Tim Snell: Work harder, not smarter

Sales is easy. Whoever has the most conversations, wins.

As we round the corner from the new year cycle of industry ‘pump up’ events, it’s still clear there is no magic bullet to growing your sales business without simply connecting with more people.

Whether it be lockdowns, social media or simply a generational movement of just what it means to connect with people, there is an undeniable shift from traditional forms of prospecting.

A new entrant to the industry would seem far more likely to produce a video to post on social media than to door knock or to slide into someone’s DMs before they pick up the phone.

Through the development of new technologies and the advancement of lead generation companies distancing agents from the transaction (and taking a fair clip on the way through) comes a generation of agents trying to ‘out smart’ the basics of sales. 

Regardless of skill set, profile or reputation, the factor that is bigger than us all is first the market. Each market has a finite number of sellers each year, this is typically somewhere between 4-6 per cent of homes in most Australian suburbs.

First thing’s first, you can’t change the maths. There’s a fair argument that it’s nearly impossible to ‘create’ sellers, the money is made in ‘identifying’ them.

You could have the best listing presentation of all time, but if people don’t know who you are first, you’ll never get invited into the living room. 

Your ambition can never exceed the size of the opportunity.

Let’s review a simple example. An agent has been in the industry for several years and has built a database of 500 homeowners.

Using the average of five per cent turnover per annum there are no more than 25 opportunities in that list each year.

The likelihood of that agent selling any more than 25 homes per annum (regardless of their skillset) is quite frankly a mathematical anomaly without growing the size of their network first.

Your relationships are critical for your success. In a review of all of Ray White’s past vendors in the past 12 months, just shy of 60 per cent of vendors selected their agent because of an ongoing relationship (34 per cent) or a personal referral (25 per cent).

The remainder of the opportunistic leads took a hardy second place: Google/social media (15 per cent), sold neighbour’s house (10 per cent), letterbox drop/door knock (5 per cent), signboard (5 per cent), portal review (4 per cent), newspaper ad (2 per cent).

Acknowledging the data, why is it that agents would spend more time developing the perfect newsletter than getting face-to-face? And how many relationships have you ever formed without first meeting someone?

Prospecting isn’t fun and developing new relationships isn’t easy – but when you review the best agents’ businesses and what it took them to get there, they all had to pay the piper.

Don’t try to outsmart the industry. 

Play to the percentages. Play where you can win.

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Tim Snell

Tim Snell is the Head of Performance for the Ray White Group.