Any company that doesn’t focus on consumers and their needs is due for extinction, according to Marcél du Toit, CEO of Leadhome.
The reason businesses like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and many other tech-based, future-centric businesses have disrupted their industries is because they did two things: they got into the mindset of the consumer and focused on consumers’ needs; and they used technology to create a new model for business – one that served consumers’ interests and not the other way around.
Leadhome has been leading the disruption of the traditional estate agency model in South Africa over the past three years. The “cumbersome” way of selling a property needed to be challenged and I’m privileged to be part of a group of industry players who are redefining the market.
We employ professional agents (we call them local property experts) and a lot of our experts are law graduates and have plentiful experience in finance and investment.
Our model is underpinned by technology. But we also understand that selling a home can be daunting, and that is why our local property experts are there to help buyers and sellers every step of the way, whether it is by visiting you in the comfort of your home to do a professional market valuation of your property, advising on how to best show off your home, negotiating the best possible result for you with the buyer, or explaining how the daunting conveyancing process works. We have also done away with ineffective (and frankly unsafe) show days so that our sellers can set their availability for viewings at times that suit them and their prospective buyers.
Because we are driven by real-time data, we know how to advise sellers (and buyers) in terms of the numbers. The data helps us understand the real value of each of our properties at a certain time, and we work with the facts when setting pricing. We don’t inflate prices, but we most definitely test the market to ensure sellers get the best possible price for their property. This is probably why we tend to sell properties quicker than most (in fact, 35 days versus the current industry average of 105 days).
Our clients know they are getting value for their money and excellent service (just take a look at the testimonials on our website). We know there are a number of other companies, and even large banks, entering the property industry, and we think it’s great: everyone is acting in the best interests of the consumer. Technology is changing everything, and if more businesses focus on adding ease of experience, value for money, and benefits for the consumer, it can only bode well for our industry.
My view is that if a business is not looking at what the consumer really needs or how to use technology to benefit its clients, then it won’t be around for much longer. Disruptors like us are moving quickly to redefine real estate in favour of the consumer.
This post has been edited to accurately reflect our current business model.