We’ve all lost listings … either because the property didn’t sell and the listing expired, or because the seller decided to cancel the listing. It’s not something we like to have happen, but it does, and we move on. There’s always more business just around the corner. Right?
Here’s something to think about, though. How much income are you losing to your expired and canceled listings? I’ll bet it’s a LOT more than you realize. If you added it up, it could be thousands of commission dollars that you have given away.
Here’s something else to think about. It’s not just about the money. It’s also lost future business. It’s lost referral business. Any way you look at it, you simply cannot just ignore it and say, “It’s not a big deal. I have other business.”
There are reasons why agents lose listings. Probably more reasons than I have room to list here. It’s most often an agent issue, rather than a seller issue. But for today, here is my short list. These are the biggies.
1. Pricing. Every time an agent takes an over-priced listing, they run the risk of having that listing languish on the market until the sellers cancel the listing or they simply let it expire. Overpriced listings do not sell. As long as human beings have bought and sold real estate, this has been the case. What makes an agent think that it is different now? Find the confidence to get your sellers to price correctly from the beginning of the listing. From the beginning. Not 30, 60 or 90 days down the road.
2. Client Care. Every seller deserves the right to have exemplary client care. They are paying you thousands of dollars to sell their property. They should expect—and they should receive—amazing client care. They should hear from you every week. They should have market updates and statistics every week. Even if you have nothing to tell them that they don’t already know, they need to hear from you every single week. Don’t drop the ball on this. If they only want to hear from you every 30 days, it’s even easier to get busy and drop the ball. Don’t. Sellers get cranky quickly when they feel like their only communication from you is when you happen to have the time. They lose faith in you. They cancel their listing or let their listing expire and then move on without you.
3. Follow Up. If you say you’re going to do something, then you need to do it. If you say you’re going to call your sellers back about something, call them promptly. If you say, “I’ll get you that information,” get it. If you hear from another agent, or get a sign call, or get an ad call, or get an internet lead … let your sellers know! You may know what’s going on, but they don’t unless you tell them. Follow-up is a huge deal.
So you want to have a serious reality check? Go back at least 3 years. Write down every single listing that you had, that either expired or was canceled by the seller. Write down the approximate net commission you would have earned for each one. That number alone should alarm you. Then, jot down why you think you lost that listing. Be honest with yourself. Once you have your data, look for patterns. This is where the rubber meets the road, folks.
If you’re like most agents, you’ll have listings that were overpriced, listings where you dropped the ball, and listings where no matter what, you could not make your sellers happy. But every one of those listings tells you something. There’s a story. There’s likely a pattern. Figure out what it is, and then figure out how to address each issue so it doesn’t happen again.
Are you pricing-challenged? Are you dropping the client care and follow-up balls? Are you trying to work with sellers when you know that—from your first meeting with them—you will never please them?
Expired and canceled listings should only happen to you once in a very great while. For very good reasons. Every other one is a lost opportunity that has a dollar value attached to it.
If you want those dollars in your bank account, take the concept of Lost Opportunity seriously and do something about it today.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI