Tuesday, June 4, 2013

AH-HAH Moments!

Last week I noticed one of our listings was getting a little long in the tooth….321 days active on the market …“ouch” and in a slow selling price range …I pulled the history and discovered we are the 3rd company to list the property over the past 4 years. I contacted the listing associate to engage a conversation regarding the salability of the property and to see if I could give suggestions.

During our conversation the associate stated “It appears the Sellers don’t have to sell” … and I answered “appears?”… “They just don’t seem to be very motivated” the associate deliberated… in a manner trying to persuade themselves more than to convince me. “They won’t do any repairs and they won’t lower the price…they told me so when I listed it” the associate added with emphasis.

I knew right away I needed to make this an “AH-HAH!” moment for this agent.

I stared them straight in the eyes and firmly asked… “So…when was the last serious discussion you had with these unmotivated Sellers, (together… face to face), regarding market conditions and pricing of their property?” …This is when the associate started to squirm…you know…the kind of squirming a 2 year old does when they have to potty… they won’t tell you why they are squirming, not matter how many times you ask… but you know… and in this case I knew we had identified the core problem.

Slowly the agent looked up from the floor and started with the first excuse:  I had often wondered if the sellers had forget their home is even for sale as they never seem to call to ask me what is going on." (Another AH-HAH! Coaching Moment)

AH-HAH! Tip #1: Contact the sellers every day for the first ten days of the listing. While putting a sign in a yard may be just another day at the office to you, it's a Big Deal to your sellers and they want to feel you care as much as they do about listing their home. The best way to let them know this is to be in frequent communication about all the things you're doing and what's happening, so they know they're “Always On Your Mind”. This is really easy to do… since there are a lot of things going on in those first ten days! Share a written business plan for each listing with the Sellers…and yes they will all be different…Spell out how often and for what reasons you will be contacting them …but they can contact you more often when they have questions or concerns.

AH-HAH! Tip #2: Provide the seller with a Time-Line of Events describing what will be happening during the listing period, as well as during the Contract-to-Closing period. Use the words "we," "our," and "let's" when discussing strategy, marketing, or price adjustments.

The associate sheepishly stated those 2 suggestions would have helped… but then offered another excuse:  What could I do, there were no showings, no feedback, and they had already told me they were not going to lower the price”.

AH-HAH! Tip #3: Give the seller a Market Snapshot the day their home goes on the market. A "Market Snapshot" is a list of the current competition for your listing - aka the other homes on the market competing with yours. This will be their “base-line”….Then every few weeks, update this report with a "State of the Market" report, detailing recent activity such as new listings, price reductions, homes under contract and withdrawn, etc. Let them know when you put their property active you are “testing the market” letting the buyers be the judge of price and condition. Buyer feedback will determine if and when adjustments are needed. If the seller is not willing to accept market conditions… you may decide you don’t even want the listing.

AH-HAH! Tip #4: Preview any new competition as it comes on the market and share your findings with the seller. Keep an eye on the market activity surrounding your listing and preview any comparable new listing going active. This gives you a great excuse to contact your seller with feedback and keeps you up-to-date on the market activity in the area.

AH-HAH! Tip #5: Offer to take your seller out to preview the comparable competition for their home. Tips 3 & 4 are designed to get price adjustments from even the toughest sellers…Show them what is selling and what is not selling from the inside out!

This time as the agent responded there was a sparkle in their eyes …”Yeah….I could do that! And maybe even do an updated CMA every 3-4 weeks…do you think that would be helpful?”  “I think that would be a great idea” I responded. And then I offer the associate this final tip

AH-HAH! Tip #6: Ask your seller often for feedback on how they feel you're doing. A few weeks into the listing (after you've been showering them with attention the first ten days!), just ask your sellers if they're satisfied with your service. This allows you to take their temperature every so often and may offer insight to their reactions to feedback and your suggestions.

This “intervention” got me thinking... and provided inspired to share a few things which we may over-look that a client may not…

"Sellers may not complain to you... But They Notice"

ü  When the property doesn’t show up immediately online… they notice

ü  When their online photos are fuzzy, poorly positioned or have no descriptions... they notice

ü  When your website is down or has broken links… they notice

ü  When there hasn't been any showings, and you haven’t called... they notice

ü  If the only time they hear from you is when you call to ask for a price reduction... they notice

ü  Even when you fail to ask for a price reduction… they notice

ü  When the brochures still show the original price after two reductions... they notice

ü  When the outside brochure box is empty... they notice

ü  When you don't touch base with them at least weekly... they notice

ü  When you don’t offer to do an Open House, (or at least explain why you aren’t) ... they notice

ü  When you don’t provide feedback after showings... they notice

ü  When you haven't updated them on market activity... they notice

ü  When you get self-righteous…they notice

ü  When the yard sign is faded or broken… they notice

ü  When you fail to explain “the process” … they notice

ü  When you don’t show up at the closing… they notice

Just because a client isn’t complain doesn't mean they are all happy, happy, happy! And just because they are not wailing on you… doesn't mean they’re keeping quiet elsewhere. Bad news travels at the speed of sound!