Customer ServiceElite Agent

The ‘Hit and Stick’ Philosophy

The term ‘Hit and Stick’ was coined by Isaac Newton to describe the momentum theory, whereby objects collide and stick together. It is used in rugby as well. In real estate, however, it could apply to a committed approach to client service – upon initial contact, we stick with them, as Cameron Nicholls explains.

With a sporting background, I have drawn on my knowledge and association with rugby league to best describe my real estate business philosophy. In football, the term ‘hit and stick’ refers to a tackle; the hit being the initial contact and the stick being the follow-through and completion.

With every person I meet, I aim to create a client for life – although I prefer to call them ‘connections for life’. It is a long-term approach that involves servicing someone from the initial point of contact, with no end point to that service. When I meet a buyer and find out what they are searching for, I stick with them until I find exactly that. But the service does not stop there. I continue to connect with that client continuously as people’s property needs are forever changing and evolving. I have sold a property to a buyer as long as 18 months after the initial enquiry.

CREATE CONNECTION AND STICK WITH BUYERS

More often than not, real estate agents will say, ‘When something comes up I’ll let you know’ and they don’t follow through.

My approach sees us ‘stick’ with our buyers to ensure their goals are achieved. For some this may take as little as one month; for others it may take years. Real estate is cyclical: buyers become vendors and vendors become buyers, hence the importance of continuous service and why I believe my philosophy is the way forward.

I believe in real estate there is always a flow-on effect. Take one of our recent sales in Drummoyne, for example – a luxury waterfront apartment with Sydney Harbour views that achieved a sale price of $2.9 million. I sold a different property to this vendor back in 2015, but continued to nurture the relationship beyond that transaction and 18 months down the track they appointed me to sell their Drummoyne apartment off the market as an open listing with three other agents.

All agents brought their buyers through the property and competition was high. I had been working with a buyer for over 12 months and knew this property would suit them perfectly – and it did. Due to the non-exclusive nature of the listing, I had to execute a swift sale and encourage the buyer to move quickly on the purchase. They were more than happy to do so, being largely influenced by my long-term commitment and relationship with them. This is a classic case of my ‘hit and stick’ philosophy applied to both the vendor and buyer in this transaction.

ALWAYS THINK BEYOND THE TRANSACTION
Let’s take a look at another recent sale, this time in Breakfast Point – a landmark waterfront penthouse, which also coincidently sold for $2.9 million. I first met the vendors seven years ago while I was working at a different agency as a property manager. In true ‘hit and stick’ style, I nurtured the relationship well beyond the realms of your standard managing agent. Seven years down the track, after opening my own real estate office, the vendors sought me out to sell the property, despite still having a professional relationship with the previous agency that had been managing the property that entire time.

Again, I identified a buyer for this property immediately and knew before they inspected it was going to be exactly what they were after. The vendors were after a premium price and the reluctant buyer went from an initial offer of $2.5 million to $2.9 million, due to the rapport and trust at the foundation of their relationship with me. I had worked closely with this buyer for nine months, showing them several properties in this time and advising them of many more. There was nothing they could fault with this property and, while their purchasing plan was to secure something between now and 2018, they knew this was the one and were ultimately prepared to pay the asking price; a win-win for both the vendor and purchaser.

During buoyant markets, agents can be guilty of quickly forgetting many of the buyers they meet.

Customer service is at the absolute centre of our industry and, as we move into a market where properties no longer sell themselves, agents need to be out there actively servicing buyers well beyond the point of purchase.


Cameron’s top tips to ‘Hit and Stick’ include:

  • Don’t be afraid to suggest other agents’ listings and even offer to have a look on their behalf
  • Know your client’s preferred method of communication
  • Remember that each property they don’t like takes you a step closer to the one they do
  • Even if there is no new listing to report, still touch base to let them know you are thinking about them and have them on your radar
  • Invest in high-quality stationery to deliver personalised messages; the effect of email has worn off and receiving a personalised note has more impact
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint – be prepared to look at it as a 12-month commitment at minimum
  • Constantly update and refine the requirements using whatever database you use.

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Cameron Nicholls

Cameron Nicholls is Director of Nicholls & Co Estate Agents – a vibrant new boutique agency in Abbotsford, Sydney.

One Comment

  1. Thought provoking, Cameron. I shared your story with an agent in Austin, Texas who has been thinking along these lines. You’ve provided her the confidence to “hang in there”. Thank you.

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