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articles > So, You Think You're a Salesperson?

Article > So, You Think You're a Salesperson?

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So, you think you’re a salesperson? As a private landlord, you wear many hats. One day, you’ll need the skills of an amateur psychologist, the next you could be a painter and decorator. A good working knowledge of the law, the tax system and accounting won’t go amiss either. But you’re also a salesperson, selling the idea of your property to potential tenants. It’s not always a responsibility that landlords relish but it is essential.

As a salesperson you job is to draw customers in, excite them and clinch the deal. But why is it that salespeople in general, and lettings agents in particular, come in close behind politicians, journalists and even lawyers in terms of likeability and trustworthiness? When we think of agents, why does a teenager with spiky hair in a shiny suit (that looks much less expensive than it actually was) typify what most people think of lettings agents? It’s striking that the salesmen (and yes, they are usually men) that spring to mind are lovable, but essentially crooked, rogues. Think Del Boy, Swiss Tony and Arthur Daley.

We have a little secret. If you’re trying to sell something good, you don’t have to compromise your morals. In fact, we think that selling well is an honest, honourable activity based on developing a decent commercial relationship and ensuring that both buyer and seller are satisfied. So don’t be daunted. Have a go. Up your selling game. Here are some tips we’ve put together at Upad to help you become a brilliant, successful salesman.

You are in charge.
When you are selling, you are leading the process. So be confident, certain and decisive. Don’t be bounced or bullied by future tenants into doing something you don’t want to do. Part of the selling trick is to come across as a credible person so setting the tone is essential. Be professional, polite and competent.

Be enthusiastic.
You’d surprised at how many landlords showing a potential and keen tenant around a property are hopeless and only manage a “This is the bedroom. This is the lounge” style walk-around. You can’t expect a tenant to bite of you aren’t enthusiastic about your property. Setting a positive tone and exciting prospects is essential when you’re selling. As they say in showbiz, it’s time for “tits and teeth.”

Hone your patter.
Don’t go in cold when you’re selling. Prepare a list of highlights, benefits and features that you want to show off. That could be a brand new boiler or that the kitchen catches the sun in the morning or the brilliant location close to the pub and the shops. You’ll get better at this over time but unless you emphasise the positives, then you can’t expect tenants to notice them independently. And yes, have a little list of you need one.


Don’t lie
We can all laugh at hapless Del Boy’s cheerful dishonesty in Only Fools and Horses but when you are selling don’t forget that your reputation and credibility is on the line. If you have a good property, you shouldn’t have to lie. So don’t. Stick to the truth, pure and simple.


And that means the whole truth.
And now we come to the sin of omission. Not mentioning something at all is almost as bad as lying outright. It’s also a bizarre selling strategy that saves up problems for later. If you don’t mention something, don’t forget that your tenant will find out soon enough and that could sour your relationship at the first hurdle. Forgetting to mention that the next door shuttered up shop by day is actually the neighbourhood’s favourite kebab shop by night is pretty unforgivable.

Be detailed.
It pays to know the answer to all the obvious queries that tenants might have. And pre-empt questions where you can. Things to consider: local parking regulations, council tax band, how the boiler works, the neighbours, any problems with the appliances, what day the rubbish is collected, local transport links.

Be clear on terms.
It can be terribly embarrassing to talk about money and the nature of the agreement you expect but you’ll need to get over any of that British reserve. Be clear when you’re selling about how much the rent is, how much deposit is required and also any specific stipulations you’ll be making in the tenancy agreements. Also, be clear on what sort of references and information you’ll need from tenants and also how much they’ll need to contribute to that process. Failing to be clear about terms now is a recipe for confusion later. Be clear and precise.

You have a choice too.
Don’t forget that you have a choice not to sell. Part of the selling process is about sizing up the customer. When you’re a landlord you’re entering into an ongoing professional relationship so if you get the feeling that you don’t want to deal with tenants you meet, be proactive and exercise your own choice.

Sometimes getting the right tenants requires a bit of flexibility and compromise. If a good tenant wants something changed (a new bed, a better fridge or the like) size up whether the cost and hassle could be worth it. A tenant who pays you promptly and isn’t any hassle could well be worth it. Approach any discussions professionally and calmly and don’t be rash or hasty. Taking a bit of time to think over a negotiation is fair enough and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for the night to sleep on it.

Close the deal.
Don’t leave it hanging out there. Bring certainty as a seller and close the deal clearly with the tenant. Confirm the deal and note any specific agreements you have made. Set a clear timeline for getting them screened, a moving in date and how you want the monies. Once again, don’t forget that you’re in charge so you’ll need to set the pace and be clear about what’s expected. And when it’s all done you can look back in satisfaction at a job well done.


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