Browsing through the property industry news websites, stories are emerging of a significant downturn in property sales transactions of some of the leading estate agency brands. Post Autumn Statement and lettings agents are waking up to the reality of a consultation into banning letting agent fees is to be launched in the New Year. These articles remind us of previous years when our industry has suffered uncertain times, a reduction in business volumes and assaults on our business practices.
If a real slowdown is coming in the next year property management and estate agency companies of all sizes will have some difficult decisions to make such as their commitment to technology as a strategic tool for all their business objectives. Technology investment without planning could be the wrong thing to do especially when the market is slowing down.
It will be just as difficult for technology providers to persuade their property management and estate agency clients to invest in technology in order to overwhelm the property market downturn since when the property market slows down, it makes things harder. In every property management and estate agency organisation, technology is the second “high roller” in relation with expenses, after the payroll.
Therefore, in uncertain times, it is not surprising that technology projects are the hardest to defend.
Investing in technology is very important during these times due to the fact that a property market downturn is the perfect time to make an investment in technology. Leading proptech software services provider Eurolink helps many property management and estate agency companies make it through tough times by implementing their Veco™ property software to increase their efficiency. It will be wise for any property management or estate agency company that would like to overwhelm the downturn to invest in technology and software services during the recession for the following reasons:
· Streamline processes and build efficiency in your day to day operations: Landlords faced with increased costs and owners having to slash asking prices will start asking for fee reductions and you will need to find ways of minimising the work that is carried out on their behalf and in consequence, lower your costs. Your technology will be the solution. Using the correct technology and software services, you will be able to “do more with less” which corresponds to do more work within smaller time frames. This approach has two very important advantages. The first one is that you will be able to finish work on time and keep your existing landlords and owners happy, and the second is that you will be able to do more work within the same timeframe.
· Gain competitive advantage: It is very important to differentiate yourself from the competition, especially during a property market downturn, not only to get new clients but to keep your existing ones. While your competitors are minimising technology budgets, you can gain a competitive advantage using more technology that will allow you to attract more clients. Using technology and software you can create innovative products and services in order to get more market share. By using technology and software, you can stay ‘fighting fit’ and ready to emerge from a downturn running instead of walking. As a property manager or estate agent you need to be able to operate your property management or estate agency business at its peak when clients engage with you and also to be able to handle easier the additional clients that you will gain.
· Attract new business: Your clients are online, so start building relationships with them while they are glued to their computer screens, mobiles and tablets. With the rise of social media, connecting with your clients through these mediums makes sense. Your staff can focus their efforts on building social profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Although connecting with your clients and building communities takes more effort and time than typical social media acquisition strategies the majority of your clients will have active profiles on at least one of these web sites and social media provides a venue for the one-to-one connections that create unbreakable bonds.
· Invest in the future: When a property market downturn hits, business gets slow. However, this is the right time to plan and implement technology and software infrastructure improvements that will help you to hit the ground when the market returns. For many estate agencies property management can be the lifeline during difficult times and so now is the time to consider your options for implementing a property management offering. However, make sure that you invest in the right technology and software service in order to avoid spending that will not help your business.
Nigel Poole, Managing Director of Eurolink says: “In uncertain times, investment in technology and software raises the value of every property management and estate agency business because it lets you do more with less, you gain a competitive advantage and customer loyalty, you can attract new business and it is the right time to invest in the future. Therefore, it’s not just about spending on technology and software. It’s about using technology and software to power innovation and your survival in the coming years.”