I did some interesting work with an estate agency who had a problem that their sales people often didn’t follow up, and contact viewers the next day to say “What did you think of the house? Would you like to put in an offer?”
And I wondered if the sales people – who aren’t stupid – felt that their time was better used on finding more prospects and showing them houses rather than following up yesterday’s viewings. And maybe, from experience, they can tell whether a follow up is worth the hassle.
I think this IS what they are thinking, but I also think they are wrong.
a) if one in a hundred surprises you then that’s worth doing the 100 followups – they only take a minute. Quick call ideally, but even an email would be better than nothing. It could even be automated or delegated.
b) some buyers are vague, they drift, they can be persuaded – “oh yes, it was good that one, oh yes, Ok then, let’s do it” – and if they are wavering you might be able to push them over the edge (to a GOOD decision!) with information about the fact that there are two other people looking at it now, prices are going up next month, etc – all true of course, I would hope.
c) some are stuck because of a barrier, an objection, that you could maybe help with. Maybe they have an objection that’s wrong (“The house is in the bad school catchment area” when it isn’t) or one that is genuine but can be removed (“The vendor won’t come down in price” when they will).
d) some will appreciate it if you make the effort to get back to them. I always feel that if a seller DOESN’T get back to me, e.g. real case: the day after a BMW test drive, if the don’t call me I feel that they don’t care about me, they are complacent, they aren’t going to look after me if I buy the car, so why should I buy from them? I kind of WANT to be hassled!
e) some are not ready yet but you can keep in touch until when they ARE ready, or arrange to call them at a date when they will be ready
f) some are a genuine no – there was something about the house they didn’t like. But that’s fine, how great to find out what it was, and then maybe you can find a better fit for them, maybe there and then you can say “That’s a good point, the garden was quite small, and as luck would have it a house with a bigger garden just came in today, would you like to see it?”. Without the follow up you’d never know, and you’d never get a second bite of the cherry.
g) even if you never get to sell a different house to that person, you have calibrated your judgment to be slightly more accurate, so you’ll be better at pairing up customers and houses in the future, and better at reading their reactions as you show them around. “I never figured him for a garden size person” or “I didn’t pick up at the time that garden size was a problem – hmm, interesting….”
Maybe if the above was explained to the agents they would do more followups and sell more houses?