In the latest in our series shining a light on successful agents, we speak to Marcel Roccia, Director of Rochills in Walton on Thames.
Rochills was founded by Marcel and wife Sarah in 2003. Neither had an estate agency background, but at the age of 40, Marcel realised he no longer wanted to work for a corporate anymore. He wanted to run his own business and it was now or never. Having been a landlord for many years, property was a natural choice.
Fourteen years later, Rochills are a market leading estate agent in Walton on Thames – offering sales, lettings and estate management services.
Rochills have been using the Rightmove Optimiser package since August 2016.
With the Rightmove Optimiser package, Rochills pay no core membership fee. Instead, all of their spend on Rightmove is on advertising products – giving them maximum exposure for their brand across all of a home hunter’s journey. Since taking the Optimiser package, their brand is now seen over 34,000 times per week by people searching in their area on Rightmove – more than 4 times the exposure they previously received.
“We’d had so much experience of dealing with poor agents over the years that we thought there was an opportunity to do it better ourselves and improve standards”, says Marcel.
“There are a lot of established agents in our area, with very high standards who do a good job. The trouble with most agents, though, is that they’re always copying and following, rather than leading. We try instead to be on the front foot. We’re always looking at how the external world is changing and how we can do things differently. You only have to look at how most other industries have become digital well before us to see that our industry is stuck in its ways.
Our industry is now all about digital marketing, so that’s the focus of our strategy. Rightmove is a key pillar within that. These days, your window of opportunity to get noticed is Rightmove, so you’ve got to maximise that. If you don’t maximise that, what are you doing?!
The Optimiser package is all about us having massive exposure. People searching for properties see thousands of properties on Rightmove, so how can we stand out from the crowd?”
“Featured Property and Premium Listings are one way that we set ourselves apart. Instead of offering them to everyone straight away, we let the numbers in the Rightmove Property Performance Report guide us. We work the market by using the information at our disposal and tailor a plan based on what the numbers are showing us.
If visits are tailing off after the initial push, we might then use a Premium Listing to maintain interest.
We’ll then keep a close eye on the numbers and might then use a Featured Property to give it another big push by being at the top of the list.
It’s all about using the reporting at our disposal to make careful decisions. That gives our customers faith that we know what we’re doing and adds value over and above just putting a property on the market.”
Rochills’ Rightmove listings get 50 more detail views per property per week more than their patch average. When featured at the top of the search results Rochills’ properties get at least 400 more detail views per property per week than other properties in their patch.
“Featured Agent and Local Home Page are all about being constantly visible. People see that we’re a trusted agent in their area by having constant exposure to us. The good thing about using both is that you then get awareness across the whole customer journey on Rightmove – from the moment they start looking until they’re actively browsing the search results.”
Across their Featured Agent and Local Home Page adverts, Rochills are seen more than 25,000 times per week by people actively searching in their area. Here’s how their exposure from these banners compares to other agents in their patch since taking the Optimiser package:
“I stopped advertising in the local papers back in 2008. To me, that’s now “old marketing” that no longer has a place. Why? When I measured the spend versus the return, there wasn’t any correlation. The supposed benefits were based on hearsay, rather than hard numbers. When I put a tracking number on my print ads, I could see that the volume of calls was negligible. Plus, as a smaller agent it gave me no advantage – the bigger agents took up the best slots at the front and back. Rightmove is more of a level playing field.”
“Rather than traditional leaflet drops that shout about how great we are, we now produce a helpful newsletter and distribute it in a much more targeted way.
All our digital marketing is geared around being helpful, too. There’s a huge opportunity as an agent to educate customers about what our role really is. Often, a lot of the stress involved in home moving is because parts of the process weren’t made clear up front and the agent put too much focus on just getting the sale. We’re in the business of moving people, not selling houses. So we try and educate clients about the whole selling process. By demystifying the process, we’re helping them make more educated decisions.
We put a lot of focus on creating newsletters, videos and blogs to educate people about everything that’s involved in the journey. We also do a lot of case studies with happy vendors, as there’s nothing more genuine than actual customers talking about how you did a great job.”
“Online agents coming into the market have put pressure on the traditional model of estate agency. But that’s not a bad thing. I see it as a realisation of the way we now need to work, rather than a challenge. With new entrants selling for lower fees, it’s made our job all about selling the extra value of what we do. For me, the mantra of estate agency should now be ‘always be educating’ rather than ‘always be closing’.
We need to educate on all the hard work that happens in the background, by unpackaging what we do and demonstrating our added value. What’s the point of having a high street office, unless you can talk about how it benefits you?
Online models are also forcing the industry to be much more customer-centric, with things like online booking of valuations being introduced that are in the customer’s best interests. That can only be a good thing.”
“In the year ahead, we’re looking at new ways of innovating and continuing to educate. We’re exploring how new technology could make our sales progression faster. I’m also looking into some other bits of technology that should improve the way that we engage with our clients. After all, even though things are moving online, the interpersonal touch is still crucial.”
To find out more about how the Rightmove Optimiser package can give you massive exposure, speak to your Account Manager.