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We may be the best but we can all get better!

by Michelle Wilden and Emma Sterritt

There’s always room for improvement.

I believe we have the best estate agency in the area.  I see this through our results.  I actually hear it from many of our clients.  Some of the kindest words have been from customers who have actually not bought through us, saying they wish they had.  I say kindest because these words have been said unprompted from people who had no real need.  I drive around and see our sold boards  smiling back at me but still somewhere deep inside me I know we can be better.  You see, my belief is this.  We can all be better no matter how good we actually think we are.

I met Samantha Ashdown from The Home Truths on twitter.   If you are Estate Agent, you should look her up.

We met initially out of curiosity and a friendship born in the world of social media.  We talked business, we talked family, we talked like two old friends meeting up.  We met several times before I dared ask.  Can you make us better?  We chatted idea’s,  we talked more.  Idea’s were born.

Should I be ashamed to admit I had my team mystery shopped?  Do I call it a training exercise?  Or should I be proud.  Proud that I want us all to be better.  Better in our customer service to each other.  Better in our Customer Service to our clients.  I won’t bore you with all of the results but it made some interesting reading.  There was lots of positives and some fab idea’s produced.  We held a morning meeting to discuss.  None of my colleagues knew what about.  Here is Emma’s story.

by Emma Sterritt


A Few Home Truths

Somewhere in the wilds of Cumbria there’s a bossy northern lass who helps estate agents be better.  Or so she says on her twitter feed anyway.  At JDG we started Friday with a morning meeting and team chat.  John and Michelle explained that they had met this bossy northern lass and we were to look forward to meeting her too, that she would ‘make us better’.  John explained one of ‘Sam’s Selling Secrets’ to the team and as he talked I started to think about my diary for the next day.

Let me explain.  We have a house on the market, one of those houses that you have on the market for much longer than you ever expected to.  A lovely detached, double fronted house in a really sought after area.  So, no problems selling that then.  Well, 35 viewings later says there is a problem.  We’ve scratched our heads, we’ve matched, written editorials, changed front shots, matched more, changed all shots, re-written the brochure, matched a bit more, rung out, emailed out, done window specials, web specials, house of the week specials but still no offer.  Together we have been on a long journey with ‘our man’ back at the house, longer than either of us ever expected.  We’ve taken him on a journey our man really didn’t want to go on, he’s changed rooms around, discovered his skills for home staging and now on each viewing he presents the ‘house beautiful’.  Still no offer.  Tomorrow at 12:00 I would be doing his 36th viewing.  We both already knew the feedback, of that we were pretty resigned.  After hearing the same thing 35 times even the most optimistic seller can start to get the message. It’s a nice enough house but it’s too dark and needs too much doing.  After the meeting I phoned our man.  I told him what I needed him to know about this secret and crossed my fingers.


Saturday started well.  On my third viewing of the day I was meeting one of our existing vendors to show them a house and I would be ending my day showing some first time buyers their house so it was nice to meet them during the day too.  We viewed a nice enough semi-detached together and, as they were our vendors and practically part of team I asked them to be brutally honest about the house.  It didn’t live up to the brochure.  We had 10 minutes spare so I asked for more help from them, I asked them to forget they had just viewed the house and to view it again.  The Sam Way.  Guess what,  on this second viewing, they preferred it.  I waved good-bye to our vendors and then prepared this semi for its next Sam Viewing, which went incredibly well.  In fact it may just get an offer next week.  So, enough practising and on to our 36th viewing at the double fronted detached.

The house that had 35 viewings but sold with Sam's Super Tips!

The house that had 35 viewings but sold with Sam’s Super Tips!

As I walked up the street I said hello to man’s best friend, waiting in the van, barred from all viewings back in the early days.  Our man was waiting at the door, a brief chat and check and I heard the car pull up.  I met our viewers at their car and began as Sam said and then conducted the viewing entirely as has been described yesterday.  I knew they were going to offer and they did, it’s agreed, so 36th time lucky.  Their description of the house was pretty much the reverse of the other 35.

Onwards and upwards, buoyed on by that offer I tried it again.  This time at a semi-detached bungalow, offered, agreed.  And remember my friends who helped me practice at the semi in the morning, well I finished the day by doing the Sam Way on their house too …offered and agreed.  I suppose you want to know what the secret is don’t you?  Well, I’m not telling.  It’s Sam’s secret not mine so you’ll have to ask her yourself @thehometruths.  Can’t wait to hear the rest!  Hurry home from holiday Sam, it’s true, you make estate agents better!

Notes from Michelle

John and I both exceptionally pleased and impressed by the way our team have embraced this training exercise.  Emma found a renewed focus.  She is already a great viewer but she wants to be better.  The true result of Saturday was this.  Emma did 9 viewings with 7 potential buyers.  She successfully sold 4 houses.  On going training and motivation of a team is essential in any business.  We may be the best already but will be getting better and better.

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