The Sweet Smell of Success...

The Sweet Smell of Success...

“You are a very special person”, she said as she handed the younger lady a huge bouquet.

The recipient of this floral tribute was an estate agent who had just agreed a sale on a property, which had been on the books of a competitor for 12 weeks without success. Her agency had found a buyer within two days.

And the giver of the flowers? No, not the vendor, but in fact the person who had just agreed to buy the property in question! Having said that, the owner came in after exchange of contracts with a similar bouquet.

Why then did the purchaser deem it appropriate to reward the agent and to bestow her with such praise? The answer is simply that the agent is one of the few who actually qualifies her applicants properly. Let me explain…

The lady applicant in this case had visited the various agents in the town to request to be registered on their mailing lists. Old school maybe, but it was this particular customer’s preferred approach. Among her requirements she explained that a garage was essential, and being a straight-talking individual, she pointed out in no uncertain terms that she did not want her time wasted by agents offering her properties without such a facility.

One negotiator dug deeper and found that the key reason for the garage was that the applicant owned a convertible BMW, which she wished to park safely where it could not get damaged.

She was a divorcee who had sold and completed and was staying with family and was ready, willing and able to move quickly as a cash buyer.

The lady viewed several properties, which unfortunately proved unsuitable, but she remained mustard-keen to buy.

A few days later, the agent in question contacted the applicant to discuss a potential property. The agent described the relevant benefits of the house in question, which broadly met the lady’s needs, but mentioned that the one thing lacking was a garage.

At this point, the applicant sharply retorted that she couldn’t believe an agent had contradicted her instructions on this issue. Once she had finished her heated outburst, the agent calmly enquired of her as to whether the reason a garage was so critical was solely due to storing the car securely. The answer was affirmative.

The agent then went on to explain that the property in question was on a small private development accessed only by the residents via electric security gates, and that parking the car on the property’s driveway would be no less safe than housing it in a garage.

Overall, the nature of the development would suit a single woman perfectly, and the property in question was ideal in every other way. The applicant sounded unconvinced and grumbled again about having her wishes ignored. This call took place at 5.15pm on a Tuesday.

At 9.05am the following day, the agent’s telephone rang. It was the now somewhat humbler applicant who conceded that she had driven past the development the previous evening and had been impressed. She would be “quite interested in viewing”. The appointment was made for 3pm the same day, and the lady made an asking price offer at 3.45pm. The deal was done at 4pm, less than 24 hours after the agent had brought the supposedly unsuitable property to the applicant’s attention. The flowers and accompanying compliment (and unspoken apology) arrived the following morning.

The sale was doubly sweet from the agent’s perspective as the applicant had been on the databases of all her competitors, including the one who had originally been instructed to sell the property. Needless to say, the house had not been offered to the ultimate purchaser by that agent, presumably because it was deemed unsuitable due to the lack of garage.

The moral here is that thorough qualification makes selling easier.

When a house hunter tells an agent what they are looking for, it is critical to establish what are the real needs as opposed to just their wish list.

Furthermore, finding out the reasons why the applicant places importance on their requested features will reveal whether they may compromise on certain items. Be nosey!

An applicant asking for three bedrooms must be asked whether two might be considered if every other aspect of the property were right. Similarly, should a potential buyer say they are looking to pay up to &200,000, it is crucial to test the true maximum. “If I found you the absolutely perfect property, what would be the very most you would be prepared to pay?” is a question that should be posed to all applicants.

Sadly, our mystery shopper exercises prove that very few agents adopt this approach to qualification.

Incidentally, I have to concur with the customer’s view that the lady estate agent in the example is “a very special person”.

But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? After all……she is my wife!