This post today is a must-read. It may change the way you sell real estate. I have spent a lot of time studying the psychology that goes into sales because I find it fascinating. What goes on in a person’s mind to make them choose one agent over another? I just interviewed several people that I know that have recently listed their house, and asked them a ton of questions about why and how they chose their agent.
The negatives. Things NOT to do.
There are some negative things that are really obvious, and some that you sure as hell never thought people would even think about. Read on because you need to know this.
Too much information. I was speaking with a homeowner earlier today that has just listed their house. I asked them some questions about why they didn’t choose a couple of the agents they interviewed. One of the things that stood out in their mind was a big packet of information that was sent to them. It was 20+ pages of data about their neighborhood, demographics, median area income, etc… It was packed full of information and looked nice, but very little of it actually meant anything to them. It may have had more value to a buyer wondering what the neighborhood was like, but to the seller it was just a lot of useless information. They actually told me they thought the real estate agent spent five minutes pulling a bunch of useless data to try to look impressive.
The point I took from this is that we need to give people the information that is critical, and explain why it is critical. Being thorough is awesome, but packing in tons of stats just to try to make the packet thicker is not so good. People tend to see through it, and in some cases it will actually bother them enough that they will choose another agent over you.
Giving a price without seeing the house. This is another thing that was mentioned to me several times. Some agents mail or email out a packet that includes a CMA and an estimated value of the house. Guess what? Most people think (or at least hope) that their house is worth more than it really is. If you send people an estimated value of their house and they don’t like what they hear, chances are you just lost that listing. What if another agent does the same thing but gives them a higher estimated value? This could certainly sway them to call the other agent for an appointment before you. If you are an agent that likes sending out a CMA in advance, don’t give them a price. Show them the range of sold homes in the area, and put a note that you MUST see their home before you can give them an accurate estimate of the value. That way you can explain to them in-person how you came up with the value, even if it is lower than they expected.
Showing up too early or late. Don’t go to a listing appointment early. People are busy, and chances are, they are doing last minute cleaning before you get there. If you knock on the door 15 minutes early they may not be quite ready. This can set a negative mood for the whole appointment. It’s not worth the risk. And it goes without saying that being late just sucks. Just don’t do it. Show the property owner respect by being there on time. So basically, don’t ring their doorbell more than three minutes early, and never a minute late. Makes sense, right?
Dressing up like a ninja. Never show up to a listing appointment if you are dressed like a ninja. Unless of course you really are a ninja. If that is the case be ready to impress them with your nun-chuck skills. Trust me, it works every time. They will not be able to resist listing with you. Ninjas are the only type of real estate agent that lists every house they walk into.
Not being prepared. Trust me, even if you know a neighborhood really well, people will know if you are not prepared. You really should know a lot about a person’s house before you meet with them and attempt to list it. Its pretty much impossible to over-prepare. The more knowledgeable you are the better your chances are of listing the property are.
These are the things you MUST do to be people’s first choice.
Now its time to discuss what you actually should do! I’m betting that most people here don’t do all of these… If you do everything on this list you will sell more real estate. I’m pretty sure I’m right about this, so you should definitely give it a try.
Be super-ultra-amazingly-easy to get in touch with. This was the number one thing that people told me they looked for in an agent. Apparently real estate agents have this horrible stereotype that they don’t answer their phones and take forever to call people back. Ask just about anyone if they have heard horror stories of listing with an agent and never being able to get in touch with them. Everybody has heard one of these stories. But you are different. You are fast and efficient at returning calls, and very clear with your clients about what your schedule is. If that doesn’t describe you, change it. Its especially important to be prompt with phone calls before they have signed with you, but the great service should continue the entire time you are working with them.
Knowledgeable and prepared. This was another point that was brought up multiple times to me. People want to feel like their agent knows just about everything there is to know about the house and the neighborhood. It’s really not that hard to do the research, and then review it one more time just before your appointment. You want it to be fresh in your mind when you go to meet with the owner. Ypu may not need to use all of the research every time, but you really are going to run into people that have a million questions. If you know the answers your chances of getting that listing are so much higher.
Don’t be pushy. I agree with this one to a certain point, but I do know that some pushy sales people close a ton of sales. I would say that the best way to phrase this is “Don’t come across as pushy”. The goal is to have the prospects feel comfortable with you. But it is possible to be so non-pushy (is that even a word?) that you could lose the listing. Honestly, you have to push them to list with you before you leave their house. They just don’t want to feel bullied into listing with you, so it’s all about how you com across. You need to do your best to control the outcome of the meeting, without acting like a used-car-salesman (Yes, here I am again using stereotypes! See how powerful they can be?)
Help them figure out what they want to do. It is your job to try to make sure that they get the best outcome for their situation. People like it when you are sincerely interested in helping them. Its not just about listing the house. There is more to it than that. It’s about you helping them make the right decisions. Should they even list right now? What potential issues will arise? What questions do they have about the whole process that you can answer for them? Remember that you are the sales expert. You are being hired as an expert, so be sure you are giving them the best expert advice that you can. Do this by really listening and helping them to choose the best course. They will respect you for this, and probably list with you.
Come across as a business-person. Another stereotype is that real estate agents work independently are are not very organized. You need to give them a very strong impression that you are running a business. Your marketing should be planned out. Your business process should be planned out and explained to them. If you want to be really successful it really is important to make selling real estate a true business. If you don’t understand what I mean by this, try reading one of the E-Myth books about creating business systems, or The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. Both of these books discuss the importance of actually designing your business as a business, and not just flying by the seat-of-your-pants.
Now get out there and be awesome.
Be the best. That is all you really need to do. Really truly go the extra mile every time you have an appointment. Be the most prepared agent that they could possible ever meet with. Be exactly on time. Care about them. Listen to what they have to say. Help them make the decision that you truly believe is the best for them. Basically just be a good person and do good business. It will pay off. And when it does, could you send me your success story so I can tell people about it?