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By Nick Ball

Sales Director, mio


When the going gets tough, focus on your leaky bucket

As economic signs increasingly point to a contraction in the property market, competition for new business will inevitably heat up. But with fewer properties coming to the market, longer transaction times and increasing fall-through rates, what can you do to make sure you’re still winning business and managing those sales through to a successful completion?

mio takes a look at where the holes in your sales processes can occur and what you can do to plug them - and convert your hard-earned commissions into vital cashflow.

  1. Get your sellers both market and sale-ready at instruction

Across the industry, there is a drive towards improving the property transaction process with more upfront property information for homebuyers, spearheaded by new best practice being brought into effect by National Trading Standards.

  • Property information compliance

Part A, covering basic material information, was launched earlier in 2022, while Parts B and C are expected to cover additional information for the conveyancing process. The collective property details gathered helps estate agents provide comprehensive information and answers to many questions during the viewing which builds trust – and saves time during the conveyancing process.

By getting your sellers ‘market ready’ at the instruction stage, you can minimise delays and reduce the risk of a failed sale because prospective buyers can make more informed decisions from detailed information available to them from the outset. Your time becomes more productive on viewings because you’re dealing with a better qualified consumer and you have more information at your disposal with which to field any questions. Relationships with your conveyancers improve too, as sharing these important details allows potential issues to be addressed at the earliest opportunity, and can reassure even the most nervous buyers.

  • Capture upfront property information early

To help agents meet the changing landscape of the home moving process, mio’s digital Property Information Form is being released in December, as part of its new Sellers Information Pack. This provides agents with the tools they need to differentiate themselves and win in the living room at market appraisal. Agents can register their interest here.

  1. Qualify buyers more effectively

You can better match buyers to suitable properties by taking the extra time to really find out about them. Asking the right questions can also contribute to reduced transaction times and fall throughs and help to manage sellers’ expectations:

  • How serious are you?

Ask buyers how long they’ve been looking for, how many properties they’ve viewed, if they’ve already made offers on properties and what went wrong.  

  • Help us to help you!

Ensure buyers understand how the process works, so they can more readily engage and quickly respond as the sale progresses.

  • Virtual viewings?

Invite potential buyers to take an initial virtual tour of a property. It may mean fewer face-to-face viewings but for those that do, your time is invested in those who are genuinely interested.   

  • Availability for viewings?

Find out how flexible they are to do viewings and what notice periods they need. 

  • What funding do you have in place? 

Confirm and evidence the funding position of your buyers. Do they have a Mortgage Decision in Principle (MDIP) and if so, how much can they borrow? Cash buyers or buyers with an MDIP can often progress their purchase faster, reducing transaction times.  If the buyer’s MDIP is over a couple of months old, ask them to get it refreshed as lending criteria change, as can buyers’ financial positions with the current cost of living crisis. 

  • Have you really sold your property?

Investigate the actual status of the buyer’s sale if applicable. How complicated is their chain and what’s the status of the other properties in the chain?

  • Have you got your team in place?

Helping your buyers to get organised early with an appointed Conveyancer and Surveyor saves time and also gives you a chance to refer buyers to your preferred suppliers. Suggest professionals you have worked with before who you know will work with you to get the sale through.

  • What are your timelines?

Find out about your buyers’ schedules, for example dates of pre-booked holidays, that will need to be taken into account to avoid mismatched expectations and delays.

  1. Increase collaboration with conveyancers

The best working relationships between agents and conveyancers result in clearer communications, quicker sale times and more satisfied customers, not to mention more client referral fees.

  • Banish the blame game

When both sides are under pressure, relationships between agents and conveyancers can become fraught, so rather than play the blame game, focus on how you can collaborate together to overcome obstacles and reach your common goal. 

  • Share as much data as you can

Information communication is key. That’s where platforms like mio allow agents and conveyancers to share important milestone data, giving everyone greater visibility over the process and the ability to pinpoint any potential hold-ups or risks early on, so you can work together to mitigate them. That means less confusion, fewer calls chasing for updates and less frustration for both sides; everybody wins!

  • Make genuine referrals

Work closely with your referred conveyancers to understand their working practices and share updates wherever possible. This will create operational efficiencies and improve your customer service levels. 

  1. Understand how to handle complex or difficult transactions

Property transactions are rarely simple - and for some, those transactions are extra challenging or complicated. 

  • Maintain customer trust

No matter how demanding your customers are, be open and honest in your communication to maintain their trust and focus on providing the best possible customer service. That’s where sales progression software like mio, with its dedicated consumer App, is ideal as customers have all the information they need at their fingertips, reducing stress and helping them to feel reassured and involved. 

  • Use smart technology and guides to handle long and split chains

The longer the chain, the more stakeholders there are to communicate with and the higher the risk things can go wrong. Being able to keep up-to-date with where each property is at in the process, filling the communication gaps between parties and keeping the chain intact, is more reliable with chain management software like mio on your side.

Split chains also require duplicate effort when it comes to updating both selling parties on progress, while ensuring confidentiality. mio simplifies this process by building split chains so both parties can be updated simultaneously but separately.

Sales progression checklists also serve as a useful guide to the transaction process and how you, as an agent, can keep on top of it.

  • Tackle obstacles head on

If a problem arises, it rarely causes chain collapse if it’s dealt with early enough, and quickly and efficiently. Always break bad news over the phone and discuss what steps you both can proactively take to overcome any obstacles and keep things moving.

Focus on things that are in your control. Taking time to review and refine your current sales processes and working practices can help to make your sales more viable.

When combined with fool-proof sales progression software such as mio, you will begin to see a noticeable reduction in transaction times and fall through rates, and an increase in banked income. That makes a big difference to your annual revenue, your monthly commission and your ability to evidence great service to existing customers, which is so important in winning new instructions.  

*Nick Ball is sales director at mio


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