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By Heather Staff

Co-Founder, Spectre


PropTech Today: what does prospecting look like in the current market?

In the first few months of 2022, agents have experienced some of the lowest stock levels in several years. The number of available homes for sale per branch has dropped to a new record low of just 12 - and there are said to be 29 buyers on average for every property on the market.

Competition among buyers is now almost double what it was this time last year - meaning many properties are selling within just days and agents are left scrambling for stock.

In this unique property market, here are my tips on the types of prospecting we are seeing pay dividends for agents at the moment.


Clever ways to bring properties to the market

Research has shown that, despite wanting to sell, many homeowners aren’t coming to the market in fear of having nowhere to buy themselves. Targeted off-market prospecting is a highly effective way of unlocking those vendors and helping you secure more stock.

Firstly, by sending off-market prospecting campaigns, you can reach out to potential vendors and encourage them to list their property by letting them know exactly how many buyers you have registered looking for a property just like theirs - helping your agency secure the first instruction.

Secondly, you can also use off-market prospecting as a ‘home finding service’ for potential vendors who may be on the fence about listing their property, because they can’t see a property they want to buy that’s currently on the market.  

When you’re met with that pushback, this is a great tactic to secure not one, but two potential instructions. Offer to get their property ‘marketing-ready’ - i.e. take the photos, get the listing prepared and then, as part of your service, you’ll personally write to the properties that match the criteria for what they’re looking for.

Use technology that enables you to filter properties by location, years at residence, number of bedrooms, property type, square footage and estimated value, and let them know you have a super interested buyer.

Even better - using tools like Spectre, you can send those homeowners a property report specific to their property packed full of information and with an estimated valuation. Often homeowners don’t realise what their property is now worth and this can be enough to prompt a call to get an accurate valuation, especially knowing someone is looking for a property just like theirs.

When someone bites, you will hopefully have secured both instructions - win win!

Social proof! Use your sales to secure your next instruction

If you aren’t sending 20:20s (or sold-in-your-area campaigns), you should really consider doing so. Sending eye-catching postcards or letters that shout about your recent sales to nearby homes is proven to be highly effective at generating instructions.

The fact that you’re successfully selling in the local area, combined with the message that there were many more interested buyers who were unsuccessful, is a compelling message to homeowners and can help to nudge them into selling - especially if they were already considering it.

When supported with regular canvassing materials, 20:20s are some of the most valuable prospecting campaigns an agent can send. According to our own internal Spectre data, agents see 1 instruction per every 4 sold-in-your-area campaigns sent on average.

Start sending landlord prospecting campaigns

Landlord prospecting is often overlooked when it really shouldn’t be, considering the average lifetime value of a landlord is, on average, greater than that of a vendor. But how do you capture the attention of landlords in a fast-paced market? You go for what they all care about - yield.

Prospecting tools can identify rental properties that haven’t had a rent increase between tenancies, enabling you to reach out with tailored communication. In a market where rents are at an all-time high, landlords will want to hear what your agency has to offer if they think they’re missing out on income.

Another easy way to grow your lettings agency is by identifying and focusing on portfolio landlords. These landlords not only have the highest return on marketing spend, but are the best way to expand your management portfolio in the quickest possible way - as well as help your agency weather the storm in a depleted sales market.

Past purchasers: easiest source of new instructions

With average stock levels per agent decreasing 32% compared to this time last year, it’s no surprise that finding stock and securing instructions is currently at the top of most agencies’ list of priorities. However, many agents forget about their past purchasers - clients that you already have in your agency arsenal.

Here’s an example - if you’re an agent that has sold 100 properties a year for the last 5 years, on average 71 of your past purchasers are going to come to the market this year. Statistically, you’re only likely to get 10 of those instructions. That’s 61 potential instructions lost, because you lost contact with them.

Maintaining relationships with past clients is an easy and cheap way to generate future business, and by regularly reaching out with estimated valuations that might tempt them back to the market (i.e. continuing to provide a service), your past purchasers will soon be your easiest source of new instructions. Again, think about using technology to do this so it’s done consistently and doesn’t take up more of your time.

Finally, don’t forget about on-market

It’s clear the trends that defined the market in 2021 have carried over into this year - mainly a strong demand for properties but a low number of available homes for sale. However, our data shows that homeowners who stay on the market longer than a few weeks are even more likely to switch agents as they’ll be doubly frustrated that they cannot sell their property - even in such a thriving market.

With the help of PropTech, there is now a multitude of ways agents can reach out to homeowners and maintain healthy stock levels - whether that’s sending off-market campaigns, 20:20 campaigns, targeting high-value landlords or getting those second instructions that aren’t selling.

*Heather Staff is the co-founder of Spectre and Street.co.uk


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