The Three Steps to Success

The Three Steps to Success

Discover how to get your phone ringing with the right kinds of vendors so you can charge the fee you deserve.

Most of you who read my blog and get my Supertips have a good conversion rate, once you get in front of the vendor.  Anything higher than 33%, and you are bucking the statistics. Above 50%, and you’re cooking on gas.  Several of my clients are now converting at the dizzy heights of 75-80%, following my conversion training. And that’s really as high as you want to go; after all, you don’t want every instruction – some just are not a good fit.  (Check out my post here on your ideal client.)

If you’re low on stock, it’s not your conversion rate that is the issue.

For most of you reading this, it’s getting in front of the vendor in the first place that is the biggest challenge, right? You’re not alone.  I speak to agents every single day who tell me their stock is the lowest it’s ever been. Competition is fierce, with new agents springing up and offering 0% to grab their piece of the pie. Online agents are sneaking a growing slice of the pie too, and you’re getting the leftover crumbs.

When you’re fighting for every instruction, it’s tough to stand firm on fees.

You go out to a nice three bed semi that will fly off the shelves, and you know you’re third in line and probably the outsider. You know the big independent has been out, as has the aggressive corporate.  How tempting is it to drop below 1% to secure the instruction?

Ironically enough, dropping drastically – and desperately – like this will often lose you the instruction anyway. But that’s a post for another time. Today, I want to share with you a strategy to help you avoid scrapping for the very last percentage point on every valuation appointment you go to.

The three success steps to getting the fees you want – and deserve – start with:


When you’re looking at an empty diary, all you need is the instruction, and to some extent, you don’t care what it is, or the fee you’ll get. You just need stock. The first step then, is to get your phone ringing.

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and write down a list of all the different sources that cause your phone to ring with a new vendor enquiry. Exclude word of mouth and referrals: these are just bonuses. Only include marketing activities that you have direct control over.

Now write a list of all the things you are NOT doing. Include anything that you know your competitors do, even if you won’t do them yourself.

How long are your lists? Is it time to add some marketing activities to what you’re doing at the moment? Are your sources wide-ranging, and both online and offline?

I carry out this task regularly with my clients, and sometimes, they are relying on only 3 or 4 sources of leads coming in.  In today’s hugely competitive landscape, this just isn’t enough.  If you want say, five market appraisals a week, you may need to be engaged in ten different marketing activities, each one bringing in two leads.  Obviously, some marketing is more successful at generating vendor enquiries, but nothing lasts forever. The leaflet that brings in a 1% response this year may fall flat on its face next year. You need to be constantly innovating and rotating your marketing efforts to keep it fresh and effective.

The other, less obvious benefit of having lots of market appraisals, is that you get to practice. When you only have one a week, or less, it’s difficult to get momentum and to improve your listing skills. If you’re going out to several appointments every day, your confidence and expertise grow quickly, locking you into a virtuous cycle.

Once you are getting the phone ringing more often, and filling up your diary, you’re onto the next step:



When you are looking at a full diary, it’s much easier to say no to the ones you don’t want.

You may have five valuation requests, but one or two may be properties that just don’t fit your brand image, that are going to be difficult to sell, or both. When you feel confident you have enough vendors, you won’t feel obligated to say yes to everything that comes in. You can either go and do the valuation, and quote a higher fee than you think they’ll pay, or else put them off on the phone in the first place.

If the properties you feel most comfortable listing are the mid-sized family houses, then focus your marketing efforts on these. As we know, boards breed boards, and once you have a strong foothold in a particular street or area, you’ll find each subsequent instruction much easier to win. You’ll also build a reputation for selling that type of property, some good case studies to share, and an understanding for those homeowners and their challenges.

Now you have the vendor leads coming in more frequently, and you’re being asked out to the right properties more often, you’re ready for the third success step:


  1. FEES

Trying to secure high fees with an empty diary is very difficult.  Holding out for 2% when you know you have three more quality valuations to go to today, is much easier to do.

High fees are a natural result of having a good reputation and building up need in a vendor’s mind. If you appear to be the most successful agent at selling their type of property, if they have seen various forms of your marketing around, and during your visit, they actually like you, then they will pay what you are worth in order to use the agent they really want.

Look at Apple, for example.  I know that I could buy a laptop for around £200 these days, and a really high spec, branded one for say, £500. But I choose to spend over £1000 on a MacBook.  Why is that? Because I feel an affinity to the brand, and I’m so convinced it’s the right choice for me, that I’m prepared to pay almost whatever they ask me to, to buy their product. Dell could slash their prices, and Sony could chuck in a bucketload of extras, but I’m loyal to Apple.

How could you engender brand loyalty like that in your area?

The desirability of your brand is what will put you in the privileged position of being able to charge the highest fees and still win the business.  But you can’t skip steps.  Try charging 2% when you have an empty diary and you may fail.  Or quote the highest fee in the area to the owner of a scruffy flat with a Purple Bricks brochure on his coffee table, and you’ll probably be disappointed.  It’s only once you have a steady flow of the right kind of vendor enquiries, that you then reach the heady heights of that top step, and you can raise your fees with confidence.

Would you like a chat with me about your three steps to success? How to get your phone ringing so you can charge what you’re worth?  I have a handful of spots free for a marketing assessment – just fill out this 2 minute form and I’ll be  in touch straight away.

What to read next: How Social Media can help you Win Instructions 

What to do next: Do you get my Supertips? They’re jam-packed full of great tips and marketing strategies, and best still – they’re free! Get yours here ->

Speak to Sam: If you’d like to know how I think you could improve your marketing, just answer a few short questions here  and I’ll tell you if and how you could be more effective.

Sam Ashdown

Sam is an industry-renowned marketing strategist to estate agents. She helps agents grow and flourish, using her unique smart marketing techniques and strategies. Sam works with agents throughout the UK to help them gain more valuations, win more instructions and sell more properties.

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