Need more stock???

Need more stock???

So January came and went in the twinkling of an eye, with business levels healthy for the vast majority of agents whom we work with. However, the spectre of lack of stock is still looming large. This newsletter has a key focus on helping you win stock on the right terms, but we would also urge that you book yourself and/or colleagues onto one of our imminent training courses. The feedback to these is constantly fantastic particularly insofar as the courses provide practical ideas to win stock straight away. You can book online (subject to availability) and look forward to a motivational event with likeminded proactive agents. See you there!

2014 Tour Dates

Those dates and course details in full are...

Wednesday 19th February Coventry -

Wednesday 26th February Bristol - (Only a few places remaining)

Tuesday 4th March Manchester -

Thursday 13th March St Neots, Cambridgeshire -

Wednesday 19th March Fleet, Hampshire -


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

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

Details of the course content:  

"Gaining Instructions from Vendors and Landlords "  (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


Mind the gap!

One vital role of a negotiator is to spot and convert opportunities for market appraisals, yet little attention is given to this critical area of the business. It is all very well to target for exchanges, sales, viewings and so on, but none of these will ever be achieved without going through sufficient front doors in the first place. Therefore monthly team and individual targets for appraisal generation are key to thriving in challenging times.

Effective valuers will do all they can on the appraisal to convince the client that their services will be the most likely to get them the result they are looking for, whether it be the best possible price, the quickest possible sale, the avoidance of hassle and inconvenience, or ideally all three. But this highly skilled approach can only be employed once an appraisal has been secured by the valuer's colleagues. To achieve the appointment often necessitates the non-valuers possessing a similar skill set to the valuers in terms of promoting the merits and USPs of the company's services as well as having a detailed knowledge of the competitors' proposition to highlight one's own strengths against their weaknesses.

In reality, many non-valuers have not been supported by training or coaching in this discipline, and some have never even been out on an appraisal to enable them to understand the process and pick up key phrases or soundbites used to persuade clients of their firm's superior services.

If a non-valuer meets a local applicant with a property to sell, whether that be at registration stage or at a viewing, he/she needs to be as proficient as the valuers at converting that opportunity. In other words, when offering a free valuation and being faced with resistance (eg "I've already had two valuations" or "We're going to put it on the market with Bloggs and Co as we bought it from them"), an appraisal appointment MUST still be achieved. This can be done by highlighting one's own key selling services in comparison to the other agents, by explaining recent sales successes that your agency has had particularly where other agents have failed, by pointing out market share stats where relevant and crucially by focusing on how your USPs will achieve a better result.

This high calibre persuasive approach can only be achieved by way of training/coaching the non-valuers to reach the levels of knowledge and confidence of the valuers. Failure to address this issue will  undoubtedly lead to missed appraisals and thus less instructions and sales.

Our "Supporting the Valuer" course has worked wonders in helping non-valuers achieve more appraisals by converting opportunities, handle fee enquiries and book appointments in an exceptional manner. Do give us a call if you feel this course would help your agency.


The art of building rapport…

Genuine rapport is at the hub of any sales relationship. The age-old principle still holds true – “people buy people” or perhaps to expand on that with a fuller version, “people buy people who communicate effectively with them, thereby creating a relationship of trust and rapport”.

The word “rapport” is regularly tossed around in conversations within the sales arena and yet when we cover the subject on our courses, there is often a great deal of confusion about what it actually means. It is certainly not simply about being nice to people!

People come from all walks of life – they have different backgrounds, situations and views. To some people, living in a small isolated cottage in the heart of the Yorkshire Moors would be an idyllic existence. To others, it would be unimaginably boring. But the cottage in this example is the same set of bricks and mortar in both cases – it is the individuals’ opinions and feelings that are different.

This is because we all have a different perspective, or “map of the world”.

Each person’s “map” consists of all sorts of knowledge, experiences, attitudes, beliefs, habits, opinions and much more. It is perhaps unsurprising that natural rapport is likely to be rare given how different we all are and how our “map” is unlikely to coincide completely with anyone else’s.

So, a really sensible starting point to improving your staff’s rapport building skills would be to get them to accept the concept of “maps of the world” and alongside that, to recognise that their each of their prospective clients and customers has a different one.

If a salesperson can see a customer’s “map” more clearly, he or she can shift themselves towards it. This doesn’t mean necessarily compromising or changing their own views (although that may be a natural consequence), but rather that they look to “match” with them in terms of voice, vocabulary, pace, tone and so forth. “Matching” is a key element of rapport building.

Matching means being “in tune” with the person we are communicating with. One way of helping achieve rapport, so that the other person can feel more comfortable in our presence, is to adopt aspects of their behaviour, such as particular body language, gestures, tone of voice or particular words and phrases.

In everyday life, people tend to do this naturally. When with others, you might suddenly notice that you and the person you’re with have adopted the same posture. Or at a social occasion you might notice that people who are getting on well together lift their glasses to drink at the same time. These are natural signs of being in tune, in rapport with each other.

Beyond “matching”, rapport building comprises a number of skills – commonly described as “soft skills”. These include effective questioning and active listening.

The first skill – effective questioning – is something that most people think is easy. However, truly skilled questioners have an array of question types which they can draw on in particular circumstances.

The most effective questions to accelerate the building of rapport are “open” and “scenario” questions. Both encourage the speaker to speak, which, obvious as it sounds, is not always a goal achieved by salespeople - particularly those who prefer the sound of their own voice to the sound of anyone else’s.

Open questions start with “How?”, “What?”, “Why?” and so on. They cannot be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”.

“How are getting on with finding a property to buy?” is a far better question than “Have you found a property yet?” as it encourages the customer to elaborate. “What is the absolute latest you need to be moved by?” is significantly more effective than “Are you in a hurry to move?”

Scenario questions are great to start to understand the “map of the world” as you project the customer into a future position and seek their views on it. “What would happen if you hadn’t moved by that date?” or “What will you do if you don’t achieve your asking price?” or “What will you do if you can’t find a detached property within your budget?”

These start to really delve into the mindset of your customers and clients and ensure you start to move towards their map of the world.

The second skill – active listening - has stood the test of time as an essential ingredient of effective selling. We have all heard the phrase “two ears, one mouth: use them in that proportion”, but many salespeople are too busy formulating their next statement or question to be adept at listening to what their customer is telling them. “Active listening” ensures you avoid such mistakes.

Active listening involves listening with all senses.  Giving full attention to the speaker is essential. Both verbal and non-verbal messages can be effective - maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying “Yes” or simply “Uh huh”  to encourage them to continue.  By providing this encouragement, the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more openly and honestly.

Reflecting snippets of what the customer has said to show you are taking things on board and the use of summaries, to check understanding and prove you have listened, also play their part in active listening.

Combine all these techniques and your team will move to the next level in their sales technique – the time you invest in helping them build rapport with clients and customers could be the best investment you make in 2014.


The L’Oreal effect…

With many estate agency firms typically reporting an ongoing shortage of stock, it is critical to achieve optimum fees from each instruction to sustain your business although the temptation for many agents to attract vendors by charging low fees is proving too strong for some practitioners.


It seems somewhat ironic that over the last thirty years, service levels have generally risen within the industry while fee percentages have typically fallen or at best held steady. In fact, for a large number of agents, the only increase in fee amounts has been down to rising property prices. Many UK agents bemoan the fact that we are among the cheapest in Europe, despite longer working hours and higher running costs. In times past, there were no floor plans, virtual tours, Internet coverage or even in some cases colour details! The client is getting a higher level of service than ever before…but not always paying an appropriate price!


On my travels around the country conducting training and consultancy work, I cannot think of a town or city where the cheapest agent sells the most property. Indeed, many of my estate agency client companies who have the most impressive market share in their respective areas are also the most expensive local agents.


It is no coincidence in the above cases that the staff display an inherent pride in the companies they work for, and perceive without question that their vendors receive excellent value for money despite the fact that there are a raft of cheaper options in their area. This matter of “value for money” is the key to success in agents securing the right fee levels.


Upon having the typical three or four valuations, it is critical that the vendor perceives you and your agency to be different and more effective than the rest. After all, the fee the client ultimately pays is really a red herring. The key figure is the net amount they will achieve from their property sale. If a vendor genuinely understands that instructing a cheap agent could cost them thousands of pounds on their sale price, they will look more closely at what each agent offers in terms of services, and thereby the likely end result.


Everything an agent does from the first point of contact with the vendor onwards helps to set the right context for appropriate fee discussions later on. As and when the subject of commission is raised at the valuation appointment, it is crucial to have built a clear impression in the client’s mind that you and your company are better equipped to help the client move than any other agent they have had dealings with. Ideally, the client would be sitting there thinking “This firm is so much better than the agents I’ve spoken with….I bet they will be expensive!”


By focusing on your USPs (unique selling points), the vendor can be made to understand why you charge more. Naturally, the reverse is true, in that if the potential client sees you as no different to your competitors on any level, there is no way they could be expected to pay you more. Researching your competitors’ services is vital to achieve this approach.


Furthermore, in the face of a fee objection, many agents buckle quickly and reduce their commission to try and secure an immediate instruction. A client asking you to negotiate is not necessarily saying that if you don’t they will not instruct you. They may simply be testing the water. The very fact that they are interested in talking about your charges should be taken as an indicator that your company is at least under consideration as their agent of choice.


By standing your ground and calmly explaining that your fees are non-negotiable because they reflect the service offered, the potential vendor may recognise a confidence and belief in you that leads them to appreciate that you should be their agent of choice. If however, you drop your fees without blinking, there might just be an underlying question in the client’s mind…”If you are so ready to give your own money away, how skilled are you going to be when negotiating on my behalf?”


One of the best valuers whom I have seen in action gets full fee the vast majority of the time. When I asked him why, he simply stated “Because I’m worth it.” It is this self-belief (what we call “the L’Oreal effect") and his self-awareness to seek ways to constantly improve his techniques that guarantee he will have a very, very successful career.

Thought for the day ...

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it