Psst.....Ask for the business! What do you have to lose?
I had a sign call for one of my listings in north Austin yesterday, and we set up an appointment to take a look at the home today at 3:00. He sounded like a nice young guy on the phone when we spoke, and we had a great rapport during the showing. I noticed that he was carrying a spiral notebook with notes about lots of houses (along with agent names, phone numbers, etc.).
We spent awhile looking around and talking about the area and the market in general, and he was hoping his wife could make it to see the place, too. I told him that I didn't have any other appointments until around 6:30, so I was available if we needed to wait on her to see it. This made him happy and he tried to call his wife a few times, to no avail.
While we were looking around in the back yard, I received another call from the flyer, from a lady who lived about two blocks away. I told her that she could swing by to take a look since I was already there showing it to someone else. Needless to say, this created a slight sense of urgency for both parties, although I don't know if it will pan out yet with either of them. Truthfully, it felt like a mini-open house.
Before the other lady arrived, I began to wrap things up with the first buyer. I told him that I would be happy to help him if he was looking at a lot of homes in the area (I already knew he didn't have an agent). He was somewhat noncommittal, but pleasant, and we parted ways. I also told him that I would be happy to come back if his wife were able to make it today, and he was thankful. I gave him my card before he left.
Imagine my surprise when I got a call from him about an hour later, asking if I could show him a couple of other homes in the neighborhood. It turns out that both of them were vacant, so I didn't have to make any appointments.
I told him that I could easily do that, and he said, "That's great! I just want to get your opinion on those so that we can make a decision. I have narrowed it down to three homes, and we will be buying something soon. I'm going to go through you when I buy."
After showing him the other places, I am not really sure that my listing is the best fit for him, his wife, and their four-year old son. I gave him my honest opinion about the pros and cons of each home. If he decides to pursue my listing, we will deal with the intermediary issues and disclosures then. Either way, I gained a new buyer by simply being available and mentioning that I would like to help.
I realized that I might have been the first person to even ask for his business. Perhaps not, but I didn't pressure him in any way, just offered the service if he needed it. This has been my method for many years, but I wondered how many agents he must have already encountered while doing his research. I counted at least a dozen names on the list in his notebook. Perhaps all of them asked for his business, but I bet that most of them didn't bother.
I have never been one to consider us as glorified order takers in the real estate business, although those people certainly exist. I add value to the transaction, either by providing information or perspective that the buyer or seller would not have, or via negotiations, which have become one of my strengths over the years.
So, don't be shy with potential clients. Ask for the business! Sometimes, you might actually get it.
Copyright 2008 Austin Homes