Surprisingly - it's not all about relationships in estate agency!
RAT 147 (Rawlings Agency Tips)
I was always taught that the key to success in estate agency is your ability to build relationships. But this turns out to be partly wrong! I realise now that I knew this all along, but never recognised it. I used to think that you just had to combine reasonable competence with being nice to people (and there is certainly an important place for charm).
Yet when I think about exactly why I gained an instruction, or prompted an offer, it was less about the relationship and more about the fact that I had in some way challenged the person I was trying to persuade.
A survey* of over 20,000 sales professionals concludes that whilst 7% of sales will be agreed by salespeople regarded as “relationship-builders”, a whopping 39% can be attributed to those recognised as “challengers” – that is, salespeople who are not afraid to confront and engage with their clients.
The key here is not just telling the client what they want to hear, but actually educating them, even scaring them, and leaving them feeling that they have learned something new, from an expert, that is either intriguing or actually of value to them.
For example, whilst it may be easy to show the vendor your sales record and give them a flattering suggested asking price, it can be more effective to encourage them to look at what other properties (with other agents) are failing to sell, withdrawn, or have been reduced (http://TheLeadHub.co.uk provides this info, with full addresses and agency name, at minimal cost).
You’d look at original asking prices of competing homes and demonstrate why the wrong initial asking price inevitably leads to disappointment. You’d educate the seller as to why they need an agent that does what you do - eg subscribes to certain portals, or is a member of the NAEA, GPEA etc. You’d show them what can happen if they choose an agent whose opening hours are shorter than yours, or whose photos are amateur.
Far from being a “negative sell”, today’s consumer is thirsty for knowledge and likes to have more control than ever before. They've all been to the Channel 4 School of Estate Agency and they need to know that you know more than they do! So be generous with your advice, and leave them feeling “Blimey, I didn’t realise THAT”. You’ll find you gain respect, which is probably more important than being liked when it comes to securing an instruction. Overlay this with warmth and sincerity and you might just find your conversion ratio rockets! So remember 7% relationship, 39% CHALLENGE!
The Marketing Content programme I write for my agency clients contains a huge number of such challenges, based around your own agency, that you may wish to consider. Please feel free to contact me for some samples and a proposal.