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Richard Rawlings: Top tips on how to be an exceptional agent in 2023

Estate Agency Trainer and Coach Richard Rawlings, shares his thoughts on the market in 2023 and our CELA Level 3 qualification.

What a two and a half years it has been. In such a busy market, the perception of those not in the know can sometimes be that ‘homes sell themselves’.

In 2023, we face a different kind of challenge, in a market that’s certainly expected to be slower than the last few years.

I’m hearing from some agents that I work with that newcomers to agency are nervous about what may lie ahead, after only experiencing the ‘good times’ so far.

When I first started in agency there was no training, other than to watch what my boss did. The problem was that he had not been trained either.

Only when I worked overseas, where a training qualification was mandatory, were my eyes opened. I was amazed to discover so many elements of agency about which I had previously been in complete darkness – the science of pricing, the psychology of decision making, the characteristics of exceptional practice, to name just a few.

This is one of the reasons I’ve been so keen to contribute to Rightmove’s new official qualification, the Level 3 Certificate for Estate and Letting Agents (CELA).

In CELA, I take agents through some of the fundamentals of working in the property profession, through to delivering exceptional service and identifying lead opportunities, and onto some of the conversion and persuasion techniques for agents to close more sellers and landlords.

Some agents may feel they don’t need a refresher on the basics, or that they know it all already. I get it. However, experience does not necessarily equal education! You don’t know what you don’t know, and there is so much to learn.

Here are a few key things to think about for next year.

  • Your people do not reflect your brand – your brand reflects your people. So make sure you highlight your people in your marketing, your website, your social media, your boards, everywhere.
  • Next year is an opportunity for agents to be creative in their service, perhaps using techniques they haven’t considered for a while. How about offering pre-sale home maintenance? Or something as simple as fresh flowers for viewings? What could you do that your competitors aren’t, that will create an exceptional experience for buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants?
  • Research suggests that sellers are most powerfully influenced by the fact that they were impressed with the individual they met during the market appraisal. It therefore follows that developing those skills we already possess – such as listening, persuading, influencing and teaching is fundamental to securing more instructions. These elements are considered in detail in the “Persuading and Conversion Techniques” unit of Rightmove’s qualification.
  • Most sellers don’t really know what they want from an agent, or which questions to ask. Next year, when prospective clients may be confused by talk of a less buoyant market, do not let market conditions dominate the marketing proposal meeting. The agent should control the conversation, not only engaging clients with knowledge, empathy and enthusiasm, but also challenging and guiding them as their helpful and committed property expert.

2023 is an opportunity for agents to be bold and radical. Be confident, and earn the right to your clients’ business. When the time is right, look the client in the eye, and ask them for the business directly, saying, “would you be confident with me as your agent?”

Richard Rawlings is a well-known estate agency trainer and contributed to the Rightmove Level 3 Certificate for Estate and Letting Agents.