Beyond Property: What Value do You Really Provide?

IF YOU DON’T TRULY BELIEVE that the value your client receives is greater than the fees you charge, then you will always fear selling. Brad Caldwell-Eyles examines the role of the agent in the eyes of the public and how to demonstrate greater value in your buyer/vendor relationships.

IT IS MY VIEW that being genuinely assured that you ‘really know your stuff’ is vital to waking up every day truly believing you are worth your money.

The alternative is being an imposter who simply tricks their clients into engaging them and taking fees they haven’t really earned.

I know which mindset I would rather start out with each morning.

The ultimate scenario is when it isn’t just we who believe we are providing value beyond our fees, but our clients also believe it.

The perfect day is having clients who know your involvement has enhanced their outcome significantly beyond the commission you have charged.

As agents, we detest being told that we are not professionals and rather we are simply ‘parasites’ to the selling process.

Many websites pop up seeking to assist owners to sell on their own properties without ‘hefty agent fees’.

There have even been wider dialogue recently about one major property website posing the threat of commoditising our industry; taking over the selling process and eliminating the conventional agent from the process altogether.

I have always felt there are three main types of salespeople:

The Information Giver. They can stand at a front door and say ‘Hi – here’s a house.’ They close deals simply because they’re nice and the buyer wants the home.

The Draughts Player. They are like an information giver; however, they can at least ask a closing question. They can take a deal from A to B by asking ‘Do you want to buy it?’

The Chess Player. They know their product and market from top to bottom and are aware that what they say now will have an effect in five minutes, two days, three weeks and four years.

If we wish to avoid the commoditisation of our business we need to develop our standards of education and market knowledge to exceptional levels.

Something else I know is that when your clients (both buyers and sellers alike) establish that you are truly informed and a genuine professional, the BS stops.

So on what type of information should we be seeking to be experts?

Firstly – let’s consider what should be the basics. We should be completely across our own Prime Market Area (PMA) or ‘patch’. We should know:

  1. What listings are currently on the market
  2. All recent results
  3. Every street
  4. Development control plans.

We should be monitoring city, state and national market trends.

It may seem elementary; however, we should be fully versant across every contract of sale, including:

  • Inclusions and completion period
  • Special conditions and their implications
  • Title restrictions such as covenants; mortgagees; caveats and easements
  • Drainage/water board documentation and its implications
  • The differences between Torrens vs. Old System title, and Strata vs. Community vs. Co-operative vs. Company title, and their implications.

In our office we regularly discuss a wide range of market indices that include:

  • State by state auction clearance rates
  • Median property prices – metropolitan variations across houses and units
  • The Australian Dollar
  • International cash rates, especially out of the US Fed; China; Germany and the UK.
  • Government bond yields (Greece has been fascinating during the past three years)
  • The major Stock Exchanges, especially the ASX; Dow Jones: FTSE; Hang Seng; SSE and Nikkei
  • Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMIs)
  • The Kospi (Korean SX) and Copper Index, aka ‘The Doctors’
  • RBA reports
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports – especially GDP results/forecasts.

I recently presented at a major industry conference and part of the discussion focused on the indicators and reports listed above.

Many attendees were interested as I fleshed out dialogue on bond yields, PMIs and ‘The Doctors’.

Others scoffed at needing to know this type of detail, suggesting ‘people in my market wouldn’t have a clue about this stuff’ or ‘how does this type of fancy info affect clients on my patch?’

The reality is that all of these issues have an influence on the dynamics of your particular market and we as agents should be seeking to elevate the scope and depth of our education and applicable knowledge.

If we are to avoid the commoditisation of our industry (for example, allowing a large web player to simply market directly to vendors, sending out discount ‘information givers’ and removing us from the equation) we need to be exceptional as professionals and truly add value.

To this end, we should strive to surprise our clients and ultimately create a new expectation of how well informed we are as agents.

To elaborate: a client who is across all of these domestic and global indices will be pleased that their agent is equally so, and a client who isn’t as well versed on these subjects will be imbued with a sense of confidence that their agent is.

There is insufficient space in this piece to provide outlines of the indicators and reports listed above.

We all have access to ‘the Google’ to commence reading yet I would suggest that we should also all be on Twitter.

I don’t mean to follow Kim Kardashian or ‘The Bieb’ necessarily, but rather to receive constant updates and articles that are delivered in easy to consume, bite-sized snippets.

Twitter should be our daily provider of new global information.

Access to information is growing exponentially.

As professionals who wish to remain essential to the process, we need to be better informed than our buyers and sellers.

Empowering ourselves with knowledge means that we will be able to continually surprise and delight our clients as we constantly exceed their expectations.

Even more significantly, we also elevate our self-belief in our genuine and positive influence upon our clients’ experience and the ultimate selling outcome.

Knowing every day that you are the ‘real deal’ (and not an imposter) and that your clients agree with this notion is the perfect way to run your business.

Domain @domaincomau @realestate_au
Bloomberg News @Business
Reserve Bank @RBAinfo
Reuters Business @ReutersBiz
Wall Street Journal @WSJ
Forbes Magazine @Forbes
Elite Agent Magazine @eliteagentmag
Australian Fin Review @FinancialReview
Business Spectator @BusinessSpec
Property Observer @propertyobs
CommSec @CommSec
Brad Caldwell-Eyles @bradceyles

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Brad Caldwell-Eyles

Brad Caldwell-Eyles is the Managing Director of 1st City Real Estate Group based in Double Bay. Brad has been awarded a host of accoloades as a top selling auction agent and published many articles in the industry.