The royal “save”: What’s in a number?

I think my favourite part of this entertaining Evening Standard piece on Michael Bruce, Founder of Purplebricks, is the bit where he explains how the “regal” nature of purple inspired the business’ name.

Aside from that, there’s relatively little to go on to get closer to the man now worth hundreds of millions. Purplebricks crashed through the £1Bn market cap value less than a month ago and has been rising ever since, powered by ventures in Australia and the US – and a real grasp of Marketing, in particular.

Whilst competitors can – and do – complain to the Advertising Standards Authority about Purplebricks’ advertised numbers, those numbers just keep coming. 83% is the latest, Bruce’s carefully-worded claim that over 4 in 5 properties listed on Purplebricks “go on to sell” – deliberately not clarifying whether this is as a result of the site itself or frustrated sellers removing themselves from PB and selling via another, more traditional agent.

This comes hard on the heels of a fantastic claim that Purplebricks “sells one home every 9 minutes, 24/7”. No wonder consumers are beating a path to their door – it’s an £800 bet that could win (well, according to the ads) £5k in saved commission. And if it doesn’t? Then you’ll probably be able to negotiate that back from the traditional agent you then list with in the end anyway.

But there’s one crucial issue that is never addressed by Purplebricks and which is the trump card for agents and clients wanting to win. That’s the “Price Achieved”.

Any agent looking to fight stat with stat needs to channel all – ALL – of their advertising into the simple concept of “Price Achieved”. If you were to continuously, relentlessly, deliberately, terrifyingly tell sellers that they might lose £10,000 by listing with someone who is not incentivised to get them the best price then – as Purplebricks has proven with its “Commisery” campaign – in the end, it will be internalised by the seller.

Why this hasn’t been adopted as the calling card of agents across the land is beyond me – it’s simple, powerful and will stop people viewing the “savings” of PB as The Thing rather than the price achieved being much – MUCH – more important to the average seller. But they’re not being told that this is why traditional agents are worth it – oh, and it’s risk-free too, as you only pay on results.

If you’re an agent, use this summer to develop a killer marketing piece around “Price Achieved”, pull in stats from Land Registry around what the average sale price Purplebricks achieves versus you and get your fightback on.