Estate Agency Awards Season

Estate Agency Awards Season


As Summer finally appears to be upon us, it may seem as if "Estate Agency Awards Season" as we call it in TM training & development is a long way off, given that a good many Estate Agency awards ceremonies take place in November and December. However, now is the time for agents to give serious consideration to their award submissions. This article will provide some insights in how to put an effective submission together and thereby increase your chances of victory...

Estate Agency Awards – are they worth winning?

My role as a trainer/consultant is centred on improving sales and lettings agents’ performance through the pursuit of exceptional business practices. The skills, techniques, systems and processes are proven to have a direct impact upon the bottom line by raising levels of performance and results. It is subsequently critical to maintain momentum by adhering to these new higher levels, and one way of doing so is to scrutinise all key areas of performance on a regular basis. One of the best ways of undertaking this, strange though it may seem initially, is to enter industry award competitions.

I have been fortunate to be deemed worthy of judging a number of awards in recent years (not the ones which our Estate Agency won – honest!) and have a clear insight as to what judges look for and are influenced by.

There is a raft of industry awards to consider going for, including specialist sales and lettings, some that are free to enter, others that require an entry fee, others still that are voted for by the public.

As part of the awards process, typically a detailed submission needs to be compiled and the objective of this is to ensure your company stands apart from the other entrants in the eyes of the judges. Guidelines regarding submissions also differ – from 400 words over 4 pages at one end of the spectrum, through to no limit at all at the other (which often leads to hernia-inducing tomes that are difficult to lift off the desk). Most judges are too long in the tooth or worldly wise to be taken in by froth and gloss, and quality is far more important than quantity. The submission needs to contain more than just bold platitudes as to how wonderful your firm is and the excellence of all you do – evidence is key and differentiation is powerful.

Third party market share reports, board counts, actual performance statistics, testimonials from customers and suppliers, photographic samples of your quality premises, brochures and marketing all play their part. Include information about training budget and schedule, staff turnover statistics, and ultimately proof of how you are different from your competitors in the way you conduct your business. USPs really do help your submission stand out.

By compiling a submission, you cannot help but review your business through an objective set of eyes and this act in itself can be very revealing as it often highlights areas of performance and business practice that need improvement. If evidence is hard to come by on a particular part of the company’s performance, it is likely to be because such evidence doesn’t exist and it needs to be an area to work on before next year’s awards come round.

In my experience, agents that win awards always treat the submissions as year-round events, with the gathering of proof and evidence an integral part of their culture. In many cases, staff are encouraged to inform a coordinator of anything above and beyond the call of duty that will be worthy of mention in the final submission.

A phone call from a judge is sometimes an element of the process – I have made many such calls over the years and it is extraordinary how unprepared some of the recipients are, despite having weeks of prior notice regarding the time and date of the call. If you are due such a call, I would respectfully recommend that you have a copy of your submission in front of you and that you are conversant with the content as well as your company’s figures and statistics. Sounding enthusiastic and cheerful is always appreciated too.

I helped a company win some awards last year by ensuring that all staff knew the key criteria that would be measured, getting them to accept my mantra that “good is no longer good enough” and finally by ensuring that they strived for “exceptional” performance on a daily basis – they achieved fantastic results. The proprietor asked his team for examples of exceptional work in every morning meeting, and evidence was then thrown in my direction so I could build it into the submission. Although the award winner was not announced until December, work to win it commenced in January, and win it they did. I am proud that my training company, TM training & development have a superb track record in that every year we have helped client firms with their submissions, they have gone on to win awards.

As a result, the winners’ subsequent marketing screams about their successes and the awards in themselves serve as a fabulous USP and instruction winner. In the meantime, “exceptional” business processes and customer service have become the norm within their firm – after all, if they are going to promote their awards victories, they have to live up to the hype!

For further information, please contact me on 07718 634235, email julianodell@live.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @agencytrainer



2013 Tour Dates

Those dates and course details in full are...

 

  

"Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords" at Gatwick on Wednesday 11th July 2013 (morning session).

*The characteristics of an exceptional lister. * Generating instructions. * Preparing to make your appointment exceptional.      * Gain agreement to your valuation. * Presenting your companies services. * Justifying fees. * Dealing with questions and objections. * Following through an appointment and current stock.

 

"Competitive Selling Skills" at Gatwick on Wednesday 11th July 2013 (afternoon session).

* Selling skills self-assessment.  * Preparing to sell.  * Exceptional applicant qualification.  * Promoting properties through effective phone outs.  * Viewings that work.  * Dealing with barriers to sales.  * Effective presentation and planning to sell.

 

"Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords" at Darlington on Thursday 11th July 2013 (morning session).

*The characteristics of an exceptional lister. * Generating instructions. * Preparing to make your appointment exceptional. * Gain agreement to your valuation. * Presenting your companies services. * Justifying fees. * Dealing with questions and objections. * Following through an appointment and current stock.

 

"Managing Your Estate Agency Team To Success" at Darlington on Thursday 11 July 2013 (afternoon session).

* The characteristic of a successful estate agency manager.  * Organizing your team and setting standards.  * Training and coaching your team.  * Dealing with under performance.  * Effective meetings.  * Motivating staff.

 

Each session costs &99 plus VAT per delegate, however delegates booking both sessions at the 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

 



The Sweet Smell of Success...

“You are a very special person”, she said as she handed the younger lady a huge bouquet.

The recipient of this floral tribute was an estate agent who had just agreed a sale on a property, which had been on the books of a competitor for 12 weeks without success. Her agency had found a buyer within two days.

And the giver of the flowers? No, not the vendor, but in fact the person who had just agreed to buy the property in question! Having said that, the owner came in after exchange of contracts with a similar bouquet.

Why then did the purchaser deem it appropriate to reward the agent and to bestow her with such praise? The answer is simply that the agent is one of the few who actually qualifies her applicants properly. Let me explain…

The lady applicant in this case had visited the various agents in the town to request to be registered on their mailing lists. Old school maybe, but it was this particular customer’s preferred approach. Among her requirements she explained that a garage was essential, and being a straight-talking individual, she pointed out in no uncertain terms that she did not want her time wasted by agents offering her properties without such a facility.

One negotiator dug deeper and found that the key reason for the garage was that the applicant owned a convertible BMW, which she wished to park safely where it could not get damaged.

She was a divorcee who had sold and completed and was staying with family and was ready, willing and able to move quickly as a cash buyer.

The lady viewed several properties, which unfortunately proved unsuitable, but she remained mustard-keen to buy.

A few days later, the agent in question contacted the applicant to discuss a potential property. The agent described the relevant benefits of the house in question, which broadly met the lady’s needs, but mentioned that the one thing lacking was a garage.

At this point, the applicant sharply retorted that she couldn’t believe an agent had contradicted her instructions on this issue. Once she had finished her heated outburst, the agent calmly enquired of her as to whether the reason a garage was so critical was solely due to storing the car securely. The answer was affirmative.

The agent then went on to explain that the property in question was on a small private development accessed only by the residents via electric security gates, and that parking the car on the property’s driveway would be no less safe than housing it in a garage.

Overall, the nature of the development would suit a single woman perfectly, and the property in question was ideal in every other way. The applicant sounded unconvinced and grumbled again about having her wishes ignored. This call took place at 5.15pm on a Tuesday.

At 9.05am the following day, the agent’s telephone rang. It was the now somewhat humbler applicant who conceded that she had driven past the development the previous evening and had been impressed. She would be “quite interested in viewing”. The appointment was made for 3pm the same day, and the lady made an asking price offer at 3.45pm. The deal was done at 4pm, less than 24 hours after the agent had brought the supposedly unsuitable property to the applicant’s attention. The flowers and accompanying compliment (and unspoken apology) arrived the following morning.

The sale was doubly sweet from the agent’s perspective as the applicant had been on the databases of all her competitors, including the one who had originally been instructed to sell the property. Needless to say, the house had not been offered to the ultimate purchaser by that agent, presumably because it was deemed unsuitable due to the lack of garage.

The moral here is that thorough qualification makes selling easier.

When a house hunter tells an agent what they are looking for, it is critical to establish what are the real needs as opposed to just their wish list.

Furthermore, finding out the reasons why the applicant places importance on their requested features will reveal whether they may compromise on certain items. Be nosey!

An applicant asking for three bedrooms must be asked whether two might be considered if every other aspect of the property were right. Similarly, should a potential buyer say they are looking to pay up to &200,000, it is crucial to test the true maximum. “If I found you the absolutely perfect property, what would be the very most you would be prepared to pay?” is a question that should be posed to all applicants.

Sadly, our mystery shopper exercises prove that very few agents adopt this approach to qualification.

Incidentally, I have to concur with the customer’s view that the lady estate agent in the example is “a very special person”.

But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? After all……she is my wife!

 



10 Good reasons to choose TM training & development

TM training and development.

 

Delegates on courses have commented on their extensive knowledge and passion for training and development of estate agents, and notably that courses are highly relevant to the ‘real world’ in which agents operate. This is due to the fact that Julian and Peter continue to work within estate agency firm Thomas Morris with seven offices in and around Cambridgeshire, plus two Fine & Country offices.

Thomas Morris have won a number of industry awards including the coveted accolade of the ‘Best Independent Estate Agent in the UK’ in 2011 and 2012, and this award was due in part to the quality training that Julian and Peter provide to the Company’s staff.

Julian and Peter now work with some of the industry’s leading firms as trainers and consultants and believe in delivering motivational and inspiring training that makes a real difference to performance. Many firms report that Julian’s involvement and Peter’s input have led to them thriving in a challenging market where other agents struggle.

Julian lives in Milton Keynes and describes his passions in life as his wife, his four children, three grandchildren, live music and Luton Town Football Club. Peter lives in Luton and takes an active interest in local politics. He is also a follower of Luton Town.

10 Good reasons to choose TM training & development

Track record – TM training & development work with major players within the industry including previous winners of the ‘Best Independent Estate Agent in the UK’ award Romans, Webbers, Gibbs Gillespie, Northfields, the Relocation Agent Network, the Guild of Professional Estate Agents and Fine & Country

Relevant – Our courses are delivered by a front-line estate agent as opposed to a ‘teacher’ who has never worked in the business or perhaps has not done so for some time. Delegates on our courses appreciate the training being conducted by someone who truly understands their industry and who can reinforce the principles covered by way of topical real life scenarios. This element of our approach ensures techniques are relevant to today’s marketplace. All courses focus on ‘best practice’ and reaching exceptional standards of skill and behaviour.

Response – Over 98% of respondents rate our training as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. Feedback typically includes that the courses are motivational, informative and enjoyable, but most importantly that the ideas will genuinely make a positive difference to performance in the workplace.

Quality – Estate agency firms who have employed TM training & development for in-house training or consultancy work stick with us! We are proud that we have retained our clients in such a competitive environment.


 

 

Variety – Courses are provided on all estate agency disciplines and bespoke programmes can be designed at no extra charge. This allows companies to receive training that is specific to their own needs and culture. We also carry out consultancy work to assist in highlighting strengths and weaknesses, help business planning and design training programmes. Finally TM training & development carry out ‘Mystery Shopper’ exercises to give estate agency owners a real insight into staff performance and customer service levels.

Impact – Courses are designed to make a real difference and we operate on a desired maximum of 15 delegates per course. This ensures that each attendee gains maximum benefit from the learning experience.

Communication – Feedback is provided to the company after each event and can include specific reports on individuals if desired.

Flexibility – Training can be provided anywhere around the UK at a venue of your choice. This ensures delegates have a limited distance to travel and can get back to the workplace immediately to put things into practice. Courses can be full day, half day or just a couple of hours of short sharp sessions.

Value – Many clients report that they consider the training to be the ‘best investment’ they ever make. The achievement of extra business, as a result of the training, ensures that the initial outlay is recouped quickly and many times over.

Guarantee of satisfaction – If the training provided does not meet your expectations, we will refund your fee….an offer which has been in place since we started our business but an offer which has never been necessary!

 

TM training & development can be contacted on 01480 405583, admin@tm-trainingandevelopment.co.uk or www.tmtraininganddevelopment.co.uk.

 



Thought for the day ...

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." -Mark Twain