5 mistakes you’re making on a sales call – and how to fix it!

Mistakes made when calling | Xchange

5 mistakes you’re making on a sales call – and how to fix it!

Suboptimal call handling methods can hamper the growth, reputation and profitability of Agencies. These mistakes are easy to fix yet many agencies continue to fall into this trap as the business grows. These mistakes can lead to severe consequences for agencies and may lead to lost customers. Here’s what you could be doing wrong and how to fix it

1) Endless ringing with long wait times

Nowadays individuals place phone calls to speed up how fast they get information. Answering calls quickly ensures that a customer chooses your agency over your competitors. Speed is a key factor in the decision-making process. Agencies that have a higher response time, are more likely to lose leads as they may drop the call halfway.

69% of callers won’t leave a voicemail, according to data. This means that unanswered calls turn into lost opportunities and frustrated customers.

To drive customer confidence, answering calls faster and minimizing wait time is important. This instils a feeling that their inquiry is valued and that someone will in fact help them A customer waiting on a call |XChange

2) Monotonous Receptionists

Remember, at the end of the day, people buy from people. Especially in the real estate industry. It is important that your call handlers or admin executives are not scripted on the call. Their personality needs to shine through and the customer needs to feel like they’re talking to a friend.

Things like smiling on the phone can make a real difference. It comes across as more engaging and friendly. Having a pleasant conversation with callers makes a big difference and leaves a good impression of the agency

3) Poor organisational knowledge

A call to an agency should be a seamless process. It starts with the technical side, the call-handlers should know how to transfer calls quickly. It is important that they have with the resources to answer any questions that the customer may have.  This could be through access to shared diaries, holiday rotas and up to date employee lists. They must have the information they need to be effective and helpful.

4) Unreturned Calls

First impressions are important. Taking a message is one thing but following-up is just as important. One of the biggest mistakes an agency can make is forgetting to call back an interested customer. This could ruin any potential for new business opportunities.

Applicants expect a response to their call within a suitable amount of time. A mechanism to effectively and accurately pass messages to employees should be in place to ensure that customers are not lost in the process.

5) Answering Machine post 6:00 pm

Applicant’s hate voicemail. When a call gets redirected to voicemail at exactly 6:01 pm this becomes a source of frustration for potential customers. In the age of 24/7 communication, this becomes even more frustrating if they can’t reach organisations when it suits them.

Investing in telephone answering support can help. It ensures that more enquiries are handled and captured, regardless of the time.

Post it note stating Leave a Voicemail | XChange

Independent agencies making improvements to increase efficiency and customer care must focus on their internal system. Setting specific standards and maximising technology all can help boost the end-customer experience.

Standardising call handling lets agents maximise their calls and boost their conversions. With support, telephone communication is still a vital tool to improve customer experience. This can help drive revenue and to give agencies an edge over their competitors.

If you’re looking at improving customer experience further, take a look at how you can you can improve your communication with your leads.

At XChange by houzen, we know that independent agents hold the power to engage with their tenants better. Yet most new developments are given only to the Big 6. We know that if given a better source of properties, agents can outperform the bigger agents.

We’re on a mission to work with Independent Agents to give them the tools to work efficiently in this industry. The real estate industry hasn’t changed much over the past 30 years, and this is a problem. We have partnered with Independent Agents to empower them and to provide the resources that they need to be successful. We know that they can compete head-on with the Big 6 agencies in the market. 


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Are people moving out of Central London to West London?

Xchange by houzen

With the current pandemic changing where people want to live, we set out on a journey to see just how much consumer preferences have changed and what this means for the industry. With more and more people looking for space find themselves looking for properties further and further from Central London. 

Across the UK, rental searches were up by 34% in August compared to the same time last year. This increase is likely a reflection of the lack of movement during lockdown and an increase of activity from tenants as they reconsider what it is they are looking for from a home. 

Previous hotspots are now seeing people moving out as renters preference has changed. Now opting for homes that are bigger and have more outdoor space, more and more people are looking for homes in the outer areas of London. Especially in West London.  

Rightmove’s Miles Shipside said: “No one knows what the future holds, but at the moment, it’s clear to see that places with a slower pace of life are top of renters’ home-hunting wishlists.”

More tenants who were moving were going to bigger properties than before the pandemic, it found, with 34% of tenants going somewhere with at least one extra bedroom.

Almost two-thirds of Londoners who moved to somewhere bigger left the capital, typically moving somewhere cheaper and leaving unlet homes in the city. Younger renters are also opting for studios or 1 beds rather than having to share an apartment. 

We spoke to Louise Reilly the Letting Manager at Century21 – Kew. 

Shafaq: “Have you noticed a shift in where people are moving?”

Louise: “For us, we have seen a constant and steady demand for properties in West London. We have properties in North and South West, as well, all areas which are as in demand as they were before the pandemic. There are many people who love the West and we find that people are moving out of the small apartments to places that have a bit more space and have a bit of greenery. Generally people are moving towards outer London. They don’t want to stay in prime central london apartments because they are smaller or they are just too expensive.

Shafaq: “Have you noticed a shift in what renters are looking for or why they’re moving?”

Louise: “People’s reasons for moving it’s normally because either the family is growing generally people just want more space to grow. We’ve seen a decrease in 2 person occupation. A lot less sharers, which is a strange one. And is unfortunate for my landlords as many have multiple occupancy homes.

Outside space is also a massive reason, people are moving away from little flats and are looking for places where they can get some fresh air, even if it is a shared outside space.”

Shafaq: “How has this demand boom affected Century21-Kew?” 

Louise: “For us, the boom hasn’t changed how we handle our clients, but rather it’s been about us revamping how we work and how we use our team. Our days look a lot different now and we have a lot more dual roles especially since we’ve seen a massive increase in enquiries for sales properties. Properties that have been on the market for a year moved within weeks of the stamp duty announcement.

To meet this demand we’ve actually had to hire more people because there are just so many buyers.

However, the impact of this on rentals has been quite different. Affordability and rental value has definitely decreased. We thrive in the mid-range properties (properties priced between £1700-£1900) and the demand for these properties is practically gone. With landlords in the area reducing their rent themselves this has pushed the rental value down by upto 20% in some areas and this has had a domino effect. People want larger properties, more outdoor space, but their budget hasn’t really increased as much.”

Shafaq: “What is your outlook on the market for the next couple of months?” 

Louise: “Sales market will continue to be quick and fast for the next couple of months, and till the Stamp Duty incentive lasts. There’s enough buyers in the market and keen sellers. Once the sales boom subsides a little the increase in the new BTL landlords will help create a boom in the rental market which the hope is will help increase the value of rental properties. To fully “recover” and get back to a level of some normalcy will take at least a year. The rental market has historically always been stable so this decline has been a shock, but I am confident that this will return to normal in a year”.  

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London, EC2M 5NT

020 8064 1431

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4 tools every estate agent needs to grow their business

Xchange by houzen

With the current limited mobility that is imposed on everyone, it’s normal to see real estate portals like Rightmove and Zoopla become increasingly saturated and flooded with agencies and listings. This makes it harder for your agency to stand out. In order to build a lasting relationship with your customers it is important to provide them with the best experience possible. 

Why face being lost in a swarm of competition when you could be looking for new tools and resources that can help your business stand out. 

Below we’ve curated a list of 4 tools we believe every agent needs to stand out in the competitive real estate market. 

 

1 – XChange

Of course we had to talk about ourselves first,  XChange is a property trading platform allowing you to quickly match your applicants to relevant properties to close more deals. Simply input all the relevant information and let the matching process do the work for you. 

This gives your agency a competitive advantage, allowing you to maximize potential transactions and reducing lead wastage. It also enables you to broaden your horizon, that is, to be able to source properties outside your operating area, and realistically, enabling you to be able to close deals in all four corners of a city.

 

2 – HomeViews 

HomeViews offers you a centralised base of reviews, coming from residents and property experts. Having accurate and in depth information about a property is incredibly important to market your stock and highlight it above the rest, to make it stand out in a blur of properties. 

This is why HomeViews aims to provide you with the information, sharing relevant insight on residential developments. HomeViews also offers you opportunities to advertise your business and available properties, making you more visible to the public. The platform is free to read, leave or respond to reviews.

3 – Vaboo

Vaboo is a platform that enables you to entice your clients with benefits, allowing you to stand out. They create a tenant reward platform that gives access to exclusive offers, national discounts and regular prize draws to help agents build trust, stand out and collect insights.

Additionally, by keeping your tenants happy these tenants will eventually become buyers. This customer retention is crucial to help your agency increase brand loyalty. 

4 – CoreLogic

CoreLogic offers 3D virtual property conversions of your listings, allowing you to accurately translate your property to prospective clients, and give them a sense of immersion that’s completely virtual and distanced. 

The affordable 3D virtual tour is a better alternative to traditional photography that helps your properties shine and stand above the rest. 

In times where clients might not be as comfortable organising viewings, this tool builds the bridge between your property and your prospective clients, allowing them to experience the property in an immersive way, at any time from anywhere, in return boosting the engagement with your stock and your sales potential.

 

Whether we’re talking about our property matching platform, CoreLogic’s enhancement of your virtual ads or HomeViews’s database of free and insightful information, trying out these new tools could be your solution to overcome and overshine your competition. 

 

Now more than ever is the time to broaden your inventory of tools to help you on your journey to success in this market.

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What Will Happen to Student Accommodation

Xchange by houzen

The post pandemic opening of the lettings market hasn’t shown to be too promising as people were expecting. Knight Frank recorded a 0.9% drop in the prime central London rental market in the past month alone.  

As supply remains constant, and demand is falling short compared to previous years, it seems that student demand has a big implication on the lettings market in the current timeframe. 

The pandemic and its impact

Normally, as universities and colleges start in September, the lettings market sees its sharpest increase in demand for the year, but as most universities have announced a transition to online education, students might be looking to postpone their moving plans until the second university term in January. 

We spoke to Ben at Citian Wharf, who told us that he had seen a decrease in demand from September of last year, but the amount of inquiries for January had been much more than those of 2019. 

Despite not knowing what will happen in September, UCAS published some data last month regarding undergraduate applicants for the forthcoming 2020/21 year.

The data showed a 2% increase in applicants overall including a 10% increase in applicants from Non-EU countries

Additionally:

  • Non-EU applicants are the highest they have ever been
  • 89,000 applicants this year, 58% increase in ten years
  • Chinese applicants made up nearly 25,000 of those
  • Indian applicants made up 7,600.

Are students changing where they want to live?

Citian Wharf saw that graduate students are reorienting towards university halls instead of private accommodation, due to the fact that it is more budget friendly, and that roommates aren’t all back meaning they’re looking more for one bed studios instead of flat shares.

Local students, ie UK nationals seem to be choosing to stay home for the time being, as university life takes a virtual turn. The economic uncertainty is also a factor that plays into this, as it is much easier to stay home in order to save money. 

International students don’t see things that way though. With applications still rolling in, the international community of students still value London as a hub of education, and hence will still need accommodation. 

Appetite from overseas students remains

As the student lettings market takes a sharp turn due to all the unforeseen circumstances, it seems the best thing to do is to reorient your efforts towards where the demand is. 

In this case, it means captivating demand from the east, where it is the most constant and reliable. 

At XChange, we’ve seen an inflow of students that are moving from Asia and will be moving in the end of September, and a larger influx by the start of the new year in January. 

Our expertise in the London market as well as our strong ties with the east has put us in a good position facing this student accommodation problem, and here’s how you can profit from it too. 

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020 8064 1431

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