To download the CoreLogic report on the Consumer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents from the vendors perspective, click here
00:00 Introduction and Session Overview: Samantha McLean
00:46 Understanding Vendors of Real Estate Agents
Last year, we did some research called the Perceptions of Real Estate Agents because what we wanted to find out was whether this number was correct. Every year, Roy Morgan put out this research that showed how people perceived different professions and every year … They’ve been doing this for about 32 years and every year real estate agents come bumping around the bottom, they’re in the bottom five. Every year, you get 9% say that yes, they’re a very trustworthy profession.
What the research is though is that we weren’t quite convinced that it actually … It just randomly calls a pile of people and asks them what they think about a pile of different professions. What we wanted to understand … I can’t talk because I’m an ex-journalist, journalists are down at the bottom as well. We jostle with you for third or fourth position and advertising sales people are down there as well.
What we wanted to understand is who are the people who actually pay for a real estate agent, which are the vendors, what do they think about real estate agents and what kind of experience are they having. What can we learn from that to understand how to be better agents? This is what we did, we surveyed 300 different respondents across six weeks. We collected them mainly through social media. We had about 266 answers per question and 54% of our people who we surveyed had sold within the last two years, so the data is really quite up to date.
We asked people, they were a pretty typical bunch of vendors and this is some of the research we did and the way we cut the numbers to check what the skew was. Most of them sold their home within 90 days. Most of them actually sold within less than 90 days. Their main reasons for selling their home was that they were upgrading, they were making the most of strong prices, they were moving for work, they were downsizing, and little bit of a fault in the survey, other included investing or moving for personal reasons, like divorce or whatever. They broke down really in a standard way as well; 77% were private treaty; 20% were auction; and 3% were weird other methods of sale.
The other thing that we looked at was what kind of a result did they have and these numbers are really important because we also broke them down by when they sold because we wanted to test the assumption that if you sold a couple of years ago when the market wasn’t so hot, did you have a worse experience than people who had an experience during a really hot market and how much of a skew did that put on the data? What we found out that that didn’t matter when people really sold, they probably had the same kind of experience. You can see six months to a year ago based on when this data was, that was when the market was leaping ahead and no one had really realized that at that point.
Fifty percent surveyed respondents sold for the price that they expected, 24% sold above what they expected, they got a better result than they thought they were going to, at a better price than they thought they were going to. That number of 50 plus 24, being 74 is really important because if price was the only thing vendors care about, then the highest number of people that we could expect to have rated their agents as excellent would be 24% and the highest number of people that we would expect would have a good result would be around 50%, and that number should always come in around 74%.
04:02 Detecting reliable behaviours
There’s two pieces of really important information from this. Price is not the only thing that vendors care about because what you’ll see in the results that are coming out a little bit further is that the number of people that we surveyed who had an excellent experience was higher than 24, but the total number of people who had a good or excellent experience was less than 75. Basically, price isn’t the only thing. It can’t be the only thing that you get for your vendor, there are other behaviours and other things that you need to give to your vendor in order to make them have a great experience with you. Summary from all of this research. That a really important personal behaviours that I know that Tom is going to back up for you too as part of the coaching that you’re getting.
06:01 Being transparent and open
The first one is to stop the BS basically and we had miles and … I think out of the 300 people that we surveyed, probably 80% of them put comments in to this spot and that was the whole being measured managed down. Vendors smell a story a mile off, even if they don’t know what the truth is, they know if they’re being spun and it’s the fastest … Telling them a tale is the fastest way to guarantee that they’ll be angry and disappointed. Being upfront with them and straight with them, no matter how difficult that conversation might be at the start is always better than trying to lie to them.
You need to be honest, open, and transparent, especially around price expectations. What is the price that you’ve come up with? How did you come up with that? What’s the data that you used to come up with that? Share all of that with them to help them understand the parameters of how you’ve calculated the price estimate, so that when those parameters change because markets change, you can flag to them that it’s not you that’s changed the price, it’s the parameters of the market that have changed and therefore your thinking is in this kind of way. Use data to back your position and make sure you’re referring people to sites where they can when they do their homework, they’re also seeing similar stuff to what you’re telling them, so you’re not contradicting the market.
06:12 Accountability and Consistency
The next one is being accountable and consistent. Agents, you need to do everything you say you’re going to do. It’s really Customer Service 101, don’t say you’re going to do something and then forget about it, or get too busy, or have other clients that’ll distract you. If you said that you would ring immediately after the open for inspection, ring immediately after the open for inspection, even if the news isn’t exactly what you know the vendor is going to want to hear. Regular contact and follow-up without being nagged is really important, and the thing too is that technology is enabling and creating the expectation of instant communication so claiming that you didn’t get around to it when you could’ve even tweeted them or messaged them in Facebook or whatever, there’s so many ways to communicate.
Tom also tells a great story about, well just take a photo of all the shoes out the front and then send it to them and say, “Hey, this is how many people … Look at the number that we’ve gone through so far,” or something like that. It’s a really anxious time for vendors. They’re always anxious, even if they’ve done it regularly, it’s always a period of high stress. Understanding that a sale process is high stress and that even if you’ve done it before, you’ve probably done it a while ago and so needing to be guided and coached through that process and see yourself as like a life coach for selling to your vendors. Most of them will really respond to that.
07:28 Improve the end to end experience
Improve the end to end experience. We had some very humorous comments albeit sad humorous, but about how people had been dumped the minute the contract was signed. If you think back to that idea that you’re being auditioned the whole way through this sale process, this is a really important one too. We can move from one stage to the other and the relationship with the vendor is not over until the new buyer is in their home and they’ve basically unpacked the boxes. The relationships isn’t over when the contract’s signed. Everyone has to have got their keys, everyone has to have felt that the $1. whatever million that they just spent was the best buy they’ve ever had in their life and that was a great experience because you’re dealing with some big numbers here and big disappointment comes with bad customer service around big numbers.
08:59 Clients for life?
We asked, “Do you expect to stay in touch with your agent or use him or her again?” The numbers for this are pretty interesting. Thirty-six percent said, “Yes, had a great experience, more than happy to stay in touch with them.” Twenty-six percent said, “Yes, I would but he never contacts me so why would I?” I’ve never heard from him since. I spent $1.5 million, he took away commission and then he gave me a bottle of champagne and fucked off into the sunset. That was it, never heard from him again. Thirty-seven percent, “No, I do not expect to stay in touch with him. I am not going to be using them again.” Some of that might be because they were moving out of the area or whatever, but basically no.
The reason that’s really important is because we asked, “Would you recommend your agent? Was your experience good enough for you to actually tell someone about it?” Sixty-eight percent said, “Yes, I would. That was a great experience and I thought he or she was a good guy or gal and I would recommend them.” If you remember back to that original … One of the earlier slides, personal recommendation, word of mouth, being told that someone was trustworthy is a really great way … Is one of the most important ways. You can advertise a million times in local papers or online, but word of mouth will always get you more referrals. Thirty-one percent said, “No.” Another third said, “No, not going to recommend him.”
What came out of this is that the desire for vendors to have a long-term relationship. No one wants to sell their home to someone they just speed dated.