Weekly feedback / communication
This is the most challenging part to become a successful agency. And there is nothing more important than to focus on this important task.
It is time consuming to communicate on a regular basis… It is the lack of communication by the opposition that will contribute to their downfall.
We already mentioned ASSUME… Relying on other agents in the team to keep communication with homeowners can be a flout that the agency cannot afford.
We recommend to the principal to employ a designated person who will manage this task. The agency stands a chance not to be recommended by homeowners to others if communication is not well managed.
The only way to reduce business risks for agents is to implement a communication plan that will motivate homeowners to reduce their prizes within a shorter period. It is not always possible to be the first agent to list a property.
It is however possible to ensure that the agents representing the Homecare Foundation will be the first agents to work with homeowners who decided that it will be to their benefit to reduce the asking prices.
The process that will motivate a homeowner to reduce his/her price actually already start when the agent meets the homeowner the first time to list the property. We explain to Stock Controllers that it is important for agents to ask the homeowner during the listing meeting which agent he/she invited first to help with the marketing of the property. The agent should also ask on which date the first agent visited the homeowner to take the property onto their books. That date will in effect be the actual date that the property entered the market, and not the first date that the property appeared in media. The listing agent will give this information to the stock controller. This information will be used by the Stock Controller to motivate homeowners to reduce prices.
This is most likely the most important page on the website to read. We explain how the support from the Stock Controller will help agents to reduce business risks. One risk that needs to be reduced is the fact that homeowners often invite additional agents to market their properties. We need to ensure that homeowners will NOT invite other agents after our Ambassador made contact. We also need strategies that will enable the Ambassadors to communicate with homeowners that might for now seem difficult to accomplish.
We work with agencies who share stock with opposition agencies. They rely on opposition agencies to provide them stock which they can sell in partnership with the opposition agency. The problem though is that communication with that homeowner is generally arranged via the opposition agent. The opposition agent will therefore be the first agent to know about a price reduction and often the opposition agent will keep that information to him/herself for a few days just to see if the agent cannot sell the property to his/her clients. This problem is addressed at the end of this page.
The communication with the homeowner should in fact already start when the agent list the property. We recommend that agents should attack the weapons that opposition agents use for price negotiations.
To win the homeowner's trust, we train agents to talk about price valuations, how the homeowner decided on a price, and what tools is used to calculate the correct asking price. The Ambassador Agent should explain that opposition agencies and our Ambassador agents use information provided by the Deeds Office about registrations that occurred in the geographical area as a tool to estimate what a property should sell for. The banks will use these figures to guide them on what type of bond amount they will approve.
Our Ambassador should point out numerous important facts why that is not the correct strategy to support homeowners. They agents should explain that in numerous cases, the buyer who bought the property often borrow transfer costs and those costs is then included in the transaction. The actual selling price of those properties was lower than what is reflected. If possible, agents should have examples of such transactions where the agency sold properties in that manner with them.
One other important fact to point out is that most of those decisions made by homeowners whose stats are now being used occurred often more than 6 months ago. Some of these transactions sometimes took months to register. There are more factors that influence the transport process now. We have poor service from municipalities, the deeds office and other factors that al have an impact on the stats opposition agents use to support homeowners.
The agents should explain that the selling price is determined by the current economic climate. It is about how existing homeowners who wants to sell can cope with pressure. It has little to do with the replacement value of the property. There might be a homeowner who decide to drop his asking price substantially, and that property will then be next in line to be taken by potential buyers.
The listing agent should use the support that we are now going to explain to his/her advantage. The listing agent can inform the homeowner that the agency we work for put a lot of effort into providing accurate information to homeowners that is relevant to them. The information is also pertaining to the price brackets in which the homeowner intend to sell his/her property.
This communication plan is linked with a Feedback plan which we explain.
We have seen some impressive reports that companies e-mail to clients, but the reality is communication should be short, to the point and in person.
Agents and principals believe that to e-mail, sms or WhatsApp a person will be effective. People do not have time to read e-mails…. And when they receive a short message via sms etc, they feel that the agent do not value them as persons.
We know that agents are tasked to phone homeowners immediately after they took clients to their properties. We urge agents to continue with this task.
Fortunately, there will never be enough communication. We ask the principal to employ a person who can communicate on a time schedule with homeowners. It will help agents when they list properties.
The agent will for example open the reports on our website and click on Admin Team.
The agent will then present the stock controller who are supporting the specific agent to the homeowner. (There might be more than one Stock Controller, depending on the size of the company and the stock levels)
The agent will explain the time schedules and ask the homeowner for a time slot he/she prefers. In the example, client asked for 11H45 bracket.
Research the internet and other media structures to find properties that became available to market
Arrange listing appointments for the team
Manage the feedback processes to homeowners (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday: Maximum 5 per time-slot)
Manage the exposure of Boards on behalf of agents in the marketing area
Telephone calls will be from: 064 595 8488 e-mails from:
Type in 11:45 in search
In every agency, there is always several properties on book, that is either overpriced or is in such high price brackets that inquiries in that price bracket barely happens.
As a result, many property owners then do not receive communication from agents in the team… But this should not happen.
It is important that communication towards homeowners should be done by a third party when the agency wants to motivate homeowners to reduce prices.
We know that agents built a personal relationship with homeowners and communication by the agents therefore remains important.
There is however information that only the sock controller will have access to when the homeowner is phoned.
The following reports will be available on excell sheets when the Stock Controller provide feedback:
Average days in the market of current stock per price range
Agents can ask the homeowners to save the dedicated feedback phone number on their phones. They will then know when the Stock Controller phones them.
The Stock Controllers will on a Monday morning gather general information about the team’s results the previous week. The team can also discuss possible impacts on property owners when politicians make announcements in media.
This information will enable them to compile a short report that they can provide to homeowners, even if nothing happened that will help a specific homeowner.
The Average days that a property is in the market according to price brackets and suburbs should already be discussed with the homeowner the moment the listing is being done.
Homeowners should know what to expect when they list their properties with the agency.
The Stock Controller will have this report available when he/she phones the homeowner.
The Average days per price bracket will constantly change. New properties enter the market and others are sold. There are always homeowners who reduce their prices, meaning they might move into a lower price bracket. As agent, you might have given an average day count for the homeowner on the day you listed his/her property. We recommend that the agents explain to homeowners that the averages change constantly and that is why the dedicated Stock Controller will on a weekly basis keep the homeowner updated.
The Stock Controller will also have a report showing exactly how long the specific property is being in the market. The Stock Controller will know which agency was first to list, and for how many days exactly the property is being worked on by the other agents as well. (Please scroll the above report to the right so that you can view all the detail available to the Stock Controller. We use feedback to 46 Terblanche Street in our example)
The feedback report will be something like this:
The Stock Controller will use their own wording compiling a report from the notes when they communicate with the homeowner. It will be more like talking to the homeowner and including important information in the conversation.
Feedback from note:
Hello Hanlie (owner’s name)
Andile Mngxitama form Black-First Land First made a statement on twitter that we don't believe will really have an impact on homeowners. He commented that they will strike if Government do not acknowledge their drive to push land reform. We haven't really received additional requests to list residential properties since the statement.
During last week, 9 of our 11 agents were working. Brenda and Carl were on leave.
Our agents listed 7 new properties during last week, and these properties varied from R890 000 up to R2.65 million.
Our team hosted 4 Open House properties during the weekend.
6 New clients contacted us for properties in our marketing area. These clients are looking for properties in the price range R740 000 up to R3,1 million.
At this moment, the average days that properties in Moregloed is in the market for the price range R1,6 to R1,8 million is 133 days.
Your property was listed by Greef Properties on 6 November 2018. It is therefore being marketed for 121 days in total.
Dawie listed your property on 23 November 2018 at the original asking price of R1,945 million.
We already had two price drops and the property is currently presented to clients by our agents for R1,745 million.
Your property is being marketed at the latest price for 42 days.
The property is currently below the average period of our properties in the market for the R1,6 to R1,8 million price bracket.
The Stock Controller will before he/she phones the client, open the folder on the server where information about the property is hosted.
We save the Property Introduction Documents in Date sequence…
2019-01-31_Thursday_ Xolela Phike_Samantha Du Toit
The Stock Controller can immediately determine if agents presented the property to clients.
If none for the previous week, closing message will be:
Unfortunately, our team was not able to find client that your property could have been introduced to. Hopefully this week will provide better results.
Thank you for taking my call.
Two clients for the previous week, closing message will be:
2019-02-01_Friday_ Bernard Grobler_Carl Fouche
The Stock Controller will immediately be able to tell the homeowner which agents were with clients on what days at the property.
The Stock Controller can then open each report and read the comments to the homeowner. (In the example, Samantha did not sign the Property Introduction List. Xolela then signed the document and notified the Stock Controller that this document was not signed. The Stock Controller will then flag Samantha in a separate list, so that stock that Xolela introduced can be monitored for a possible Private Sale. In the same example, we showed how Samantha told Xolela that Clinton Jovner, Seeff Properties, introduced her to 17, Starkey Avenue, Waverley. It is important that agents ask the client before entering the property if they already viewed the property.)
The Stock Controllers will after completing the feedback, move the Property Introduction Documents to another folder on the server...
Additional support Stock Controllers can provide
The Homecare team provide additional information to the designated Stock Controller that will help the entire team to sell properties over a shorter period.
We decided that it is important to publish a part of this information on this page.
We recommend to principals that their Stock Controllers should be remunerated based on sales as well. (Motivational bonus where they receive a small percentage commission on each deal of the agency.) This will ensure a "Better Stock Controller"
The better Stock Controller will not only provide weekly feedback on a scheduled structure. The Stock Controller will use the content available to push homeowners so that they can drop prices over a shorter period.
We already explained that homeowners who know that they are behind the average days in the market for their property should be viewed as not serious enough. The focus of agents should remain on working with people who are serious to sell.
It is however possible for Stock Controllers to use information when homeowners decide to reduce prices, to entice other homeowners to follow them.
The better Stock Controllers will plan their diaries so that they can do additional communication to support the agents.
There is data that the Stock Controller will compile for the principal that will be available in the following report:
Feedback from excell sheet:
Feedback from files on computer:
This might be the most important report that is only available to agents and management. It is a summary of homeowners' motive to sell.
This report cannot be compiled without the Stock Controller's involvement. Technology cannot categories the motive in three blocks, cold, medium or hot.
The Stock Controller will pick up the real reason for selling when they talk to homeowners over the phone. The Motive for selling always start as "Cold". You will notice if the Stock Controller have not confirmed the reason for selling, the homeowners are categorized "Cold" = 11
When a homeowner's property has just been listed, and the property's days in the market is far below the average of the price bracket, the motive is initially indicated as "Cold".
The Stock Controller will during the weeks start to adjust the motive to either "Medium" or "Hot", depending on the conversations they have with the homeowners. Homeowners who are serious about selling will give indications when their properties move closer to the "Average" period.
Management and the Stock Controller will eventually use this report to help agents identify properties that should be targeted for Sole Mandate purposes.
To push homeowners down in prices, Stock Controllers will use a strategy where they inform homeowners during the introduction phone call that they are there to help homeowners by providing relevant information about the property market in which the homeowner competes to sell.
Think of it as being in a Pick n Pay store where there is a shelve where customers can purchase coffee. The coffee shelve offer different brands and sizes at different prices.
The Stock Controller will explain that she/he support the listing agent by providing relevant information, even better information as what Pick n Pay will provide to Nescafe. Pick n Pay will provide Nescafe a detailed report on how many of their different coffees in different sizes were sold. They will not tell Nescafe how many Jacobs, Ricoffee, Frisco or other brands were sold.
Think about this as a property shelve. There is different sizes, suburbs and prices in which properties are offered to potential buyers.
It is the Stock Controller's task to help each homeowner understand exactly against what and whom they sell. It is a task that only one person can fulfill.
The stock controller will use the following report when they plan their communication with homeowners:
Number of available properties per price bracket
Readers will notice that the report does not publish the suburbs alphabetically.
The Homecare team help principals to plan the reports in such a way that the Stock Controllers can use these reports to motivate homeowners to reduce their asking prices.
The suburbs Riviera and Waverley for example is not adjoined to each other. It is on the opposite sides of the agency’s marketing area. People that knows the Moot area well prefer to buy properties in one of these two suburbs if possible.
The suburbs Moregloed, Kilnerpark and Queenswood offer roughly the same properties to homeowners.
The Stock Controller can plan these reports and almost communicate with homeowners like in a club format.
We used 46 Terblanche Street in Moregloed in our example. This property actually competes against 2 properties in Moregloed in the same price bracket, against 2 properties in Kilnerpark and furthermore against 3 properties in Queenswood.
Our Stock Controller will communicate with these people as if they are in the Moregloed-Queenswood R1,6 to R1,8 Club. She will explain to Hanlie on the date that she first made contact to introduce herself that her task is to update Hanlie on any movement within this price bracket about all the properties in these 3 suburbs. Hanlie will understand that her property competes directly against the other properties.
If for example one of the two homeowners in Kilnerpark in price bracket R1,8 to R2 million decide to drop the asking price and the new asking price bring that property into the R1,6 to R1,8 million price brackets, the report will automatically be updated.
Matilda Meintjies (Stock Controller) will then do 3 things. She will immediately notify all the agents in the team about such a decision so that agents are updated about price changes.
Matilda will thereafter immediately phone and e-mail the other owner in the R1,8 to R2 million bracket in Kilnerpark and inform him that he is now the only homeowner in the R1,8 to R2 million club. There are however still 11 properties left in this price bracket across the agency’s entire marketing area, but the smaller geographical area does not offer the same properties.
Matilda will thereafter phone and e-mail each of the 8 homeowners in the Moregloed-Queenswood R1,6 to R1,8 Club and inform them about the price reduction of the owner who now joined the club.
She will for example say we just want to welcome the homeowner of Jansen street in Kilnerpark to the group. Matilda will then inform the other 8 owners that this property will be marketed for R1,798 million if that is the new asking price. Matilda will also e-mail photos of the property to each of the other 8 individuals, plus a summery report of the available properties in the marketing area, so that the other 8 individuals can see that the new list includes 9 properties in the Moregloed-Queenswood R1,6 to R1,8 Club.
This action will create momentum. There might be one of the 3 homeowners in Queenswood who decides that 9 is a crowd, and he wants to drop to the lower level. To join a smaller club.
When this happens, Matilda will inform the Moregloed-Queenswood R1,6 to R1,8 Club that one homeowner left the group and joined the other club. This will furthermore stir the club and create more movement towards downwards pricing.
What we want to explain, is that in most agencies, price reductions are only communicated with agents, who then talk to buyers about these actions. The best agency is the one where information is used to encourage homeowners to reduce their prices and where well managed communication structures are used to determine the homeowners' eagerness to sell.
The Homecare team will be supporting Stock Controllers until they are well trained in their task. Agents and principals should know that these people can play the most important role in the agency. It is their ability to communicate on behalf of the agents that will eventually contribute to more than 60% of the agent’s success. (It is also clear that the communication plan we recommend cannot be managed by the agents themselves. They do not have all the information at their disposal)
We will help the principals to create the correct infrastructure for Stock Controllers so that they can provide an important service to homeowners. (They need computers with structured files that will ease their tasks to communicate).
We will also provide training to the Stock Controllers so that they understand how to use information provided by the different reports to ensure that agents in their team will outsell opposition.
What will the results be?
First, the process to use the Homecare website, with the photos of the entire team, will already help agents to explain why the 7,5% commission is negotiated. It will also portray an image that the entire team is important and that everybody do their best to help the community.
The fact that a time slot for feedback is committed in front of the client will help to win the homeowner’s trust. (The agent will in front of the homeowner send a mail to the stock controller notifying him/her about the client’s preferred time slot that was negotiated)
The client will know that the agents are often holdup in meetings, but this does not impact the importance of communication. Therefore, there is a designated person who will communicate.
The Homecare team even support the Stock Controllers if for any reason, the agency cannot communicate. The principal or branch Stock Controller can WhatsApp the Homecare Stock Controllers with the reason why communication for a period is not possible. The Homecare team will thereafter sms the clients effected and will apologies on behalf of the agency. The message will inform them when the agency expects to resume telephonic communication.
The Stock Controllers will be able to identify which homeowners are serious about selling. It will also help to manage a more Active Stock structure.
The fact that the Stock Controller is able to remind the homeowner on the period his/her property is being marketed by agents in the area, will also enable the Stock Controller to be the first person to know when the homeowner decide to reduce the asking price. People who are serious to sell will do their best to remain below the average days. Homeowners who are not serious would not mind when their properties falls behind the average period.
The Stock Controllers will be able to provide a more accurate client base on which agents can work on.
Homeowners will notify Stock Controllers if they perhaps sold their properties via other agents. You will also note that the homeowners will immediately contact the agency if something went wrong with the transaction.
The most important aspect will be that the homeowners will recommend the agency to others… Earlier contact with people who want to sell will automatically occur.
Relationship between Stock Controller and homeowners
Agents will soon realize that the homeowner will often built up a better working relationship with the Stock Controller than with the agents. This is to the benefit of the Agency. The homeowners should be willing to recommend not only the agent, but the entire agency to friends and family.
In most scenarios, homeowners often only deal with one agent from an agency. This is to that company's disadvantage. This communication process will pull homeowners closer to the agency, and it will be more difficult for them to argue about commission once the homeowner receives an offer.
Homeowners will often ask the Stock Controller which property in their group/club is in the market for the longest period?
The Stock Controller will then be able to e-mail the homeowner a breakdown with more detail about the properties in the club. (We provide a file structure to Stock Controller that will make it easy to communicate with the homeowner who requested information. Note that the Stock Controller will not provide sensitive information. No contact details of other homeowners are provided in such reports)
This report will have important results that will back the listing agents. We recommend to agents that when they list properties to inform homeowners that they are there to provide marketing support. The focus is to help homeowners reduce possible risks when they market their properties.
Agents should also recommend to homeowners to choose agencies who will ensure that information conveyed to buyers is accurate. Most agents in the industry are not well trained or do not have the correct backing.
They will for example always tell they potential buyers that the property is in the market for x days, and they will always use their own listing date as reference.
The correct method is to use the actual period that the property is in the market at this specific price range. This is a more accurate reflection of how long this property has been marketed for.
When homeowners can see that the entire team at the agency is well-trained, well managed and that information is conveyed that is relevant, they will then find it easier to recommend the listing agent and the agency to others. They will find it easier to trust the agents when they request meetings to discuss price reductions.
It is therefore important that the homeowners receive reports where price changes of other properties are well documented.
Agents should know that this report can reach the homeowner the next day already. We train Stock Controllers to mail this breakdown when they introduce themselves to the homeowners. It will already confirm to homeowners that the Ambassador Agents is the correct choice and that it will not be necessary to invite opposition agents to help market the property.
Negotiating the Commission Contract
There is one aspect that agents should remember. You will eventually need the homeowner to sign a Commission contract once you have sold the property.
There will always be a good chance that you will need to present a lower offer. Your task is to arrange us much commission as possible.
This process where the entire team were involved in the marketing of the property will make it easier to justify the full or larger percentage commission.
Communication is the ultimate weapon. The Homecare team can do a lot to help agents, but this weapon will be the game changer!
Arranging communication with additional homeowners
Now that you have a better understanding on what type of communication strategy we can implement, it will be much easier to approach homeowners, even the ones that you can only sell via the opposition agent.
The agents can tell the homeowner that they still will sell the property if possible, via the original listing agent. It is just that the agent wants to arrange additional support that the agency is providing via the Stock Controller that can be provided free of charge.
The result will be that the Ambassador Agent will be the first to know via the Stock Controller about a price reduction. The Original Listing Agent might in future be the one who receives this important information later in the marketing process.