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Judge an estate agent on salesmanship alone at your peril! (as featured in The Yorkshire Post)

June 2016

In this fast paced, instant access, target driven world we live in, so much emphasis is often placed on salesmanship. It doesn’t matter whether you are involved in potatoes, prosecco or property, the principles behind selling and selling techniques are commonly thought of as being the same across most business sectors.

Arguably, estate agents have a more unusual process to do business – they need to sell themselves twice. Firstly, they need to sell themselves (and their company) to get a property on to their books. Secondly, they then need to turn around and sell the property to the market. Only after this do they get paid.

Amazingly, you may be surprised to learn that anyone can (albeit with a fairly sizeable upfront cost) legally start as an estate agent tomorrow. You hear of excellent sales people having worked in say the insurance or telecoms sector, where the number of unit sales are the absolute focus. So if they wanted “to have a go” at being an estate agent, they could for example buy a franchise, become part of an online agency business or simply start on their own. Logically, it would make sense to transfer these sales skills, become an estate agent overnight and have your own business to show for it. After all, as they say “sales is sales” right?

So when we turn this around and it comes to that all important point of instructing an estate agent to sell your home, you get sucked in by all this flattery and sales-speak. You get promised the earth and you sign up, only too often getting let down in a few months and the sale is left squandering in the market. Where have you gone wrong?

To my mind, there is a critical key factor which is so often overlooked by homeowners and that is the “experience” of their chosen agent. Having great sales technique is only part of the equation when it comes to estate agency, as the sector is less sales orientated nowadays and more psychology led. Let me explain.

We all know that buying and selling property is highly stressful, however it is one of the very rare transactions in life where emotions get involved and then start to run high. I don’t hear of people feeling the same when they buy their next insurance policy!

Adding emotions to an already stressful situation leads to people making quick fire decisions because of the building pressure they are under, when they should have taken more time. Or do something illogical because their heart ruled their head or be unable to see the bigger picture. This is where property transactions either cross the line or fall through in spectacular style.

However, an agent with the years of agency specific experience will be able to not only read these signs, but more importantly do something about them before they actually occur and take the stress out of the situation prior to it getting out of control. As an estate agent new to the business, if you have never worked previously in an emotive transaction (and very few business sectors beyond property can claim to do this), how would you know what to look out for and how to handle the emotions of the situation? The answer is they can’t and this is where sales go amiss.

Having this perspective for judging a situation, set of circumstances or thinking ahead of what an individual(s) may do, only comes from experience. It can’t be taught in an afternoon and has to be earnt the hard way.

So when it comes to selling your home – and lets face it, usually your most important asset, being hoodwinked by initial top sales-speak will get you so far down the line. Only when you combine this with agency experience, will your property sale excel and get your transaction actually get over the line!