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Vendor Management

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Mat Steinwede, Constant contact makes for a happy vendor

Whether you are coordinating vendor management yourself, or have a dedicated person assigned to the role within an effective business unit (EBU), simple strategies done well make all the difference.

Mat Steinwede uses vendor management as one of his key business foundations, and has polished his methods over many years in real estate. “Richard Branson said that if you can run one business well you can run a hundred, same as a vendor really. If you can run one well you can run a hundred because you understand that concept,” Mat explained.

And he would know. At times he has been servicing up to 90 vendors at once! To make this possible, Mat implemented action plans to manage the workflow, starting with setting a trail against a property as soon as he first spoke with the vendor. Tasks are allocated to the relevant team members, ensuring the vendor is kept in the loop constantly.

Keep in Touch

The administration assistant attaches the trail and a listing gift is sent out straight away. Then the vendor manager looks after photos, copy, contracts and speaks with the vendor every day for 7-10 days, and then every week for the duration of the contract. Contact is a combination of phone, email, SMS and in person, with a standard SMS sent to all vendors on a Wednesday and then an email with all accepted offers listed on Fridays.

“One of my goals is to sell 80 per cent of my listings within 42 days, regardless of the market. [The Friday email] has been one of the biggest tools that we’ve had from a vendor managing perspective, especially properties that are deceased estates or there’s a couple of other family members involved; they email it to each other so it keeps them up to date. Sometimes the written word is a lot more powerful,” Mat said.

Admitting there have been times when he wasn’t able to keep in contact with every vendor as much as he would like, Mat has made calling his top 15 vendors part of his ideal day and the vendor manager handles the rest. Alternatively, he might send an SMS saying, “Hope you had a good day, be assured I’m on it,” or their window display has been loaded. Other times he calls for a ‘quick chat’ about buyers who drove past their home, how many enquiries have been received from the internet or even an update on a buyer who was interested previously but has moved on.

“They think to themselves, ‘Hey I’ve got the right person for the job’. You’ve got to understand that you’re not buying the home; they know you’re not buying the home; they just want to know they’ve got the best conduit of information that they can physically get in the area.”

“I think that you have to demonstrate your abilities on how you can get the best price with vendor management. If you’ve ticked all the boxes along the way the best result will come because you’ll have a malleable owner who will want to work with you,” Mat said.

Listings running over time

Some properties don’t sell within the timeframe discussed initially and Mat said the best way to handle this was to keep managing them, but ensure the vendor has been serviced properly. A long listing may be the agent’s fault if they haven’t managed the price well, or have been scared to suggest a price reduction.

“If you’ve done everything up until a point, and it’s not going the way that we want it to go, it’s not our fault. Every four weeks we give an owner a new plan. Lengthy listings still happen - I think they always will - but now hopefully they’re minimised because we’ve broken it down into smaller chunks,” Mat explained. This system avoids the situation where contact has been lacking, but the agent makes one last effort to generate activity before the three-month mark.

Securing a price reduction

Regular, honest contact with a vendor will make a price reduction conversation easier. If the relationship is a good one, the vendor may even suggest it themselves but even if they don’t, if they can see their agent has done everything possible to sell their property they are more likely to entertain a reduction.

“Understand that the more contact you have with them, the more respect you’ll earn from them, the easier they’ll be to work with,” Mat concluded.

Mat's top vendor management tips

  • Establish an action plan for vendor management and agree on who is responsible for each task
  • Work out what you are going to say to the vendor in person, on the phone, via SMS and email and then contact every vendor 4-5 times per week
  • Get the vendor to proof the copy and choose the photos used in marketing
  • Be honest about inspections – how many buyers, comments made, contracts issued etc. “Don’t be afraid of an owner.”
  • Put all offers in writing
  • Track your success by the testimonials you receive from vendors and buyers.

Role play:

Contacting a vendor when you have no news

Mat Steinwede: “G’day Lee, it’s Mat. How you going?” Lee Woodward: “Good mate, how are you?” MS: “Yeah really well thanks, really well. I just wanted to touch base, I know not a lot’s happened over the last couple of days but I’ve re-emailed the database and also sent some editorial off to Sydney. They don’t always run it, but sometimes they do. I’m just letting you know I’m still working on it for you, mate. Although you’re not seeing much your end, we’re still doing stuff this end for you.” LW: “Do you think it’s going to take long to sell?” MS: “Don’t know, don’t know. The average selling time has doubled at the moment. It’s gone from six weeks to 12 weeks, you know, and we’re on our eighth week at the moment. Be assured I’ll do everything I can to get it done in the next four weeks if I can. You know if I can’t, I’ll have the strategy there for you.” LW: “Excellent, so there’s hope at the end of the tunnel?” MS: “Yeah definitely.”

Mat Steinwede The Real Estate System includes Mat’s tried and tested strategies with letter and report templates, the order tasks should be completed and tips on achieving peak performance.

For more information on Mat Steinwede The Real Estate System visit: or call 1300 367 412.

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Mat Steinwede, Constant contact makes for a happy vendor