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Reconnecting with Estate Agency

As a supplier of sales progression software to estate agents, it is essential for our team to not only understand the trials and tribulations of Estate Agency, but to deliver a solution that they know can truly help agents in their day-to-day. That’s why Nick Ball, Head of Sales and Client Services at mio, recently arranged to reconnect with his Agency roots by spending a day with the team at McCartneys in Newtown. Here he shares his experience:

My career in estate agency began at Austerberry Estate Agents, Stoke on Trent in September 1989. In those days, preparing for market appraisals meant putting together my marketing materials, comparables and any other relevant information. Advances in technology mean that a lot has changed since then; the physical act of collating valuation folders is long gone. However, the mental process of “what will this client expect” is still key to making the right impression and appearing to be the expert of choice.

So, on a dark winter’s evening with a beer in hand, I met Tom, a highly experienced estate agent from the team at McCartneys in Newtown. We talked about the current failings of the property sales process. He shared his frustration at the slow turn of his pipeline, the lack of transparency up and down the chain, and how the art of sales progression had been lost. He bemoaned the fact that active sales progression was often left to a junior member of staff who really didn’t understand conveyancing or, even worse, was abandoned altogether!

His words reminded me of a conversation I had with an old agency friend back in 2009, ‘Nick, I don’t care what happens to the sale once it’s in the hands of the solicitor!”

I remember my jaw dropped to the floor but, after gathering my composure (and retrieving my jaw!) I asked my friend to hand over his wallet. I explained that if he imagined his wallet was a property sale, adopting that attitude would mean he was giving control of his cash flow to a third party.

Back in the present day, Newtown, like most areas, has seen a significant uplift in prices with strong demand from buyers looking for a lifestyle change and a retreat to the Welsh/Shropshire borders. Better internet connectivity and technology has enabled employers and employees to make major changes in working practice, creating a new and exciting market for Tom and his team.

One such typical inquiry came into Tom’s office whilst I was there from a couple looking to move from the Wirral. Their dream home; a rural cottage, 3 bedrooms, with land, all for £350k, and their current home wasn’t on the market. Tom took the time to explain to the couple how busy the marketplace was, with an average of 15 to 20 buyers who would compete for a similar property should it ever come to the market.

In the afternoon I attended my first valuation in over 10 years. Research done, we arrived at an extended five bedroomed detached home on the outskirts of town. After a brief chat to further qualify the vendors reasons for moving, and a guided tour of the property, Tom and I stepped into the back garden to assess the property and take a moment for that all-important period of reflection:-

            Motivated vendor

            No mitigating circumstances that will affect the sale

            Great location

            A number of proceedable buyers on the books

            Asking Price

We continued our conversation with the owner where Tom further explored the vendor’s motives for moving, matching their responses with ways that McCartneys could match their needs. Tom then passed the baton to me to talk about sales progression as he wanted to learn how to present mio as a differentiator and instruction winner.

I wanted to understand the vendor’s previous experiences of moving home, so asked just one very simple question.

“When you purchased the property, what was your experience of dealing with the agent and your conveyancer?”

After an initial pause for thought, and a non-committal response, the vendor then started to recall everything that frustrated her, this included:-

o          A lack of communication from both parties

o          Not fully understanding the sales process

o          Delays on her buyers’ side

o          A rather slow process from sale agreed to completion, but a satisfactory outcome in the end

I appreciate that not all vendors will share the same experiences, but a recent report from Acaboom revealed that 71% of vendors said that the biggest issue they have with their estate agent was a lack of communication.

All of the concerns Tom’s client had were important, and likely valid. A lack of communication between agent and vendor, conveyancer and buyer is an ongoing challenge throughout the property industry. Within just two minutes, I was able to demonstrate how mio overcame every single issue she experienced and, equally, how Tom and McCartneys were the only agent in Newtown who could offer it.

I’m delighted to say, Tom received instructions to list the property and agreed a sale after four weeks.

Tom commented “When Nick and I sat down to talk about the mio proposition, I have to admit, at first, I was slightly sceptical. I use Reapit software which has an element of sales progression, but seeing mio, the transparency across the chain, the potential data feeding into it, reducing calls out and giving time back to my team, having buyers and vendors updating key milestones and communicate via chat messaging through the app, has further enhanced our customer service. Having Nick’s support at the appraisal and observing how he used mio to address the clients past experience of sales progression, I now use the same technique on all market appraisals to help differentiate our service over the local competition. I look forward to welcoming Nick back to support the rest of our team in the near future.”

A huge thank you to Tom, and the team at McCartneys for allowing me the pleasure to work in their Newtown office for a day. It was an invaluable experience and we welcome the opportunity to work with other, like-minded agents in the future.

Learn more about how mio can give you the upper hand and help you win more listings here.

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