Shortlisted for Success

Shortlisted for Success

We are really thrilled to have been shortlisted for the prestigious Negotiator Supplier of the Year award for services to the Estate Agency industry. Having won the Sunday Times Gold Supplier of the Year Award in 2010, TM training & development are always keen to benchmark ourselves against the very best businesses.
A big part of our business is helping sales and lettings agents win industry awards through training the staff in key skill areas, as well as assisting in compiling award submissions for our client firms. Having been judges on many award panels over the years, we have an important insight into what such judges are looking for!
Putting submissions together for such industry awards is a really valuable exercise in itself as it forces business owners to be genuinely objective about all elements of their business. It is useful as it can sometimes reveal areas of weakness that need addressing, which otherwise might not have been spotted. This process in itself helps agents improve what they do.
Win or lose, we are pleased to have been shortlisted and wish all our client firms who are also in the running for Negotiator awards the very best of luck!

Take care of your clients…before someone else does!

Failure to proactively contact existing vendors, in an effort to make instructions more saleable leads to complaints, negative comments about your firm in the community and a huge potential cost to your business in terms of your reputation and the money spent on marketing unsaleable instructions.


There are a number of key elements to tackle:


1) Staff attitude. Office teams mourn a collapsed sale, however may only be mildly miffed when a vendor withdraws to try another agent. These events must be treated with equal concern – both lead to potential lost income.

Further to this, valuers faced with two calls to return, one from a disgruntled vendor and the other from an unknown person considering putting their property on the market, will often call the new client before the existing one. This is questionable prioritisation.


2) Staff training. I witnessed a really interesting incident at an agent’s morning meeting recently. With the meeting in full flow and with all staff participating and seemingly up for the day’s challenges, there was a marked change in body language when today’s “client care calls” were about to be distributed. The visible “shrinking” by the staff made it clear that they were not looking forward to this element of their work. After the meeting I asked the manager what training and coaching had been provided to his team on this skill area – the answer was “none”.

The team must be guided on preparing for the conversation (setting appropriate objectives, relevant evidence to support those objectives, how the call should be structured, how to overcome resistance etc) – this will in turn build the negotiator’s confidence in getting a result. Too many calls are merely a PR exercise attempting to keep the client happy for a week or two.


3) Vendor Care System. Whether computerised or manual, a reminder system is essential to flag up all available properties for review. Many agents fail to maintain such a system, leaving vendors to go for lengthy periods without contact. Research has shown that vendors switch agents due to lack of communication as much as failure to sell.


4) Managing client expectations. If a new vendor is left with unrealistic service expectations, the agent will rapidly fall into the “overpromising/underdelivering” trap, leading to early problems. Clarity at the point of instruction is crucial.


5) Vendor/Agent relationship. Trust is the key, with the most trusted agent likely to be successful in securing the initial instruction. However, that relationship of trust must be maintained. The agent who fails to produce particulars quickly and accurately, to include the property in the promised newspaper advert, to upload to the portals will soon lose that client’s trust, increasing the likelihood of the vendor looking elsewhere. Exceeding client expectations is best practise.

Furthermore, if the vendor has rapport with the whole sales team rather than just the valuer, increased client loyalty is more likely. Such rapport can be achieved by different team members conducting and providing feedback on viewings, or simply visiting the property to make selling it an easier task.


6) Proactive vendor contact. With the right system, attitude and training in place, good agents can proactively provide their vendors with updates to maintain their relationship and client satisfaction. Inviting the client into the office or visiting them to discuss progress have proved far more effective than telephone calls.

These visits/calls also serve as an opportunity to enhance saleability by way of price reduction, improved viewing access, securing a mortgage appointment or a for sale board. Vendors gain a heightened awareness of the efforts their agent is making to achieve a sale ensuring they are less susceptible to “jumping ship”.


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The team must understand that an existing instruction that has been rendered more saleable by way of achieving your client care call objectives and improved loyalty and motivation of the vendor is as good as, if not better than, a new instruction.

Getting the most from your staff…

A frequent concern raised by managers during discussion forums on our management training courses is how to get an acceptable level of performance from members of the team who frequently fall short of the required standards. A significant number of managers fail to achieve such an improvement in their underperforming staff and rapidly run out of patience before taking the workers in question down an appropriate departure route whilst simultaneously and potentially desperately seeking a replacement employee. However, a manager must think hard before embarking on such a course of action – giving up on an employee in such a fashion is irreversible and there is no guarantee that the new recruit will fare any better, particularly in the short term while they are learning the job role and company culture.


Handling poor performance effectively falls into three key areas – spotting that there is a problem, understanding the reasons for that problem and attempting a remedy.


The first of these is relatively straightforward in an estate agency environment as there is a plethora of performance criteria to measure employees against. Should a member of staff fail to achieve targets in any or all of these areas then action must be taken. Lack of addressing underperformance is a common failing among weaker managers, allowing staff to perceive an unspoken acceptance of such a state of affairs.


The second stage of understanding the causes of underachievement is key to success.

There are usually good reasons why an employee is not performing well – often the most difficult part of the manager’s role in this area is to identify those reasons swiftly and accurately. It can help to have an awareness of the specific attitude the worker has to towards their job.


Broadly speaking, staff have one of four prevailing attitudes to work – "can do/will do", "can’t do/will do", "can do/won’t do" and "can’t do/won’t do".


The first of these is displayed by the employee who constantly demonstrates standards of behaviour that meet or exceed the manager’s expectations.


The second aforementioned attitude is typically observed in newer staff who have the desire to do well but lack the knowledge or skills to achieve excellence.


The third "can do/won’t do" approach is a trickier one to handle as there is probably a lack of motivation at the root. The employee adopting this approach to their job may be finding the workload too easy or repetitive and therefore experiencing a lack of challenge and variety. They may feel neglected or detached from the team. There may be outside influences in their personal life affecting their concentration or energy levels. Whatever the cause, the manager must quickly identify it prior to taking action to address it. Likewise, the "can’t do/won’t do" worker has to have some managerial support and time invested before a decision is taken to release them.


Patience is important. The underlying reasons for these last two types of behaviour may not reveal themselves immediately and discussions with the employee involved must be tactful and thorough. Establishing the reasons for the shortfall in results is not a question of apportioning blame, but rather a joint discussion including factual analysis.


The manager should also consider key questions to try to establish what has gone wrong. Was the task misunderstood? Was the task understood by the employee but the objectives or targets inappropriately set? Was the failure to meet the objectives wholly down to circumstances within the person’s control? It is an important principle to grasp that poor performance can be a direct result of poor leadership, where a manager has failed to specify the results expected or the levels of skills and competence required.


The third and final stage of managing underperformance – attempting a remedy – involves deciding and agreeing the course of action required.


A necessary improvement in skills could be achieved by training courses or in-house coaching. Behavioural change is less straightforward as staff will often fail to change just because their manager tells them to! They must understand the benefits to themselves and the company of the suggested changes. Attitudinal change is the most tricky to secure, however improvements in performance as a result of behavioural change may engender a new way of thinking, particularly if combined with an increased investment of time on the manager’s part spent helping develop abilities, skills and knowledge through guidance and support.


As ever with effective management, to complete the third stage successfully requires monitoring and checking prior to revisiting stage one.


This time may be difficult for the manager to find in an already busy schedule, but the pay off in terms of overall team performance will make it well worth it.

Tour dates 2013

Those dates and course details in full are...

 Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Manchester -

              "Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords This Autumn"  (morning session).

              “How To “Outsell” Your Competition”  (afternoon session).


Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Coventry - 

                "Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords This Autumn"  (morning session).

                 “How To “Outsell” Your Competition”  (afternoon session).


Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Bristol -  

                   "Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords This Autumn"  (morning session).

                   “How To “Outsell” Your Competition”  (afternoon session).


Wednesday 16th October 2013 in Gatwick - 

                    "Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords This Autumn"  (morning session).

                    “How To “Outsell” Your Competition”  (afternoon session).

 Details of the course content:  

"Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords This Autumn"  (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. * Closing instructions – Making the most of current stock. 


“How To “Outsell” Your Competition”  (afternoon session).

* Selling skills self-assessment.  * Preparing to sell.  * Exceptional applicant qualification.  * Promoting properties through effective phone outs.  * Viewings that work. * Generating Offers  * Dealing with barriers to sales.  * Supporting the listing operation.


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 us at or visit our website

Estate Agency All Stars Training...

Estate Agency All Stars finds potential trainee negotiators, puts them through a unique and rigorous recruitment and selection process and then offers them to appropriate employers. The successful candidates then receive training from TM training as part of the package during the very early part of their career.

Due to demand from a significant number of sales and lettings firms over recent months, we have now expanded our proposition to include the chance for agents who have recruited their own personnel to take advantage of the Estate Agency All Stars training course.

This five day programme gives each attendee the chance to receive thorough training in the crucial aspects of their work including how to conduct themselves in the workplace, agency terminology, the key processes of buying, selling, letting and renting, customer service, telephone techniques, registering applicants, handling fee enquiries, booking appraisals, arranging and conducting viewings, putting offers forward and much more.

The next course runs from Monday 16th September to Friday 20th September and we have a handful of places left. There is also availability on the October course which runs from Monday 28th October to Friday 1st November. If you have a trainee sales or lettings negotiator who has been in the industry for three months or less, they will be eligible for the course.

It is being held at TM training’s Training Centre in Eaton Socon, St Neots, Cambridgeshire and places are available now on a first come, first served basis at just &500 plus vat per delegate.

To book your staff onto this programme or to find out about future All Stars courses and dates, call Victoria Hancock at Estate Agency All Stars on 0845 5214 637 or email her

Thought for the day....

“Your present circumstances
don’t determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start.”

- Nido Qubein