Guest Blog: How to Thrive, not Survive in Turbulent Times

8 September 2017 | Tony Morris

How can agents win new business and get ahead in challenging market conditions? Tony Morris of Sales Doctor shares some quick-win techniques below.

Put yourself at a competitive advantage  

Making sure you stand out from the competition has never been more important and putting exemplary service at the heart of your business means that you are not only likely to succeed but thrive.   

Research shows that a typical seller will contact three or more agents before deciding on who to instruct.  And while fees play an important role in the decision-making process, they’re not the only driver.  A Rightmove Survey of vendors carried out last year found that 82% of respondents didn’t choose the agent offering the lowest fee.  It seems that what sellers are looking for is value – how agents deliver on their fees.  And this, the survey suggests, means one thing – standout service levels.

The truth is that vendors simply want agents to find them the right buyer, at the right price within a timescale that suits them.  In understanding and delivering on this, agents have the potential to both increase their profitability and increase their market share.

And the good news is there are lots of little things that can be done to make a big difference. 

Here are just a few that we’ve suggested to our clients:

  • Ensure you’re doing all you can between drawing up the market appraisal and getting going on it. 
  • Personalise your correspondence with a handwritten letter to your seller thanking them for inviting you to see their property.
  • Attach a short biography of the valuer who visited the property, add in some testimonials about them and your agency together with mention of any awards you may have won.
  • Remember to include a ‘meet the team’ page. 
  • Suggest the seven things you can do to get the price for your vendor’s home.
  • Include a page on 10 questions your agent should ask you.

These may sound simple things but one of our clients saw a 15% uplift in conversion rates after looking again at their service levels and implementing these small changes.  

Keep in touch

Make sure that anyone who has bought or sold through your branch is sent an occasional update on how the market is faring in their area.  Suggest a valuation three or four years after the homeowners have moved into their property.  Not only does this show that you’re active in their market but that you’re knowledgeable about the place in which they live.

Keeping in touch, adding value and engaging with buyers and sellers can increase your conversion rates, in our experience, by up to 20%. 

Building trust to win an instruction, sounds like common sense but we recently carried out a mystery shopping exercise and in calls to over 300 agents we found that 80% failed to ask a customer’s name until the conversation was coming to a close.  While an astonishing 68% dived straight in with ‘have you got a mortgage?  Because our advisors cover the whole of the market and can get great rates.’

Some 65% asked if the caller was on their mailing list and could they register them; 49% used ‘what’s your budget?’ as their opening gambit.

Of course you need to know how much a buyer is looking to spend but not before you have a sense of what they’re looking for; what’s prompted the call and why they chose you to help in their property search.  Simple engagement.

If they were recommended – you know who to thank and if they weren't you can reinforce your value by explaining how recommendations form the backbone of your business.

Over 35% of the agents that we called, told us that no one was in sales and that either we could call back or we could call them.  We believe that anyone picking up a phone in branch should be able to arrange a viewing or market appraisal.

And follow up is important too.  While you’re on a viewing arrange a time to catch up in order to assess how the visit went.  It’s an effective trick of keeping hold of what can quickly become a vanishing applicant.  Feedback is important, so don’t lose the chance to hear it.

To be the best in the current climate means delivering great service.  Keep standards high, ensure that your colleagues buy into and adhere to them and remember it’s often the smallest changes that make the biggest difference.

About the author

Tony Morris

Managing Director, Sales Doctors

Tony Morris is a sales expert and motivational speaker who has delivered hundreds of talks to corporations worldwide. His interactive presentations offer a combination of fact, insight and practical advice that help sales professionals improve their performance, build long-term customer loyalty and gain valuable referrals.

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Tony Morris, Managing Director of Sales Doctor, Guest Blog for LonRes