third party supplier products such as Yomdel and Viewber.

Both Westlake and Wright were previously involved in the failed launch of CIELA.

Westlake said that CIELA supporters had been shown BestAgent, because had CIELA succeeded, its members would have had exclusive availability to the product.

She said: “There was some indecision about whether to proceed with CIELA for a while, but the weakening of corporate agents, the struggles of the hybrid agents to become viable, and the successful lobbying for better laws by Propertymark were all contributing factors to the conclusion that an organisation such as CIELA was no longer necessary.

“In preparation for the possibility of a successful CIELA launch, suppliers were also consulted about their interest in working alongside CIELA and relationships were formed which have been inherited by BestAgent.

“In the end, it has made far more sense to take a completely open collaborative approach where all agents and all suppliers are welcome, and the out-dated protectionist practices by some in the industry might hopefully begin to fade away and allow better innovation.”

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  1. J1

    Cilla failed largely due to the manner in which they slated others rather than promoting their cause!

  2. Bless You

    Crm sit back and do nothing. Their reporting on figures is terrible and sales chasing tools are as bad.  be  good to have a comparison site to expose the lazy ones who know they have all our data . Big data etc no where to be seen even though they have years of data.

    Iam starting to think 80%, of our sales happen in first week of the month… spooky but where is the stats to prove it.


  3. AgentV

    The panel guests are agents who are known to represent the wider view of many agents.

    Who is that then?

  4. PeeBee

    This explains the DM I received on Tw@tter last night – at silly-o-clock I must add – from a panel member asking me

    “When it comes to all thing tech/PropTech what are your biggest 1-3 issues/problems/frustrations?”

    I hope my lack of response didn’t bu99er up what will no doubt have been stated as the “extensive research” that went into the debate…

    1. KByfield04

      PeeBee your joyous and positive outlook is, as always, excellent to behold. You could have mentioned me by name- my efforts (god forbid I should do something bad like work late) would be applauded by most rather than your attempt to ridicule me. I had some fantastic responses from an array of other agents I contacted at that time to go with my considerable knowledge and experience in this area. If, to date, the efforts of myself, Perry and Kate in particular to champion the great work of agents, give our industry a positive voice and hopefully empower them hasn’t been enough to convince you of our motives then I genuinely wonder what it is you want/expect from people like us. It was a great event and we all, including Iain and Chris Watkin, gave the suppliers in the room some rather candid but hopefully helpful advice on how to deliver products that agents genuinely want/need and to work alongside them/us to make them better and better as time goes on.

      1. PeeBee

        Mr Byfield.

        As discussed elsewhere, I was not attempting to ridicule you.  Had I have wished to do that I would have plastered your name all over the original post with a sense of smug satisfaction, no doubt.

        My post is as read.  I received a late DM – completely out of the blue – asking for some pretty specific responses to questions that, in my opinion, should have been asked well in advance of what appears to have been less than 12 hours before kick-off.  Furthermore, for some strange reason (known, obviously only to me and coming as a complete shock to your goodself) I seem to have caused offence by implying that this late request indicated the 5P Rule had been breached here.

        It should have been left there.  Some people might disagree with me – in which case I would listen to their reasoning; some might agree.

        But you have instead stuck your head above the parapet and ‘fessed up to being the culprit – and in the process of doing so have made some pretty bold comments which I would like to address.

        Sarcasm isn’t your strong point.  Neither has it ran well when adopted by any of the other CIELA funsters who have previously tried to rubbish my posts.  My outlook is what it is.  When “positive”, it flows with veritable exuberance.  Sadly, it doesn’t often get to exude wonderfulness as much of what I post about relates to matters I see as requiring a degree of sobriety, grounding and sometimes plain old truth-be-told.

        I have no doubt that you do have the considerable knowledge and experience in that particular area.  This is not under question and I will happily bow to your stated expertise in that area of our business.

        I do not think that I have in any way, shape or form questioned your personal motives nor efforts – nor do I wish to do so now – but please by all means prove me wrong and I will apologise if required.

        I am certain that your event went swimmingly.  Like-minded people in a room full of like-minded people – what could possibly go wrong.  You were preaching to the converted (or at very least those that nodded to give that impression).

        I don’t expect anything from “people like you”.  I do what I do; you do your thing.  Together or apart we aim to improve the industry.  Whilst I am more than happy to embrace change brought about by tech, I don’t see it as a ‘tech’ issue per se but as a people thing that is causing the ills in the world I inhabit – and I don’t see one cyber-pill for all ills.  You have a different view.

        Let’s see if our individual efforts bring about change.  I look forward to that, regardless of who or what causes it.

        Regards, Sir.


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