Property portals all around the world love to brag about the number of leads they send their agent customers, but what is less easy to convey to shareholders is the quality of those leads and whether or not they result in transactions. We spoke to Lou Quinn, co-founder of UK based lead-conversion company homehere to see how his company helps agents to better manage the leads that the major portals send them and turn them into sales.
What is the problem that homehere.co solves?
I’ve been a negotiator at a busy estate agency for the past 6 years - part of my role is picking up and processing the portal and website leads. I hated doing them! Arriving each morning to a mailbox full of enquiries, I had no qualification information on the people making the enquiry. Were they even suitable for the property? Phone calls would often go unanswered, email conversations, become protracted. Homehere solves this by instantly engaging every enquiry from the portals and your website, creating a strong call to action any time of day.
What is homehere’s USP?
If you were to make an inquiry now via one of the portals, you’d have no idea how many other people were interested in that property.
It’s such a wasted opportunity - homehere’s digital front of house not only engages every enquiry you receive, any time of the day, but also creates urgency from the very first touchpoint, letting the enquirer know that there are other people interested in the property and encouraging them to take action. Creating ‘fear of missing out’ is ubiquitous in other industries because it works.
What is homehere’s biggest challenge?
Understandably, clients are wed to the way they currently do things so I’d say adoption is often the biggest hurdle.
How many employees does homehere have?
4 (although all 10xr’s though so equivalent to 8!)
How has COVID-19 changed the landscape for homehere?
There’s obviously plenty of conversation around at the moment about working from home. I personally don’t like the idea of working from home on a permanent basis as I'd miss the camaraderie you develop in a good team, but I am looking forward to seeing the back of people being chained to their desks with a landline!
One of our customers uses homehere to schedule viewing times on a Friday, heads off surfing for the weekend, then arrives Monday to a diary full of qualified appointments automatically booked in. Hands-free efficiency! I think homehere is perfectly placed to help what I'm hearing being described as ‘agile agents’.
What is one thing our readers might not know about but would probably find interesting about the world of portal lead management?
Just how many leads from the portals are ignored! It’s really quite shocking. Part of our digital front of house experience encourages enquirers to complete a qualification survey which finds out information like whether they have a house to sell or if they recommend their current landlord. Last year while testing we decided to add the question - ‘have you been ignored by other estate agents when making an enquiry?’ and 67% of people who answered said yes!
Does homehere work with the portals or have any direct relationship with them?
Homehere works with Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and now with agents own websites as well. It’s interesting to see how the quality of leads from portal to portal and the actual cost per lead varies.
What is homehere currently working on?
We’re currently busy building version two of the product based on feedback and testing over the past six months with lots of new features. One of them allows agents to use homehere as a valuation tool, creating the conversation around the digital front of house when I’m valuing properties. The number of vendors and landlords who have been shocked to learn that so many leads for their property could be ignored has definitely helped me win instructions as it’s something I know other agents aren’t talking about. It’s creating a clear differentiator between me and the competition.
What is the most common request from clients?
We’ve had a lot of requests to integrate with their own websites which we can now do. I think people will be surprised to see how many enquiries they can get from their website in comparison to the portals. Much cheaper cost per lead too!
How do you see the market evolving and what will you be doing to be ahead of the curve?
I think covid has accelerated the natural evolution of things in respect of how people buy and rent properties. As a negotiator myself, pre-covid - people agreeing to rent a property without physically visiting it was rare. During Covid, this has become the norm. I don’t think things will go back to the way they were. In a way, the industry is being told to catch up with how the public expects to be engaged on the likes of Airbnb/booking.com etc. There’s still a place for good chat on the phone but a large part of the journey can be improved with automation.
Homehere will be focusing on improving our digital front of house experience, creating more value for agents, vendors, landlords and property hunters from the very first touchpoint.