A Clarion Call to independent agents: it’s time to act
A Clarion Call to independent agents
Dear independent agency owner,
I write to ask if you would like to join the Collective Voice of independent agents showing the public the true value of a well chosen agent, and to commit your support to the fight against unfair corporate domination of your industry.
CIELA will use the collective voice to increase the market share of property sales and lettings by enlightening the public into what is almost always best when choosing an agent.
Working with all kinds of agents for nearly 20 years has revealed an important fact: independent owner-managed agents care about their customers more than other agents.
Independent agents’ greater care is a fact that cannot be measured, nor can it be displayed in adverts. It can only be felt by your customers after they have experienced an inferior service.
For that reason it is as much for the public benefit as it is for CIELA members that this fact must be publicly demonstrated.
CIELA will always act in the public interest as well as for its members, and it is in your interest that the public know how to choose the best agent for their particular circumstances.
Independent agents have never before had a collective voice to express your point of difference to the public, and this has disadvantaged your ability to compete against corporate agencies with high budget, glossy marketing.
Now we have an opportunity to rectify this and give independent agencies, who make up over 80% of businesses in the industry, a chance to get your message across: Independent agents care more and will get customers a better result with better service, because they go the extra mile.
This will require a three-pronged strategy:
- Communicate through perpetual consumer PR
- Directly confront unfair and misleading corporate practice by agencies and suppliers
- Campaign against disreputable small agents who do not comply with the law and thereby damage your reputation.
In April we will begin a 6 month consultation period with all owners of independent agencies as to precisely which matters affect you most, and what you would most like to see from CIELA.
In April we will open a special Pre-Launch Membership for £35 per month plus vat that will give you direct access to the debate, discussions, votes on decisions and access to events, so that your voice is heard and shapes the future of the organisation.
Putting Corporations on Notice
Because existing agency trade organisations accept corporate members, none of them are in CIELA’s unique position to confront unfair corporate practice.
Corporate organisation sometimes abuse their position and power, and CIELA is here to hold them to account, on behalf of independent agents who lose out when they do.
Today, Purplebricks will receive a letter from CIELA (that we will publish later today) informing them of what we believe are breaches of Advertising Standards and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Act. Their adverts encourage home sellers to part with significant sums of money up front, without guarantee of a sale, and present misleading claims about comparative savings. We await their response, but will pursue the matter forcefully until we are satisfied that the public is no longer at risk of being misled into a decision that may cost them.
Once CIELA has launched fully, we will invite members to submit any examples of corporate misdemeanours, especially misleading advertising, so that where the law permits, we may hold them to account.
A call to arms: what you need to do
CIELA will require majority support from independent agents. We will be asking all members for the following three commitments:
- Unite with your industry colleagues nationally against unfair corporate practice and to show the public what you really do
- Spread the word among all your industry colleagues, follow us on Twitter
- Register with us so you can tell us your views and we can keep you informed
Join our Founder Members and shape the future of your industry
CIELA’s initial plans have been shaped by our Founder Members, all owner-managers of independent agencies like you, who have generously given their time to ensure that the organisation gets off to the right start.
With thanks to them, CIELA is now ready to begin preparations for a full, detailed 6-month consultation with all agents who wish to participate in determining how we proceed.
If you want to be involved and support us, you can join as a Pre-Launch Member from 1 April for £35 per month plus vat. The free CIELA Register will provide viewing access to ongoing paying members’ discussions, and club updates, however, it does not include participation in such discussions, nor provide access to upcoming member benefits.
Thank you for your time reading this letter in full. We hope you will join this campaign to improve the industry and take control of your future.