Understanding what’s really going on
by Neil Jenman
READING TIME: Apx 3.5 mins
“Stop harassing me! Honestly, you guys are like stalkers. Knocking on my door, telephoning me, leaving flyers in my letterbox. When I want to sell my house, I won’t be calling agents who’ve been hounding me. I’ll find my own agent, thanks. Now, get lost and leave us alone.”
Yes, it can be annoying to be hounded by agents. But, before you scream at them or report them to the authorities, please understand what’s happening.
Most sales businesses need stock. A grocery store needs biscuits. A hardware store needs spanners.
And real estate agents need houses.
When the grocery store needs biscuits, they contact Arnott’s. When the hardware store needs tools, they contact Sidchrome. But when real estate agents need houses, there is no-one they can contact.
Except you, their local home-owners.
Real estate agents must find their own stock – known in the trade as “listings”. To a real estate agent, nothing is more keenly coveted, more eagerly sought and more delectably desired than a good new listing. It’s the lifeblood of their business. If agents don’t have houses to sell (listing stock), they can’t make sales. And without sales, they don’t get paid (commission); they go broke.
So, what is an agent to do?
It varies in different areas, but, on average, around seven per cent of all home-owners sell their homes each year. So, some agents – often the smarter ones – have figured something out. If they contact one hundred home-owners, they’ll find seven home-sellers.
Real estate is a sales game. And sales is – always has been and always will be – a numbers game. There are four stages to success in sales.
The first stage is this: Talk to people.
If you’re in sales and you don’t talk to people, you won’t make sales.
Here’s what smart and hard-working salespeople know: The more people they speak to, the more sales they make.
The first stage to making sales in the real estate world is to find new listings. And that means meeting home-owners.
The simplest and most obvious way for agents to meet home-owners is to walk the streets, knock on doors and introduce themselves to the local home-owners.
Now, of course, if the agent is courteous and perceptive, it should not be necessary to hound or ‘stalk’ home-owners. It’s just a simple introduction and, also, enquiring of home-owners when they are moving. Every home-owner moves eventually, whether they like it or not.
To be sure, knocking on doors is not easy. Lazy and weak agents never do it. They are scared witless. They’ll use any excuse not to do it, the most common being, it’s “not professional”. Yes, well, it’s not professional to go broke. And without stock, that’s what will eventually happen if you’re an agent and you don’t get stock, you’ll go broke.
Unless you speak with home-owners.
Granted, no one likes to be a pest. And certainly, no one likes to be abused or, heaven forbid – perish the thought – have a door slammed in their face.
In short, if you are a home-owner, understand this fact: It takes guts to knock on doors.
Not many people can pluck up the courage to head out, alone, into the harsh street of a town or suburb and approach strangers.
But if you are new to the real estate business, if you are just starting your career, what else can you do other than walk the streets – “pound the pavements” – looking for business? It’s what politicians do to win votes. Malcolm Fraser did it for years. So did Bobby Kennedy – and Churchill. All successful politicians have knocked doors, especially early in their careers. It’s what police do to solve crimes. It’s what the SAS does to protect the community.
So, the next time an agent knocks on your door, don’t abuse them. Encourage them. Commend them, especially if they are new. Wish them all the best in their career. And remind them to act with ethics and integrity.
Don’t complain about them. What’s wrong with looking for work? Surely, that’s an attribute, not a defect.
Agents who knock doors to find sellers are likely the best agents.
Like it or not, that’s a simple truth.