I so miss being on the front line of agency. Looking at the diary to see what free vals / market appraisals I have for the week, going up against the competition, the thrill of winning the listing, the heart ache of losing it to the competition .. rollercoaster or what!
Being a Valuer/Lister is a lonely old job. Everyone in the office, the Negs, Admin people, Branch Manager, Area Manager/Directors look at you as you leave for the daily vals expecting you to bring back the signed agency agreements, just like cave dwellers sitting round the camp fire from 20,000 years ago, expecting you to come home with a wildebeest from the daily hunt.
Thankfully, there is no need to go hunting as Waitrose is just down the road, but you are still expected to bring home the bacon. You are the Valuer and you my friend are in the selling game. Selling yourself, your agency, those services for the property owner, be they a landlord or vendor.
.. and that is the bottom line .. selling. If you are to sell well, selling necessitates that you ask for and then gain engagement with the vendor/landlord, then pledge and finally mutually commit.
Throughout the free val, your job is turn it into a listing, step by step, starting with engagement with the client, you making pledges to final mutually made commitments. If you are going to gain those listings, you are going to have to ask for them. I believe most of you are great at the first two stages, those stages being engaging and pledging, but some of you might not be as good at asking and then getting that final commitment.
Let me help you with that weak link in your chain with a few ideas
Idea 1 – The future Value of giving Commitment today
Here is an idea to improve your skills to gain a commitment is to look at the future value you are going to create. So one idea, which I have mentioned before, and I have proved to work would be to ask a couple of your existing landlords to give you written references/testamonials and be willing for other potential landlords to contact them. You would show these written references/testamonials to the potential landlord on the free valuation. But here is the idea, if an existing landlord who has been willing to give you a testimonial also has a business and you have his business card slip it next to the testimonial (which will be in an A4 see through plastic pocket in your booklet of course). At the free val, as you go through the booklet, you say all these landlords are happy with your service, but you know this landlord(s) will be more than happy to give me a verbal reference as well – whip out the card and ask the landlord to ring him after the appointment.
What will the landlord get out of allowing you to have the commitment you ask for? If you ask them to ring your landlord client, tell them it will benefit them because you will hear it from a fellow landlord, and trust is transferable. By justifying the ask, you make it easier for your landlord to give you the commitment you need.
(Of course you will need to gain the commitment of a few landlords and some business cards, but trust me, not many will call them, it’s the act of offering that is important. Also, your landlords will be chuffed to bits to be asked and they will sing your praises).
Idea 2 – Create Value before the Free Val
Another idea to create value for landlords is to give them information and ideas they can use whether they choose you or one of your competitors. One of the things I recommend to my clients is give so much great content away, landlords can’t fail to be impressed.
Look at Steve in Chelmsford and his Chelmsford Property Blog
See how every Thursday he writes a full on meaty article (and he has written over 50 different meaty articles for over a year). An article that if you dropped the last paragraph call to action, a journalist could have written. Interestingly, the local newspaper love the articles so much, they put it in as editorial for free each week. Then you will note he puts in a great buy to let deal each day. Take a look at who is selling those properties .. 90% of them are with other agents. He isn’t using the blog to sell his properties, he is using it to educate, to inform, to interest landlords. Why don’t you pick up the phone to Steve and ask him if it’s working for him? (his contact details are on his blog) .
Landlords walk in off the street now and say, I want to him, that chap who writes the blogs in the newspaper, pointing at him like he is in a 1970’s Cop show line up. Writing these articles and blogs makes it easy to say yes. Not only do you show how only you can create the kind of value that you are describing, you are differentiating yourself from your competition in a way that is compelling to your prospective landlord.
By creating value before the free valuation with the blog, asking and achieving commitment at the free valuation is so much easier
Idea 3 - Practice
My Mum says if you don’t ask .. you don’t get. Practice makes perfect ... but do you practice your free vals? All the good athletes need to train. Training or practicing are the same thing. I am not talking about going on a course. No something a little simpler and cheaper.
Why don’t you practice asking because the more at ease you are with the words coming out your mouth, the easier it will be for you to ask. Most Valuers or Listers won’t do this because they feel embarrassed, shy or they don’t think they need to practice, because they think they are god’s gift to the property market.
If you have been doing the job years, you might think you know everything, but even the very best sport stars needs coaches to keep them at the top of their game, so why not you? Put the hard work in and the rewards are high for those brave Valuers who will run through the words and language needed during rehearsal.
Here is an idea, if you are part of a chain of agents (even if there are only two) why not practice with your fellow Valuers. The first session will be awful, but stay with it, as you learn to trust each other. You won’t get the value if you aren’t brave enough to critically assess each other and offer suggestions. You also get the opportunity to listen to the language that other valuers use, and you can steal some of it to use in your own free vals. If you are an Area manager, get your guys together and try this.
The bottom line is if you want to get better at anything , you need to practice. Unless you are a wet behind the ear City Centre newbie Valuer who gets thrown in at the deep end doing 6 FV’s a days, rehearsing with your fellow valuers is a great alternative.
Guess what ... you are in the property business, and I want to break this to you gently, you my friend are a salesperson. Even worse, the landlord already knows you are a salesperson. They knew that when they called and asked for the free valuation. Therefore, don’t of worry about being too-salesy, and instead, think about future value creation (idea 1), if you create value before the free evaluation (idea 2), and if you are well practiced with the words and language in asking (idea 3), you will be asked for that commitment and bag the listings. Remember, you are in sales. (even though I appreciate the irony you are a letting agent) .. selling is a game, the game of gaining commitment.
So what next?
Want to read more articles like this? If you enjoyed this post, you will love my blog! 270+ posts just like this one .. link here www.landlordfarming.com
I like the sound of that blog If you like the idea of having a blog like Steve’s but feel you couldn’t write articles like Steve does, don’t worry, I ghost write articles, just Steve’s, for over 50 letting agents up down the country. Drop me a line on the email below or give me a tinkle on 07950 147 572
Got something on your mind? I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic – please leave a comment, or if you are shy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org