Patrick Rampton Director of Rampton Baseley considers his agency’s distinctive approach to selling ‘homes’.
I’m often asked about the secret of our success (RB sold almost 40% of all houses between the commons in 2018 – our nearest competitor,14% according to Rightmove). The answer is both simple and complicated.
Simple when you take the view that your client’s (seller’s) needs always come first. Complicated when you understand that, like most markets, the internet is both driving an increase in the number of competitors, and commensurately, a ‘race to the bottom’.
In agency you can get ostensibly the same product (ie someone to sell or let your property) pretty much anywhere you like; however, it is the service you receive and therefore the price you achieve that will vary enormously. A good agent will make the process – well I won’t say fun – perhaps pain-free is better – and he or she should get you considerably more money. Why, I hear you clamour? Because they will put your needs before their own. That is the bottom-line, the be-all and end-all of estate agency. The sine qua non. Once that principle is set firmly as the foundation stone for the business, the rest follows.
Once you become known for being knowledgeable, for offering exceptional service, and for operating with the utmost integrity, it makes competing with the agents who have borrowed the ‘e-bay’ business model relatively straightforward.
Because reputation is everything.
We are not selling “stuff”.
We are not even selling “houses”.
We are selling “homes” – almost always someone’s most financially valuable possession, and almost always their most emotionally valuable possession.
We prefer the Christie’s or Sotheby’s business model to that of e-bay; ie one where clients talk to informed and passionate experts. Experts who really know their shit. They know the market, they know the buying public, and just as importantly, the buying public knows them. And trusts them. Trusts them not to sell tat. Precisely because they have their reputation to preserve and build. They are in it for the long-term. And so the client comes back again and again. This is the secret to our success.
Meanwhile, the commodified internet agencies and their desperate bricks and mortar competitors are chasing short-term business by positioning themselves as ‘the cheapest’. But pause a moment. Ponder awhile the word “cheap”…
How do you do “cheap” agency?
Well what’s an agency’s biggest cost? It’s our people. The second biggest? The offices to house those people. Our model demands that we attract (and keep) the very best people. The very best people command the very best salaries. Simply put, our competitors don’t – spend the money that is, or therefore have the best people. Their business model – by definition does not allow for it.
Remember Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers, the story of success” (why do American books always have a title and a sub-title?). It’s known for suggesting that to be exceptional in the field you choose, you need to have invested at least 10,000 hours. I’ve probably done 35,000 hours, and not one of our front-line team has done less than 10,000. Moreover, they’ve done most of their hours with us.
Last year was our best year ever. Nonsense, during the Brexit hoo-ha? Yes, because when times are tough, people will pay just that little bit more to employ a 10,000 hour expert. And this Spring is so far better than last.
The thing that has given me most pride is that we have never lost a member of staff to a rival agency. In eleven years: not a single one. I can therefore claim, with some confidence, that we have the best people in the business. People who share the Rampton Baseley DNA where the dominant gene is exceptional service.