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An information night targeted at people who had never sold a home before has yielded positive results for the agency involved

THERE’S NO doubt selling to senior citizens – like any market segment – requires specialist sales skills, understanding and patience. Yet the latter quality can be particularly important, as many in this age group have not sold a home before.

This is the market that Mark Brown, director and sales manager at the Stockdale & Leggo Glen Waverley and Mt Waverley offices, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, offers his services to.

To improve his office’s ability to service this important market, Mr Brown and his team held an information night for people who hadn’t sold a property before. The night centred on educating the local market about the selling process.

It  was a huge success, both in terms of attendance and follow-up appraisals.

The event, which was marketed via a three week campaign in the local newspaper, a letterbox drop to 40,000 homes, a huge poster on the side ofMr Brown’s office, and pamphlets distributed at his office and the local RSL (where the event was held), attracted more than 60 people. This was higher than the 50 or so Mr Brown had secretly hoped for .

Attendees were required to register beforehand, just to ensure the event was properly catered for, and each person received a small hamper at the end.

Importantly, the event wasn’t designed to hard sell the Stockdale & Leggo brand, with a number of other relevant professionals also speaking on the night. This included a solicitor, a home stylist, and an expert who focused on the impact of selling the family home in relation to Centrelink.

“It wasn’t a, ‘We’re the best in town’-type event,” he says. “We made that very clear to the audience several times. I would say, ‘Once you’ve made your choice of agents’, for example, not assuming they would choose us to represent them.

“Yes, we sponsored the information evening, but it was more about making people feel comfortable, and it was information that was very useful,” he says.

In his own talk, Mr Brown focused entirely on the sales process – “It was taking [it] back to  basics,” he says.

During the evening Mr Brown says most questions focused on wills and how to best deal with Centrelink. “Many of these people tend to rely so much on gossip for their knowledge,” he says.

“The lady who presented the information about Centrelink has had a lot of contact with people who attended, plus their friends.”

His agency has completed around 25 appraisals as a direct result of the evening, and now has plans to do two more information events next year.

One of the nights will follow the same format as the original event. However, it will focus on investing in property, another popular topic on the night.

This night will likely include a talk by an accountant and finance specialist.

“We don’t want to overdo it,” he says in relation to possibly doing too many information evenings. “It’s meant to be a community service event, and we are very conscious of keeping it like this.”

He says the night also reaffirmed what should be a key tenet when it comes to selling – never make assumptions about a consumer. Just asking the question, ‘Have you sold a property before?’, and not assuming that even the most obvious detail about the sale process is familiar to them, makes a huge difference to the success or failure of securing business.

Giving his sales team direct exposure to this market – they arrived 30 minutes before the information night started, giving them time to talk with attendees – has also helped them better understand the needs of this market.

“The team was very motivated by the event, and the people that attended appreciated the fact we put it on,” Mr Brown says.

“The night reaffirmed what should be a key tenet when it comes to selling – never make assumptions about a consumer”

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