Several weeks ago a conducted a little audience participation at my morning meeting. We were approaching the tail end of a rather crummy summer, weather wise at least, and I asked every person in the group to come up with one thing, just one little thing, that they would do over the next three weeks that would go towards getting more business for the fall. Simple task right? Check out the list we came up with.
Following the meeting I put all the “jobs” into a spread sheet with agents names on the opposite axis. I posted the list on my office window and encouraged agents to check off as many jobs as possible. In the end, we had pretty good success. Sure, there were a few agents who opted out of the checklist but for each that chose not to participate there was another who made it a mission to get through the whole list. Congratulations. You know who you are!
This was a simple office meeting exercise designed to spark ideas in agents to help them build a great client list. More importantly it should have demonstrated the point that the job of prospecting is something we must do everyday and not three weeks before the busy fall market. There should not be a start date to prospecting especially if you’ve been working in the real estate field for any length of time. It is a full-time endeavour.
Here’s the thing. During our meeting we managed to list off 24 ways to build future business. I’m sure that after you review the list you might want to add something to it. The reality is that I wouldn’t expect anyone to do everything on the list. If you aren’t doing anything then this will give you a base to start. You may be in a position where you are doing somethings but have the time to do a few others. Time to pick from the suggestions.
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We had an interesting debate last week at Mastermind about taking an overpriced listing and who and how the price was determined. Have you ever asked an agent ‘Is that the Seller’s price?” because essentially what you are saying is ‘hey, that price is so far out in left field you either don’t know what you are doing or the Seller has chosen the price himself’. Anyway you slice it, no agent wants to hear this question. Sure, ask it as often as you want, but be prepared for the day when the shoe is on the other foot.
So, for a moment, let’s assume that you have taken a listing and the owner has insisted that you list it $100K over fair market value. You took the listing because it is in the neighbourhood that you want to farm and the Seller has agreed to revisiting the list price after a few weeks of “testing” his price. Perhaps you feel confident that you can keep hammering away at the home owner for price reductions. Eventually you get “that” call. An agent calls asks you if it is the Seller’s price. What would you say? To say yes would make you seem unprofessional and perhaps reveal that the Seller is in the driver’s seat but to say no might suggest to that agent that you ‘bought’ the listing. dilemma? Not really. Your best answer is “I would encourage you to bring an offer that you and your Buyer find fair”.
At the core, this whole conversation starts with the listing agent’s initial discussion with the Seller about why his value is so much higher than the agent’s own competitive market analysis. Perhaps you are missing something. Probably not, but lets keep an open mind. The Seller believes his home is more valuable for a number of reasons. Sure, you can see some of his points, even though they are dull ones, but as a duly appointed representative of the Seller, and since you agreed to take the listing, it is your job to go out and stand behind that price. Have you ever heard the term the walls have ears? Saying something negative about the Seller or the list price will come back to bite you. Recently I heard a story of how an agent lost a listing because during a showing she made negative comments about what a dump the kitchen was. The owner and proud kitchen designer was hiding in the pantry listening. We live in a time when nanny cams in homes are as common as dishwashers.
Treat your client fairly and don’t reveal your true feelings about their price. Hopefully you have put into motion a plan and timeframe to revisit your pricing strategy. I suppose the flip side to this argument is that you let someone else take the overpriced listing and let them spend money trying to market it. That is a personal decision only you can make.