Your listings are waiting for you

Chris Watson of Ray White considers the alternative to door knocking and completing yet another free appraisal.

How would you describe this particular task to a three-year-old? It is a great question that always provides answers when you are trying to become more efficient at a task. Bill Gates famously said that he appoints the laziest person to do the hardest task because they will find the easiest way.

I recently had a discussion with an agent in our network that I’m sure each of you have had at some point. The agent asked me, “How do I get more listings?”

My response was, “How would you describe getting a listing to a three-year- old?”

“Well, I find someone who wants to sell their property and convince them I am the best agent to sell that property,” the agent said.

“Then there are two parts to your question, so there are two parts to the answer. Firstly, find more people who want to sell their property; and secondly, convince them you’re the best agent to sell it for them,” I replied.

Seems quite simple, doesn’t it? The real question initially should not have been, “How do I get more listings?” but instead, “How do I find more people who want to sell and convince them I am the best agent to sell their property?”

The common answer to this question from real estate agents is to work harder, knock on more doors, call more reverse phone lists, drop more ‘Free appraisals’ DL cards, do more appraisals, put more water in the bucket. But why keep filling the bucket without fixing the hole in the bottom?

With the exception of agents new to an area, or new to the industry, I would argue that your ‘bucket’ of people wanting to sell is already full. What you need to focus on is the second part of your explanation to the three-year-old. You need to convince those people you’re the best agent to sell their property, not someone else.

Let’s look at the biggest misalignment with our industry and the public. Our industry’s habits are around meeting people who require our services this week, whereas the public’s requirement of our services lasts for months, sometimes years. When potential vendors decide to sell their property it is not a quick decision process. I am yet to meet someone who wakes up on a Saturday morning and says to themselves, ‘What am I going to do today? I know; I’ll go grab a coffee, go to Bunnings, then I’ll appoint an agent to sell my property’. The decision to appoint an agent takes a long time, yet when agents meet someone for an appraisal the agents assume they want to list their property that night. Then, when the potential vendor says, ‘Thank you, Mr Agent, that was very informative but we aren’t going to sell right now,’ the agent thinks ‘What a waste of time that was.’ The agent walks back into the office; the Principal asks, ‘How did you do?’ To which the agent replies, ‘Time wasters’.

What is the single biggest question that must be answered before anyone sells their property? ‘How much is it worth?’

What is an appraisal? A market valuation of how much a property is worth.

So as an industry we offer answers to the biggest question that potential vendors have when deciding to sell their property, yet call them time wasters afterwards!

This is why you don’t need to put more into the bucket; you need to convince those people in the bucket that you are the best agent to sell their property. Why would you slug away trying to meet more people who are at the beginning of the decision cycle instead of convincing people further along the process that you’re the best agent for them?

How do you convince people you are the best agent to sell their property? You speak to them!

Call every appraisal you have ever done. Use simple language such as, ‘I’m just touching base to see how things have progressed,’ or ‘Is there anything else I can do for you at the moment?’

Call through old open home logbooks. Again, use simple language such as, ‘I’m just checking in to see if you are still looking for some real estate, or have you found something?’ Then ascertain whether they are first homebuyers or if they have a property to sell.

Call back anyone who has ever enquired on a property for sale and ask the same questions as above.

Wouldn’t you get a listing more quickly with this type of prospecting then door-knocking a street offering free market appraisals?

Your prospects are waiting for you by the heater. Why would you drag yourself back out into the cold?

Chris Watson

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