Training in January 2013

Training in January 2013

If you think that 2013 is going to be a challenging year for Estate Agents now is the time to ensure your staff recieve the training needed to have an edge over your competitors.

In ST NEOTS, CAMBRIDGESHIRE: "Gaining Quality Instructions"
Wednesday 16th January 2013

In ST NEOTS, CAMBRIDGESHIRE: "Leading Your Sales Team to Success"
(The key actions estate agency managers need to
take to achieve success)
Tuesday 22nd January 2013

In BRISTOL: "Gaining Quality Instructions"
Wednesday 30th January 2013 (am)

In BRISTOL "Selling In A Tougher Market"
Wednesday 30th January 2013 (pm)

For more information or to book please visit our website

Christmas is coming…

Whilst there are dozens of anecdotes about agents tying up sales on Christmas Eve, the reality is that the last few weeks of any year see a natural reduction in new business opportunities. However, such a diminishing of incoming workload does not prevent proactive agents from capitalising upon this highly valuable period. Those that remain focused and energetic right up to the festive season will inevitably benefit when the world reconvenes in January.


During my years in the estate agency industry, and the countless Christmases within that time, I have witnessed some brilliant techniques and ideas which have been utilised by forward-thinking practitioners to ensure productivity is maximised right up to when the turkey is stuffed.


One of my personal favourites is the “Do Not Disturb!” campaign which has proven highly effective for estate agency client firms of mine over several years, and which is a perfectly timed approach for the last few weeks of the year.


The principle is that when that agent encounters potential vendors during November and December who want to wait and instruct after Christmas, such clients have the merits of the “Do Not Disturb!” campaign explained to them and are thereby persuaded to take the step of instructing the agent sooner than they had originally intended.


The central principle of the campaign is that if the clients instruct the agent before Christmas, they will benefit from the fact that the property particulars, photography and EPC can be prepared in good time, advertising can be booked for the first week of the New Year, and the property can be uploaded onto the internet as early as practicable. This allows the property to be offered to all prospective purchasers throughout December before the surge of competition properties hits in January, particularly taking advantage of the historically extraordinarily busy week of traffic on property portals between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. A fee incentive is an option but, if the scheme is sold effectively, by no means essential.


While this marketing activity is bubbling away and ensuring that the property will hit the ground running in January, the agent guarantees not to “disturb” the clients with viewings or contact until Christmas is over. Other instructions that come on in January will take longer to attract interest as they will have missed out on interest generated during the “Do Not Disturb!” campaign.


Leaflets, window cards and adverts to publicise the concept, along with personally addressed letters to all local applicants with properties to sell, ensure the scheme takes off. Old valuations should also be chased up to inform the owners about this option. Each time firms have run this approach, they have experienced a highly successful sales period in the early weeks of the following year. It keeps the valuers busy in December and shows the local public that the agent is doing something different from their competitors, as well as considering the needs of clients during the festive period. Equally, it does not exclude those clients that would ideally like to generate interest before the break.


Alongside this work, agents can use the quieter period in December to revisit existing stock and on occasions take the step to “relist” the properties at revised prices, with new photographs and descriptions, and a fresh advertising campaign. In certain cases, agents will secure an extended period of agency and genuinely treat the instructions as a new property to the market. Much of this approach can naturally be applied to landlords as well as vendors.


Agents who have been diligent in making personal visits to all available stock during December have spoken favourably of the outcome. As well as the positives mentioned above, there is the immeasurable benefit to the agent of increased client loyalty in recognition of their visit – a hugely important plus point to safeguard stock in a climate where many agents are short of instructions and are therefore aggressively targeting longstanding stock on their competitors’ books.


There is no doubt that the agent that makes things happen in December rather than bemoaning that things are rather quiet (and wondering what to buy Auntie Margaret) will reap the rewards in the long run.


Julian O'Dell

TM training & development

Morning glory

Some months ago, I witnessed a snapshot of the life of two estate agency firms in the same town which was all it took to identify the successful agent from the struggling one. Picture the scene if you will…


At 8.00 a.m. one Wednesday morning, I arrived to prepare to run a course for an independent agency in the training room above one of their residential sales offices. Most of the staff were already present and as always I was struck by the smart interior and energetic atmosphere even at this early hour.


Having got myself and the training room organised, I wandered downstairs to witness a team meeting in full flow, as the staff discussed yesterday’s successes and today’s challenges with enthusiasm. Everyone seemed involved and alert, and were making notes on various action points.


I then went outside to get some air and pick up a newspaper. En route to the newsagents, I happened to pass another estate agency office at around 8.30 a.m. and glanced through the window to see two members of staff in the front office. One was reading a tabloid national newspaper and the other was putting on his tie.


It will probably come as no surprise that when I took a drive around the area later that day, the initial agent were seen to hold a dominant market share within the town in question, while the latter firm appeared to be a bit part player.


For any branch manager in our fast moving industry, a well-run daily team meeting makes a massive difference to productivity. Yet many fail to hold such an event at all, while others merely go through the motions because superiors have told them to.


Managers have such huge challenges in their role, not least because they are often responsible for a large chunk of the front line sales business that needs to be achieved. Upon listing all the areas of responsibility of an effective manager on a recent course, the delegates came up with over thirty separate suggestions!


A structured daily meeting is not the answer to all ills, however it achieves a great deal in helping a manager manage successfully. Management is sometimes defined as “the art of directing physical activities and human resources in the attainment of predetermined goals” and there is no better time to undertake such “directing” as in a team meeting.


An agenda is essential to ensure all key areas are covered and must include a review of yesterday’s activities, new business opportunities in terms of valuations, instructions, applicants, viewings and sales, as well as team input into problems and challenges that they individually or collectively face.


From this agenda there is a natural flow of objectives for the day ahead, which can be discussed and issued to the appropriate staff. The manager can then record these objectives (and more importantly be seen by the staff to do so) to ensure subsequent monitoring during the day and checking at close of business. Employees benefit from a clear set of daily goals, as they will be focused on those tasks and motivated as they are gradually achieved during the day.


The staff are also more likely to ensure those objectives are met, given that they know there will be a review of success or failure at the next meeting.


Sales can be created in this environment as a valuer describes yesterday’s new instructions to salespeople who come to the meeting equipped with a list of their hot buyers. A review of new applicants for whom nothing on the available list seems suitable may prompt a valuer to remember a recent market appraisal on a potential property, the owner of whom can then be called to discuss a one-off viewing.


Different angles on problems may be seen by team members leading to a plausible but previously untried solution to a problem sale.


Commencing each meeting early enough in the day will minimise interruption, but as long as one member of staff is allotted the task of dealing with incoming enquiries, then the rest of the team can concentrate for the duration.


A manager needs to adhere to the timeless cycle of planning, monitoring and checking. Without these team meetings, the first part of this process is at risk, thereby automatically jeopardising the other two.


The time spent on an effective morning meeting will doubtless be the best investment in a manager’s day.


Julian O'Dell

TM training & development

Moment of Truth

TM Training & Development were recently mentioned in a blog (published by Rightmove and written by a representative of our sister company Thomas Morris) which explores one aspect of a Moment of Truth – qualifying applicants by telephone. The blog contains some fascinating information as well as a simple practical guide that you can use to monitor the performance of you and your team today.

If you would like a FREE copy of the monitoring form that is referenced in the blog please let us know and we’ll send it to you.

In the meantime click here to read it for yourself- and don’t forget to leave a comment!


Just one more thing…

I am never comfortable with overt self-promotion and I’m genuinely not sure whether that is a strength or a weakness - it certainly seems to be something that others in business do. However, given that on occasions I have had agents query in somewhat direct fashion “If your training ideas are so good Julian, why don’t you run your own estate agency?”, it seems only fair that I should answer that entirely fair question in direct fashion as follows…

I do. I am a proud Partner of Thomas Morris Estate Agents who have just won the “Best Independent Estate Agent in the UK” award at the Relocation Agent Network Conference in London. I think the training we provide the Thomas Morris team played a small part in that success. If you would like to find out how and why, do please get in touch. Self-promotion over. Thank you.