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Chris Hanley, Not just surviving, but thriving

It has been tougher to sell property during the past few years than it was for decades, making it more important for real estate agents to be at the top of their game.

First National Byron Bay Principal Chris Hanley has developed an armoury of tactics to ensure he and his team survives and thrives in business. This process starts with “scoring shots”, or ensuring an agent does as much dollarproducing activity in a day as possible. These types of activities include making prospecting calls, listing presentations, price adjustment meetings or negotiating a sale.

Now is not the time to be sitting around talking about the market and making excuses. Instead it is the time to just do, Mr Hanley said. “Get off your derriere, get out of your office, get rid of your computer if need be. Just go and talk to as many people as you can and you’ll build up momentum. You’ve got to be proactive; you’ve got to be doing stuff everyday,” he said.

Sweat points

An agent should focus on four things: prospecting, listing presentations, adjusting prices and negotiating. “If you’re not good at one or two bits then that’s what you’ve got to train on, read about and get help with,” Mr Hanley advised. The profitability of a salesperson depends on increasing their productivity, but productivity has dropped by 35 per cent throughout the Australian real estate industry during the past 4-5 years. “We’ve all been led to believe that all these modern toys and appliances are going to make us more money - and they’ve made us less. The reason is that we’ve relied on these things thinking they would supplement, or substitute, for all of the other things we need to do, which is focus on the four sweat points,” he said.

More of an emphasis should be placed on talking to people face to face, making lots of calls and showing more properties. “If you increase your productivity it is automatic that you will increase your profitability.”

Attitude check

It is important for an agent to be aware of their attitude before they go to work every day, because their attitude will determine their income. “The most important thing every day is to give your attitude a tune up, give it a buff, give it a talking to,” Mr Hanley said, and explained successful agents held themselves accountable to approach each day with the right attitude, knowing this is what would get the right results.

People want factual and objective information about the market, so use the information gained from sources like portals and to become more professional and better informed. This will lead to more listings and sales.

Point of difference

Points of difference are what makes each agent unique and stand out from their opposition. “Develop as many points of difference as you can, whether it’s your clothing, how you speak, the factual information you give to people, or the level of service you give,” Mr Hanley advised.

“A great point of difference is not to be beige, not to be like everybody else, not to use the same dialogue. Follow your gut, tell people what you feel, give them plenty of energy and act in a really practical, professional way, but have plenty of your personality on the outside,” he said


The reason a vendor wants to sell their property and buyers are looking is more relevant than the price, but so many agents don’t ask this question. “You’ve got to find the motivating force or the factor - where it is they want to go or what it is they want to do?” Mr Hanley said, and suggested writing the reason on the agency agreement or inside the listing file as a reminder to bring it up every time the agent speaks with them. Instead of just accepting the listing, find out the motive.

Another communication tip is to sit sideby- side and use the word “we” in listing presentations to encourage vendors to open up and feel the agent is part of the process with them. “Sometimes in listing presentations people really need to know you’re with them, you’re not just the agent over there who doesn’t really care,” he explained.

Face-to-face interaction is better than any other form of communication including email, text messaging and phone calls. “We’re in the face-to-face, belly-to-belly business and if you double the number of face-to-face, belly-to-belly meetings you have every week, your income will go up.”

It is this type of communication that will lead people to trust an agent, followed by them committing to a listing or sale. “Real estate’s not about houses, it’s about people,” Mr Hanley said. “The greatest skill you can have both as a leader and as salespeople is to have a very highly developed level of emotional intelligence, which is empathy or an understanding of how people work and think.”

Raving fans

All salespeople need advocates to tell others how good they are. Once an agent knows who their advocates are they should “give them lots of love and lots of information”, and always thank them for their referral. “When an advocate refers your business it usually comes with trust attached. It’s not something you’ve got to earn because this other person said you’re a really good person. Then nine times out of ten you’ll get a higher average fee, you’ll get a much more reasonable listed price and you’ve usually got a much better chance of selling the property,” Mr Hanley explained.

It may be harder to sell a house in a difficult market, but agents should take pride in those sales because they played an important role in the sales process instead of just sitting back and going along for the ride.


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Chris Hanley