Key 1.4 Send out emails/letters and flyers on ALL new office listings
Sending out letters and flyers when new listings come into the office is basic pro-active marketing. As noted earlier some websites automate this process for registered contacts but we believe it works best if it is part of the ongoing development of the relationship between you and your clients.
There are many forms this process can take. SalesPartner has training guides for finding buyers for properties and then texting, sending flyers, DL cards, emails or direct mail to those potential clients.
These processes are available for both your own listings as well as other salespeople's listings from your office. The enquiry you generate is channeled back to you by the automated inclusion of your contact details.
The internet allows you to contact more people more quickly, more cheaply and efficiently if you can obtain their email address. An interesting point here is that some of the best property that comes on the market is sold before it is advertised or before, or soon after, its first open home. Such early sales will often be to clients of the listing salesperson, who would have had first notice of the listing, or to contacts alerted by other salespeople as soon as the property is available for sale. When asking for an email address, point out that you have a system for emailing contacts early notice of new listings together with price changes from motivated vendors.
In the first few years of SalesPartner one of our users checked their database for potential buyers for a new listing. It was a property they had sold a year ago and the vendors were now being transferred away from Lower Hutt. As soon as he brought up the list of possible buyers he noted one couple who had been the under bidders last time it was on the market. This time they bought the property before it was advertised. The point Neil made to us was that though he had completely forgotten about them until prompted, SalesPartner hadn’t.
In another case a salesperson in Khandallah running SalesPartner found their colleagues discussing a desirable new listing that someone else had brought in to the office on Friday. The discussion was on Monday and the salesperson was able to say he thought he would have it sold by midday. How did he achieve this? He had emailed his potential buyers on Friday, arranged several visits over the weekend and had three offers to present by Monday lunchtime.
It is understood that competition between buyers is a key to getting the best price for the vendor. If we also accept that some properties sell before being advertised or soon after going live, the more salespeople in your team who have systems to find buyers and contact them in a timely manner, the more buyer competition you will achieve.
A side benefit is that you can point out to buyers that some properties sell quickly and if they provide an email address they are more likely to have an early opportunity to consider those properties. In other words If they provide you with their email they won’t miss out.
I've encountered two kinds of resistance to these approaches from salespeople. The first is that buyers object to being put into a competitive situation, a so called “Dutch auction”. Such buyers may refuse to proceed with an offer. In response I suggest they advise those buyers that they may be able to find them a house that nobody else is interested in. And also ask the buyers what it would be like when they, as owners, subsequently want to sell it?
The second is where a listing salesperson objects to other salespeople marketing their listings. Their objection is that the salesperson is taking advantage of the listing agent to appear as though they have a bigger market presence than they would if they could only promote their own listings. The outcome with this objection depends on the management approach of the agency. Maximum buyer exposure is clearly in the best interest of vendors. And in New Zealand it is the vendors who pay the commission.
Where agencies invest in online advertising it makes sense to channel enquiry to the listing salesperson. Where the vendor, listing salesperson, or firm funds traditional advertising it also makes sense for the listing salesperson’s details to be included in the advert. Notably this provides incentive for salespeople to obtain vendor funded advertising. In re-active marketing the contact details should be the listing salesperson. With pro-active marketing the contact details should be those of the salesperson who has the buyer in their database.
The internet is different from other media to the extent that salespeople can invest in their own web presence, and provide extra exposure for the firm’s listings to their own clients. Therefore they should expect that enquiry on the property should come back directly to them rather than to the listing salesperson. Without the possibility of achieving a selling commission there is no incentive to give a property extra exposure on personal websites.
The difference is the distinction between “we have listed” and “I have listed” but there is more to it than self-promotion. It is in the vendor's best interest that where a buyer has established trust with a salesperson, then that salesperson should be empowered to promote all agency listings.
The best agencies (from a vendors point of view) embrace this approach and encourage their sales team to have an online presence (webpage, social media, blog), that also works as a pre-listing kit. And to use them to pro-actively market properties to their buyers and potential vendors. Sometimes these contacts are referred to as suspects and prospects. They are the people for whom the salesperson is developing detailed knowledge of their requirements and motivations.
The way to gather this knowledge is by discussing actual property opportunities. The key to developing a good relationship with clients is to send details of new listings and motivated vendors to as many potential clients as possible, and encouraging them to contact you for when their motivation changes.
Other firms are still struggling with the idea that the listing belongs not to the vendor or the agency but to the salesperson who signed it up.
An interesting angle of this debate is that to get the best price a vendor needs to have buyer competition. In a multi-offer situation where other salespeople in the office have interest, the listing salesperson should not know what competing offers are until they are presented in the presence of an independent person, usually the sales manager. This is in the vendor’s best interest and may achieve better outcomes for the vendor than if all offers are obtained exclusively by the listing salesperson.
When potential vendors are selecting a salesperson, they should ask the salesperson not only how many properties they have recently sold, but also how many of their recent sales were sold by other team members. Any significant number is a good answer. Few or none is a warning sign. The vendor may be hiring a salesperson who will find a buyer, locate or select a property for them, and then negotiate with the vendor to make the property affordable for the buyer, without encouraging competition between buyers. They could be achieving their results by getting their vendors to meet their buyers’ expectations. A good agent to list with is one who encourages their colleagues to sell their vendors’ properties.
It is not always possible to get clear details of what a potential buyer is looking for. Many potential buyers have a range of possibilities in mind. For example a new location, a possible home and business, holiday home, a first home or an investment property. This list has been compiled from our own situation and I am sure we are not unique.
A salesperson in Wellington reported that a couple looking for a property for their daughter expressed interest in a lifestyle block promoted on his webpage quite out of their initial enquiry range. They explained that if they bought the property they intended to have their daughter’s family live in the existing home and would sell their own house and build another for themselves on the grounds. The “wet and forget” website based approach will ignore these opportunities.
There is an ugly expression which also illustrates the problem. Some salespeople faced with yet another decision by a buyer to buy a property outside their originally specified requirements say “buyers are liars”. In reality buyer motivation changes and an automated systems based on last month’s requirements will miss the mark.
David Knox once asked a group of salespeople who among them had bought a property in the past year. He then asked those salespeople to list their original buying criteria and how well they matched with the property they purchased. Most of the purchases did not match the original criteria but were bought for the fabulous view, the location, or proximity to work.
David Knox was illustrating the four NOs theory. The theory holds that when a buyer says no the first time pointing out some missing feature, that should not rule the property out for the salesperson. It also illustrates that there are some features which buyers will appreciate enough to buy a property despite its other drawbacks. These premium features that are a priority for your buyers are the ones to identify to obtain a premium price for your vendors.
SalesPartner has “looking for” options that salespeople can use to record the special features for which their buyers will pay a premium. Together with records of their buyers’ comments from visits to other properties, they can track buyer motivation as it changes and secure the best property available for them. With SalesPartner they can do this for more buyers than with manual systems.
Another scenario which often occurs is that buyers who missed out on a multi-offer situation have revealed to the salesperson what sort of property they would like to buy, and what they can afford. At this point the relationship between the buyer and the salesperson is most effective. With SalesPartner property for buyer matching it is likely that if there is a suitable property available, it will be found and presented by the salesperson who knows their buyer's situation best.
These processes together with pro-active marketing and trust building methods, are important for selling rural and commercial property. When applied well they work for all property types.