It can be hard to know where to start when selecting digital proposal software. Bill Shields explains the must-have features you should look out for and how they can help you win your next listing.
The newest wave of digital proposal software gives you an unprecedented opportunity to create and deliver polished, personalised introductions that remind potential clients why you should be their agent of choice.
With more than 60 per cent of vendors typically interviewing two or more agents, our ability to nail that presentation is a fundamental driver of our success.
We should use any competitive advantage we can before the vendor makes their final decision.
Leaving them with something tangible to enforce and refresh your pitch has always been good practice.
However, it can be a difficult balance.
A generic or corporate glossy brochure can often miss the mark, be seen as generic and not tailored to your customers’ circumstances.
Alternatively, not providing something when your competitors do can also make you stand out, in the wrong way.
Of course, there are times where you cannot meet in person and, in this case, you must depend heavily on your digital presentation.
The great news is technology now provides a means to very quickly, often in minutes, deliver a visually-striking, professional reinforcement of what you offer.
They can be delivered immediately via text message or email, and they look great on mobile, tablet or computer.
They’ll even notify you when it’s read.
Some of this has been achievable in the past, but it often required an investment in time and energy that was hard to maintain, a lack of flexible, customisable options, or specific technical skills.
The key differentiator of these newer systems is visual quality, consistency, flexibility, ease of use and reuse.
Advancements in usability have allowed these systems to make it near effortless for you to set up content that can be turned on or off, reordered, or, if need be, significantly edited.
These more flexible systems give you greater control over the creative process while keeping you on brand and looking good.
Remember that we all work within different markets and demographics, so there is no one-size-fits-all for a proposal.
Let’s look at some typical content your digital proposal system will need to convey:
Local market conditions – Vendors often seek knowledge and they see you as a source of information on market sentiment for properties like theirs.
Every few months, or as market conditions fluctuate, update the narrative on your market.
Recent sales – A fundamental of any listing presentation, they demonstrate your dominance by showing your, or your agency’s, recent sales.
This also forms the first part of a comparative market analysis (CMA) when you offer recent sales similar to their property.
Current competition – The second part of a CMA is where you show comparable properties currently on the market.
Comparative market analysis – Combining both recent sales and current competition, the CMA is valuable information for the vendor, cementing your market knowledge and providing an opening to best explain time on market.
This can be an excellent opportunity to stand out and use the CMA built into your digital proposal software rather than the same one most of your competitors use.
Suburb profile – Sharing information such as average sale price, time on market and capital growth (particularly for comparable properties) can reinforce any verbal analysis of prevailing market conditions.
Methods of sale – Explain the methods of sale you use and your specific recommendation for their property.
Price appraisal – About 75 per cent of agents provide a likely sale price and nearly all vendors expect it.
For some, this is an area where not providing a price and suggesting the market will ultimately determine the price is a reasonable argument.
Whatever your position, you’ll need to address it.
Service guarantee – Providing a potential vendor with a clear understanding of how you will communicate with them, how often, and with what information, is a great way to reassure them that you’ll be working as a transparent team throughout the sale.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to exceed what other agents may offer.
It is important to remember that lack of communication is one of the most common complaints vendors raise.
Case studies – Case studies are a great way to tell a story, especially if you’d like to reinforce or highlight a particular method of sale or marketing strategy.
Have a library of case studies which walk your potential client through real-life examples and proof of your recommendations and results – and provide only the ones most relevant to them.
Think of them as long and engaging testimonials, which showcase exactly how to maximise sale price, reduce time on market or achieve other common vendor goals.
Marketing packages – Presenting your marketing plans is important, especially as you’ll usually seek their financial commitment.
The latest digital proposals offer flexible options you can tailor precisely to the property.
You can also request the vendors digitally approve a plan, which helps you with compliance and recoveries down the track.
Marketing methodology – This is your opportunity to demonstrate your marketing prowess.
Don’t forget to include the basics, such as:
- floor plans
- email campaigns
- social media
Buyer database – If you’ve been using your CRM well, you’ll have a treasure trove of active buyers.
Vendors expect you to have buyers waiting, so remember to reinforce this, as not all agents have tamed their CRMs.
Content guides – People like information. Share tips on preparing their property for sale, what to expect on settlement day, or how to prepare for an open home.
You can read your potential vendor and include or exclude as the case warrants.
Your branding and profile – Don’t forget to demonstrate your experience, qualities, awards and recognition, as well as your human side.
Testimonials – For some of us, it’s hard to write how great we are.
This is where testimonials come to the rescue.
You should always request a testimonial after a successful sale.
In time you’ll have a great library of happy customers and handy phrases about their experiences.
Your team – We don’t always do this alone. Introduce them to your support team.
You might be the face of your agency, but your vendor will be reassured there is a team behind the scenes making sure everything goes swimmingly.
Personal thank you – Most of the content suggested above is usually prepared in advance.
Still, you should write a quick and personal thank you.
Take this opportunity to single out issues raised in previous discussions to demonstrate that you listened and understand their goals, constraints and general requirements.
The examples above are not new or special.
Where it becomes remarkable is the combination of ease, speed, customisation, quality, engagement and measurability that modern proposal systems can achieve.
They look great on any device and can include engaging and rich media such as video and animations.
Here are a few things to consider when selecting your new digital proposal system:
Data – You’ll want it to talk to a data supplier so you can include recent sales, current competition and other metrics, such as capital growth and time on market.
Flexibility – I cannot stress this one enough. Very quickly, you’ll want the ability to extend and improve your proposals.
Check to ensure you can create your own content and are not locked into pre-defined content or visual layouts.
Speed – It must be fast.
We want to deliver these proposals confidently and quickly, in minutes not hours, and by ourselves.
Support and guidance – Building a proposal from a blank piece of paper is hard and unnecessary.
Most systems come with examples. Some suppliers will even work hand-in-hand helping you with not only the technical aspects but also the real estate psychology inherent in a great proposal.
Value – Even though the value of a system that can score you a listing where you may have otherwise missed out is significant and undeniable, the cost cannot be burdensome.
It must be sensible and sustainable.
Take a look at the latest digital proposal systems and see if there is an opportunity to level-up your next proposal.
- Bill Shields is the Managing Director of Inhabit, and has built some of the most highly-regarded and used residential and commercial platforms in the industry.