Hitting a Homerun

JUST AS BASEBALL’S Sandy Koufax was known for his devastating curveball, many a vendor has been known to create a tricky situation as a result of a challenging question. Josh Phegan explains how to smash your vendors’ ‘curveballs’ out of the park.

FOR THE unprepared agent, a listing presentation can quickly become a minefield of ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’ when vendors take a cut-throat approach to selecting their selling agent.

To succeed at the listing presentation, agents need to be armed with a heavy bat in order to knock those curveballs out of the field.

Over the years the agents I coach have consistently come to me for solutions to the top questions vendors pitch at them. Here’s a list of those tricky curveballs and how to smash them.

For the large majority of vendors, price is their top concern when looking to sell their property and deciding who they sell it through. No one wants to undersell; everyone wants the best price possible.

Inevitably, vendors will quiz their would-be agent on what they think they can sell the property for. The trouble is vendors, agents and buyers often have very different price expectations.

The key to smashing this particular curveball is to explain to your potential vendors how each party determines the ‘right’ price.

Sellers manifestly work to a ‘cost, spend, need’ equation, where they analyse what they paid for the property, add on what they have spent in terms of renovations and then consider what price they need in order to achieve their next property goal.

Buyers, on the other hand, inescapably want to secure a property for the lowest possible price. They form their view of what a property is worth based on their attendance at other open homes, recent sales in the area and the perceived competition for the house they’re interested in.

Yes, it’s the agent’s job to mediate the selling price; but before they can do that they need vendors to select them as their agent.

Agents decide price based on their market knowledge, and in order to convince the seller they are the right agent they need to be able to back up their market knowledge with social proof.

They should come armed with price evidence, such as three properties similar to the vendor’s that are currently on the market and three recent sales.

Everyone is economically driven and no vendor wants to pay more for marketing than they have to. It’s the agent’s job to show what kind of marketing would be ideal for their vendor’s property and why.

But rather than taking the hard sell approach, my agents have found it best to lead the horse to the dam to drink. The best way to do this is to sell large, medium and small marketing packages, explaining what each one contains and why it works. It’s also important to link specific marketing pieces with specific buyers to show that marketing really does work.

In the absence of differentiation, everyone shops on price. If you don’t stand out and stick in a vendor’s mind for the qualities you bring to the sale, they will line you up against  other agents and pick the winner based on price.

Some people see good value in a Kia, while others prefer a Ferrari. You’ve got to show why the Ferrari is going to cross the finish line first every time.

Show vendors that you’re a safer option than your competitors, that you have a strong performance record, that you can sell either off-market or with your prestigious brand, that you can ease the pressure on them with a tailored campaign and that serving their needs is your top priority.

The truth is all agents look the same unless they know how to pitch to their vendors’ needs and desires. The pitch should be all about the vendor, not just about you.

Winning agents know how to differentiate themselves from their competitors in a way the customer cares about. The key is to go tactical and show them competition for a recently sold property through the bidding record, or prove buyer interest through open home attendee lists.

Vendors consistently worry about the different sale methods’ current success rates. Rather than pushing a particular sale method onto a vendor, listen to what they feel comfortable with.

Take a softer, more negotiation-style approach and try to lead the vendor to the best sale method, rather than drag them kicking and screaming. Ask them whether they have a preference for auction or private treaty.

The key is to get the listing exclusively and at the right fee, and not lose a listing based on how you approach the method of sale.

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Josh Phegan

Josh Phegan is a renowned coach, trainer and speaker for high performance real estate agents and agencies across the globe. Visit joshphegan.com.au