Want to find inspirational examples of disruption in business? While everyone else is swotting up on Tesla, Uber and Airbnb you could be learning just as much by looking MUCH closer to home. Don’t believe us? We’ve found an example of a local estate agent quietly turning the market in his area on its head.
And when we say ‘we found’ it, a member of the Creative Media team selling their house was urged by friends to choose this fast-growing business to find a buyer. And we mean urged. The first sign of a company doing things their own way? Word of mouth chatter from customers who’ve noticed that something different is happening.
And what a market to disrupt: frustrated, anxious sellers facing a stressful time and constantly up against ‘the way things are done’.
Enter Colin Graham Residential: a Northern Ireland estate agent mostly covering the Newtownabbey and North Belfast areas. And doing so in style.
What makes the business different? Let’s walk through it.
Better Brand, Better Processes and Better Service – A Powerful Combination
From the outside looking in, the estate agent appears to have stripped back three essential factors: how the business is seen, how it works behind the scenes and the service sellers receive.
Let’s take the seller’s customer experience, as witnessed by our colleague, one by one:
-“How did you hear about us?”: That word of mouth, from other happy customers now settled in their new home, starts the process of becoming a customer on the best possible footing. The company’s brand and superb ‘We Sell Houses’ tagline being seen repeated in the area – on sold houses, on sponsored taxis and advertising signage – will have also laid the foundations for becoming a new client.
-“How about today?”: Our colleague phoned the estate agent to ask when a valuation could be done. Their answer? Not just “let’s do it today” but “want your ‘for sale’ board up today as well?’.
-“I’m going to move things around”: The estate agent, meaning the ‘name above the shop’ and not a staff member, spent two hours taking stunning photos. Dressing rooms, arranging furniture and getting the right light means showing the property at its best. The description of the house also dispensed with the traditional, formulaic approach to promote every positive aspect with enthusiasm and imagination.
-“You’re going to be busy…starting now”: When would the property go online? “Tonight”. Did they think it would get many viewers? “Dozens”. And they were right: 27 couples crossed the threshold within the week. How? Thanks to the estate agent’s extremely active Facebook page. Meanwhile the seller is helped along with an emailed daily timetable of viewers. This means viewers are slotted into the householder’s stated available times instead of multiple phone calls being made.
-“This won’t take long”: By the end of the week, offers were flooding in. The estate agent’s negotiator again avoiding constant phone calls by negotiating to an agreed target and phoning with a daily update. An extremely fair price with a buyer was quickly agreed. And we mean quickly.
-“Is there anything else we can help you with?”: A twist to the tale? Creative Media’s colleague selling a property went on not just also buy a house from Colin Graham but view, bid and sale agree on the property within two days.
Let’s re-run the whole experience looking at the three things the business is doing its own way:
-Better brand: A strong brand with a clear USP prepares new customers for the positive experience they can expect. ‘We Sell Houses’ foreshadows an emphasis on simply focussing every possible opportunity on getting deals done.
-Better processes: A quicker, slicker way of doing things, matched with superb promotion of a property through its photography and to an engaged Facebook audience, means more buyer interest and a faster, higher-volume approach to bringing in viewers and driving offers.
-Better service: We’re told there was no “she’ll call you back” or waiting by the phone, simply a professional, instant and focussed service each and every time.
The Moral of the Story: Keep the Main Thing The Main Thing
The Colin Graham Residential ethos? If you want to sell houses…then sell houses. Make your brand, your way of doing things and your customer service about turning ‘for sale’ signs into ‘sold’ signs.
Incredibly, disruption can be achieved by simply keeping a laser-like focus on what’s important while others are bunkered down in traditional thinking and habit.
To find examples of disruptive companies in your own community simply watch for:
• Companies who are growing quickly
• Companies doing things differently
• Companies out to change their industry
Ultimately, Colin Graham Residential makes a difficult time a little quicker and a little easier for customers. And they make it clear in their brand, processes and service that this is what the company is all about. Simple.
Could they make any improvements? We asked our colleague and he had one suggestion: “yes, fix the conveyancing industry next…”.
Now THAT would be disruptive.