Useful sales career tips
To many Singaporeans, sales agents = the polished-looking people who intercept you outside MRT stations with “are you still studying or working?”. But that’s far from what being one really is.
To get the low down on the true nature of the sales industry, we spoke to Jerry Leong, Harry Yap, Chipson Ma and Lester Tan, 4 sales mentors from OrangeTee & Tie, an established property agency in Singapore. For those thinking of entering the real estate industry, here are the top 9 tips to nail the job:
1. Don't be the rookie looking for quick money
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Uttering “I want to strike it rich fast” in sales is the equivalent of saying “Voldemort” in the wizarding world - a taboo. You’d probably be scolded by your mentors for attempting shortcuts.
One small but common example is doing research last minute, or even during a phone call with a client.
The saying 10% talent and 90% hard work stands very true in the sales industry. Among the 3 sales mentors, one particular tip came up multiple times: work hard and work smart.
It takes time to do research, understand the market trends and form long-lasting connections with clients, but this is what will tide you well as you progress in the industry. Fresh blood seeking instant, easy dollars tend to drop out within 3 or 4 years, says Jerry Leong, a Senior Associate Group Director at OrangeTee & Tie.
2. Start from cold calls and work towards hot leads
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If the first thing we associate with property agents is incessant questions, a close second would be cold calls.
Cold calling refers to the act of contacting strangers to convince them to buy a product or service, and is a rite of passage for newbies, according to Harry Yap, an Associate District Director at OrangeTee & Tie. With few connections and little experience, most rookies would have to start from here.
Unfortunately, cold calling has low reaps, especially if you are selling big ticket items like property. As you progress, these will need to be turned into hot leads - meaning targeting people you already know are looking for your product. Since the potential client’s interest is already there, you'll just need to convert them into sales.
Hot leads come in many forms, from you scouring newspaper property listings to having clients referred to you through word-of-mouth.
3. Record your voice to practice telemarketing
For cold calling, the main objective is to convert someone who is, ahem, “busy at the moment” to someone who is willing to meet up with you.
When closing the deal, it all boils down to self-confidence. Practice emanating the surety of Donald Trump by figuring out the tone and word choices work for you when talking on the phone.
Many people hate the sound of their own voice on playback but hey, that’s gonna be your potential client’s first impression. Listen out for stutters, filler words like erm and nervous laughs, and make a conscious effort to cut them out.
On top of that, listen for verbal cues from your clients and try to make them feel comfortable when talking to you. “Say something that people like to hear,” says Chipson Ma, Senior Associate Executive Director and Master Trainer at OrangeTee & Tie.
4. Build a strong rapport with your client base
Imagine an MRT. There are people hopping on board and people hopping off but at the end of the line, the train is empty. That’s what Chipson calls the “MRT train situation”, and refers to a problem when your client pool deteriorates faster than it replenishes.
There are 2 ways to avoid this. Keep sourcing for new clients through cold calling and warm leads, and maintain close contact with current ones.
The latter is the more effective way to retain a strong amount of clientele. One way you can do so is by exchanging gifts during festive occasions like Chinese New Year and Christmas, or pop by for a visit if you are in the vicinity of the sold property.
On top of coming back to you for a second or third purchase, they are also likely to refer you to their friends.
5. Stalk online resources religiously
Image credit: Urban Redevelopment Authority
Wise men say, only fools rush in. You really don’t want to be answering any question with ‘I don't know’ punctuated with a nervous ‘haha’.
“If the agent is not equipped with enough information, the client will feel like they are being shortchanged,” says Chipson. So always do your research beforehand. Incorporate online reads into your daily routine if you want to be ahead of the game.
For example, if you are going into property sales, check up on websites in Singapore like SRX, PropertyGuru and even Urban Redevelopment Authority to keep up with the market changes and trends. On top of that, agencies like OrangeTee & Tie tend to have an exclusive online database with bi-monthly to quarterly reports for you to read.
6. Prepare to switch things up every few years to stay motivated
As with everything in life, you have to begin with the end in mind. When it comes to sales, set a long-term goal to keep yourself motivated.
It’s easy to get burnt out with constant client interactions and irregular work hours. In the beginning, it might seem easy to grow as an agent, says Chipson who has been in the trade for over 24 years. Rookies have less to lose when they embark on a risky decision.
However, once you get to the top, it might be difficult to maintain your momentum. Chipson's solution was to switch up his career by being a mentor at OrangeTee & Tie to guide newcomers with his knowledge and experience.
“I've lasted so long because I kept pushing myself,” he added.
7. Join project marketing to simplify the job
Image credit: Orange Tee & Tie
In property sales, there are 2 steps to the trade. First, you would need to find a product to sell. Following that, you need to look for interested buyers.
To make things simpler, sign yourself up for project marketing with your property agency where you will be provided with units to sell; allowing you to focus on looking for, and closing the deal with, clients.
It makes for a good learning ground for newbies. Through this, you’d also be able to familiarise yourself with the trade in a more structured environment while gathering fresh contacts for future sales.
8. Never say “I’ll get back to you”
“A lot of newbies have trouble closing their first deal,” says Lester Tan, Senior Associate Executive Director at OrangeTee & Tie. And that's because they aren’t equipped with the experience needed to answer questions immediately, which comes with confidence.
Many end up using the phrase, 'I'll get back to you', but to Lester, this is a dealbreaker. Why? 'Cuz customers can easily find the answers they need on the internet after that. "You value will diminish," he adds.
Mentors often provide their own additional resources to help equip them to reply instantly. For Lester, he provides his agents with InstantPro, an exclusive mobile application that can draw information on nearby properties with a shake of their phones.
9. Stay up to date with things out of your main job scope
To be a good sales agent, it's best to know not just your own trade, by the ones closely related to it as well.
One good extra skill to hone up on is financial calculations to seal the deal while the client is still interested and excited. Financial calculation is mainly used to measure if a client can afford a purchase. Traditionally, agents - especially in the property market - have to pass clients to a lawyer who will then help with the math.
“That is one day wasted,” says Lester. “By then the client would have already cooled down.”
It may sound complicated but there are resources online, as well as mobile applications, to help you get these calculations done. One such app is Lester's InstantPro, which can help identify if a customer can afford a property based on factors like income and CPF.
Kickstart your sales career with OrangeTee & Tie
Image credit: Orange Tee & Tie
Starting your career can be intimidating, but not if you have the right guidance. At property agency OrangeTee & Tie, you’ll be under the care of experienced mentors like Jerry, Harry, Chipson, and Lester to smoothly guide you into the industry with 1-to-1 coaching and structured training programmes.
There are various kinds of sales you do, but property allows you to reap many rewards - including having a stable job and a large network of clients.
Self-improvement workshops, online resources, and mobile applications will also be constantly available covering everything you need to know from real estate to social media marketing.
But what is theory without practice? Newcomers here will also be provided with on-ground training and project marketing training, all of which will prep you with both hard and soft skills when it comes to building relationships with future clients.
In the long run, there is also a potential for a dual career path with OrangeTee & Tie. After you have honed up your skills for sales, you would have the opportunity to branch out into leadership and management, where you can guide newcomers into the industry.
The sales world is an exciting one, where you will discover the inner mechanics of this seemingly uncovered industry - it’s not what you glimpse outside the MRTs for sure.
If you are interested in joining OrangeTee & Tie, check out their website for more details on the job.
This post was brought to you by OrangeTee & Tie