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The gold is in the work that does not pay

15 March 2021 Staff Reporter
Manos Findikakis

When I first got into real estate some 18 years ago, one of the first “lessons” which was shared with me by a veteran in the industry was to focus 90 per cent of my energy on getting the listing and only 10 per cent working with the buyers. They quickly pointed out that if you have the listings, the buyers will come. It made reasonable sense from a reward for effort perspective, but not from a client experience perspective.

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The veteran further went on to remind me that it’s the “sellers” that pay the bills, not the buyers. For a newcomer, it did raise a polarising situation that did not sit comfortably with me, as it conflicted with my natural desire to “be of service” and help every person we encountered. It also conflicted with a promise made to every vendor that entrusted us with one of their most valuable assets: to find the right buyer for their property. And as a rookie, I quickly learnt that when working with buyers, there were many that did not bear any fruit at all — which many refer to as “tyre kickers”.

So, in my early days of my selling career, it gave me a very quick understanding as to why so many agents had an intentional shift to focus primarily on sellers and give substandard attention to buyers. But as a natural disposition of mine, I always wanted to challenge the status quo and I did the exact opposite and amplified our buyer work, which helped our office reach a 50 per cent market share in 12 months. But that is another story.

Of course, a lot has changed since then and buyer service has come a long way. But in this extraordinary market, where most properties are achieving buyer volumes unseen before, that “old school” mentality is starting to creep in at an accelerated rate. Some intentionally as there are many “old-school agents” still in the field, but most because they simply cannot keep up with the demand and volume of buyer enquiry. We are once again hearing the frustration from buyers that they “are being ignored by agents”. On the converse side, those agents that are set up correctly, with dedicated buyers’ agents and the latest technology (and, of course, with a lot of hard work) are receiving comments like “you’re the only agent that calls me back”. And whenever I hear that, I get overly excited, as I understand that that is where an enormous opportunity lies because the “gold” is in the work that does not pay.

But still, there will always be the sceptics. So, I always let the numbers and facts tell the story, so I encourage everyone to do a simple exercise to gauge past “buyer experience” in their marketplace (let alone their own). Every time a new listing comes to market with you or the competition, do a quick search to find out who sold it to them. Do this for a number of listings and you will probably find that approximately 80 per cent of them (and even more) do not use the original selling agent. That statistic reveals one of two things. Either the selling agent did not provide a good buyer experience at the time, or the selling agent did not have a good follow-up strategy. And if it is true of the past, it’s probably going to be true of the future, so for the quick off-the-mark readers, here also lies an opportunity to establish relationships with every new buyer in your marketplace. A further interesting fact is that in many marketplaces, 10 per cent to 20 per cent of all new listings were only sold 12 to 24 months ago. Another light-bulb moment for listing opportunities.

One of my favourite sayings is that “an agent’s greatest competitive advantage is that their competition is lazy, so long as the competition cannot say the same thing about them”, and in this climate, this is ringing absolutely true. This time last year, I made a bold prediction that 2021 will be the beginning of our century’s “roaring 20s” and that agencies have an incredible opportunity to put their stamp and dominate their marketplaces for the decade ahead. That prediction looks like it’s becoming a reality. To ensure you are at the forefront, simply zig when the competition zags and allow time and patience do its work.

Manos Findikakis is the CEO and co-founder of the Eview Group.

The gold is in the work that does not pay
Manos Findikakis 2 reb
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