How to Win in This Market

David Knox is renowned for his extraordinary ability to increase sales productivity and for being the absolute master of scripts and dialogues. Australian audiences love his unique ability to combine humour with education and he ranks as one of the highest-rated speakers of all time in the AREC (Australasian Real Estate Conference) Hall of Fame.

In May 2009, David returns to the AREC stage in Sydney with a timely session for sales agents titled Managing Vendor Expectations in a Changing Market. David will focus on how to identify continuing changes in the market and then effectively work with vendors and help educate them to the reality of the market. He will provide techniques to discover the true motivation of the vendors and how to use this as a basis for marketing their listing.

By understanding the external influences on pricing and the negative effects of overpricing as a way to gain market share, agents will come away from David’s session knowing how to expose vendors to more realistic target expectations, create urgency with motivated prospects and identify effective ways to grow their business.

David will also be conducting a special leadership session on Training Your Team to Thrive in Today’s Economy at the AREC09 optional leadership day. The current market requires the mastery of selling skills (with both vendors and buyers) and the absolute need to be an expert on market conditions. David considers role-play as one of the best training methods and believes when agents hear immediate critique – both praise and suggestions on their performance – they make instant changes in their behaviour. David will explain in detail his highly successful Model-Practice-Feedback method, ensuring the audience leaves with the know-how to implement this with their teams to really rev up sales performance instantly.

David shares with his audience many years of practical experience in the market having personally weathered shifts and changes. He started his real estate training business over 20 years ago after many years as the national training director for Merrill Lynch Realty, a role that saw him responsible for training 15,000 salespeople over 33 national operating units. Today he presents his seminars to over 20,000 salespeople a year all over the world.

In preparation for his visit to Australia in May to speak at AREC09 in Sydney, I asked David to share his thoughts on the following questions:

Can we expect to see growth in today’s economy?
While we may not be able to affect the growth of the economy, you can definitely affect the growth of your business, because winners always emerge from challenging situations. Today’s economy creates a process of ‘creative destruction’ eliminating unnecessary elements and advancing new solutions. Soon the weaker agents will leave the business and leave a greater piece of a smaller pie to those who remain. But, you must have a plan for capturing the existing business. That begins with being in front of more people, more times, in more ways than ever before. If the prospects aren’t coming to you, so you must go to them. Your most important focus should be on your past customers and clients. Telephone each one of them and then follow up with a personal note.

What are the skills real estate agents need to be successful today?
The first skill relates to the previous question: prospecting. Although not a new or particularly difficult skill, it hasn’t been needed in a market in which prospects come to you. The key to this skill then is not knowledge, but discipline. You must commit to making contacts on a regular basis every day. Then you must have a plan to follow up again and again and again.

Have you changed anything you do in response to the changing market?
As a presenter, I’m constantly re-writing my seminars to match the challenges I’m hearing from agents. I’m also presenting the techniques that I personally learned in the last two or three slow markets.

What are your top three keys for managing buyers today?

  1. First you must determine who is motivated to buy at all. When must they move? How long have they been looking? What would they do if they found something today? You must be spending time only with buyers who want to buy now.
  2. Next you must educate them to the benefits and realities of the market. Conduct a full buyer counselling interview prior to showings to teach them the process and get them to commit to buying now and buying from you.
  3. Play the game ‘The Price is Right’ in which you drive them past sold homes and ask them to guess the sale prices. This will teach them that no matter how much of a buyer’s market it is, they still must pay for value.

What are your top three keys for managing sellers in today’s market?

  1. First key with a seller is exactly the same as with buyers; motivation. You must know why they are moving? What do they gain from the move? What would they do if their home did not sell? Without a strong motivation, there are no more keys to manage.
  2. Given strong motivation, they must now be educated to the reality of the market. They will not get the price their neighbour got in the last market and their need for money has no effect on the value of their home. They must price right at or even under current market.
  3. To encourage them to be motivated and price right, sell them on the benefits of buying up in price in a down market. The home they will purchase will have a lower net price difference now than at the peak of the market. They are actually closer to affording their next home.

What can the audience expect to take away from your AREC session that will make a difference to their business right away? I will focus on the specific techniques, dialogues and charts that teach each of the concepts in my previous answers. I will give examples that will educate the sellers and assist you in persuading them to price properly and prepare their homes for showing. I will also have a lot of fun returning for my fourth time!

What are the key messages you want to get across at AREC?
The three key messages will be 1) get back to prospecting, 2) uncover motivation and 3) get very realistic on pricing. When the markets are active, we enjoy the ease with which we consummate transactions and earn income. Well, now we have to be accountable for creating a positive outcome in spite of the challenges we face. Someone will win in this market. Who it will be is up to you.

What would you say to a vendor who asks why do you want me to spend so much on marketing if you have buyers on your books, isn’t it just promoting your brand? Why can’t you just bring them through?

Mr. and Mrs. Vendor, that’s a great question. First of all, you will get the benefit of the buyers we already have, but the way we got all those buyers on our books was to do marketing. So I guess you could say that the previous sellers’ marketing paid for the buyers I’ll bring to you. Next, we have to attract the new buyers to be ‘on our books’ and you get the benefit of those as well.

What are your top two business book recommendations?
Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Dr. Steven R Covey and The One Minute Manager by Dr. Kenneth Blanchard. To see a video highlight of David’s AREC 09 session and for full program and speaker details visit . Early brid rates to AREC09 (save $195) are available until 31 March. For groups of 5 or more enjoy a saving of $295 per person. To book visit the website or call 1800 335 336.

Leanne Howard is General Manager of Total Real Estate Training, the organiser of AREC – the biggest independent real estate conference and trade exhibition in our region. Founded in 1996, TRET events have exposed thousands of people to a whole new world of ideas, techniques and practical tools to significantly improve their sales and increase their earnings.

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