What is Sales Progression?
Sales Progression is the active part an agent plays in getting a sale from ‘offer agreed’ to ‘completion’. It includes all the calls, emails, chasing, and management which gets your home successfully through to the end and with nearly 40% of sales falling through, a figure which peaked in December to almost half for that month, sales progression is now more important than ever.
Why is it important?
Currently in the UK 38.8% of sales fall through. That’s huge.
Imagine agreeing the offer, finding your dream home, had an offer accepted on it, done a full survey and run up a solicitor’s bill only to find that 6 weeks in, your buyer withdraws or the chain at the bottom falls flat, meaning you can no longer have the house of your dreams.
In England there is no certainty of a sale going through to legal completion until contracts between all parties have exchanged. At this point you will have a date fixed on which you will move. It can take between 8-12 weeks to get to exchange of contracts, meaning the chain can ‘fall through’ at any time.
At nearly 40% chance of falling through you will be right to not only be shocked, but also be concerned that when you have a buyer, what are your chances? It’s enough to make your toes curl.
This is where a Sales Progression hero comes into their own.
What exactly does the sales progressor do?
It is a very important role, one which requires tenacity, dedication, challenging the norm, an amazing memory, and building relationships with buyers, sellers, solicitors and other parties involved in getting the deal through.
Being able to spot potential problems and nipping them in the bud and being able to spot warning signs of things going wrong is all crucial. It can also mean ‘doing whatever it takes’ to get the sale through, this may mean talking to the upper and lower chain in so much depth or even driving to someone’s house to get something collected and dropped off quicker than the post. We’ve seen it all over the years.
They talk to: You, your buyer, your solicitor, your buyers solicitor, the surveyors, the secretaries, the chain of estate agents handling other parts of the connected sales, the banks/financial advisors/mortgage advisors. On many occasions, they also have to peak with solicitors up and down the chain, if something is taking too long or getting lost in translation.
On top of this they have to fact find, chase the council, workmen, checks and tests, specialists such as damp proofers, tenants. Track down keys and paperwork. They have to ensure that there are no gaps, nothing awaiting, no slow individuals.
They have to build relationships with everyone to keep the chain moving as seamlessly as possible, keep trust high, on some occasions they’ll even be assisting the negotiation of furniture and dates too.
When should I be considering the importance of the Sales Progression?
Many sellers, just like you, want to employ the estate agent that will get you the Best Possible Price and this is good, although this is not the whole package. “
“Selling a property is easy, selling a property for a premium price isn’t. Getting a sale is easy, getting the sale through to completion isn’t.”
You have to consider one simple metric, how many sales fall through with that agent. It maybe that they are in line with national averages at 30-40%. That’s average, however, all agents stats in this area will differ. (If they don’t measure this statistic walk away – they are not placing enough importance on this, therefore their stats are likely higher) You can only control what you measure, and you can only improve on what you measure.
For a comparison our fall through rates for 2018 were 13.8% in 2017 15.6%
So how can you reduce the likelihood of the sale falling through?
1 – Choose an agent with one person undertaking the Sales Progressor Role.
For larger companies you may need more than one person. Ensure this person is be accountable for the sales that they take through to the end. Our Sales Progressor is paid only on successful completion so that she has a stake in the outcome for you.
This role is too important to be combined with a sales negotiator role. Split focus is not easy for an agent, especially as some sales can be time consuming to keep everyone happy and move things forwards. It is highly likely that any hurdles will not be given full focus if someone progressing a sale has to stop to work on obstructions and delicate re-negotiation while still trying to maintain viewings/call outs/new homes and answering the phone.
2 – Ensure that the person doing this role is fully on Sales Progression all the time and does not do any other roles. This avoids distraction of the task at hand and ensures all information is dealt with quickly, efficiently and nothing is forgotten. That means no answering incoming calls. I’m passionate about this, which is another reason our fall through rates are so low.
The easy way to test this is to call the agency you favour a number of times to check you don’t get the person you should only talk too as you agree that fantastic sale.
3 – Ensuring that all offers are qualified properly
Properly qualifying offers can help counter any issues further down the line. This includes:
Talking to each and every estate agent in a chain before an offer is accepted to find out very detailed information. Thus allowing your agent to make decisions and guide you on potential weaknesses further down the chain.
It allows your agent to check every detail and spark more conversations with your buyers. Sometimes they tell your agent things that can either help a sale or hinder it. Warning signs can be spotted this early.
Check the process with your agent on how they qualify an offer, what is the process?
Which leads us onto…
4 – Negotiating must be done in person or on the phone
An agent can only truly get to build trust and relationships via conversation. It’s easy to hear half-truths and uncertainty while having a conversation that may be something to watch for throughout. If your agent builds the trust in the first instance you can usually get over more hurdles during the process of progressing a sale with a simple conversation.
If the trust and a solid relationship has not been built on or regularly nurtured it makes further negotiation over timescales, furniture and small survey issues much harder to overcome, leading to more chance of a fall through.
The big result is not just getting the home through to completion BUT getting it through to completion where everyone enjoyed the experience.
Two very important things to note:
1 – Those agents with dedicated roles may charge more. In the grand scheme of things that is worth it for security of a sale and the reduction of stress, plus the ability to still purchase that house of your dreams, (How would you feel if your sale fell through and you couldn’t buy that house you want? You’ll wish you invested the extra £1000 on the other agent)
2 – The agents that put importance onto a sales progression role, will likely also be incredible at getting you the offer to start with, as they’ll know all the significant parts of a sale and they start upfront. It is therefore safe to assume that they will be able to achieve much better marketing, leading to more viewings, more offers which are skilfully negotiated to absorb any increase in fees and also leave you with a little more in your pocket.
You see, cheap is rarely cheerful.
What to do now:
A – If you are with an agent and not yet sold, start asking the questions about this part of the business. If you are not happy – find an agent who can not only back up the ‘pre-offer’ with amazing work but also the ‘post offer’. It’s not something I’d want to leave to chance.
B – If you are not yet with an agent and planning to sell, take notes. This is too important to ignore.
If you’d like to have a coffee and a chat to see if we are a great fit for you, we’d be delighted to come and see you and show you our 9 step plan to getting you the best possible outcome.
Have a wonderful week
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