When there’s nothing else to give – what do you give?
Here’s a scenario that’s repeated every week, if not every day, in every office across the land. It will certainly sound familiar….
You’ve been round to value a potential client’s home. Your agency and others. It went well and you established a great rapport. You feel confident. The next day, My & Mrs Vendor have now had the chance to digest the options presented to them by you and your competitors. You then make your follow up call.
Roughly, here’s how the conversation goes….
Yes, they were happy with your valuation.
(Oh, but they were also happy with the other agent’s valuation).
Yes, they liked your marketing – the fact that you offer wide exposure & advertise on the major portals.
(Yes, but your competitor offers that too).
They did feel comfortable with you and your quoted fee. You exuded professionalism, competency and friendliness in equal measure. You are someone they can do business with. They definitely felt that you and your company could do a great job selling their home.
(Only, they also felt that about your competitor)!
By this time in the conversation, you will have realised that the ‘auto instruction’ that you had hoped for ain’t going to happen – you’re going to have to fight for this one! You’ll then probably list off your ‘back up’ USPs, hoping that just one of them will strike a chord, resonate with the vendor and help to win the business. Maybe your training, experience and natural savoire–faire for negotiation will no doubt kick in at this point?
Problem is, if your competition is any good, they will do exactly the same. And at the end there won’t be a lot separating them, from you.
So when you’ve exhausted all your options, where do you go from there – when there’s nothing more to give? Ultimately, you know where this vendor conversation is heading. Fees!
Giving it away in the blink of eye.
It’s sad to say that even the most experienced valuers sometimes capitulate on fees, er, rather too quickly. I’ve been in offices when ½%, or more, has been shaved off in a matter of moments. The reason usually cited is “that we’d lose it if we didn’t match it and xyz up the road will do it for that”. Now I know there are many dynamic reasons why adopting this methodology can make sense occasionally, and can be, sometimes, a necessity, but do it too often and it’s habit forming. Yet it only becomes a regular issue when there’s nowhere else to go – when you’ve nothing else to offer.
Every agent has a fee that they will not go below. You probably have it in your head right now. Maybe you’re under instructions from head office, or the figure in your mind is set simply out of economic sense and pride. Of course, every agent needs to be flexible in a competitive market, but are there ways to buffer against dropping fees at the drop of a hat? Well, yes there are.
Give the vendor more choices, more options….
Firstly, take a look at what you do – what can you offer within your fee. Isolate what your competitors do, and then offer something else that’s unique. What can you do differently?
For example, can you offer accompanied viewings – not just offer it – but really do them? Why not offer an open house viewings day – But with a senior member of staff present, not just the office junior. It’s a great way to meet other potential local vendors too and possibly convert them, so don’t leave it to the most junior neg in the office!!
Above all, think what you offer more so that you add unique value before you get to the ‘fee discussion’ point? Can you demonstrate to a vendor how much more effectively you’re able to market their home and how’ll you’ll get a better price and a quicker sale. You’ll be rewarded for it. Consider what you can throw into the mix in every conversation that will benefit the vendor, help them to get to their ultimate goal, and yours, and sign your sole agency.
Secondly, look to what you can offer as an ‘option’. For example, many corporates offer pre sale packs. Regardless of whether you think these are any good or not, offering them as an option works in that they demonstrate to a vendor that you are doing more, right from the off. Why not keep it ultra local – speak to one of your trusted solicitors/conveyancers. Discuss if they are prepared to offer such a service for you. Chances are, they will be only to willing to supply a product that allows them to get their foot in the door early in the process.
Why not get in touch with a local videographer. Again, offering a property video can always be optional and you can draft your sole agency accordingly to protect yourself against expensive exposure, but some vendors – especially those at the higher end of your particular market may well go for it. You never know until you try!
Above all, often the simplest & least expensive things can do the trick, and help to minimise the occasions where the only options left to you are a race to the bottom – a cut in your fees. Nothing works every time of course. But including added tangible features to your service, EVEN OPTIONAL ONES, where take up may well be low, shows that you are willing, and able to do more than the ‘other guy’ if required. It can certainly help to keep the conversations like the one above to a minimum.
For great added value marketing that wins instruction, get in touch with me today.