Behind the Business with Alex Neil
Bdaily goes behind the business with David Hatch, Director of London-based independent estate agency, Alex Neil Estate Agents.
What does your organisation do?
Alex Neil is a market leading independent estate agency with a strong London and online offering covering an expanding physical area.
What key challenges has your company recently faced?
- Reshaping – the industry has changed dramatically over recent years and we are reshaping so that we stay ahead of the chasing pack. Our progressive transformation will see us become a hybrid agent integrating the best elements of traditional and online estate agency into one model. We are adding more interactivity to our online offering, an instant valuation tool whilst delivering a first class personal service to our clients.
- Fee levels – estate agency has always been competitive and service vs fees is an ongoing battle. The newer online only agents are racing themselves to the bottom with very low fees, no physical presence and main reliance on click business. We are approaching our evolution with a different mission statement and we will continue to offer our improved service for very competitive rates.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
There have been so many it’s difficult to focus on just one, we’ve invested heavily in our online strategy and elements of this are invisible to the naked eye. Some technology works so subtly but it produces results and our sales performance in all disciplines is up 39% compared to the same period last year. I’m very proud of my team’s combined efforts and seamlessly integrating technology into their toolboxes has been a real achievement for the business too.
What is your most important focus for the coming year, and what do you hope to achieve?
Our main focus is sustaining our growth and developing our hybrid service offering. Brexit is a topical current news item and we are resolute that even though there will be uncertainty during the negotiations, change is often something to be welcomed. Business wise, our commitment to offering great service whilst facilitating people moving home will never change. We always remain positive and upbeat and our transformation over the coming months will ensure we achieve our targeted market share increase.
What excites you most about your industry and business?
It’s difficult avoiding a cliché reply here but the estate agency industry is an ever changing one and its exciting being involved within it. When I factor that with the progressive increase of online and technology into our services it definitely keeps the excitement levels rising. Even though I’m no longer customer facing, I still have opportunity to see some fabulous property most often digitally now and I work with and meet great people.
What do you wish you’d known when starting out?
Like many entrepreneurs, I thought I knew everything on day one but learning is a constant process and you can never have enough knowledge. Changes should also be welcomed, make your decision and follow through because it’s the way you adapt to changes that determines the level of success.
What will be the “next big thing“ in your industry, and how do you plan to handle it?
A great question to end on and I wouldn’t want to give all our secrets away, however I’m confident that Alex Neil have a very big part to play in the hybrid estate agency era.
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