One of the main points I’ve had reinforced to me from agent after agent over the last year of hosting a podcast all about estate agency, is that the most successful agents do the disciplined work really, really well.
Great estate agency boils down to two things. Communication and consistency.
It doesn't matter if you’re talking to a potential client, current client, previous client, solicitor, surveyor, local café owner, friend, family member or neighbour; the level at which you’re able to communicate your message, and how often you do it, will determine your results.
With that in mind, I have put a few suggestions together as a conversation ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts to help you keep your communications consistent over the coming weeks.
Let’s start with some numbers…
The latest HMRC residential transaction statistics, released on July 21, show the number of completions in June rose from those in May by 31.7%. We all knew this was going to happen. We’ve all seen the market explode since opening back up. But does your client base know this too? It’s your job to be the conduit of this type of information.
Numbers like this breed confidence. Confidence breeds decisions. You need to make sure you are the agent that has delivered that confidence when the decision to move is made.
What difference does 0% make?
With the stamp duty holiday, which was announced on July 8 for England and Northern Ireland where it has already had a positive effect, the market has been given an enormous boost. But you can’t take this for granted.
The average consumer will associate this with what they can save rather than what it might make them if they decided to move.
In the last two weeks, I’ve seen hundreds of agents reporting the changes in stamp duty, but I’ve noticed the best ones are making the message more meaningful to the type of client they’re wanting to attract.
In an oversimplified nutshell:
For would-be sellers: Lower or no stamp duty means more people will be interested in your home, creating natural competition. With the correct pricing strategy (and that’s what an asking price should be) and strategic marketing, competition will push prices up. The stamp duty changes will make you more money.
For would-be buyers: What can you buy with your stamp duty savings? Everyone buys new things for their new homes. It’s an important message to be communicating to your buyers now.
Which.co.uk reported that the government predicts that the average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500, but for properties priced at £500,000 the saving will be £15,000.
Ask your clients, “what could you buy for your new home with these numbers?”
Get them into an aspirational frame of mind and build their emotional connection to moving.
Bringing it all together…
I’m conscious that my own career doesn’t yet have the same longevity as many of you reading this, so all I can do is share what works for me and what I hear is working every day.
My one rule in business has always been that if I talk to 20 people every day, my life will take care of itself. It’s a simple rule and one that hasn’t let me down yet.
Right now, it feels like we’re in bit of a Goldilocks zone of estate agency. We know there’s a bump in the road coming. With this in mind, we know it’s the agent who does the work in preparation that will summit the bump when it arrives.
The market is in your favour at the moment. There’s no two ways about that. So now is the time to think about the future. Make the most of the opportunity in front of you today to guarantee yourself the opportunities when the market turns. Keep your discipline and don’t let your standards slip.
Don’t be lulled into the false sense of security that comes with a good market; it’s all about thinking two or three steps ahead and building long-term deal flow and pipeline.
It boils down to communication and consistency.
Be the conduit of information. Start with the numbers. Talk about why the changes in the market matter, not just what they are.
Be educational, relevant and entertaining. Don't just share the facts, instead, use them to tell stories, give your opinions and stick to them.
Highlight what a great moving process looks like before your clients are in the middle of it. Tell people all the little things you do to make sure it’s smooth and successful, whether they’re your clients or not.
Estate agency is a straightforward practise, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You need to push yourself every day, especially now.
*Sam Hunter is Chief Operating Officer at Homesearch