With Home Sales, the Customer Isn’t Always Right
We all know the age old adage “the customer is always right”. What the average consumer is unaware of however, is how much they actually aren’t right.
There is something to be said about good salesmanship and giving the customer what they want. Home sales however is an entirely different ball game. Granted, you will find those few clients who actually have experience and know how to effectively navigate the home buying process. More often than not though, you will have people (like me) who think they know everything.
Sure, they are educated, sophisticated and successful. They may even be the expert in their field. Unfortunately, and I apologize on behalf of all the “know it alls” you will encounter, they tend to think this means they are the experts in EVERY field. It can be frustrating dealing with them because as you probably guessed, or experienced, these individuals also do not like to be told what to do.
As a recovering “know it all”, I am here to tell you that there are a few key ways that you can successfully deal with these people. They really can be talked down out of the unrealistic cloud they are in and I’m going to share how to do that.
4 Ways to Break it to Your Client that they Aren’t Right:
1. Questions are your best friend.
I have a friend who is VERY good at healthy conflict. She disarms me every time when she simply phrases her points in question form. Questions are the gentle version when you want someone to think about something a little more. Its like planting a seed and letting the other person water it with their thoughts. “What do you think about the price of the home being higher than the other 3 on the block and over market value?” will go over way better than, “the price of your home is too high and that’s why its not selling.”
Get creative with the question forming – it can be a great tool in getting your client to see your way of thinking without forcing it on them. You want to empower them to succeed – one way of doing that is asking leading questions which allows them to come to the answer on their own. Ask your question, leave them to it for a day or 2 and come back to see what grew in your absence.
2. Channel your inner lawyer.
Its all about the facts. Make a good case to your client about why you are right. Don’t just pull the “because I said so” card. Nothing infuriates a “know it all” more than trying to force your point of view on them – they will interpret it as you are having a “I am better than you are” attitude and will dig their heels in every time.
What does a lawyer do? They research, know their facts, and present things in a persuasive way.
You can do the same thing. Research your market, have all the facts ready and then present it in a persuasive way to your clients. Lay it out for them. “Actually, your home isn’t selling because its overpriced by $200,000 when homes in your area and market are selling for $300,000.”
Then show them where you found your information. Statistics and numbers are very persuasive – and if you have pictures to show them, use them – most people are visual learners, not to mention that the brain processes images a great deal faster than just reading text or hearing information.
Explain to your clients why their viewpoint is not correct. Obviously, we want to do this in a way that is respectful and not condescending – tone of voice generally plays a big role here.
“You found this information on Zillow.com – which is unfortunate since only 20% of their estimates actually fall in $100,000 accuracy range.” (not a real statistic – they do have accuracy issues, but I just made that one up)
Then present a case why they should listen to your advice. “This is a common issue I see as a REALTOR – out of the _______ homes I have sold, the majority of my clients overprice their home – which is very understandable, you paid a lot of money for your home and you want to get the most money out of it. When we have dropped the price though, 8 out 10 homes sell within 3 weeks.”
They are intelligent people, appeal to that intelligence in a way where they see your facts. I know that when someone takes their time to research something and values me enough to explain it to me respectfully, I am way more apt to listen to them.
3. Just say it like it is.
Sometimes, you just have to be blunt.
“Your home isn’t selling because the backyard is a mess.” Be that friend who just tells you that you have spinach in your teeth – who isn’t grateful to have someone point that out instead of walking around for HOURS with green smiling out at people?!
When you are blunt always give resources for correcting the issue and a positive point to leave them with. “Good thing your house has great curb appeal – that will help. We need to take care of that backyard though – I know a few people who can help at a great price.”
Present things in a way that communicates that you are on their side and because you are the one on their team, they have nothing to worry about.
4. Let someone else be the bad guy.
I have good news. You do not have to always be the bad guy.
No, I am not talking about shoving someone else under the bus..There is this wonderful thing called HomeFeedback and it automatically sends feedback requests to anyone that shows your listing – until they answer them. HomeFeedback takes all the information from the feedback responses and puts it into visual statistics that you can present to your clients. They can see, “Oh, 80% of people thought that the backyard was a mess.” or “Out of 15 responses, the average amount our home is overpriced is $150,000.”
It does the work for you so you don’t have to constantly try to explain why you are right and why they should listen to you. Its really hard to argue with the facts when they are staring you in the face. The best part is, you don’t have to do any extra work – it does it all for you automatically.
At the end of the day, you want your client to trust you – trust is built through a variety of ways and is key to having a strong relationship. Check out this article explaining how to build trust by Inc.com – its right on! Good luck with those home sales, you got this!