Stop going on valuations!

How do you structure your valuations?

Let’s hit pause before we dive deeper below and agree to something between the two of us.

Let’s stop calling them valuations altogether. You’re never there to value, leave that to a surveyor. You’re there to get the instruction. You’re there to further your relationships. You’re there to win business.

Stop going on valuations! They are instruction presentations. 

The first step to winning more business is to frame every opportunity to walk inside someone’s home exactly as that.

There’s a structure I used in my business that had me winning 7/10 listings (what we call them in Aus) that I’d use every time. 

It takes the guesswork out of how you’ll perform, sets a clear structure for you and your potential clients to follow and allows you to show off all your knowledge, expertise and experience to the people you’re hoping to work for.

The agenda that works for every instruction presentation is this:

  1. Story
  2. Price 
  3. Method
  4. Marketing
  5. Fees

1. Story

The saying goes that facts tell and stories sell. And at the start of any instruction presentation is both your time to tell your own stories, and ask great questions that give your potential clients the opportunity to tell theirs too.

Buying or selling property is intense. If you’re reading this and you’ve never done it, just wait. Even when you know you’re onto the best buy possible, or you’ve achieved an outlandish price, there is still trepidation, anxiety and fear before, during and after you make a decision. 

Here’s something to remember as an agent, people want two things when they’re moving house. They want to know firstly that they’re not crazy and secondly that they’re not the first people in history to feel those emotions. 

Your questions give them the chance to tell their stories about where these emotions came from, and your stories give them the answers they badly need.

One of the best questions you can ask to kick off an instruction presentation is “Tell me about your previous experiences with estate agents?”. Talk about a way to get the feelings out.

If they give you half an honest answer you’ll have the rest of your presentation (and the expectations for the rest of your relationship) completely mapped out. You’ll know the points to push and the ones to hold back on.

The second best question you ask if “what are the three things you’re most looking for from me as your estate agent?”.

99.9% of everyone you ask will give the same three answers here.

  1. They want the most money
  2. They want a fast sale
  3. The want an honest agent

I’d love it if you did follow these steps if you let me know any other answers you get.

That said, studies show less than 2% of you will take action and attempt change, so if you think every agent reading this...and we get about 900 reads a week...will stop doing “valuations”, so chances are there’ll only be about 15 of you giving it a go.

When you get these answers, you can go deeper. Ask what they mean by those answers, because “the most money” means different things to people with different motivations. 

Use these answers to tell your own stories about success you’ve had for people in getting high prices, fast sales and with, sometimes uncomfortable (see “Price” up next), honesty.

Facts (your manipulated Rightmove stats) tell. Stories sell.

2. Price

There’s a reason we all used to call these presentations, valuations. Your clients want to talk about price. They think it’s all they want to talk about and they think it’s all that matters.

So, keep control of your presentation, address price on your terms as the professional and get it done early. 

This isn’t the part where I tell you how to do your job. Pricing’s hard. It’s what we bother with the next step.

The key here is to explain the nuance behind a fantastic result.

Explain the teamwork and partnership between agent and vendor. Explain how price is a mechanism to get the best buyers through the front door.

Explain that pricing is a strategy, not a number and that strategies can and must have regular reviews and adjustments should they be needed.

The rest you’ll already be doing, because there’s really no other way to go about it. Run through the comps, ask whether your client things those homes are better or worse than their own. Talk about your buyers (make sure you know how many are looking for something similar in and are in a position to act in the next 4-6 weeks first) and what they’ve been responding too most.

And hopefully, you’ll agree something based on fact and logic and move on.

Just in case that doesn’t happen, and your potential client is adamant their home is worth 15% more than the identical one that sold down the road only two months ago in a flat market, a great question (but one that requires the right tone and an immense amount of courage to ask) is this;

“Help me understand where that figure has come from? Because at that price, if we’re lucky enough to get any enquiry, these people are going to ask me the same thing...The only answer you can’t give me is because you want it”

That last line is the courageous one. It’s a great way to sincerely help these people understand that they're missing the market before they’re even in it and that buyers are as savvy as they’ve ever been and will simply ignore anything ridiculous.

3. Method

This is just a veiled way of continuing the price conversation.

A simple price? Tender? Offers over? Auction? POA?

Chances are your clients have no idea there’s more than one way to price a property and achieve a premium price. It’s your job to educate them.

This is where your presentation starts to move far away from that of your competitors and where you become less of a glorified valuer and more of a professional property marketer and negotiator (and one who commands a fair fee. More on that later).

Outline every way a property can be sold and see which ones resonate. 

Explain that offers over only works if the price is more than right.

Explain tenders only work if the price is more than right.

Explain auctions only work if the price is more than right.

You get the drift.

The point here is to offer your knowledge and allow them to make a decision. Get another soft close “yes” when picking your method, even if it’s “For Sale with a simple price” as it always is.

By presenting options, you’re showing how much you know about what you’re doing. 

4. Marketing

Let’s get one point clear in sentence one. Professional photos do not make you different. 

They are not something to hang your hat on as a professional. And if you do, give me a call and we’ll talk through everything else you can change to improve your business.

This is again the time and place to present every option for both advertising and marketing.

Sign boards, letters, portals, database, social media, video, drone, lifestyle shots, flyers in cafes are all forms of advertising you can (and should) be doing.

Marketing is about how you and the client can work together.

De-clutter, touch up painting, clean grout (you have no idea how much this can change a result!), street appeal, nice smells coming from the oven for viewings - the list can go on and on.

Advertising will get the buyers in the door, marketing will make them buy it. Marketing creates emotion and emotion creates amazing results. Make sure you make this point about more than sign boards and being on “all three portals”.

5. Fees

Imagine you’ve just spent the last hour going into detail through the four points above.

How do you think the fee chat will go?

Certainly a lot better than if you just walked in there, did a quick tour, pat their dog, gave a price based on a best price guide and said you’d have it on Rightmove by the end of the day.

Don’t over complicate this part. Set your fees, let them know clearly what they are and shut up.

If they ask if there’s room to negotiate, ask why. If the answer (and it will be) is because another agent is cheaper, ask them if that agent went through everything you’ve gone through together today? And shut up. 

Bringing it all together…

The quality of your instruction presentation will determine the quality of your business. It’s a simple equation.

I’m not saying the presentation we’ve just run through together is the be all and end all and is the only thing that will work. It’s not. But it worked for me and I can only share the good and bad from my own experiences.

Set an agenda. Ask lots of questions. Tell lots of stories. Present and educate about all the options. Keep control and;

6. Ask for the business

I wanted to end on probably the most important point of all, if you’ve done everything above in a controlled and professional way. You must ask for the business. Sure you’ll have clients who need time to think it over, I’m not one to advise pushing for commitment then and there, but you have to ask.

“Have I done enough to earn your business?” is a great question.

If they say yes, happy days.

If they say no, ask why. Listen to their answers, ask them to explain what they mean by those answers? You can’t solve unless you understand.

One last time with feeling; set an agenda, ask lots of questions, tell lots of stories, present and educate about all their options. Keep control and ask for the business.