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.