Last week I read a story about an agent in the U.S. who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for robbing homes. In fact, he admitted that he actually lost count of how many homes he robbed. Being an agent allowed him to get lock box codes and then just take his time to look for the good stuff. The article made me think about safety in our “workplace”, not just physical safety (although that should be a real concern) but safety for our sellers and buyers. So, at this week’s meeting my office endeavoured to develop areas of concern for buyers, sellers and ourselves and other agents. Have a look at our lists. Do you have anything to add?
What stood out from the lengthy discussion that evolved from our meeting was that all the points we mentioned were mere reminders of our duties as professional Realtors. We have a responsibility to protect our clients, to coach them in the selling process and offer timely and accurate advice. Our duty to buyer clients is not substantially different. We need to have knowledge in our market, explain the forms and procedures and act as trusted negotiators. To our colleagues we need to communicate truthfully and accurately, keep pristine records and work within established time limits. Interestingly, I find tremendous similarities between these points and our code of ethics. Finally, for ourselves, we need to be aware that there are opportunities for others to take advantage of us. We should always be prepared for the worst.
Finish off with a story told by an agent in our office. She got a call one night, many years ago, from a man who wanted to look at a vacant house late at night. The agent said she wasn’t able to arrange it. The gentleman asked why and the agent, jokingly replied “well it’s dark out, the house is vacant and for all I know you could be an axe murderer”. They set up a meeting for the following morning and in the end the man bought the house. They have a great relationship and whenever he calls her he says “hi, its me, Mr. Axemurderer”. All’s well that ends well in this scenario.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.
Have you ever walked away from a listing presentation and thought “wow, I totally nailed that one” only to find out that the owners went with someone else? It’s happened to me, oh I don’t know, a dozen times. Then it happens….the self doubt…what went wrong? What could I have done different? Don’t beat yourself up about it. As they say, practice makes perfect.
At this week’s meeting I asked the agents a simple question. If you eliminated all the variables, could you get closer to getting that listing? The reality is that sometimes we lose listings for silly reasons. That listing was ours for the taking, but a minor slip up or misstep changed the seller’s mind. It could have been as little as an awkward glance or no maybe you didn’t comment on the owner’s antique doll collection as you were walking around.
So we decided to spend a little time talking about those variables. Take a look at the picture above. Do you have anything to add? It seems a lot of things we do speak right to being prepared….that’s a given. You have to have a shiny presentation complete with comparables, plus a solid marketing plan. Oh, and is your presentation on your iPad or is it a hard copy. You should have both or at least have a solid understanding of how to present to a potential seller before you get there. In our meeting we had two great examples of this point. In one case, the agent lost a listing because his presentation to a young couple was a more traditional paper version. In another case where the owners were elderly, the agent lost because his presentation was on paper as well. Why didn’t he get the listing? Because they expected the buyer of their home to be tech savvy and wanted to list with a tech savvy agent. As the Boy Scouts say…be prepared.
We need to know that some sellers are fickle. Being late for an appointment might be all the deciding factor between them choosing to work with you and the other guy. If you smoke, don’t have a butt before you walk in the door. Don’t show up to the house on your way home from the gym. Don’t chew gum and don’t have food in your teeth. These all seem like ridiculous points but simple hygiene, being well dressed, looking people in the eyes and speaking with authority will get you three-quarters of the way to nailing that presentation.
If you are going out to a condo listing presentation, make sure you are familiar with the building. Arrive early and talk to the concierge about the facilities. Maybe get a tour, take some pics. Knowledge is power in most situations. Come in strong, wow them with your knowledge of the building. At the end of the day, you can check everything off this list and still not get the listing. Another agent could swoop in with a promise of a higher price, or maybe you just got the call because you are the expert in the neighbourhood and they want the right price but they are going to list with their mother’s brother’s girlfriend’s best friend. If that’s the case you can bring them the buyer and they will refer you all kinds of business.
One final note. When you don’t get the listing, don’t sulk. Give the seller a quick call, thank them for the opportunity to present to them and ask them why they chose the other agent. Consider this conversation an exit interview. They probably won’t tell you it was your breath, but they might say the other agent offered to do more. Whatever the reason, it can only help you secure the next attempt.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and Director at Large for the Toronto Real Estate Board.