The story goes that Albert Einstein was once introduced to the eighteen-month-old son of a young friend. The infant looked at the old physicist's wrinkly face and scraggly hair and started to bawl.
"You're the first person in years," Einstein declared, "who has told me what you really think of me."
Getting good feedback can be rare, and certainly in some cases, painful. But in real estate it’s essential and extraordinarily valuable.
When you give it some thought, it’s the buyer’s opinion – and his only – that really counts. And when it comes to making adjustments to a house that could mean a sale versus lingering on the market, the answer comes down to feedback -- raw, unadulterated feedback.
And frankly, if you’re not soliciting feedback from buyers or buyer agents, you’re making a mistake.
So how do you get feedback? Well, there are a few ways. The key is to always make it easy. There’s not a lot in it for the person who’s giving it, so the least you can do is make it as quick and painless as possible.
1. On-site Cards. You can give buyers a card when they come in for an open house that they can use to write their thoughts down as they take a tour. You can pose questions on the card. Open-ended questions are best, but people often won’t take the time to write much. So consider a card with pre-printed items such as first impressions, paint, carpet, price, etc. and simply letting buyers rate each with a 1-10 scale. Choose these items carefully so you get the most useful information. Then at the bottom, leave room if they do want to add any other comments.
2. Phone Calls. Here you’d simply call an agent who led a buyer through one of your listings. The key is, get to the point and don’t waste any time. Some potential questions might be:
- What would it take to get your buyer in for a second showing?
- What changes could we make to the home that would make it more enticing or to get your buyer to reconsider it?
- How does the home compare to others you’ve seen recently?
Be sure to call the same day, or at the latest, the following day after a showing. If it goes beyond that, agents will have probably forgotten about it.
And don't expect agents to give a full critique of the house. If they showed 15 houses, they honestly may not remember it in detail.
3. E-mails. E-mailing is fast, accurate and there’s no phone tag. It’s much like the card, you don’t want to make it too overwhelming, so give plenty of thought about what you want to know and don’t ask for anything more. If someone opens an e-mail that looks long and tedious, guess what, the delete button gets bonked on the head.
4. Automated Feedback Systems - Collecting feedback from showing agents and potential buyers is incredibly valuable. But the time, energy and frustration spent getting that feedback can sometimes outweigh its value. Agents dodge feedback calls or don’t return their voicemails. One service I recommend to my clients is Showing Feedback™, a real estate service that quickly and easily gathers feedback from showing agents, and help sellers see their home more objectively…all effortlessly and automatically.
No matter what vehicle you use to get feedback, keep a stack of thank you cards handy and send them out to those who do share their thoughts. You’ll stand out from the crowd and it’s likely the next time around, they’ll share their feedback again.
And when it comes to sharing feedback with your seller, especially the ugly kind, start by saying, “It’s my job is to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.” Then tell them straight up. Sure, it’ll sting at first, but they’ll appreciate it in the long run, especially when their home sells.
Poor Mr. Einstein couldn’t do much about his face. But you can make your listings better. And feedback can be a key tool for a perfect makeover.
Best of luck to you!
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice. Sign up TODAY for your complimentary business consultation.