Supreme customer service and digital marketing are Heather’s keys to success
Ray White New Zealand’s number one residential salesperson for 2016, Heather Walton sold over $200 million in properties at an average sale price of $2 million in 2015. Heather’s sales results are all the more extraordinary when you consider she only moved into residential sales just over six years ago. From Google advertising to her customer service strategies, Heather outlines her top sales tips.
Principal of the Ray White Epsom office in Auckland, Heather Walton works across the entire central and eastern suburbs area.
“I live in Remuera and my son is at school in Remuera, so most of my listings come from those social networks. I made a business decision to purchase a franchise located in Epsom,” Heather explains. “This decision was a big one as no Ray White Office has ever succeeded in Epsom before. However, we are gaining market share consistently and we are pleased with the business growth we are creating.”
Heather is not only winning market share but has received a cavalcade of awards. At the Ray White 2016 conference, Heather was awarded New Zealand Supreme Salesperson of the Year, Residential Salesperson of the Year and Supreme Growth Salesperson of the Year, while the Epsom office was awarded the New Start Office of the Year.
According to Heather, the 15 years she spent practicing conveyancing law has played a huge part in her quick succession to leading sales agent.
“I knew every legal aspect of titles, LIM reports, agreements for sale and purchase, and more. So when I put a salesperson’s cap on, I had many instant answers for buyers who wanted to understand legal issues right away, before spending money on their own legal advisors,” Heather says. “It isn’t that I replace their solicitors, it’s that I give them comfort to take the next step to engage a solicitor and proceed with the purchase.
“Also, when you have worked in a service industry like a law office, you learn many interpersonal skills around dealing with people on every level and from many different walks of life.”
Here are Heather’s top six sales tips to keep you ahead of the game.
1. Go above and beyond for clients
Heather works very hard to keep her clients happy.
“I go over the top and beyond for my clients. This week I spent three hours in the town of Matakana with a vendor who is selling and moving to the area, they wanted my moral support and to talk,” Heather explains. “It’s not just about the money for me, of course the money follows, but when you do something that comes from a place of genuine care and concern for people, firstly, it feels great and secondly it creates a better outcome for everyone involved.”
Heather helps her clients prepare their homes for sale, this may even mean facilitating an entire renovation. At its most basic level, Heather starts with flowers and candles and if the owner doesn’t have a budget, she may use her own furnishings to help give that something extra. “It’s fair to say I certainly do what I can to help my vendors achieve their maximum price.”
2. Create a referral network
If you take the time to read some of Heather’s glowing client testimonials, it comes as no surprise referrals are her main source of new business.
“I don’t actually prospect, other than engaging with people who attend my open homes. I think if the effort goes in while you are interacting with people, then the referrals come back, and this is absolutely true for me.”
With the assistance of her two licensed PAs, Brittany Burke who looks after marketing and Emily Ferret who manages compliance and legal, delivering a consistent level of customer service is paramount to Heather’s success.
3. Pitch big to vendors
“When I present to a vendor during a listing presentation I start with a huge budget, including absolutely everything – I don’t leave a stone unturned. I’m big on social media and internet but print media still has its place,” Heather explains.
Heather likes to use the analogy of a wedding invitation when pitching property marketing to a vendor.
“Handwritten wedding invitations often make you feel like it’s a low-key wedding, however, a beautiful, high-end invitation means I’ll buy a new outfit and expect a gorgeous event. It’s the same with houses,” Heather says. “Presentation of the home and presentation of the marketing is absolutely paramount to a good outcome. Good quality marketing and presentation means a buyer is more likely to pay more, which ultimately is our goal as good agents.”
4. Embrace search engine marketing
Digital marketing for real estate is increasing at an exponential rate, so much so Campaigntrack has partnered with Google to bring a tailored search engine and retargeted advertising solution to property marketing. Heather agrees digital marketing is paramount.
“Digital marketing is incredibly powerful and so important. However, if you have one aspect of your digital marketing incorrect, for example an incorrect search range or you haven’t included the right Google Adwords keywords, the result will be low numbers at your open homes,” Heather says.
“In a market where open home attendees is low, I cannot stress this enough, using Google Adwords pushes the property up the search results and keeps it at the top of the Google search. It’s easy to sell digital to vendors as they believe it’s the only way forward.”
5. Utilise your suppliers completely
A good working relationship with your suppliers will help you get the best outcome for your business and vendors. This means partnering with the right service providers.
“We use Campaigntrack for everything. All our print media obviously, but also our ‘just sold’ and ‘just listed’ DL cards, which are hugely important. We need to shout from the roof tops our latest listings and sales, and so we prepare our DL cards in Campaigntrack and drop hundreds before and after the sale. We also use Campaigntrack for our window cards in the office.”
Another print tool Heather loves is the Open Home Corflute Signs, which feature the address of the home, open home times and are personalised to the agent.
“It makes sorting out signage for the weekends so much easier, especially if you have 10 properties to signpost. Our vendors love seeing this directional signage all over the neighbourhood with their property details on it. And we love playing with all sorts of templates – we are always looking for better ways of doing things.”
6. Don’t be something you are not
“I get told all the time that I am approachable, down to earth and believable,” Heather says. “I think I’m just a genuine person who is conscientious and committed to doing a good job and getting the best possible price for my owners, while taking the duty of care for buyers very seriously.”
Being nice or behaving in a down-to-earth manner must come naturally according to Heather.
“You are either this type of person or not. I never try to be someone I’m not, so if I miss out on a listing I don’t take it to heart anymore. It simply means those homeowners related better to someone else and that’s fine by me. I always wish them enormous success on their sale and it leaves a good taste in everyone’s mouth.”