This was said to me yesterday, by Chris Wood of PDQ in Penzance (@PDQProperty on Twitter) and it’s so true, it inspired this blogpost – so thank you Chris!
As an estate agent, your job has three main components:
1. get the valuation appointment in the first place
2. then win the instruction, and finally, once you get the house
3. you need to sell the property, or no one gets paid.
Stock is particularly low at the moment (some say the lowest since pre-Northern Rock) so this part of the job is easier than it has been for a while, but not all properties sell quickly.
Properties with what was once described to me as a ‘disamenity’ (great word, that) – in other words, something disadvantageous to the house (main road, proximity to sewage works, next door to a takeaway, etc) – need more skill and effort to sell them, as do homes in less popular areas, or by vendors with over-optimistic expectations. Occasionally, you have all three to contend with, and over the past decade, I’ve had more than my fair share of these.
I’ve learned that it’s not about selling the house; it’s about selling the viewing – just as Chris said to me. Once you have that mindset shift, your job becomes clearer, and easier.
Have you watched a Phil and Kirsty episode recently?
I watched one just the other day, as the couple were standing in the ‘wildcard’ house, waxing lyrical about it. Notice how it’s often the wildcard property that they choose – so named because it bears no resemblance to the house they originally described as their dream home. This particular couple had stated emphatically that they wanted a quiet location – nowhere near a road, a detached property and that they must have a garage. Guess what they eventually chose. Exactly – semi on a main road with no garage. How often do your buyers do exactly the same thing? They say ‘buyers are liars’ but it’s truer to say that they have no idea what they really want, and they are waiting for that magical ‘feeling’ when they will ‘just know’ it’s the right home for them. How can you tell a ‘feeling’ from a property advert? You can’t. So we need to get them across the door of as many likely – and often, unlikely – properties as we can, to find that elusive home that gives them that ‘feeling’ as soon as they walk through the door.
But how do we persuade a buyer to look at a home and not just dismiss it out of hand?
The main route to selling a viewing is the online advert. Let’s take Rightmove as an example, and the most likely first touchpoint. Look at the summary page – the one with all the properties listed on it – where your property is one of many. On this page, the first hurdle is actually to sell the ‘click’. No one is going to book a viewing from that first page, so your advert for that property has to be strong enough to stand out from the other properties on that page, all competing for the buyer’s attention. ‘Teaser’ images, great headlines and a strong price all work together to tempt a browser to actually click to find out more. Sell the ‘click’, and they are onto the property detail page….
On this next page, your property isn’t competing with any others, so your only goal here is to sell the viewing. Photographs, bullets, description, floorplan and brochure link all work together to intrigue a buyer and invite them to pick up the phone to book that viewing. They may call the office and ask you for further information about that house, but they are really looking for a reason to view it, and your job is to make sure they do.
Don’t try to sell the house to them on the phone, just the viewing.
Selling the viewing is about marketing, not ‘selling’ in the traditional sense. You’re not selling double glazing or a fitted kitchen. You’re actually selling the opportunity for someone to step into a possible future for themselves, and try it on for size. And if they get that ‘feeling’ as they cross the threshold, trust me – the house will do the rest for you.
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What to read next: How to Conduct the Perfect Viewing
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