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How to keep vendors happy

Things are getting busier: more valuations, more listings, more viewings, more enquiries, more to manage.

One of the most important things for any estate agency is keeping its clients onside, which means keeping them informed.

There’s lots of talk of “adding value” in estate agency right now, which is obviously not a bad thing, but you don’t want to end up over-committing yourself to a level of contact that becomes difficult to maintain (and that might even be unnecessary).

When I was last an estate agent, the best formula I found for keeping vendors happy and, maybe even more important, relaxed, was to personally stay in touch once a week.

Some estate agents promise to call within 24 hours of every viewing – which is a lovely thought – but the reality is that viewers sometimes disappear for a few days after a viewing, particularly when they decide against a property where they might have appeared enthusiastic.

I found that’s just setting yourself up for a fall, or frustration, and a whole lot more work.

By promising the owner a weekly roundup of feedback and advice, it gives you more time to get the feedback you need, and it stops them needing to know the result of every viewing right way. This allows them to relax and stop wondering whether you’ve forgotten to call.

Obviously if someone offered, or a problem arose that we wanted to address before the next viewing, then we’d call right away. But if someone simply didn’t like the street, or found the living room too small, or wanted to be closer to the station, there was very little the owner could do about that. It wasn’t urgent feedback.

Sometimes, at the point of being instructed, I was asked to provide feedback after every viewing. Not often, but sometimes. The owner might say something like “I don’t think I could wait a week to find out what someone thinks”. So we’d do it, and without fail the owner would soon lose interest in being told things they could do nothing about, and ask us to revert to weekly feedback.

You don’t have to pick this system, but making a promise that you can keep, and that you go on to keep, is something that every seller or landlord will love you for. They’ll feel valued; they’ll know you’re thinking of them; they’ll know they can trust you.

This makes life so much easier when things don’t necessarily go to plan. Try getting a price reduction after 6 weeks of not being in touch: you’ll probably kiss that instruction goodbye.

So think about what your sellers and landlords really need, and what you can realistically provide, that will leave your clients feeling loved and you with the time to be great.