Time to Step up to The Plate

Demand perfection from yourself, constantly evolve and display the passion and desire to compete with the absolute best in the industry, or start thinking about a new career. It is time for agents to “step up to the plate”, says award winning director Matthew Hayson.

Like any industry, we as real estate agents need to ask ourselves if we are evolving quickly enough to meet the ever-changing and demanding environment. What we are experiencing in the wake of the current economic climate is clients looking for a great deal more value from their relationships with agents, while at the same time their expectations on quality, delivery and execution are increasing. Clients are far less tolerant of poor service, they are well aware of how competitive our industry is and they are extremely well educated about what their home is worth. Why wouldn’t they expect more?

I keep hearing industry trainers advise agents to “stick to your fees” but few ever talk about what more we can do to deserve our fee and win business. Signing up a client, placing some ads in the paper and opening the property isn’t service anymore and you don’t deserve a full fee if that’s all you can do for your clients. Real estate is one of the highest paid industries in the world yet in Australia many agents are under-skilled, cut throat and will say or do anything to get a deal done. Many hide behind a ‘premium’ brand and hope their skills aren’t tested, but is that a desirable way to operate? Our view is that we need to be improving our skill set constantly, demanding more from our brand and improving customer relationships and the value we add to the sales process.

With better skills, agents can move away from the cookie cutter approach to a more considered sales strategy using the clever marketing that is required to achieve the best results and pricing accuracy. Each sales strategy should be carefully tailor-made for every client, rather than simply using the same tired approach that allows us to get our 50 or 60 sales across the line for the year.

As an agent, how well do you know your market and how well do you report on it? Are you a spin-doctor or do you tell it like it is? Most articles I read about the market indicate that things are always buoyant and new areas of growth are constantly emerging. In reality, we’ve seen the market decline for more than a year now with buyers becoming more aggressive and challenging pricing. We’ve seen auction clearance rates manipulated to suit agencies’ performances and to talk up the market. I believe consumers see right through the smoke and mirrors. We need to be reporting on facts, delivering accurate commentary and acting like a professional body that is reliable and trustworthy. Wishful thinking?

What more do you do to help vendors sell their home? Do you arrange styling, do you arrange building quotes for a steep staircase which may worry buyers, do you arrange removalist quotes, do you arrange storage, do you arrange all cosmetic touch ups to improve the sale? How strong is your list of suppliers to help sellers prepare for the sale? How well do you communicate during the process? Do you meet your clients face to face every week? How extensive is your buyer network and how quickly can you match the perfect buyer with any home you have listed?

For buyers, do you provide accurate price guides supported by genuine comparable sales? Do you have a FAQ guide to help them during the buying process? Can they trust your newsletters? How well do you structure open homes? How much time do you spend building a buyer network and keeping it refreshed and accurate? Can you advise on the enrolment details for the best schools in the area? Can you direct buyers to the right council officer to assist with a DA query?

To enhance your performance, do you reinvest in training and read books? How well do you prepare to meet a client and what does your agent toolbox of material look like? How well do you present yourself, do you invest in your personal brand and what do you stand for? Do you support your local community?

It’s early in the year and a perfect time to revaluate your skills. Demand perfection from yourself and be prepared to be harder on yourself, constantly evolve and display the passion and desire to compete with the absolute best in the industry. Otherwise, I’d start thinking about a new career. With more agents moving in this direction we will have a stronger, more dignified and more efficient industry. Then we can not only stick to our fees but also increase them with confidence and justification.

Matthew Hayson is a Director of Cobden & Hayson, and has been a driving force behind the award-winning agency’s continued growth and success. He has been instrumental in pioneering real estate technology and marketing, most recently with the use of video and social media. This has contributed significantly to Cobden & Hayson consistently maintaining an impressive 45% share of core markets. Matthew will be speaking at the AREL Learn, More, Earn More, 12 speakers, 1 Day events in Sydney on 31 May. For more information, visit

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