December offers agents a golden opportunity to steal market share and capitalise on buyers who want an early Christmas present.
Three experienced industry figures told REB that many agents lose focus in December, which gives disciplined salespeople a chance to win business at their expense.
Buxton Bentleigh director Chris Hassall, who placed 39th in this year’s Top 100 Agents ranking, said he wins business each year by calling 1,000 of his best contacts in November and December.
“I’m currently calling through my database and wishing them a merry Christmas and happy New Year, and at the same time talking to them about any plans for making a move,” he said.
Some of those people have already invited him to come around or booked an appraisal for early 2016, he added.
“Some of my Decembers in my past years have been my biggest months,” Mr Hassall said.
James Curtain from Place Estate Agents Bulimba, who placed 94th on the Top 100 Agents ranking, said he used to close for two weeks during the holidays until discovering just how much work was floating around.
This happened in 2012, when his business opened a new office and kept it trading throughout the holidays to build its profile.
“I think that simply by being open for business, rather than having an attitude that the market closes, you’ll get a clear jump on your rivals moving into the following year,” he said.
Mr Curtain said his business has incentivised agents to make holiday sales by allowing them to offer vendors half-price VPA for properties listed between 14 December and 11 January.
“There are certain agents who need the break and who can afford to take a break, but I think for aspiring agents and even mid-tier agents who are looking to rise up a level, if they lock into an attitude that there is business to be done during that period, they will do business,” he said.
Industry coach Timothy J Eaton said buyers are often hungrier than normal in December, because they want to “give themselves a virtual Christmas present” by signing a contract.
Mr Eaton said sellers are also keen to do business in the run-up to Christmas, because they like knowing that they will get to move on to the next stage of their life in the new year.
“You can gain market share over the lazy agent by being busy and proactive now, because those guys are asleep,” he said.
“Anybody who is thinking of moving house – they don’t look at the calendar and stop looking. If they have a need to move, they’re still looking. Be there, be available to them, and make sure they’re aware that you’re a person who hasn’t gone to sleep.”