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4 mistakes agents make during a downturn

18 June 2020 Dan Argent
Dan Argent

In the past week alone, I’ve spoken to over 30 agents about how they’re growing their business during this challenging time, writes Dan Argent.

Some of them only started operations this year — a move some might consider brave given the environment.

Me, on the other hand — I think they’re smart. Most of them are moving away from big agencies and establishing their own structure so they can retain more sales commission and control, all with the intention of achieving financial freedom.

I applaud these industrious agents who are set to thrive during the downturn.

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However, in the course of my discussions, I have noted some common errors being made time and again.

Here are the mistakes agents keep making and how to fix them so you achieve more during the downturn than you ever dreamed.

1. Missing the ‘magic 20’ opportunity

The end game for any agent must be to build an attraction business.

By that I mean you want to create an agency where there’s less need to chase listings because vendors are calling directly and asking you to take on their sale.

What I’ve discovered is it’s impossible to create this type of business without one critical factor — 20 per cent of market share in your specialist area. Any less and you just can’t gain the name recognition required.

The thing is, current circumstances have created a golden opportunity to reach this magic 20 even faster, but most agents haven’t spotted it.

This will have a few agents doing a double-take. Why would it be easier to improve market share in the downturn?

Well, take a look at the numbers. If there’s normally 50 properties listed for sale in your area, and you have, on average, five of those listings, then you’re maintaining a 10 per cent market share.

If listing numbers fall and there’s now only 25 for sale, but you manage to maintain your average of five, your market share has doubled to 20 per cent.

Now let’s say you proactively hustle to secure more listings and increase your average to eight. You’ve now hit 30 per cent market share and are building an attraction business.

Market share equals presence and exposure. Compared to the competition, you now have proportionately more signboards with your name on them, more sold stickers and more people talking to their friends about what a positive experience it was selling with you.

So, don’t shove your head in the sand. Double down while listings are low. You’ll enjoy exponential upside when the market recovers and you’re holding a 20 to 30 per cent share of the listings.

2. Failure to set clear goals

One thing this downturn has delivered is a little extra time in each day, so why not spend some of it thinking about what the hell you want from life?

You need to set out goals — daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually — that you can strive towards. And all of these should be part of your big 10-year goals.

I’ll take it further. These goals need to be broken into five categories: health, wealth, growth, family and contribution to others.

You see, during a downturn, there’s a natural pessimism pervading everybody’s thinking. But, in reality, now is the ideal time to work out what’s important to you and how you can solidify those things in your future.

Goals are essential because, unless you’re really clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing every day, how will you stay motivated?

3. Lack of daily focus

This mistake stems from people not understanding the concept of “the one thing”.

This refers to the single thing you have to do each day that makes everything else you have to do easier or redundant.

For agents, this means identifying “the one thing” that’s going to have a big impact on their business.

Now, a real estate business needs to make sales. How do you make sales? You need to get listings. How do you get listings? You need to prospect.

So, that’s “the one thing” agents must do every day — prospecting.

You need to do it for a minimum of two hours a day — connect with people who own property in your area with the goal of booking at least one face-to-face meeting every day.

Even if you do nothing else on a given day, as long as you do that, you’ve done the most important task you can do that day.

If you keep focused and knuckle down on this simple activity, the benefits will flow.

4. Being realistic on price

Right at this time, we’re in an environment where there is downward pressure on property prices.

The country’s GDP has taken a hit, unemployment is expected to peak around 10 per cent and finance is harder to secure.

All this should be factored into the advice you give your sellers. Unfortunately, too many agents are caught up in portraying blind optimism and setting unrealistic price targets because they’re scared of losing listings to a more zealous competitor.

Here’s my take. If you are not being totally up front with your clients on price, you’re doing them a huge disservice. Why? Because there’s a very real chance prices may soften further in the coming months. Just Google “[insert any bank name here] property forecast” and you’ll see they’re all predicting exactly the same thing: a 5 to 10 per cent correction.

By laying these cards on the table and providing realistic advice, your client can decide to act now rather than risk a bigger price drop in the coming months.

This is about maximising the result for your client, not talking down the market. You’re having the hard conversation now so they can get the best dollars straight away.

I implore you: don’t make these common mistakes. Take this opportunity to change your approach and achieve the best possible outcome for you clients, while building an envied business in your area.

By Dan Argent, chief energy officer, UrbanX

4 mistakes agents make during a downturn
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