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How to succeed in franchising? Local expertise is key

How well do you know your home patch? Do you know which are the most popular streets, and why? Have you walked in every park?

How well do you know your home patch? Do you know which are the most popular streets, and why? Have you walked in every park? Could you stroll around the area blindfolded? And do you know how long it takes to commute to London, down to the last minute?

If you have that kind of detailed local knowledge, and know the area like the back of your hand, then you are just the kind of franchisee we are after. There are nearly a hundred Winkworth franchises, and the ones that have done best, historically, are the ones run by people who are steeped in their local communities. They are not just enthusiastic about property in general: they understand their local property market and derive real pleasure from deepening that understanding over time.

You will never succeed as an estate agent if a client asks you which are the best local schools and you just look blank. Even if you do not have children yourself, you will need to know which are the most popular schools, and what are the boundaries of their catchment areas. Otherwise, bluntly, you may not win the business you need to grow your franchise.

The same goes for transport links. When people move to a new area, it is often the first thing they focus on. If I have got to be in my office in the City by 8am, when will I have to leave home? Bread-and-butter stuff, but the kind of stuff that really matters to busy house-hunters. They can get the information they need independently, of course, but if you can answer these question quickly and accurately, you will have taken the important first step towards gaining their trust.

One of the core skills of an estate agent – arguably the most important skill of all – is to be able to value properties with a high degree of accuracy. It is an inexact science, of course. A property is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it. But there are generally solid reasons why properties on a particular street fetch a few thousand pounds more than similar properties on the next street. And you need to develop a feel for what those reasons are, and be able to explain them to your customers.

Why not put yourself to the test? Ask a friend to prepare a pub-quiz style list of questions about your local area, the kind of detailed knowledge that a newcomer might not have, but a good estate agent should have. Then see how you do. If your local knowledge is patchy, you may struggle. But if you can rattle off the answers to all the questions, we want to hear from you. You have just the kind of local knowledge we look for from new franchisees.

Have you been thinking of starting a franchise? Winkworth is looking for new franchisees to continue their successful growth.

Contact Gina Piper (Business Affairs Manager) via email at gpiper@winkworth.com to find out more about starting your own Winkworth franchise. All conversations will be strictly private and confidential.

Learn more about franchising with articles, tips and advice on taking the next step in franchising: www.winkworth.co.uk/estate-agent-franchise.

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