What an amazing start to 2013 it has been!

What an amazing start to 2013 it has been!

There seems to be a great deal of optimism out there and some genuine good news in the media. Most reports suggest prices edging up, there was the highest number of first time buyers getting on the ladder last year since 2007, 74% of professional landlords are looking to increase their property portfolio in 2013 and much more.

But as a word of caution, many industry experts maintain that we may never see the numbers of sales per annum as we saw before the downturn.

The start of any year is crucial to agents' cashflow - the first three or four months are vital in ensuring the right stock is listed. Our "Winning More Instructions" and "Sell/Let More Property" courses are our most demanded by both sales and lettings agents - get yourself booked on one today and see instant results in the quality and quantity of your instructions, and sales figures. Or you'll get your money back!

Visit our brand new website www.tmtraininganddevelopment.co.uk for more details and to book!

New website goes live!

You can find out about our full range of courses, book places, source a whole free range of articles focused on helping you win business, check which firms use our services and read what they say about us!
Go to www.tmtraininganddevelopment.co.uk and let us know what you think!

2013 Tour Dates

Those dates and course details in full are...


"Gaining Quality Instructions" at Nottingham on Friday 24th May 2013 (morning session).

For valuers, this course covers things an exceptional valuer needs to do before, during and after an appointment to win the business at the right price and on the right terms. The key objectives are improving conversion rates, securing appropriate asking prices and maximising fees. It has received amazing feedback and positively influenced the performance of all who have attended it.


"Selling In A Tougher Market" at Nottingham on Friday 24th May 2013 (afternoon session).

For any staff who are responsible for dealing with applicants, securing viewings and valuations, and maximising business opportunities in challenging market conditions. This course shows how to raise the bar in terms of selling skills and techniques and has proven a resounding success.


"Selling In A Tougher Market" at Coventry on Friday 7th June 2013.

For any staff who are responsible for dealing with applicants, securing viewings and valuations, and maximising business opportunities in challenging market conditions. This course shows how to raise the bar in terms of selling skills and techniques and has proven a resounding success.


Each session costs &99 plus VAT per delegate, however delegates booking both sessions at the Nottingham courses will get a reduced rate of &170 plus VAT to include lunch.

To book or for more information contact us on 01480 405583, email as at admin@tm-traininganddevelopment.co.uk or visit our website http://www.tmtraininganddevelopment.co.uk/online-booking.php


Estate Agency All Stars

"Estate Agency All-Stars offers a unique combination of recruitment and training for new junior personnel."

The aim?

To offer agents the best quality candidates, by putting them through an intense and tailored course. This will enable them to start work with confidence and allow the new starters to use their newly acquired skills immediately. Employing an All-Star will give an employer a dual benefit as it will free up time and resources spent on training a new member of staff, as well as allowing them to employ someone who is productive from day one. By doing this we intend to improve the reputation and quality of agents across the UK in both Sales and Lettings.

So why should you employ an All-Star?

Our screening process is more thorough than other recruitment agents as we use a combination of CV screening, psychometric testing, video interviews and one to one telephone interviewing. Therefore you can relax in the knowledge that any candidate sent to you for an interview will have been fully assessed to the highest standard and will already possess the potential to become an outstanding Estate Agent.

Estate Agency All Stars is sponsored by some of the property world’s leading businesses including Rightmove, Reapit and Ravensworth who are all leaders in their individual markets. Like us, they believe in being the best, and making your agencies better!

What’s the cost? 

Only &1,500 broken down over three manageable payments.

For more information please visit the website www.estateagencyallstars.co.uk


Appraise where appraise is due...


Managing within an estate agency environment is a tough and frequently made tougher still by high staff turnover and poor performance, therefore any efforts you can undertake to minimise such problems represent time well spent. One area of managerial responsibility that can lead to successful staff retention and effectiveness is maintaining an appropriate performance review system, although this is all too often an element of work which falls victim to the volume of the manager’s other duties.


Your workload is reduced in the long run by investing time in appraising staff regularly. Benefits include the opportunity to extract information, assess progress and results, clear the air, discuss strengths and weaknesses and formulate plans to carry out coaching and training, clarify roles and responsibilities, boost employee confidence and deal with minor issues before they become major ones.


Staff work best when they know what their responsibilities are, how well they are expected to fulfil them, and how well they have done so. The aim of appraisals is to make sure that this information is shared between managers and individual members of their teams.


The appraisal interview itself is a key component part of effective performance management. The starting point is to agree objectives which must be clear, measurable and realistic to the employee’s role and experience. These objectives might relate to a wide range of performance criteria including levels of business achieved or behavioural elements such as timekeeping, self-organisation and relationships with team members.


With quality objectives documented, and a future date booked for the appraisal itself, there is then an ongoing monitoring period leading up to the formal appraisal meeting. This time runs from one appraisal to the next and might be typically a maximum of three or six months. Meanwhile, the manager should observe employee behaviour and results, noting examples of work carried out particularly well or badly. These should be discussed with the individual as they occur rather than stored up…the appraisal interview is not a time for surprises. However, the recorded examples serve as the content of a “stock taking” exercise at the appraisal itself.


As the date of the appraisal interview approaches, the manager should take time to plan for it. The venue should be provide a professional but comfortable environment - the local pub is probably not ideal (although alarmingly I know one proprietor who uses it for that purpose). There should be no interruptions via telephones or other staff members and seating arrangements should be considered…face to face across a desk is rather too formal.


With evidence collected and venue prepared, the appraisal interview can proceed. A range of key points must be borne in mind to ensure effectiveness.


Firstly, the appraisee must be put at ease. Tension or mistrust creates problems, so attempts to help the staff member relax must be made. An agenda for the interview gives structure and the meeting must be largely forward rather than backward looking. A steady pace and keeping it focused on the individual should be the aim – many appraisals I have witnessed have been spoilt by allowing the appraisee to blame others for their weaknesses. A bespoke appraisal form used by some businesses helps provide control.


Where possible, staff should be encouraged to be self-critical rather than have their positive and negative performance areas raised by the manager. Careful questioning on the part of the appraiser such as “How do you feel things are going?” or “What caused you to fall short of reaching that particular objective?” can tease out points that need to be addressed without forcing them upon the appraisee. He or she is thereby far more likely to “own” the issues covered.


You should be supportive rather than authoritarian in your approach and stick to facts rather than feelings, to behaviour rather than personality. Future action points must be documented along with a new set of specific agreed objectives which will be central to the forthcoming review period.


The pitfalls to avoid include the manager talking too much and hogging the conversation, destructive rather than constructive criticism (“These results just aren’t good enough” rather than “What can we do to help you improve your figures?”), lack of evidence, woolly objectives and expecting too much in the way of change from the appraisee.


With all the above points borne in mind and with a strong desire to reap the rewards of an effective performance review process, a manager can look forward to leading a more focused, motivated and ultimately more productive team.


Julian O ' Dell

TM training & development















A customer’s view…

I had a fascinating conversation with the parents of my teenage daughter’s new boyfriend last month, which gave me a very interesting insight into the manner in which agents can win and lose business.


Those of you with teenage children will recognise your role as part-time taxi driver, which is how I felt as I drove the 35 miles from home to collect my daughter from her latest squeeze’s house.


Upon arrival, the necessary small talk with the boyfriend’s parents rapidly came round to the challenges of moving house once I had established that they were hoping to upsize within their village. It just so happened that they had put their own property on the market that very morning having found somewhere to purchase.


I couldn’t resist finding out about their experiences in getting their home valued and appointing an agent to sell it. As they lived in an area that my own estate agency branches don’t cover, there was no hidden agenda on my part – it was simply an opportunity to discover the decision making process of these vendors (and a more interesting subject of conversation than the weather or fuel prices). Furthermore, these ad hoc discussions can often help in crafting content for our training courses.


The owners had arranged three valuations by local agents. The trio invited out had been selected largely due to sold board presence and reputation.


Mr and Mrs Client openly admitted that prior to the valuations, they had earmarked one of the agents (we shall refer to them as Agent A) as the most likely to get their business because that firm seemed to be the most successful in the village. However, the manner in which Agent A conducted themselves rapidly turned that provisional decision on its head.


Agent A’s valuation was scheduled for 4.00 pm. At 4.15 pm, the clients called their office to enquire as to the whereabouts of the valuer, to be reassured he was on his way. Half an hour later, another call to the agent was met with the response that as the valuer had been unable to find the property, he had proceeded to his next appointment. This situation astounded me, as did the fact that the vendors were understanding enough to allow the agent to rebook for the following morning at 10.30 am.


Before relating the detail of the two subsequent valuations, there are a few interesting subtexts about Agent A’s visit. Firstly the house had a name and no number and was relatively (but not significantly) difficult to find – indeed, I had phoned ahead before leaving home to check directions as it was my first visit there.


Secondly, the rebooked appointment could only be attended by Mr Client, whereas both members of the couple would have been present for the original one – seeing only one decision maker immediately put Agent A at a disadvantage.


Thirdly, when the rearranged valuation was carried out, Mr Client’s immediate impression of the valuer was that “he was so arrogant that if he had been made of chocolate he would have eaten himself” (two expletives have been edited out of that remark) and that he “aggressively” demanded the vendor to “get the dog away” from him on arrival.


The final interesting point regarding Agent A’s approach is that the valuer was the proprietor of the firm…


Agent B fared slightly better – arriving just a few minutes late and looking the part. However, Mr and Mrs Client commented that this valuer fell down on failing to support his perceived “low” price advice with any concrete evidence bar a verbal reference to “one down the road” which his firm had failed to sell. The vendors also criticised the brevity of his visit and his failure to measure the accommodation or take more than cursory notes.


Agent C was pick of the bunch and won the instruction. The factors that led to that outcome included that he took more interest in the clients and the property, spent longer at the appointment, proved his effectiveness by showing details of his local sales successes, highlighted key services that had not been discussed – therefore possibly not offered - by his competitors and, above all, led the clients to have greater trust in his integrity, determination and ability. Interestingly, Agent C happened to be the most expensive on fee.


As I drove home with my daughter berating me for spending so much time “talking about boring stuff”, I felt fortunate to be given confirmation by these people that best practice principles do make a difference.


Perhaps Agents A and B are trading so successfully that they could afford not to have this particular bit of business, maybe they were just on a bad day. But overall, my money is on Agent C to survive and thrive longer than their two competitors.


Julian O'Dell

TM training & development



Thought for the day ...

"It is not you customer's job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibilty to make sure they don't have the chance to forget you." - Patricia Fripp