By KIRSTEN CRAZE
In a booming market, when cashed up buyers are queuing with cheque books in hand, the lazy assumption is homes sell themselves. After all, properties in some neighbourhoods are selling in a matter of days, some sight unseen, and well over asking price. Despite the abundance of buyers, however, they shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“Remember, it’s a service industry. If you look after people and put their needs first, above your own, then you’ll have a much longer and healthier career,” said Braden Walters, Principal at Belle Property Byron Bay/Lennox Head and Chairperson of the Residential Sales Chapter Committee.
Keep the ball rolling
“Whether it’s a buyers’, or sellers’ market you’ve got to follow the same processes. Don’t get caught up with so many buyers that you lose focus on finding more listings,” Mr Walters said.
“Many agents are struggling for stock in our market but sticking to a process has allowed us to do well. When COVID-19 hit and things were quiet, we worked through our normal processes to improve them, and that came back to reward us,” he said.
“I just never let my foot off the gas. I might ease off the accelerator in good times, but you still need to be training, getting your coaching and learning,” he added.
Thomas McGlynn, Head of Sales at Bresic Whitney and fellow committee member, said for some businesses riding the current wave, staff development can waiver.
“This is actually a time to double down on education because an experienced workforce is only going to help you in terms of your efficiency and productivity,” he said.
“Rather than say ‘The market’s so good right now, we don't need extra training’. Say, ‘The market is so good, but if we had extra training - imagine what we could do!’”
Buyers never forget
With an overwhelming number of daily enquiries, Mr Walters said it would be easy to drop the ball and not give every buyer 100 per cent.
“If there are 20 serious buyers per property you still need to treat each of them equally. Many might think ‘Oh well, someone will buy it anyway, I don't need to focus on helping them out’. But if there are 19 buyers who miss out, then you've got 19 buyers who mightn’t like the way you treated them. They won't then come to your next listing,” he said.
“Every potential buyer can be a seller, or know a seller, so treat people the way you'd like to be treated, it's always the golden rule,” he added.
Mr McGlynn said today’s purchasers are suffering from buyer fatigue and anxiety.
“Agents are in a great position to nurture these buyers and guide them. They’ll remember that service, whether they buy through you or not, and will be more inclined to come back to you to sell their property,” he said.
Stay in touch
One of the challenges for agents in a strong vendors’ market is keeping up with buyer enquiries.
“It's a great problem to have, but you still need to respond to people's messages. Communication is huge in our industry,” Mr Walters said, adding that technology is another vital tool.
“Automation is great for responding to emails and saving time. I’d get maybe 70 enquiries from buyers a day and I could spend hours responding. So, I set up an auto response with answers to most people's questions,” he said.
Mr McGlynn said not responding to enquiries, and not following through on promises can have long term ramifications.
“The market is not always going to be this strong. You’ll want people to come to you when times are tougher because they remember the experience you gave them,” he said.
“I’d encourage people to have a system in place allowing them to keep in contact and provide valuable information to everyone they meet in this market. It's a great time to engage with your community and be their real estate agent, before they need a real estate agent,” he said.
Time for self-reflection
According to Mr Walters, agents can be quick to share record results and high volumes but should be looking beyond the numbers.
“Basically, it’s a lot of chest-beating in relation to performance, but I think we should be asking, ‘Is it the market that has improved us, or have we improved ourselves?’”
“In these conditions it becomes easier to cut corners and skip the simple things you’d do in a normal market. If agents miss certain steps, or let their service levels drop, then that just holds them back from achieving even more,” he said.
“So, if the market turns, that attitude puts the agent in a precarious situation because they haven't been practicing real estate the way it should be done. Ultimately, if you combine self-improvement and self-reflection on your service levels with a strong market, then you'll be in a position to break record after record in terms of performance.”