Posted by: housingdabble | December 9, 2010

Estate Agents – Would you like your phones to ring more?

Most of the estate agents I speak to at the moment are not only concerned about the lack of foot traffic to their offices but the increasing number of house hunters that don’t even pick up the phone to speak to them. The recent Home Moving Trends survey showed that less than a quarter of home movers see applicant lists as being an effective way to find a home, with by far the majority repeatedly using the Portals and estate agency web sites to conduct their own searches.

But you want them to register on your mailing list, right?

You want to be able to talk to them as much as possible, particularly in the run up to them putting their own house on the market, right?

One idea I’ve seen recently to get the phones ringing is from Wilkinson Grant estate agents in Exeter who operate a confidential property register. It is marketed as

A discrete marketing service…

…designed exclusively for sellers who would rather keep their property matters private.
Giving you access to serious buyers who are ready, willing and able to perform – without letting everybody else know about it…

Clever marketing and good execution in my opinion, but what are the results?

Well, Roger Wilkinson told me that it acheives two outcomes for them


New vendors like the service and those that have been on the market but are concerned about over exposure to the market have switched over to it rather than taking the property off the market. They have also been able to win other competing agents listings on the same basis.


We all want something we can’t get our hands on or that seems exclusive. They have seen an increase in calls to their office and people are requesting information on properties that might meet their needs from the confidential list. In order to get these details they obviously need to register first and this opens the door to further discussions.


I’m sure you will agree it is a very clever idea and one that can be used further in terms of advertising etc. Here is an example of another agent doing something similar with a specific listing on their web site and again it has the aim of getting the phone to ring. If you are a serious buyer I expect you’d want to know more…




  1. Hi Ben,

    I agree there’s potential in this, certainly at the higher end. A couple of our customers run what they term ‘low key’ marketing. These days, it’s all too easy for properties that don’t shift quick to go stale after all..


    • There are agents run something similar and so I thinks it goes beyond the idea to how well it’s executed.

      Thanks for the comment Martin.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ben Harris, James Coyne. James Coyne said: RT @housingdabble: blog post – Estate Agents: Would you like your phones to ring more? < Think outside the office box! […]

  3. Worth considering priority release of new instructions via social media, window display and newsletters prior to releasing to Rmove etc. We release to Facebook, Twitter and blog first, then window and 2 days later to Rmove. There is an argument to say best price only achieved by widest marketing but buyers really do seem to appreciate being given first dibs and give us a degree of loyalty back

    • Interesting idea Carey, and it’s clearly working for you. How do your vendors respond to this strategy?

  4. Hi Ben,

    This kind of service works very well. I was doing this some 12 years ago or so when I was still an agent. I got some excellent results from some very satisfied vendors! It was also kind of exciting to pull one of these sales off – like selling a house with one hand tied behind your back!

    One of the essential things to bear in mind though is to keep in VERY close contact with your vendor throughout.

    It is all too easy to think that they don’t want to move with any urgency because of the way they have chosen to market their property. Just as you lull yourself into thinking that way they phone you and tell you they’ve now found a property to buy and it’s full speed ahead – put the house fully on the market! It takes you by surprise!

    Keep in regular contact with them, ideally weekly, like you do with your ‘normal service’ vendors. Don’t forget about them because their property isn’t in your window or in your newspaper ads/portals.

    Just because you are offering their property ‘under the counter’, shouldn’t mean they are ‘out of sight, out of mind’!


    Eric Woodhams FNAEA
    National Homes Network & Consortia Marketing Ltd

    • Amazing how these old ideas come back round isn’t it Eric. Thanks for the comment

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