One in five (17%) of your vendors will switch agents before completion.
Frustrated at how long it’s taking, or simply wanting to make a decision – even if it’s the wrong one in the long term – they will risk starting over for something new and shiny.
In a Christopher Watkin interview, industry trainer and consultant – Richard Rawlings – puts this down to three key points:
Frustration.
Embarrassment.
Communication.
Claiming that 60% of properties end up being sold with a second agent, Watkin and Rawlings discuss what makes it so easy for sellers to get up and go, and why agents are struggling to win back those lost instructions.

Frustration
Most homeowners (75%) request valuations from more than one agent. They’re looking for the best quality at the best price, but as research shows, fees and valuations aren’t as high on that list as you might think.
Low fees rank third (31%) whilst highest valuation given takes sixth place (17%), behind factors like reputation, local-ness, professionalism and confidence. In fact, when choosing an agent, the following table shows what factors consumers prioritise the most.
  • Reputation of agent 53% 53%
  • Local and nearby 34% 34%
  • Lowest fees 31% 31%
  • Level of professionalism 25% 25%
  • Confidence in the speed of selling 20% 20%
  • Highest valuation 17% 17%
Source: Research on buying and selling homes, GOV UK paper 2017
When buying or selling, only 20% trust agents – suggests the Homeowners Alliance. So, when a vendor is faced with a property that isn’t selling or has to be reduced, the natural reaction isn’t to voice their concerns but to discretely start looking for a replacement.
If, in this scenario, the agent had been reinforcing their value, their local expertise, their ability to market to buyers – and done this throughout the vendor’s journey – those concerns and frustrations would have been nipped in the bud.
A little reassurance goes a long way keeping your sellers happy. An automated trigger that gives them tips on viewings, for example, demonstrates that they’re still in your periphery.
 
Embarrassment
In any situation, there’s an underlying instinct to ‘save face’ – to avoid uncomfortable confrontations.
Rawlings applies this concept faultlessly within the property sector, when he says that embarrassment goes both ways. I.e. that the seller is reluctant to say, ‘you’ve failed us’, whilst the agent is often reluctant to win that business back having lost it.
These clients have a relationship with you, making them the ideal prospect to target.
Whether it’s for your sales or lettings instructions, win-back marketing campaigns do work – as discovered by Alexander May.
WINNING BACK PAST LANDLORDS
“The good thing about using the BriefYourMarket.com system is that we know these people aren’t strangers to us, they’re on our system because we’ve done business or spoken with them in the past. And that makes them a warm lead – a warm phone call to have.

We’ve had two landlords come back to us. They phoned up for a sales valuation and these are landlords we might have lost a couple of years ago, and certainly one of them wants to sell their house with us, but also said: ‘oh yes, you might as well take this back over because I’m too busy to do it myself.’”
Communication
It’s the oldest cliché in the book, but communication is key.
Without it, your brand slips from sight and your customers are drawn to one of your competitors who are promising to offer X, Y and Z.
When covering communication, Rawlings says that agents stop talking to lost business; ‘they’ve gone with someone else, so let’s just forget it’. By communicating better, the alternative would be that you could re-engage these customers and reel them back in.

It’s up to the agent to keep that relationship going, but how?
Automated emails provide regular touchpoints that keep your active vendors yours, but they can also be utilised to target other sellers in your area or to address lost instructions.
Don’t directly tout for business,
use a softer approach:

Show vendors what a great agent should offer.
Encourage them to ask the difficult questions.
Demonstrate what you would do differently.
Build and develop that rapport.
Target your lost instructions.
Automate nurture-marketing journeys.