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Time Management

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Creating a sense of urgency, Danny Grant

A sense of urgency makes vendors and buyers sit up and take notice, and two agents at Ray White Lower North Shore, Sydney, know how to get attention.

After moving from an offi ce where he had a 30 per cent market share to Ray White Lower North Shore, Danny Grant said he almost felt like he had to start again, but he took some time to watch master agent and his sales director Kingsley Yates and picked up some tips.

“One thing I notice about a lot of the top-performing agents in Australia is they really want to do well, and Kingsley is still incredibly competitive. I’d noticed he doesn’t do a lot of personal promotion and it was interesting to see that was because he deals with a lot of high-end people and celebrities like that about him, because they don’t want their business spread about,” Mr Grant said.

Quiet achiever

Stepping into Willoughby, the patch Mr Yates started more than 30 years ago, Mr Grant is confi dent he can learn from the award-winning agent to improve his own game. “He’s always been a brand in himself and he’s somebody that you never see, you don’t know whether he does exist – you just see his name on advertising everywhere, but the big thing that you do know about him, is that he’s been number one for many years.”

Kingsley Yates is widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s premier real estate sales people, and living in his area means he has an incredibly in-depth knowledge of his market, which refl ects in his consistently high results and referralbased business.

Characterising himself as, “probably the quietest sales person you would ever meet,” Mr Yates sold fi ve properties in his fi rst week on the job and has never looked back. “Because I’ve been doing it for a long time I’ve sold places now two or three times, so the clients come directly to me.” His formidable reputation in the Balmoral/ Mosman area is backed up by weekly marketing in the area he lives - Balmoral Slopes. “I’m the only agent who does it. I’m marketing heavily in my patch and that obviously has paid off big time,” he explained.

Assessing buyers

With the average sales price in Balmoral Slopes at $5 million, marketing budgets of up to $20,000, and most campaigns running as auctions or expressions of interest, Mr Yates creates a sense of urgency with a small number of qualifi ed buyers. “Access is a big thing. A lot of vendors are relieved when I say to them I don’t do open houses, because there’s only four or fi ve buyers at any one time at the top end, so it’s just having access to those buyers,” Mr Yates said, explaining all prospective buyers were Googled to see who they were to gain some background information.

“A lot of people will tell you who they are, but I always ask the question, ‘What have you seen?’ because that gives you a sense of whether they’re active in the marketplace and they’re real live buyers. That’s a critical question because people have gone to so much trouble with their house, and if they turn out not to be a qualifi ed buyer it doesn’t look good for you as an agent; you haven’t done your homework,” he said.

Communication is key

When managing his top-end vendors he treats them as he would any other vendor. “Everyone’s expectations are high – they’re selling their biggest asset, so whether you’re selling a cheaper apartment, or the more expensive properties I think all vendor’s expectations are the same. Your communication with them has to be spot on. As an agent, the worst thing you can do is not communicate with them,” Mr Yates explained.

Effective communication extends to making the tough calls when price must be negotiated, and those where you have to manage vendor expectations about the time on the market. “You’ve just got to play it with a straight bat. They need to know what the feedback is and I say to vendors, ‘Let’s take a longer view’. Some deals take a long time and I say, ‘I’m with you, as long as it takes, whatever your circumstances are’, so it’s just working with your vendor and fi nding out what their headspace is and what their needs are.”

As the Australian auction record holder for selling 1 Kirkoswald Ave, Balmoral, for $11.8 million under the hammer, Mr Yates uses his vast experience in the industry to assess every buying and selling situation. The owner of this landmark property approached Mr Yates to sell it in November 2008, at the tail end of the year, so he launched an auction campaign. “The numbers through the campaign were very low so we were getting a bit tense that we wernt going to get a result, but only three days before the auction I got a phone call from London from an Aussie guy who had seen it on the net and a friend of his had looked at it and recommended he buy it."

The property went to a thrilling auction and was sold to the ex-pat Aussie, exchanging on $20,000, with the rest wired later. “Because you’ve got that experience in putting a deal together, that’s why you get the gig. Vendors pass the responsibility over to you and that's what its all about," Mr Yates said.

And it is his experience that wins Mr Yates listings. He uses two books at each listing presentation – one of his sales in Balmoral over the past 10 years and another of all his Lower North Shore sales, which is used outside Balmoral/Mosman. “That’s all I take. What I say to the prospect is no one can give you this book. These aren’t sales made by other agents; it’s just my sales. I don’t make a big deal of it – those fifi gures and numbers speak for themselves.”

And these two books speak for him, as Mr Grant explained. “If I was competing against him I would have to have my presentation spot on, but he would just beat me with that book. That’s powerful and he knows that that’s powerful.”

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Danny Grant