Video Didn’t Kill The Radio Star, And Rightmove Isn’t Killing Estate Agency

Ben Madden

Now, I don’t want to spark too much debate (honestly), but the existence of Rightmove is quite literally, your biggest opportunity to win.

For some, you’ve already read enough. You know what I’m about to make a mess of saying, and you’re hurriedly making your way to the comments section so you can hide behind an alias that’s nowhere near as clever as you think it is, to spew out some nonsense about the good old days… yawn….

Others might say I’m intentionally trying to wind agents up, but if I was doing that, it would be easier to say something like ‘you are achieving the fees you deserve’, and trigger warning two, I’d be right.

There’s little worse than a hypocritical excuse for under performance. I can think of one, however: an agent who has spent years working for a corporate (or an independent for that matter), who sets up on their own, be it a proper business or as a commission only ‘self-employed’ operator (just kidding, I couldn’t resist that), waxing lyrical about how awful their previous employer was and how underpaid they were for handling all the leads the brand provided, but is still very happy to have gained all that valuable experience and take with them a little black book (their iPhone) full of contacts, be you a Netflix star or selling homes for £90k somewhere north of Watford. Frightfully poor form. Yes, this is worse than blaming Rightmove for your current position.

So, why is Rightmove your biggest opportunity to win? Well, firstly, video didn’t kill the Radio Star, the Radio Stars inability to adapt to the times, desires of their target consumers, and ever evolving cultural landscape, meant they signed their own death warrant. That being said, many of us would argue the Radio Start is alive and kicking, and The Buggles thought process when they penned their classic, was a little out of touch with what was really happening. Some might say a little like those who thought the future of estate agency was an online service….you two who you are.

The most successful ‘Radio Stars’ (let’s just call them musicians for the rest of this piece, the reference is getting a jarring), understood the need to pivot and leverage the new technology that was about to take over the world. Think Madonna, think Michael Jackson, think Cyndi Lauper, they got it. They didn’t fight it, they used it.

Contrary to what I’ve just said, I’m not actually saying replicate what the most successful musicians of the 80’s did. I’m not saying Rightmove is the key to your success if you use it, I’m actually saying because of Rightmove, it’s really easy to stand out nowadays. If everyone is doing the same thing, the only difference is the price you charge – welcome to the race to the bottom. What can you do? Stop talking about Rightmove as the tool that sells the home and get back to articulating what you do that your competition don’t. How do YOU add value (urgh, sorry, sounding a little estate agency trainer there, genuine apology!)? What do you offer that others don’t? What results can you show that present you as the agent of choice for your target demographic? If your life depended on selling a home tomorrow and you didn’t have access to Rightmove, what might you do? Maybe the answer to that question is a good place to build from.

To be clear, at this moment in time, I am not an anti-Rightmover, the consumer believes in the product, and there’s no doubt that it makes their lives easier when searching for a home. Could Rightmove engage agents in a more positive way? Yes. Could Rightmove innovate more proactively? Yes. Could Rightmove handle their pricing strategy with more decorum? Yes. But I promise, I’m really not an anti-Rightmover.

Remember, in the eye of the consumer, when search for better, they aren’t searching for more of the same, they are searching for something different, so give it to them. You are the reason the consumer should work with you, and nothing is more important than your belief in that.

Ben Madden, 20-year estate agent, massive data geek, serious positive mindset enthusiast, and host of the Pass the Syrup podcast

Property industry reacts to Rightmove House Price Index

Daily news email from EYE

Enter your email below to receive the latest news each morning direct to your inbox.