Despite the landscape changing, old-fashioned customer service still remains a winning strategy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, an industry expert explains.
In a conversation with REB, real estate agent Darren Davis explained what it takes to be a top agent during COVID-19.
With over 25 years of experience in customer service, and a passion for helping his clients, Mr Davis’ exceptional customer focus and in-depth market knowledge are what have led him to a very successful career in the real estate industry.
REB: Can you briefly describe your real estate career so far?
DD: I was with a small family run firm in Surry Hills for three years. Later I joined the team at Morton real estate heading up the Green Square office. I was the licensee and sales agent there. I was there for almost four years before joining Bresic Whitney.
REB: Why did you join BresicWhitney?
DD: The main reason I joined BresicWhitney was just to expand my market base and type of listing. I was trying to get out of that South Sydney pocket and expand a little bit more.
REB: You’re a five-star agent on ratemyagent. What do you put this down to?
DD: Look, I think it’s down to a customer service background. My jobs before real estate included working for some of the leading hotels in the world as a customer service manager.
I was a flight attendant and first-class flight attendant for Qantas for 16 years.
So, I think it’s really just that customer service focus and just honesty and transparency with my clients.
It’s gotten me some good feedback.
REB: Given your customer service background, did having one-on-one inspections during COVID-19 help you sell more properties?
DD: You know that’s an interesting point. I probably had the best month I ever had when we had the one-on-one appointments through COVID.
In fact, I sold five in the space of two weeks.
I guess the positive that came out of COVID was it really separated the tyre kickers from the serious spenders.
Anyone that was out in the marketplace was serious about purchasing.
Being able to spend one on one, half an hour at a time, with each buyer rather than relying on a public open home, callbacks on a Monday and text message, you were getting commitment on the spot. You were getting feedback on the day.
REB: A lot of the talk with COVID is changing market dynamics. In terms of a real estate agent, does it matter if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market?
DD: Look, it does and it doesn’t. The market is the market to me. The key for successful agents is they have to adapt quickly.
I think during COVID, it is putting another spin on those terms as we don’t have a lot of stock and we don’t have a lot of buyers.
REB: Where will the Sydney market go?
DD: We had a strong start to the year, but the interesting thing we’ve seen through COVID is both apartment prices and housing prices have held firm.
Obviously, we’ve seen a huge impact in the rental market due to supply and demand.
The sales market, we haven’t seen an impact.
The government has obviously extended JobKeeper and JobSeeker, has put a bit of confidence into the market.
We might see a little bit of a dip, the projections are they might pull back in the last quarter to early next year, but at this stage, it’s all speculation.
REB: Either way, everyone is in the same market, so if prices fall the seller loses on the selling price but gains on the purchase price.
DD: 100 per cent, that is the exact conversation we are having with people that are looking to sell before buying.
It doesn’t really matter, you’re buying and selling into the same market. If you bought the property a few years ago, you’ll likely see a capital gain.
REB: Finally, what advice would you give to any agent on their first day?
DD: Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
I guess don’t be overwhelmed, there’s a lot of different agents with different styles and it is a personal way of doing business.
Just be yourself. Don’t look at others and benchmark yourself against them, particularly against high-performing agents.
Listen and learn is also really important. Today I still pick up a few one-liners or a different pitching something.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or help. Everyone wants someone else to succeed.