Follow the Leader

In the most recent leadership spill Kevin Rudd managed to regain his title on his terms. Jason Hellyer draws some parallels between the recent political leadership spill and how agents should demonstrate a similar resolve with vendors.

People seek leadership. Throughout history this has always been the case and I doubt it will ever change.

Just last week I sought some renovation leadership and advice from my father. A man much wiser than me and very handy on the tools, I never questioned his thinking or actions; I simply followed his lead and instructions implicitly. The outcome was tremendous – job finished on time, on budget and looking a million dollars. Love you, Dad!

And in recent weeks on the national stage, the reliance on strong leadership and how it can influence change has never been more evident than within theAustralian Labor Party. The Party faithful – disillusioned, dysfunctional and dissatisfied with disastrous pre-election polling –sought leadership salvation, new direction and energy, not through God, but through the reinstatement of the ‘Rudster’.

Recent polls post the leadership change would suggest the Labor Party is back on track. As they merrily rally behind their new leader, the Party protagonists are once again happy, all holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya, my Lord’ all the way to the impending election. Happy days!

So what does this have to do with us?

In the context of the agent vendor relationship – everything.

Take a moment to answer this question. Why do vendors seek you out?

In my view there’s only one answer to this question. In what is quite possibly the biggest transaction of their life, they’ve approached you for your help and advice. In other words, they’re looking for leadership! Why then do we fall into the trap of engaging vendors ‘on their terms’ when they have come to us seeking our knowledge, professional advice and leadership?

Would the ‘Rudster’ cave in?

I think not. In fact, he had the entire Labor Party engage him as leader on his terms, and his terms only. He held firm and resolute. They accepted his conditions and now he’s leading them into the next election.

Let me frame an example of how this can play out in our world and what the ramifications could be.

A vendor seeks out our advice with respect to the sale of their property. At the listing presentation they’re impressed with our depth of knowledge and offer us the opportunity to market their property on a ‘general authority’ basis.

We’re now at the pivotal moment in the vendor/agent relationship.

If we say ‘thanks but no thanks’ and communicate the reasons why it’s not in the best interest of the vendor to engage those terms, we maintain our status as ‘leader’ in the relationship.

Conversely, if we capitulate and say ‘yes’, not only have we positioned ourselves as ‘follower’ in the relationship but we’ve opened the door for competing agents (additional followers in the relationship) to get lucky on the back of our good work. In this scenario nobody wins. Critical decisions required to facilitate the successful sale of the vendor’s property become complex, convoluted and demotivating (particularly when other agents snip our commission).

So what adjustments and actions can we implement to help arrest this behaviour and maintain our status as ‘leader’ in the vendor/ agent relationship?

Change our mindset

If you want to be a leader it’s your choice. If you want to influence change you need to change – it starts with you.

Have belief in your own ability and understand your status in the relationship. The vendor has sought your advice, they’re seeking your leadership and they’ve given you permission to lead. Make them follow.

Improve our skillset

Thankfully there’s only a handful of listing objections (I like to refer to these as ‘vendor requests for more information’) thrown at us on a regular basis. Persistent training and unwavering execution of the dialogue and actions learned to overcome these objections is critical if we’re to improve our performance and maintain our position as leader in the vendor/ agent relationship.

Have courage

Leaders understand that change isn’t easy and that it takes courage to tread paths least trodden. Leaders are innovators; they’re willing to try new things and they’re willing to fail trying. Followers, on the other hand, are satisfied with the status quo. Very rarely are they willing to take risks – they’d rather take orders.

Have courage in your convictions. At least then you’ll be able to look your vendor in the eye and say ‘we tried’. They’ll appreciate your action rather than inaction.

Who will break the cycle in your patch? Will it be you?

Will you take the lead at your next listing opportunity, or will you opt for the path of least resistance and follow your vendor’s lead?

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Jason Hellyer

Jason Hellyer is General Manager of Ray White Rural Victoria. Ray White Rural Victoria and our regional Victorian franchise network, specialises in regional and rural property marketing and sales, property management and livestock marketing