OPINION -- How vendors choose agents

sellmycastle.com.au sends agents qualified leads from property owners looking to sell or rent. Handling thousands of transactions each quarter, CEO Andrew Menzies explains how vendors go about choosing an agent.

OUR BUSINESS serves more than 4,000 agents nationally. Many of those agents tell me that in today’s market, it has become more vital than ever to embrace new lead generating techniques and to improve their skills at winning listings.

The business facilitates thousands of property sales transactions per quarter, providing access to data that might be useful to agents who want to know how to make their listings marketing techniques even better.  

A number of different agents provide online submissions to sell or rent the owner’s property in the transactions that we facilitate. What is interesting is which of those submissions is most likely to persuade the vendor – and why.

After looking at the data from tens of thousands of transactions, we have found there are four important factors in winning a new listing.
Commission is one of these factors. We see agents who bid with a full commission rate and agents who offer steep discounts, creating a vast difference for vendors to consider.

What stands out – starkly – when you look at the data is this: vendors seldom choose the agent with the lowest commission.

Psychological research shows that we all instinctively assign more value to things that cost more, and less value to things that cost less. Entire marketing campaigns for perfumes, jewellery and fashion have been built on this premise.

Based on our data, this psychology also holds true in real estate transactions.

Vendors, it seems, regard agents who offer commission discounts, especially if they offer them immediately rather than after a negotiation, as not only less expensive but also less valuable.

The second factor may not surprise you. The agents who respond to vendor queries most quickly are very often the agents who win the business. Time and time again, I have seen vendors give their listing to the first agent to respond.

First is best because vendors naturally give the most attention and thought to the first agent who contacts them. The first agent to respond also demonstrates a willingness to work hard for the vendor, simply by their speed and diligence.

Those factors are often enough to win you the business, even if you can’t compete on your record of experience or market share.

In my experience, agents who respond to every lead immediately are the most successful. If you are tied up in a meeting, it may make sense to ask someone in your office to do it for you.

The third important factor that helps some agents win more new listings than others is their presence, success in and knowledge of the local market.

Investment prospectuses usually include a short line in the fine print that goes something like, ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results’. In the tens of thousands of real estate transactions that we have facilitated, however, vendors seem to believe the opposite.

They are significantly more likely to choose an agent with a successful track record in their suburb.

This leads us to our fourth and final factor, which concerns how much information you provide to your prospects. We have found that agents who provide brief or limited information about their experience, team and local successes more often lose out to agents who provide longer, more in-depth information.

It appears that vendors want to get to know agents before selecting one. By providing detailed and relevant information, you make it more likely that your materials will answer all their questions about you.

That makes it easier for them to choose you.

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