Always be educating: Mark McLeod

Stock management and vendor education are, for many, among the most challenging tasks as a real estate agent.

Following one of the deepest and longest sustained growth periods, many agents haven’t developed the skills or understanding needed in this section of the real estate process. This area can be difficult, daunting and, in many cases for the uninitiated and unprepared, confronting.

Here are my five tips for mastering this part of the process:

  1. Empathy.
    Many great vendor educators start with this as the basis of their structure. We may only believe we are moving price, but in most cases, we are challenging dreams. The owner has already allocated the funds from the potential sale to move on in their life. It may be to a larger house to accommodate their family, it might be to downsize for their retirement, or it could be to gift their children some money. Our feedback, and the realisation that today’s market is not what it was can shatter those ambitions. Feeling, caring about and understanding this situation goes a long way in laying the foundation in this area.
  2. Trust.
    You must do what you say you are going to and deliver on every promise. Leave no stone unturned. Communicate in a detailed manner on every enquiry, including where it is from and how you have handled it. The owner wants to know that if they are going to take a lower offer, everything has been done to ensure they maximise their price in today’s market. A golden rule here is: if an owner has to ring you, you’re losing the battle. Over-communicate, overdeliver and do what you promise.
  3. Price and feedback.
    Empathy and trust are the keys that open the price discussion door. Be frank and direct in your communication here. Remember, what you hope the home might be worth and what it should be worth in this market may be two different things. Remove yourself from the price discussion and be a vehicle of communication.Never allow yourself to be isolated by the owner/s when it comes to the discussion on price. You all sat together when you discussed the early prices, based on the information at hand, and you must create the same environment when considering new information. In the current climate, this will likely be different. Remember, you didn’t cause the upswing and you didn’t create the downswing.
  4. Buy in.
    Getting the owner to buy into the process throughout the campaign is critical. You need to bring interested buyers to life. Let the owners know they’re a young couple who are upgrading, and their children are going to the local school.Tell the story of the people who are showing interest in the property as it allows the owner to buy into the vision. The more they get involved, the quicker you will come to achieving an outcome.
  5. Time.
    Often the discussion on price should be a discussion on time. An owner may say they can’t take anything less than $1 million, but all the feedback has been at $900,000. If you have laid a solid foundation, you can now have the time discussion: ‘Bill and Mary, it may be many years before the market returns to the level you would like. The only question I have for you now is: do you still want to be in the same position in three years’ time?’ The time discussion is a powerful one. However, it can only be used after all of the other four guidelines have been followed. 

    The devil remains in the detail, but these five guidelines have always given those I have worked with a robust framework. In many cases, the best price the owner is going to achieve is what’s offered today.

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Mark McLeod

Mark McLeod is the Ray White Group's Chief Strategy Officer for Real Estate. He works alongside agents and businesses across Australia, helping them reach their ultimate potential to achieve success.