It’s one thing to claim you’re the area specialist but another thing altogether to prove it, as Raine & Horne’s Michael Harris explains
Becoming a territory’s leader is the aim of most sales representatives.
How you achieve that aim is, in part, through what I call focus marketing – the things you do and the actions you take to become an area specialist within a specific farm or patch.
How many times have you opened a letter from a real estate agent in which they sign off as ‘your area specialist’, and then you never hear from them again? Too many times, I’m sure.
Several years ago, I received a phone call from a guy named Michael, who was selling a house in my area. Michael told me he would like me to appraise the property, and during the conversation I mentioned to him that I knew the house – it had a blue picket fence at the front.
When I went to do the appraisal he mentioned he was very impressed with the level of detail in my knowledge of the property. Then he mentioned he had invited another agent, who also called themself the ‘area specialist’, to the property but on the way to the appraisal this agent had got lost and ended up ringing Michael for directions.
I’m sure you can work out who listed the property.
This incident illustrates the message that I have: never pretend to be something that you are not - the public will see through it.
To become the best at something, you have to take ownership of it. Ultimately, you are responsible for your success and this is why every agent in this industry should own their farm area.
But how do you become an area specialist? Well, firstly, what you can’t be is a generalist. You have to build your product knowledge by walking the streets every week. You need to conduct market appraisals and inspect other agent’s listings – and you should know your competitors.
You should know how many houses and units there are in the area, and you should know how often properties sell.
Your office – as well as the streets – is a key element. It’s important that you sit down as a team and work out the rules of the game.
Any enquiry regarding a listing opportunity must be directed to the appropriate area specialist. For this to work, your reception needs to know of the relevant street names and boundaries.
Salespeople should be able to list and sell in each other’s exclusive areas through referrals, open for inspections and previous sales. But it’s important they don’t carry out direct or focus marketing in another salesperson’s territory.
For example, if I were to list a property in the nearby suburb of Erskineville, which is owned by a fellow agent, my name would always appear on relevant promotional literature in conjunction with that agent’s details.
Once the property has sold, the agent who owns that area can use the sale to market themselves back to their farm area. And while I can drop a ‘Just Sold’ letter in my own area, I should not do so in the area in which the property was located.
A market monitor is another tool with which to ensure you’re on top of your game. It should include information such as recent sales; a description/picture of a property; how long it was on the market; whether it was sold by auction and if so, whether it was sold under the hammer; how did the list price compare to the sale price; and what other properties are currently on the market.
This is also a very useful listing tool, as it will help demonstrate your product knowledge and also your potential vendor’s competition through current listings in the area.
I’ve taken this approach since I started, and now I sell a majority of properties in my farm area.
If you do become the best in your field, then you have a better chance of asking for a larger fee as you will find it easier to justify.
As your profile grows, editors from relevant real estate publications will also use you as their expert, as they realise you’re the agent who is selling the most.
So, get focused and reap the rewards.
By Michael Harris, Senior sales consultant, Raine & Horne Newtown, East Sydney/Surry Hills