PITCH PER­FECT

If you are not pre­pared to demon­strate lead­er­ship in your own meet­ings, you will never be recog­nised as a trusted ad­vi­sor for your fu­ture clients, says busi­ness de­vel­op­ment ex­pert Tara Brad­bury.

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Ire­cently con­ducted a role-play ses­sion dur­ing a work­shop where I was the BDM and one of the at­ten­dees was the prop­erty owner. I had the fright­en­ing plea­sure of be­ing back in the hot seat again and, just qui­etly, I loved it! I also had the at­ten­dees pro­vide feed­back, which not only opened my eyes to my per­for­mance but also opened a con­ver­sa­tion about what is most im­por­tant to the con­sumer when se­lect­ing an agent to man­age a prop­erty.

Over­all, they saw that I took lead­er­ship in the meet­ing, was en­gag­ing and con­tin­ued to bring the prop­erty owner back to con­ver­sa­tion points that were raised at the start of the dis­cus­sion. The most im­por­tant piece of ad­vice I can give is to po­si­tion your­self and your team as the proac­tive agents in your mar­ket­place and en­sure that, as an agency, you are the main and trusted source for all things prop­erty in­vest­ment. Yes, I know we have so much data on­line now for our own­ers and that now more than ever fees are a hot topic. But I can tell you it is hard to say no to some­one who is well-ed­u­cated and pas­sion­ate about what they do.

Mind­set is key when you are go­ing into this meet­ing and, whether you are face to face or over the phone, how you en­gage with the client is the most pow­er­ful part of this process.

Make sure you have open­ing ques­tions along the lines of, ‘What is most im­por­tant to you when se­lect­ing an agent to man­age your as­set?' Then fol­low up with, ‘What is most im­por­tant when se­lect­ing an agency to man­age your as­set?'

They may tell you that they have just an­swered that ques­tion. Your re­sponse should be, ‘You may feel you have but, in my ex­pe­ri­ence over the last… years, prop­erty own­ers have dif­fer­ent rea­sons for se­lect­ing an in­di­vid­ual vs the agency. I just want to make sure we have cov­ered all bases prior to you mak­ing your de­ci­sion.'

By tak­ing this ap­proach you are invit­ing them to think more about the ex­pe­ri­ence they will have with the busi­ness across all lev­els. It also shows lead­er­ship in your pre­sen­ta­tion as they are fo­cus­ing more on the ques­tions you are ask­ing and not so much on mak­ing a judge­ment about your fees.

Never be afraid to take notes dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion and list key ar­eas men­tioned that you want to re­fer back to. If you are like me and lack con­fi­dence in think­ing on your feet when ne­go­ti­at­ing fees, don't let one small aspect of the process over­whelm you. Make sure you have a cal­cu­la­tor on hand to demon­strate your pro­fes­sion­al­ism by pre­sent­ing cal­cu­la­tions as ex­am­ples. No prop­erty owner ex­pects you to be per­fect or a fi­nan­cial spe­cial­ist, so take your time and get it right rather than rush­ing or guess­ing.

You should know ev­ery­thing, and I mean ev­ery­thing, about your mar­ket­place – even if it is not an area where you spend time out­side real es­tate. If you were ever go­ing to be a walk­ing en­cy­clo­pe­dia, this would be the place to fo­cus your en­ergy.

IT IS HARD TO SAY NO TO SOME­ONE WHO IS WELL-ED­U­CATED AND PAS­SION­ATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.

Prop­erty own­ers love to hear pos­i­tive sto­ries and know what will im­pact the prop­erty to­day and over the next 12 months, two or even five years.

Fi­nally, you have this meet­ing to set the foun­da­tions of what the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence will be like for the prop­erty owner. Don't just agree to cer­tain things to win the busi­ness. You may see ar­eas of risk or they may raise ‘red flag' con­ver­sa­tion points. While you may not bat­tle the topic head-on, when it is men­tioned be sure to note it down, en­sure you have all the in­for­ma­tion re­quired from them on the sub­ject and use it as part of your clos­ing con­ver­sa­tion, rather than mak­ing them feel as though you are telling them what to do on the spot.

We all know some of our clients can get very pas­sion­ate about how they have lived in the prop­erty pre­vi­ously and even the per­sonal ren­o­va­tions they have con­trib­uted to get it to where it is to­day. If you start slam­ming them with, ‘This is what is re­quired un­der leg­is­la­tion', you could put them off and push them away from choos­ing you as they could see this as force­ful and ar­ro­gant.

If the op­por­tu­nity is there, try and use it as a tool dur­ing your lead-in or even clos­ing con­ver­sa­tion. This means you are still mak­ing clear what is ex­pected, and it still al­lows them the op­por­tu­nity to de­cide based on your ex­pert opin­ion. You can also use this op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide more than one al­ter­na­tive as to what may help them mov­ing for­ward and al­low them to choose what will work best for them. Ba­si­cally, it gives you more time to think rather than rush­ing the process, which will keep you in that lead­er­ship role dur­ing the meet­ing.

From my ex­pe­ri­ence, you will find dur­ing this process that you will be giv­ing the other per­son a com­pli­ment sand­wich. Start with the warm and fuzzy open­ing by show­ing genuine in­ter­est in what they are pre­sent­ing and fu­ture de­ci­sions they plan to make with the in­vest­ment. The mid­dle is where you must in­vest your full fo­cus and lead­er­ship skills, as dis­cus­sions will take place around hot top­ics like fees, main­te­nance, oc­cu­pants, pets, agency in­volve­ment and ex­pec­ta­tions. This is an area where you need to per­form and de­liver. Then, fi­nally, we make sure we close our meet­ing with com­pli­ments, with the aim of sign­ing the busi­ness on the day – or at least know when we will be hav­ing our next dis­cus­sion. Don't waste your time putting in all the hard work to be left won­der­ing if they are even go­ing to call.

The list­ing pre­sen­ta­tion is more than just the ac­tual ap­point­ment; it's ev­ery­thing that hap­pens be­fore and af­ter. Use ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to make an im­pres­sion and show your prospects that you are the right per­son to man­age their most valu­able as­set. ■

NO PROP­ERTY OWNER EX­PECTS YOU TO BE PER­FECT OR A FI­NAN­CIAL SPE­CIAL­IST, SO TAKE YOUR TIME AND GET IT RIGHT.

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