Stunning Seller Management

Improving your seller management will not only make the sales process a more positive experience for both the agent and seller, it will also lead to an ongoing supply of referrals. Michael Sheargold shares his strategy for stunning seller management.

Even though there are loads of areas where you, as an agent, can upgrade to improve your business, one area that stands out for coaching clients who attend my workshops and seminars is improving their seller management.

So in this article I’m going to coach you on why, what and how of stunning seller management. And my coaching to you up front is that during this article you continually ask yourself, “How well am I/we doing this?”

The reason for this comment up front is great seller management is really common sense in action. Don’t be fooled by that though! Even though it’s simple, not every agent is putting the steps in place to be brilliant in this area. So when you do, you’ll stand out, do more business and gain a significant supply of referrals.

Let’s go from – you’ve won the listing, congratulations!
I’d like us to make some assumptions that have happened during the listing process.

  1. At the listing you had some straight talk with the sellers – what they want and need (in short you understand their expectations at least broadly).
  2. You were realistic as to what it will take to get their property sold.
  3. Your pricing conversation was real and based on evidence.
  4. You rolled out a strategy to achieve a great result.
  5. You agreed on a plan to move forward – or at least the next steps.
    If these points aren’t in place at the end of your listing, my suggestion is for you to look at integrating them immediately!

The signing of the agency agreement is an important symbol – here’s why…
At the listing appointment and until the agency agreement is signed, you are not on the same team as the owners. They will see you not on their team – ME and YOU thinking. Once they’ve signed the agency agreement, you move to being on the same team – WE thinking.

You’ve moved beyond the job interview of the listing appointment and are now entrusted to sell their property for them. Like a job interview, you need to go over the details once you’ve joined the team – it’s exactly the same with a listing.

You see, once you have a signed agreement you need to further clarify and detail the selling strategy, timing of events and expectations – both yours and the owner’s. In fact, if a seller is ever upset during the sale, it will simply be because of an expectation that was not met.

If you don’t do the small things well, they will become BIG!
What I mean here is if you agree that photography will happen on this date and time and it doesn’t, it might seem small to you but for the client who might even have some “buyer’s remorse” it’s a big thing and a break in trust. You say the signboard is going up on Tuesday, so the signboard needs to go up on Tuesday! Of course I’m realistic to know that things do go wrong from time to time. An early warning strategy is critical to maintaining a great relationship.

Let me quickly review the trust formula:
(Experience > Expectations) x Frequency = Trust

So the experience that someone has in doing business with you needs to be greater than their expectations (or at least equal) and then the trust multiplier is frequency – in other words doing that over and over and over again! So even though it might be a small point for you, if it doesn’t support the building of trust then it will be big for your clients.

I feel we’ve covered the background to why enhancing your seller management is so important. Keep in mind your goal is to sell 20 or 30 properties for these people, their friends, family and colleagues. When you have this in the back of your mind, it makes sense (dollars and sense) to upgrade and be brilliant with your seller management.

And on the subject of “buyer’s remorse”, you need to have a “sticky” re-assurance strategy once you have the listing. The owners will ask the question once you’ve left the listing appointment – “Have we done the right thing?” Things like a call from your manager as a thank you for listing, a thank you card and perhaps a sales support person calling to talk through specific details and timings, are important. All those touch-points add value to the client and reassures them they’ve made the right decision to put you to work.

Now on touch-points…
A touch-point is anytime the client contacts you or you contact the client. These include face-to-face meetings, phone, text messages, e-mails and reports. You need to create the right mix of touch-points to further build trust and have your client feeling totally in the know.

Of course I’m reminded here of a favourite saying,Different strokes for different folks!” Don’t assume that one size will fit all. You need to communicate on their wavelength. Some people would love an sms after their property open home with a quick summary and letting them know you’ll speak with them later in the day. Other people would love a personal call after a showing to give them a verbal update of progress. Either way, you need to TUNE IN to the client’s communication style and ensure that you’re delivering your information in that style.

A great question for you to ask your clients is, What’s the best way of us working together?and, What’s the best way for me to communicate with you?Now I’d like you to suggest some key components that have worked for other clients and gain an understanding if there’s any “tweaking” needed to deliver a great result.

With that background, I’m assuming you’re having a meeting after listing to discuss the sale process in detail and further clarify expectations. If you’re not, start doing it now! Schedule it at the end of the listing appointment to come back and go through the sale process and answer any other questions that might pop up.

Let’s now get into some standards. Ultimately you need to create personal or perhaps team standards for your seller management. Start from thinking that your clients will be so delighted with both the sale price you’ve achieved and importantly the way they were treated and kept informed during the process. Interestingly, referrals will come not from the great sale price but how your clients FEEL about how they were treated in the process.

My first over-riding standard is your clients should never need to call you during the marketing and sale of their property. This means that your communication with your owners is all proactive and not reactive. It means you’re anticipating needs and keeping the communication loop open at all times.

The other key benefit of moving to proactive seller management is that you can now schedule your follow up calls into your ideal week. You can time block your calls in your calendar and let your sellers know when you’ll be calling. Now not all communication will fit into being proactive but over 80 per cent will. It improves your productivity and improves the level of service you’re offering your clients.

Here’s what I would consider minimum to build a brilliant relationship:

  1. A confidence call to the owners the day after listing.
  2. A checklist of next steps sent to the client.
  3. Selling strategy meeting within 48 hours of listing the property.
  4. A support call to let the owners know things are under way.
  5. A weekly written report.
  6. A fortnightly face-to-face meeting.
  7. A call every second day (at least).

Of course, you need to brainstorm this as a team and come up with team standards around “the way we do business”.

An important point here… after a successful sale, make sure you celebrate in the most appropriate way with your clients (different strokes for different folks) and then do a coffee catch up.

At the coffee catch up, ask your clients how the process was for them and if there was anything they could suggest to improve your service. You’ll be amazed at what this generates in terms of loyalty as you begin the post-sale nurturing process. But that’s a topic for a whole other article!

So from here you have some work to do. Re-read this again and take some notes on improvement steps and then discuss these as a team. It might take you a little while to get all the steps you’d like in place but there is no reason for you and your agency not to be the best at seller management in your market.
Go to it and make it happen – your business will flourish in so many ways!

A final tip
It’s a great idea to consider each client/sale as a project or campaign – because it is! When you think about it, there’s a beginning, middle and an end to a successful project and last time I checked, your payday is in direct proportion to the project being completed successfully.

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Michael Sheargold

Michael Sheargold is the CEO of Michael Sheargold Coaching and the Real Estate Results Exclusive Network.