Untapped opportunity abounds if you’re willing to change tack
Maximizing sales opportunities requires you to focus on the most serious sellers and introduce a string of measures to justify an increase in fees
The first advantage of a weaker market is a reduction in competition. If one of the casualties is not going to be your agency, then there is a critical need to quickly and radically re-evaluate your agency methods.
This will help you discover opportunities that might always have been there for the taking. Fewer competitors means a larger slice of the remaining supply of stock - but it has to be saleable and profitable stock from committed sellers and this is where other opportunities lie.
Firstly, you have the opportunity to make your stock more saleable by dramatically reducing prices. There is no point in allowing your clients to follow the market when they should be leading it. The only way to get ahead of the market is to price a property at tomorrow’s price, not today’s - and certainly not yesterday’s.
If the market in your area is predicted to drop by, say, 5% in the next three months, then reduce the price by 10% and you’ll have a gem of an instruction.
Don’t be afraid of losing some instructions to a competitor - these will be the unsaleable ones you don’t actually want. It’s on the flip side of this that the third opportunity lies. If you’ve opted for an abundance of stock rather than trimming down to the most saleable, you can take advantage of this by selling to a greater proportion of your buyers.
Buyers no longer need to work with so many agents if they can find everything they need to make a comparable buying decision, through just one agent - you.
If a buyer needs to see, say, 12 properties before they feel ready to buy, then you will be able to offer them this choice.
And don’t just stick them on a mailing list and wait for them to call. Drive them to the 12 properties and they’ll probably buy one. But you must be sure about their ability and commitment at the outset of the viewings.
The fourth opportunity - and my passion for more than 20 years - is fees. British agents charge the lowest commission in the world and by a long way.
It’s pathetic. Low fees are counterproductive, unnecessary, unprofitable, utterly preventable, and a bad reflection on agents lacking confidence who a) don’t appreciate their value to the client and b) don’t have the ability to fight their corner with skill, conviction and the right phrases.
There are several fundamentals to grasp before raising your fees. Then you are guaranteed to be able to overcome the lie we have conned ourselves into believing - that all clients want to know is how much they are going to get for their house and what your fees are. Bear in mind that people don’t usually insist on the cheapest car, clothes, dentist, holiday, restaurant, shoes and supermarket, so why would they do so with their estate agent? In fact, several surveys have confirmed that only between 4% and 5% of sellers choose the cheapest agent. Most simply choose the agent they prefer.
In order to raise fees, you must ensure you are highly attractive to your clients and present your case for dealing with them and their properties with authority and conviction, self-belief, passion and perseverance.
This requires a clutch of persuasive phrases. We know that scripted dialogues are usually painfully contrived and not delivered naturally during a conversation. There is, however, a place for certain key phrases to be understood, memorised, rehearsed and used with the right client at the right time.
It may well be that you would be uncomfortable with 50% of them but that still leaves you with 40 arguments for higher fees compared with the three or so your client will have against them. So, persevere and clients will soon run out of ammunition and be persuaded that it is in their interest to invest in a quality service.