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How to boost your chances of an above-market sale price

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More than ever, people aspire to achieve above-market results when selling residential properties. But much depends on the quality of the real estate agent that they choose to do business with.

It’s an agent’s track record in the market that is typically the key difference between receiving a “full price” at the conclusion of a sales campaign that exceeds expectations, and an ordinary result.

Prospective vendors need to be on the look-out for high performance credentials that involve everything from an agency’s detailed on-the-ground knowledge of the buying trends and demand drivers in key suburbs, to the training and mentoring of staff.

Other factors underpin consistent success, too. These include the structure of an agent’s office network and its use of customer relationship and online marketing tools.

Nelson Alexander Sales Director Arch Staver sees the company’s commitment to training as a driving factor that gives it an edge in securing new listings and maximising sales results for sellers.

He says many vendors that sell through Nelson Alexander agents are aware the company devotes thousands of hours each year to the ongoing training of staff.

The same is true of the many property investors and landlords who elect to have more than 14,000 rental properties managed by Nelson Alexander property managers.

“Training is a big part of what we do,” Mr Staver says.

“We hire external trainers. They are very often referred to Nelson Alexander through the Australian Institute of Management, and we also undertake a lot of training ourselves and are a major and long-standing supporter of mentoring programs.”

One reason that training and mentoring has support and traction within the company is that, unlike many real estate firms, Nelson Alexander is not a franchise. Its sales network of 16 offices and other company infrastructure is wholly owned by company partners and directors who work in the business on a day-to-day basis.

“Training is a big part of what we do”

This structure delivers internal synergies, constant information referrals between offices and a collegiate atmosphere that no franchised operation can match. Quite simply, when you engage with Nelson Alexander as a vendor or as a landlord, you access the full company and its staff, not just one part of an operation.

Nelson Alexander has dozens of staff members who have in excess of 20 years’ service with the company.

“That is quite unique for a real estate company,” Mr Staver notes. “We try to harness all that experience and share it with the younger people.”

This knowledge exchange often occurs on an informal basis. For example, a senior auctioneer will work one-on-one with a young member of the team who has a flair for sales communication and auctioneering. Similarly, an established property manager will teach young executives certain tricks of the trade in letting properties quickly and keeping vacancy rates to the minimum.

In addition, there’s a considerable allocation of time and resources to more structured training sessions.

A lot of real estate companies, especially the franchised ones, focus their sales training exclusively on so-called “scripts and dialogues.” This involves younger staff being taught, often by rote, different approaches to verbally engaging with prospective vendors and buyers with a view to sealing contracts and sales.

Nelson Alexander takes a different, more individual approach. The company’s core cultural values, communicated to staff members internally, are: family, generosity, leadership, progressive, passion and respect.

Mr Staver says that the company is a firm believer that sales training cannot take place in isolation, and that a respectful and contemporary relationship with its client base is essential.

“On a monthly basis we are constantly training our people and not only in selling skills,” he explains. “That is not where our emphasis is – it is on improving our connectivity with our clients. I am less interested in scripts and dialogues and more interested in emotional intelligence.

“We want our agents to be acutely aware that each and every client – whether they are a vendor, a buyer, a landlord or a tenant – has individual needs. We must understand what those needs are and empathise with their situation.”

He says the company’s managers work extremely hard to ensure that the culture of the Nelson Alexander organisation is spread across all 16 of the offices: “Respect for the client is paramount, regardless of which office is dealing with any particular client.”

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