Is 6 Out of 10 OK?

Meatloaf once said, “Two out of three ain’t bad”. Your teacher hands back your test results and you’ve been given six out of 10. Are you satisfied with that result? After all, six out of 10, or 60 per cent, is a pass mark. Shouldn’t you be striving for full marks?

A current client(buyer or vendor) is discussing their real estate experience over dinner with friends. You are the topic of conversation and your client rates your standard of service six out of 10. In this scenario, would you be pleased with the rating you’ve been given or would you class it as a fail?

Around March this year, a work colleague posed the question, “Have you noticed a difference in service standards when comparing metropolitan real estate agents with their counterparts in regional Australia?” Having worked with many real estate agents in each of these settings, I felt well qualified to provide my colleague with what I thought to be an appropriate and accurate answer.

That night I didn’t sleep well. I had a restless night, pondering if I had provided my colleague with an answer based on feeling, not fact; a hunch, not research. There was only one thing to do to put my mind at ease: email a large group of real estate agents, masquerading as a potential buyer, and document the results.

Using my real name and my personal email address, I mystery-shopped 80 real estate agents from a cross section of independent and franchise agencies throughout Victoria. My email enquiry read, “I’m interested in this property; can you please provide me with an indication of price and information about others you may have?” A simple, two part question frequently sent to agents across the country.

I then sat back and waited for the replies to roll in. I’ve appended the results below.

Out of 80 emails sent I received 50 replies, a ratio of 6 out of 10. Frankly, a terrible result!

Surely, responding to every buyer enquiry is ‘real estate 101’. It has to be non-negotiable, and in my opinion those in our industry who don’t subscribe to this basic practice should do so immediately or consider another profession.

Conversation (email or verbal) is the currency of success in real estate. Without it you’ll go broke; with it you’ve a chance of making a living. How many quality conversations will you bank today?

Of the 50 who replied, 32 provided an indication of price, therefore answering part (A) of my buyer enquiry. Ten of the 32 then went on to answer part (B) of my question by providing some alternative property suggestions.

Less than a handful of agents, four in total, went beyond answering both questions and probed for further information. They asked me if I was in a position to buy right now and if I had a property to sell.

Hallelujah – sign these guys up, I want them to work for me!

I was further impressed by one individual who called me and said, “I notice you work in real estate”. This agent simply researched my name on Google before calling me.

As it stands, I’m still waiting for 30 real estate agents to contact me but I guess that’s not going to happen. Perhaps it’s because these agents are no longer in the industry, joining the 10,000 plus agents that have reportedly left over the past 18 months. Last June the Australian Financial Review reported about one in six agents have abandoned the profession blaming “low sales volumes and falling commissions”. Should they have written, ‘low sales volumes and falling commissions due to poor customer service practices’ instead?

So what did my mystery buyer experience reveal, and did it support the answer I gave my work colleague back in March?

I’m pleased to say I got it right! My mystery buyer research confirmed my view that where a real estate agent operates, be it in a metropolitan or regional setting, has absolutely no bearing at all on the buyer or seller experience. What dictates the experience is the innate behaviour, enthusiasm and leadership of the individual with whom the buyer or seller interacts – the real estate agent.

Strive for 10 out 10 – it’s not that hard.

Show More

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