So who, in this scenario is the idiot? Well, honestly, many, if not most agents when they’re showing homes, and every agent showing homes in TV and movies.
I’ll expand. 30 years ago, all agents represented the sellers. So when “your” agent showed you a house, they really represented the seller. So of course, their goal was to make the sale. They might show up early, open windows, turn on lights, bake cookies….they wanted to get paid!!
Fast-forward to today, and our goal now, as true buyers’ agents, should be to represent our buyers, which means to protect their best interests. They don’t need us to point out quartz countertops and excellent color choices (things that can be changed). Rather they should come to rely on us to tell them what they don’t know to look for like water damage, bad floorplans, shoddy workmanship, sloped floors, lack of natural light, and other issues that will become problems during their ownership or when they go to sell. If you want to build a referral business, shouldn’t you make sure your clients buy good houses? Later in another post, we will expand on this. We talk a lot about incurable and curable dysfunction in homes with our clients.
We are in a position of power and influence during this important moment in our clients’ lives. We could certainly take notice of their enthusiasm about a home, harness that energy, and give it enough momentum to get them all the way to the close – maybe even help keep it together during the process by minimizing inspection concerns when they arise. In fact, I’ve certainly seen plenty of agents do just that. But who are you helping when you do that? I guess the seller will be a fan. And you’ll get paid sooner, and will have worked fewer hours than you might have. But is that any way to do business? Does that feel good? Are you likely to get the call to later list the lemon you railroaded them in to? In a word, no. Don’t be an idiot.
Is our way more work? Yes. We absolutely show more homes per client this way, and make less money per hour. But we sleep great at night. And in the morning, we go to work, and instead of cold-calling and knocking on doors for the first half of our day, we focus on how to help our current clients, and then our phone rings. It’s either a returning client, or one of their friends asking for our help. Because we did the hard work to make sure our people didn’t buy a bad house, and they happily volunteered to refer us when they heard someone was looking to buy.
I don’t think most agents set out to screw their clients. I just think they fall in to the old models of doing business. The models that have given our industry a less-than-fantastic reputation. We don’t have to do that. In fact many agents who seek our mentorship or attend our classes are thrilled at the prospect of doing it another way. They see top-producing agents burning through new clients and think that’s the model to follow. Forgetting how much money they spend getting and capturing those new leads, and unaware how few of them they retain.
So start now. No more talking clients in to houses. Talk them out of houses. If you can’t find enough reason not to buy it, maybe it’s a good one. That’s your new philosophy. Don’t know enough about houses? (don’t worry, neither do most of your peers) Learn! Preview lots of houses, always attend inspections, ask questions and listen. Lots of agents make plenty of money in real estate using sales tactics, and never bother to learn how to tell a good house from a bad one. They’re idiots. They are not serving their clients. Don’t be an Idiot, be and Advocate.