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Working with a sense of urgency


Are you a passenger on the plane or are you the Captain steering the plane?

Dane Atherton, the Managing Director of Harcourts Coastal, believes that some agents act as passengers within their own business. He says, “Some agents are actually in the cockpit driving opportunity every day. They’re touching the dials, they’re navigating through bad weather, they’re making changes. They’re there - present with what’s actually going on in the call phase. They are not sitting back with the cabin crew, having drinks served to them, hoping that their quarterly newsletter and email are going to passively generate enough listing opportunities because they’ve got X amount of people in their database”.

If you’re a passenger in your own business Dane believes that you won’t survive.

Dane’s mantra is urgency.

He believes that an agent has to harness technology, hit the pavement and the phone and work with a sense of urgency everyday because our businesses need to be driven every day. No matter how good a job you may have done before, if someone else provided a better service today and they’re there today, your client’s no is longer your client. Someone with better words, more compassion, a compelling reason will blow you out the water, every time you think, “I’m safe, it’s mine.”

Complacency comes in when you have a lot of wins and, thoughts such as “Everything’s good, nothing can go wrong for me now’, creep in – that’s when you loose your sense of service urgency.

Dane says, “Everybody fills the letterbox. It’s crowded but what’s not crowded is the letterbox following up with a phone call. What’s not crowded is the letterbox followed up with a phone call and then a Thank You card. What’s not crowded is the letterbox followed up with a Thank You card, a phone call and then another weeks’ time another phone call to keep in touch”.

He thinks that effective buyer management is an amazing listing tool and the database is important - “it is the superfund, the bonus fund which is the new term, but don’t miss the opportunity right now because I believe that is not as crowded as what we think it is. What is it that the seller wants from us that they can’t access themselves or they find it difficult to access themselves? Really it has to be buyers. It’s our buyers or the buyers that we will generate through our tools and marketing”.

How agents can work with a sense of urgency

Have the right mindset

Dane believes urgency starts with your mindset. All day everyday, you have to have the correct mindset. Opportunities are everywhere and it is important not to miss them. For example, he says, “Ask yourself why are you taking names at an open house? Is it to get email addresses and collect names or are you actually conducting a job interview? Are you actually looking to uncover and engage why that person’s is there? Do they have a home to sell? “

A Saturday open house is a Saturday of opportunities. What agents must seek to do is build relationships with the people who walk through the door because each and every one could be their next listing. Think - are you my next appraisal? What does my appraisal look like? Where do you live?

Seize opportunities

Timing is everything when working with a sense of urgency. Dane says, “If you think about when someone lists a property for example, it’s about timing, isn’t it? I can meet someone at the right time despite them being on agent X’s database for many many years. Buy-sellers is a great example, they might buy a property off me or they might have come to an agreement, I might have kept in touch, and I might have been there when they’re ready to sell”.

He explains, “A great example in our business is we had an agent that was trying to get into a luxury marketplace. It was a Friday afternoon. They made a phone call. They knew they were up against it because the couple had a strong relationship with the local agent ( who was coming to take photos on the Monday). Our agent rang the husband’s phone. The husband’s phone didn’t answer. Many other agents wouldn’t just not make that next call. We called the wife’s phone and she answered the phone. We went and saw them - Got in front of them sitting on their deck overlooking the beach.”

“We said, “There’s an auction around the corner, a high profile auction. Just give us 30 days. Just give us a listing for 30 days.” We did it more eloquently than that but we said, “Give us a chance. We’ll open it this weekend and we’ll try and tap into the traffic that’s coming from that auction.” They listed; we sold it two weeks later to a database buyer for 3.7 million. That’s a great example of just being there and having the right timing. Now I feel for the other agent, but we pushed our way in there through urgency”.

Demonstrating to the client that you want their business through action

Dane believes that actions speak louder than words. So turn up on time. Go beyond the typical, for example Dane says, “If we have discussed something at the presentation and they required more information like marketing costs or something like that, we get that to them that evening. Late at night, I like that. I think that demonstrates that you’re working hard.”

Dane says, “You demonstrate you want the business, but you’re also limiting the opportunity for the next agent to have more time to build a relationship with the client”.

Escalate if necessary

Theatre plays an important part of securing sales. Dane says that, “Sometimes I’m used by our salespeople as a involvement tool. If they haven’t signed up the business they might ring back and say, “Oh look I’d love to take our auctioneer and principal through. He’d love to have a look,” so I can be used as that second point of contact to go back in and just demonstrate that we really want this business. We really want to work with you. Some agents are a bit proud to do that like, “Look I don’t want to get the principal involved. I can do this myself.” Use it as a tool. It’s just another hit on the menu, why not use it?”

When you work with a sense of urgency, you will be the Captain of your own destiny and you will be able to steer the plane to the stars.


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