Time to 'Spring' into action...

Time to 'Spring' into action...


Finally Winter seems to have beaten a retreat and we can turn our attention towards the Spring, with promises of lighter evenings and better weather.

Obviously this is a crucial period for estate agents to ensure they hoover up as many of the opportunities that present themselves in terms of stock. Many people perceive that the best thing to do is to get their house on the market once the daffodils appear, leading to a much needed upturn in instructions for the agents who spot and convert those opportunities.

We have included some best practice principles in our latest newsletter to ensure you are one of the winners in the forthcoming Spring battle. Enjoy!



Stock is still tight and fees are under huge pressure....

 

The most successful agents I work with recognise that the strike rate of appointments to instructions is dramatically improved by the quality of the work carried out before actually attending the valuation appointment and in particular by the members of the team who don’t actually carry out those appointments themselves.

One of our estate agency clients has improved their conversion rate of appointments to instructions during the past six months from around 38 per cent to approaching 59%.

The maths are simple, in that by doing no noticeable extra work, the company now take instructions on 21 more properties out of every 100 that they visit, unsurprisingly leading to an increase in local profile, sales and income.

We worked with their valuers on a range of techniques to employ at the valuation itself.

However, the proprietors report that a large part of their recent success in this area is down to the work their staff undertake prior to the valuation, following training provided in this particular area.

It is usual for homeowners considering putting their property on the market to arrange for several agents to conduct a valuation.

By definition, they make a number of calls to agents to book these appointments. Smart agents identify these calls as the true starting point in gaining the subsequent instruction.

The aforementioned company had for many years dealt with such telephone valuation enquiries by simply taking cursory information and booking an appointment in the valuer’s diary.

Best practice in reality is to use this initial call as an opportunity to impress the client with the company’s professionalism and thoroughness, by engaging them in a conversation about their property and their moving aspirations including what and where they are hoping to move.


 

A few minutes at this stage invested in a focused but conversational call can create a firm foundation upon which to build the remainder of the valuation process. The objective must be to stand out from the crowd, and treat this as the first chance to “sell” the company to the potential client.

Vendors are typically appreciative of the interest shown in their property at this early stage by the agent. There are obvious benefits to the agent in getting a complete detailed description of the property they are to visit, such as facilitating the preparation of relevant comparables to assist in arriving at an appropriate figure later and assessing suitable prospective purchasers. A less apparent advantage is that the potential seller is made to feel important and therefore early rapport between agent and client starts to build.

Skilled questioning and listening can identify other openings. Should it be discovered during the valuation enquiry call that the client is looking to move locally, then full qualification of the client’s property requirements should be carried out, and ideally an appropriate selection of details emailed instantly – or perhaps hand delivered whenever practical.

If the proposed move is to another area, corporate agents or those who are members of affiliation groups with associated offices have an early referral opportunity allowing the provision of assistance to these potential vendors considering moving to pastures new.

Contacting fellow agents in the vendor’s intended new area and arranging details to be sent demonstrates the agent’s desire and ability to go that extra step and facilitate the move, particularly given that other agents will not bother to do so.

Best practice is to arrange for the other office to call the client to introduce themselves and impress them at this early stage or for the details to be emailed to the valuing agent’s office to allow that agent to take the literature with them to the appointment thereby ensuring that the potential vendor recognises these efforts.

Agents with access to their own national network can fulfil the above approach very easily. Agents without an obvious route of this nature can still exploit the opportunity by simply logging onto the internet and seeking agents in the relevant area and requesting details in similar fashion.

After all, which agent worth their salt would spurn a request from an industry colleague to furnish an applicant from a different part of the country with details, possibly securing viewings before their local competitors are even aware of such an applicant’s existence?

Diligent preparation in the handling of the enquiry and a small amount of effort will leave the potential vendor with an immediate excellent impression, leading to an enhanced likelihood that the instruction will be more easily secured, particularly if the appointment is conducted in the same professional manner as that which has gone before.

 



When the going gets tough, the tough get better…

The “Instruction Process” is worth revisiting whatever the market conditions as your performance as a company within that process will shed some light on where your future focus should be. The process comprises ten key stages for winning and retaining stock –

  • Opportunities and Connections
  • Generating Appraisals
  • Booking Appraisals
  • Preparation for Appraisals
  • The Appraisal Appointment itself
  • Immediate Follow Up
  • Ongoing Contact
  • Point of Instruction
  • Client Management
  • Future Customer Relationship Management

These ten stages are all critical to success and every agency will have different approaches, procedures and challenges at each.  However, the fact remains year in year out, that the agent who performs differently to and better than their competitors at each of the ten stages will win the lion’s share of instructions available in their area.

The first step is to analyse objectively where your agency sits in terms of calibre and differentiation at each of those stages. It is impossible to formulate an action plan to help you get to where you want to go without knowing where your starting point is.

I have just carried this exercise out with a couple of agents and the issues that needed addressing were different for each. One was simply not getting through enough doors while the other had issues over converting appointments into instructions. Subsequently the planned course of action for each agent was geared to their specific shortcomings. There is no “one size fits all” approach…

Having said that, most of the hundreds of valuers I have trained in recent years are now doing an exceptional job when they are given the opportunity to do so. It is the lack of opportunity that is the main battle. Therefore, the first two stages of the “Instruction Process” may well be the two to pay special attention to at present.

The first stage of the process – “Opportunities and Connections” – relates to how successful your firm is at being in the hearts and minds of the local property owning public. Are you on their radar? If a poll was taken among your local residents as to who was the most active agent or which agents’ names they could quote, would your name come up first? Are you active in the community, on social media, in the local press? Brand awareness gets the phone ringing so be brutally objective about your own performance in this area.

Are you making the best of all your local connections and ensuring that everyone you know is aware of what your business offers? Think of all the people you interact with on a regular basis – the postman, the pizza delivery person, your hairdresser, the guy you buy your lunch from or who services your car. How about setting yourself a target of talking to a specified number of connections every day or every week?

Are your family and friends actively linking your business to their connections? Daft as it may sound, do your family and friends really know enough about your business to be able to promote or recommend you?

Tell them what you do and the type of opportunities they might come across where they could recommend you and why they should – but make sure you make this 100% reciprocal. Nobody I know has reported negative feedback to sharing their professional life with their personal contacts.

Furthermore, there are so many opportunities for random connections to be made every day and you just might be surprised where they lead. Strike up a conversation with people you encounter, rather than assuming they have no relevance to you or you to them. I remember listing and selling a house a few years back as a result of passing the time with a fellow parent outside my son’s school – That piece of business may never have come my way without that conversation taking place.

The second stage – “Generating Appraisals” – is all about the effort and focus of the agency staff at the coalface so to speak. The best agents I work with place huge emphasis on the number of appraisals they need to do. Having scientifically worked out the necessary total, they are then aware of the minimum required and will set a target accordingly. That target is then shared amongst the team with each individual knowing their own essential contribution to the overall figure, even down to what each attended appraisal will ultimately mean in terms of income.

Each team member is then coached and trained on how to secure appraisal appointments from the opportunities that present themselves. The key ingredient to success is to understand in detail your own firm’s service proposition and those of your competitors to ensure every employee in every case can demonstrate to a potential client that their agency is significantly better equipped to secure the result the client is seeking – whether that be the best possible price, the shortest possible time, a committed and capable buyer, a lack of stress or all four of the aforementioned.

Creating, targeting and converting appraisal opportunities and appointments really will make a massive difference to your success in 2018. Don’t leave it too late.

 



Would you like your new staff to be “Stars of Tomorrow”?

This unique three day programme is proving immensely popular with independent estate agents who currently provide limited or no induction training to their new recruits. “Stars of Tomorrow” is the perfect launch for anyone joining the industry.

One business owner hailed it as accelerating his young negotiator ahead of other employees who had been with the firm for 6 months or more. A recent attendee described his experience as follows: “Having gone on a few sales training courses over the years, attending one through TM Training & Development was a breath of fresh air. At no point was anyone in attendance not engaged with Julian. The sessions were interactive, well-thought out and very easy to follow. I can't recommend TM Training & Development highly enough as an Estate Agent, and I know my company will continue to use their services.”

The course covers key essentials such as:

  • Exceptional applicant registration – sorting the “make you money” customers from the “cost you money” ones
  • Building relationships of trust with customers and clients.
  • Making the most out of other income streams
  • Managing your applicant database to generate business and agree sales
  • Handling fee enquiries
  • Spotting valuation opportunities
  • Booking valuations in an exceptional manner
  • Conducting effective accompanied viewings

If you have anyone within your organisation who would benefit from this course, please contact us on 01480 405583 or email Julian direct at julianodell@live.co.uk

 



GDPR compliance explained...

A lot is being said about threats of non compliance but it is important to also look at the opportunities of getting your business in order.
Leaving any action until the new regulations are in force will likely result in a business being unable to operate as they wish - particularly in how they keep in contact with their database.
The Information Comissioners Office (ICO) have confirmed that there are a number of actions that a business should be taking NOW to get ahead of the new regulations.
The course will highlight the key points in the regulations together with the potential issues but it will also offer practical and pragmatic solutions and tips to help you operate both commercially and compliantly.
To book or for more information please contact us on 01480 405583 or email us at linda@tmtd.training
 
 



New tour dates added

" Selling Properties in a Tougher Market"
Being held in
Bristol - 22nd March
London - 19th April
Manchester - 22nd May
&109 plus vat per delegate (half day course)
 
"Winning Quality Instructions in a Tougher Market"
Being held in
Bristol - 22nd March
London - 19th April
Manchester - 22nd May
&109 plus vat per delegate (half day course)
 
"GDPR- What you Need to Know to be Compliant"
Being held in
London - 19th April
&65 plus vat per delegate (2 hour sessions)
 
"Stars of Tomorrow"
 Being held in
Manchester - 30th April to 2nd May
&499 plus vat per delegate (3 day course)
 
"Being an Exceptional Sales or Lettings Branch Manager"
Being held in
London - 15th May
&225 plus vat per delegate (full day course)
 
"Stars of Tomorrow - Becoming a Star Valuer"
Being held in
Coventry - 23rd May
London - 7th June
Cambridgeshire - 27th June
&225 plus vat per delegate (full day course)
 
"How to be an Exceptional lettings Agent"
Being held in
London - 14th June
&225 plus vat per delegate (full day course)
To book or for more information please visit our website https://www.tmtraininganddevelopment.co.uk/tour-dates/