Richard Cricchio, Help-U-Sell and the Office Exclusive Listing

We had quite a Roundtable Call today.  Lots of good information flew around, but one item really struck me.

Richard Cricchio from Honolulu started talking about ‘Office Exclusive Listings.’  I asked him to clarify and he responded:

‘When we take a call on a listing, we always ask if the caller is working with an agent.  If they’re not, we send them directly to the seller to arrange a showing.  The seller shows the house and we followup afterward.  That way, if the buyer moves forward on the house, all the seller pays is the Set Fee.  They save the largest amount of money.  We’ve always done that on all of our listings and it’s helped drive the message that we are about savings.’

It sounded like such a radical idea.

But it’s not.

It’s about 35 years old.  It’s a thing called ‘Help-U-Sell’.  That’s how this company was designed by Don Taylor.  That’s why it’s called ‘Help-U-Sell‘.  As we turned the corner on the new millennium, we started adjusting the model here and there.

First, the seller’s phone number came off the for sale sign.  Remember, for 25 years, our listings were ‘For Sale WITH Owner’ and we put the sellers number on the sign so buyers could contact them directly.  We did that for two reasons:  first, it gave the seller the greatest opportunity to save, which is what we wanted so they’d tell everyone they know about us and second because it’s a way of multiplying our efforts, enabling us to more that we’d otherwise be able to do.

Then we started capturing buyers and showing our listings ourselves.  Sellers still could find their own buyers by holding open houses and talking the house up with the neighbors and at work.  But we wanted a relationship with that buyer, so we started handling the showings ourselves.

I’m not saying either of these adjustments was wrong.  But I do think it’s interesting that the guy who is way out ahead of the pack in our currently running Winter Warm Up Contest is still sending buyers directly to his sellers.  How much time are you spending each week running over to show a listing to a new buyer?  If your sellers handled that task for you, what else could you be doing with that time?  Are your followup skills strong enough that you could still build a relationship with that buyer after they’ve seen the listing with the seller?  After all, most of the time they’re not going to buy that house anyway.

In today’s market, where so many sellers have so little equity, I’d think giving them the greatest change of finding their own buyer and saving the largest amount of money would be very appealing.  Think about it.

2 thoughts on “Richard Cricchio, Help-U-Sell and the Office Exclusive Listing”

  1. James,
    During my ownership of Help-U-Sell we constantly adapted to the marketplace and tested advertising. I started out for the first two years by not placing any listings on the MLS, every listing was sold with a flat/set fee where the owner showed it and I didn’t. Later, my franchisees were encouraged to test new ideas after they were open for over 2 years, and they did. The showing fee was created by a franchisee. Placing listings in the MLS was started by another franchisee and agents just working buyers was developed by another franchisee, etc. It is my philosophy that all business models must adapt to their customers needs and wants and adapt to the latest marketing technology. See below: I just copied this from the Operating Culture of a new franchising company I am consulting on…
    1. About You and Your Staff
    a) Be honest (Your integrity is your number one asset)
    b) Be knowledgeable about your marketplace (Gather the data needed to make you more knowledgeable than all of your competitors)
    2. About Your Business
    a) Make a profit (You can’t help anyone if you go out of business)
    b) Make your services congruent with the marketplace (Create what your customers want and need then continually adapt your model to the changing market conditions and the changing marketing technology)
    c) Be helpful to all potential customers (Develop a “How can I help you” mentality)
    d) Make your advertising believable (Create marketing materials which easily identify your services to your market using believable promises without puff)
    e) Provide proof (You really do have faster sales, your sellers really can save, your buyers really can receive greater benefits and your business model really does create greater success for your customers than your competition does by showing actual comparison proofs of your claims)
    f) Be easy to find, easy to use and stay in touch using technology to build your business by increasing referrals
    g) Create more productive and more efficient methods than your competition
    h) Convert all inquiries into customers or positive centers of influence
    i) Create something exclusive (Only your business has it, your competitors do not have it and cannot get it)
    Don Taylor

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