Genius: Making the Complicated Simple

Keep it simple
Typical real estate agents blame the market for poor sales. And they resort to all sorts of expensive, and quite useless, tools to make sales.

In early November I saw a news item on Channel 10 about an American real estate agent who hired actors to be in attendance during inspections of one of his/her properties. The actors played ‘happy families’, singing Happy Birthday to a ‘family’ member, played games, demonstrated the appliances; etc. The idea, we are told, was to show buyers that this property was the ideal family home. That little exercise cost the hapless seller about $40,000.

We didn’t even reach the end of November before some genius – thankfully not a real estate agent – on Sydney’s north shore did the same thing. An article in the Mosman Daily said, and I quote, “The actors did the job of pointing out the many gadgets built into the property that might otherwise have been missed.

They say that genius is taking the complicated and making it simple. This begs the question, what is the salesperson’s job if not to demonstrate the property and its gadgets?

The article did not mention whether or not the property sold. I suspect that had the property sold due to the ‘happy family’ demonstration the article would have mentioned it. And this raises another question: is all this hoopla necessary?

I do not know whether the property mentioned in the article was at fair market price or not, but I do know for certain that any amount of hocus pocus – actors, lavish advertising campaigns; etc. – will not sell a property that is overpriced. The only thing such expense will accomplish is that more people will find out more quickly just how overpriced the property really is.

Why over complicate what is really a simple issue? Leaders, most salespeople do not want to face the fact that if their listings are not selling the likelihood is that their stock is overpriced. Instead of allowing your team to complain about how hard it is to find buyers, take action now. Run a Focus Parade.

At your next sales meeting, examine the sales your team made in the past four weeks. How many of those properties sold immediately following a price adjustment? Get the picture? Properties that are priced to sell in this market – not a market that may have existed six months ago – will sell. Those that are overpriced won’t.

Talk to your team about this. On a whiteboard, draw up four columns: Address, Price Now, Should Be, and Result. In the Address column, write the addresses of four unsold listings of each of your salespeople. If there are four salespeople, you should have sixteen addresses on the board. In the Price Now column write the current price of each listing.

One by one, talk about each property. At what price should this property be listed in order for it to sell? Allow the lister to talk about the features and benefits of the property, but do not allow the lister to have any input into the price at which the property should be listed; the team decides this price.

Once the team has reached agreement, the team’s price is written in the Should Be column. Continue in this fashion until all sixteen properties have been examined by the team and a Should Be price agreed.

Now that the Focus Parade is complete, the team has seventy-two hours in which to visit their sellers and convince them to adjust their asking prices to the level decided by the team. Record the new price achieved in the Result column of the Focus Parade whiteboard.

Although every team member may not be able to get all four of his or her sellers to see reason and reduce their prices to the levels suggested by the teams, all but the weakest listers will come back with four good price adjustments. This factor, more than any other, will lead to sales, and to happy sellers. And I do mean happy.

If you want to make sellers happy, all you need to do is:

SELL THEIR PROPERTY!

Leaving sellers sitting on the market with no result does not make them happy. While suggesting that they reduce their asking prices may not make them too happy at the time, focus on how happy they will be once they sell.

Price adjustments make sales. Advertising, taking buyers through overpriced properties, employing actors to demonstrate the family-friendliness of the home, and a myriad of other ‘selling tools’ over complicate what should be a simple matter – put a fair asking price on a property and it will sell at a fair price.

There is genius in this simplicity, leaders.

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