In his film Phenomenon, John Travolta plays a character who gets hit by lightning, unexpectedly rendering him a genius, temporarily at least.
One scene in the movie stuck with me. Travolta’s character, George, is initially perplexed by the fact that a rabbit is somehow getting into his vegetable patch, and resolves to fix the problem. He checks every inch of the rabbit-proof fence, and stays awake on watch all night, keeping guard over the patch. In the morning, he is astonished to find, yet again, that the rabbit has somehow got into his vegetable patch and has helped himself to the crops George is so proud of. This happens night after night, until George has a Eureka! moment: the rabbit is already inside the vegetable patch. In fact, by securing the fence, he’s now stuck in the patch, with only George’s vegetables to live on.
Great story, but what on earth has it got to do with being an estate agent? I’ll show you:
We’re so busy fixing the holes in our marketing, making sure that no one is unaware of our brand, our message, our offer, that we are forgetting those people who are already inside the fence. Think about it. Look at all the buyers who ever bought a property from you. Some of you have, I know, records going back more than 15 years. When was the last time those buyers heard from you? If they were a first time buyer then, what could they be now? Aspiring family? Upsizer? Even empty nester??
There is another, very important reason to keep in contact with your buyers: they like you. (Usually). Buying a house is often a much more positive experience than selling a house, isn’t it? The selling process can be fraught with disappointments, empty promises and a general reluctant lowering of expectations. Buying, on the other hand, is a very upbeat process more often than not. It’s all about aspirations, dreams and goals. About finding the perfect place to live, with excitement and enthusiasm.
As a consequence, at the end of a transaction, who likes you more, the buyer or the seller? The buyer, of course. You made their dreams come true. So they will more than likely be glad to hear from you when you send them a bouquet on their first anniversary of living in the house. Perhaps also the subsequent anniversaries. And a call to make sure they got them may reveal a pending job move, new baby, or other exciting plans that mean they could be considering a move. And who are they going to ask to help?
You see, you have already caught your rabbit. Don’t set him free; take care of him. He could be the opportunity you’ve been searching so hard for, in the wrong place.
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What to read next : A FOCUS Strategy for Estate Agents
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