How to ‘talk up the market’ without sounding stupid

Recently I read an article discussing how an interest rate hike may affect the housing sector. Within the feature was the phrase ‘talking up the market’, pertaining to how agents have been verbally combating an ever-changing industry of late.

‘Talking up the market’ is perhaps a phrase that you have heard in meetings or even use yourself. It got me thinking about this practice and how false pretences are perceived by the public. How wide of the mark can you be when talking to landlords? How economical with the truth are you in favour of being artificially buoyant? Does your spiel lose you business?

As a lettings professional myself, I don’t need to explain how our industry has been reshaped and there will be a lot of negativity to combat moving forwards. Pretending the market is something it’s not is pretty common. Who, out of desperation to get a new landlord on board, has said a property will let within days when, realistically, it may take weeks? And anyone ever told a tenant there’s so much competition that they’d better make an offer that day before they lose out on a let, when there’s actually no one else really interested?

If your local lettings market is unbalanced – whether there’s not enough property to rent or there’s a drop off in tenants looking – treading the fine line between frank and frightening is a skill you’ll need to perfect. Talk up the market to unrealistic levels and you’ll soon be found out when you can’t deliver results. Landlords will walk out of your door with a nasty taste in their mouths. Remember, market conditions are transient and fortunes always change – but you can’t undo poor service and misjudgments. So how can you talk up the market without sounding stupid?

• Do be honest with people but present the facts in a way that won’t scare them off. Make sure they know trends are market or area-wide and, therefore, they’ll not get a better success rate with another agent. If your agency or area is bucking the trend, be prepared with the facts and figures to reassure rather than rely on rhetoric.

• Don’t be over optimistic but act with tempered positivity. Restraint, realism and caution are what’s needed, as the general public can see right through bluff and blunder. Your reputation will be tarnished if you over promise and under deliver.

• Arm yourself with bold statistics about property being a good long-term investment to steer conversations away from temporary microclimates and to shut out short sightedness.

• Talk up your reputation, professional approach, compliance knowledge and good judgment – all business aspects that will stand the test of time and will not be affected by inclement market conditions.

Written by Simon Duce – simon.duce@arpm.co.uk

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