Full Throttle Follow Up #12
Over the years I’ve come across numerous accounts of real estate agents who just plain jerks. Some agents are jerks to their buyers and some are jerks to their sellers. Some are jerks to other agents and some are jerks to everyone all around.
What’s really boggled my mind though, is that a LOT of these agents seem to be represented as being pretty successful, have been in the business for many years, have top-of-mind-consciousness in their market area, and are not going to go down in flames anytime soon. Their entire approach to the business flies in the face of the free market concept. After all, these agents should have been rubbed out long ago by new agents who are just…nice.
Yet that doesn’t seem to be the case. They persist. In fact, they seem to persist to such a degree that it makes you wonder if being a jerk to your customers has some type of “secret sauce” to it. I saw this same type of thing when selling furniture. In the world of furniture sales it’s known that if you’re too nice to the customer they very often won’t buy from you. Some people just need to get smacked around a bit and put in their place by a “mean” salesperson at which point they buy what they originally came in for. If you’re too nice to them though, they’re generally borish and disrespectful to you as a salesman, they don’t buy, and then (go figure) they leave the store mad that they didn’t buy what they came in to buy. I’m not the slap-’em-around-and-take-charge type of person so when I knew that I was dealing with one of these strangely difficult types I would always turn them over to the one or two strong-arm salesmen who would give them the type of abusive treatment that they so obviously craved. They’d close the sale too.
I don’t hang out at my office at all and so I don’t really have a read on the other agents there. My mentor does though and she’s told me some interesting stories.
One of the agents in my office is a little rough around the edges. In fact, saying that he’s a jerk probably might not be too far off the mark. So it’s kind of amazing that this guy closes plenty of business and makes a good living. Sure, he apparently gets the majority of his business from referrals and sphere of influence…but don’t you have to NOT be a jerk in order to get people to refer you to their friends or family? Aren’t you suppose to provide expectation-busting, 5-star service? If you’re known for being on the ornery side, why would those in your sphere call you up when they know that they’re putting their hand in bear trap that’s going to clamp shut and not let go either until the house sells or for 6 months when the listing contract runs out?
It just doesn’t make sense.
Interestingly enough though, this guy spilled the beans on how he makes it all work. Apparently there was some training meeting or agent get together type of thing at our office a while back and he was there and my mentor was there and people are just tossing around their thoughts on the business as agents are prone to do in these businessey types of gatherings.
So other agents are sharing their thoughts and one of them asks Mr Jerk…
“Hey man, here we are bending over backwards for these buyers and they are always stabbing us in the back. Sellers completely take us for granted when we go over the moon for them. You seem to have a whole different approach to this thing…what are you doing different?”
And he comes out and and tells everyone! Here’s what he said:
That’s it! Now I’m sure that right now you’re thinking that I’m over-hyping this, but seriously, this is one of those “golden nugget truths” that we come across every now and then. It’s on part is “You Have to List to Last.”
They Have to KNOW You
There is a difference between having heard of someone and “knowing” someone. In the Bible, the word “know” is used as cleaned up word for sex. The Bible says that Adam “knew” his wife and they had Cain and Able. It does this more than once with various characters as well. Now obviously I’m not saying that you should try and seduce your prospects. What I AM saying is that KNOWING someone is more intimate than just being able to work your name and face in your mental rollodex. That’s just the beginning.
It means that you have some level of connection at the heart.
So a “jerk agent” can get business all day as long as he connects with people on a slightly deeper level. He cannot do this if he’s completely unknown though.
This grizzled old snagglepuss made a habit of connecting with people. He did it effectively. He did it in such a way that people SOMEHOW got the impression that he cared about them and had their best interests at heart. I’m sure that this guy has offended customers left and right over the course of 20+ years of selling and I’m willing to bet that they excused him in their minds by saying,
“Well, it’s just how he is. He’s just so harsh and blunt because he cares and really feels that we need to do X, Y, and Z. He just doesn’t know how to package it up in a manner that’s easy to receive. We’ll just take his advice though.”
They Will Survive
The fact of the matter is that this guy was right. People might be better off all around if they were to choose you to help them sell their house as compared to Mr. Jerk Agent, but they’ll choose him over you simply because they don’t know you. They’ll do business with someone they don’t like before someone they don’t know.
It’s my belief that gaining Top-of-Mind-Consciousness among a small herd of prospects is MUCH more effective than putting up billboards. Sure, if you put up a billboard then tons of people in your town will know OF you…but they won’t KNOW you. There is a difference. It’s a BIG difference too.
The ability to “connect” with people may very well have so much weight in the seller’s decisions making process that 80% of why they pick you or don’t pick you is dependent upon it. It is of the utmost importance. The customer will pick a jerk over you simply because the jerk was known at more than a cursory level. This is why follow up is so important. Seeing you face-to-face, hearing your voice answer questions, all of that allows your prospects to get to “know” you on a deeper level. It makes it easy for them to pick you over Mr. Big Shot Agent who’s spending a mint on marketing when the time comes to pull the trigger.
Follow Up Tracker
I’ve not been making my follow up calls. I HAVE been working on getting my follow up materials worked up though. It looks as if I’ll have all my introduction packs made up by tomorrow and then my follow up drop-off materials will be done Friday and I’ll be ready to head out Friday afternoon and then again on Saturday.
I’ll say it again and again, prepping of follow up materials should be delegated to someone else. No doctor or dentist is handling the medical billing of their own practice. They’re not getting on the phone with insurance companies trying to get reimbursed for their services. They don’t even think about that. They have someone in their office that they trust to do that side of things completely so that they can focus on the important stuff…like giving their attention to patients. Sellers are our “patients” and just like a doctor delegates “stuff” so that he or she can focus on the patient, we should delegate our “stuff” so that we can focus on our clients. Printing out market reports and helpful articles qualifies as this type of “stuff”.
Going out to the seller’s home and meeting them, bringing a little cheer into their lives with a smile, asking if any real estate related questions have come up since you last met – all this stuff shows the patient (I mean seller) that you care about them. This type of “caring” is what allows people to put their lives in the hands of their doctors and it’s this same type of caring on our part as real estate agents which will enable people to trust us with the sale of their home.