The Guild of Property Professionals CEO, Iain McKenzie, recently caught up with Tony Morris, International sales speaker, best-selling author and Founder of an international sales training company, about his top tips for implementing a positive culture within a sales team. Since starting his business in 2006, Morris and his team have helped develop over 14,000 negotiators and valuers in the leading independent agents in the UK and Europe. His tried and tested techniques have helped many agents to become the top selling agents in their regions.
Looking at the current market, McKenzie says there seem to be agents who see opportunity, as well as those who are a bit more apprehensive. What advice would you give to agents in both camps?
Morris answers: “As someone who has been training for over 16 years, I have seen the different markets agents have faced. In an easy market, you get order takers, salespeople who get enquiries from the portals or their own marketing efforts and book a viewing off the back of that with relative ease. However, when I look at the best agents I have worked with, they are order makers. These are agents who have the ability to question properly, listen effectively, and turn an enquiry or opportunity into actual business. So, I see the current market as challenging, but in challenging markets, agencies can develop their teams, upskilling agents to be able to succeed in these kinds of markets. Then, when the market does change in their favour, the business has the advantage of a developed workforce with the ability to thrive in any market. Agents who have been complacent will have up their game or unfortunately go the other way.”
He adds that there are definitely opportunities in the current market, and people will still have to move for a number of reasons. “There will be opportunity, and if you are a world-class agent, which is what it is all about, there will be people you will be able to serve and add value to. Mindset and how you view things is vital. You can either focus on the negative aspects or find the opportunities. It is all about perspective and the lens you are choosing to view it from,” Morris comments.
McKenzie retorts, “You used the word help, and there are going to be people in a challenging market who are in distress and need estate agents to help them move.”
Agreeing, Morris says that a challenging market will impact people differently. “We know that with the price of utilities skyrocketing and mortgage payments in some cases doubling or tripling, it is going to hurt people financially. If people need to downsize for example, that is another potential opportunity where an estate agent can assist to make it as painless as possible. People are going to be crying out for help, and I think the impressive agents will be there to serve, help and add value, and in some cases, that may mean selling them a product or a service. Many agents are often worried about talking about mortgages, conveyancing, and insurance, because they feel like they are pitching or selling, but successful agents will see it as a form of helping their customers. It is about offering something that will make that person’s life easier.”
He adds that in the last 18 months there has been little need for negotiators to negotiate, however, in a challenging environment agents will need to be able to articulate their worth. “In a competitive market some agents might be inclined to drop their fee from say 2% to 1.5% without much negotiation. However, agents should be negotiating and perhaps suggesting 1.8% with three conditions, such as a video testimonial once the client has seen how good the agent is, an introduction to a few potential connections who might need the services of an estate agent, and if they have a rental portfolio, a rent review of the portfolio. A lot of agents don’t negotiate, they just drop their fee, which shows they don’t believe in the fee they are commanding,” says Morris. “If an agent went to vendor and explained why they charged 2%, and then after a bit of pressure from the vendor, they dropped to 1.5%, that would give the message that the agent doesn’t believe their service was worth the 2% and were just trying their luck, which would no doubt upset the vendor.”
He notes that if an agent receives a lot of business through recommendations, which they should, dropping their fee will make it harder to get a higher fee with the recommended client because the precedent has already been set. “Speaking of recommendations, it is always important to ask vendors where they heard about your business. If it was from a source other than a recommendation, it is worth mentioning that you are asking because most of your business comes from recommendations, planting the seed early. You should also be asking every single client, if they have any connections you could also help,” Morris advices.
To listen to the full conversation, visit The Home Stretch podcast.