In last week’s Zebra Report I talked about the concept of Lost Opportunity as it relates to sellers. I discussed the potential business in terms of listings that you may have had taken, but you never saw the actual commission check. I also talked about how to track these sellers, and to look for patterns as to why you are losing those listings to determine where you need help in your business. When you’re working with sellers, the three biggest reasons for Lost Opportunities are having a listing expire, having a seller cancel their listing, or having a listing languish on the market because it is overpriced. Have you found a pattern in your lost listing opportunity? What are your plans to stop that leak of dollars?
Lost Opportunity doesn’t only come from sellers. Buyers represent another huge Lost Opportunity! Buyers are all over the place. For a lot of agents, buyers are easy business. Buyers show up, find the perfect house, and think you’re the greatest agent in the world, right? As you know, that’s not always the case.
When I think of Lost Opportunity Buyers, I like to put them into two categories. The Right Now Buyer and the Initially Interested Buyer. Let’s talk about the difference.
Right Now Buyer
You know these buyers. I described them above. They often come out of the blue and they are ready to buy right now. They may have seen your sign and called you. They may have met you at an open house. They may have been referred to you. They are anxious to find the perfect house, right now.
Most agents do a fantastic job for their Right Now Buyers. They listen to the buyer’s wants and needs, they pull up listing data, they take buyers out to preview properties and before long they are collecting a commission check. The process is pretty easy.
However—Right Now Buyers can be tricky. In their enthusiasm, they may find the perfect house on a Sunday, not want to bother you, and write a contract with the agent holding the open house. It didn’t even occur to them that they should have called you to represent them. Bam. Lost Opportunity. How many buyers do YOU lose this way? If it’s even one buyer a year, that’s one buyer too many.
Initially Interested Buyer
This is where most agents run headlong into Lost Opportunity. We all know about the Initially Interested Buyer. This buyer starts out by looking at homes online. They drive around neighborhoods and say “Someday we’re going to live in this neighborhood.” Or, they start a more traditional search by spending Sunday morning looking through the newspaper. They pick up all the real estate magazines. They might go to open houses. (You know these buyers too…the first words out of their mouth are “Oh, we’re just looking.”)
Their first step usually involves a computer, a publication or their car. Then they might call you. The problem is that they’re not always that exciting. And these buyers often don’t actually buy anything for a long time. It could be 6 months. I t could be a year. It could be 18 months! It’s awfully easy to lose interest with the Initially Interested Buyer.
But this group of buyers can be a goldmine for agents who can create a system for keeping those buyers interested in real estate. I like to call it a buyer conveyor belt. For Initially Interested Buyers on your conveyor belt, you must have tools that you can pick from to keep them interested and keep you on their radar. They need information on:
- The overall market
- A specific market
- General and specific neighborhood information
- Appreciation rates
- The inspection process
- The appraisal process
- The offer
- The pending process
- The closing process
Notice that I just gave you 10 months of reasons to contact these folks. If you need 6 months more, I’ll bet you can come up with them in about 5 minutes.
In essence, because Initially Interested Buyers are on a longer track, you have to keep your conveyor belt going and you have be patient. But if you can get them excited to work with you, and you can keep that excitement going, you have a great chance of having a pipeline that will turn into Right Now Buyers.
Most agents do well with Right Now Buyers. Most agents don’t do well at all with Initially Interested Buyers. Take a minute to honestly look at this idea.
Has there been someone that has called you that turned out to be an Initially Interested Buyer? Did you lose interest because their timeframe didn’t fit into your need for business?
I want you to add your Right Now Buyers and Initially Interested Buyers to your Lost Opportunity tracker. Remember…the one I told you to create last week for your sellers. If you don’t have these folks on your radar, it’s easy to lose track of them. Don’t give up that commission income! It can add up quickly!
In the coming weeks, I’m going to talk about how to fix your Lost Opportunity list. This list plus your Potential Income Tracker (remember, this is the pipeline of clients who are likely to buy or sell in the next year) are critical parts of your business that—if taken seriously—can really make a huge difference in your bottom line.
Are you ready to make a change?
I have a great way for you to get started. Register right now for our 2011 Safari on January 12 and 13. I guarantee that you will leave Safari knowing exactly what you need to do to keep your Sellers, your Right Now Buyers and your Initially Interested Buyers on your radar. You’ll also spend some quality time taking a good, long look at your successes and challenges, and your potential for 2011 and beyond.
If you’re serious about getting your business on track in 2011, Safari is the event that will get you there.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI