Looks Like I Was Right; Who Knew?
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, January 16, 2019
Note: Words appearing in Blue and Underlined are links to their respective web sites
“Reduce your decisions to no more than two alternatives!”
From his course, Optimizing Brain Fitness
Note: I took the on line course offered through The Great Course Company
NOTE: This Nugget applies to ALL REALTORS® and to anyone buying a home.
Over three decades ago I created a course and wrote a handbook on Working With Buyers; of course I mean buyers of real estate. I also wrote one Working With Sellers. The course described how most REALTORS® show homes. They would select hopefully no more than 5 homes to show on any one day. Showing more than 5 only serves to confuse the probable buyers. Once you have selected the homes you intend to show this is what I taught them to do:
1. Try to arrange them where you show an occupied home first, an unoccupied home second, then an occupied home, etc. If for some reason you and your probable buyers take more time looking at an occupied home or you run into traffic issues, you can then skip the next UNOCCUPIED home and go directly to the next occupied home on your list. If all of the homes are occupied you obviously cannot do this but if you can, you will avoid difficulties with sellers by not showing up on time.
2. DO NOT give to the probable buyers any information on the homes you plan to show. Repeat, DO NOT give them any materials to review before you enter the home. If you do, they will bury their heads in the materials you give them and pay little attention to what you say or what you show them. Give them materials on the home you just showed as you leave the home. Give them a folder in which to store the materials you give to them. Tip: If your probable buyers bring teenagers with them, treat them individually as you would two adults. In other words ask them questions, give them copies of the materials on the home, etc. Get them involved in the process. It is very important to explain to them that none of the homes they are about to see are owned by you. Therefore they cannot hurt your feelings if the homes being shown do not match what they are looking for and the ONLY way you will be able to better serve them is if they are honest in discussing their likes and dislikes regarding the homes you have shown them. And…”Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you if you want to buy this home. If I forget would you remind me?” You might be surprised when you know they are obviously interested in a home being shown and you do not ask them if they want to buy it. They WILL remind you. A definite buying sign.
3. Follow the above procedure for the first home you show your probable buyers. Give them a positive expectation of what they are about to see but DON’T UNWRAP THE GIFT until you actually get into the home.
4. As you enter the home, announce your presence even though the home may be unoccupied. It is just a courtesy to the sellers should they be in the home. Once inside, tell your probable buyers that they should experience the home as they tour it and to ask any questions they wish. You should point out to the probable buyers the features and facts about the home that are NOT OBVIOUS. I remember the very first home I showed and the first thing I said was, “This is the living room!” As if they couldn’t tell. As they go through the home this is your opportunity to dig deeper into what the probable buyers are looking for in their next home. Ask them to compare their current rooms to the rooms in the home you are showing. Listen for words that will help identify if they are visionary, auditory or kinesthetic (feelings) type of people. Once you identify them you can modify your language to adjust to their styles. For example if they are visionary, you use words like see or imagine. Auditory, “can you hear your family’s joy during Thanksgiving dinner in this spacious dining room?” Etc.
5. You then move on to the second home you have selected and you repeat what you have done above.
Now is the time to revisit Dr. Restak’s quote from the beginning of the Nugget:
“Reduce your decisions to no more than two alternatives!”
Dr. Richard Restak
Dr. Restak validated what I had taught so many REALTORS® over the years. Home buyers are no different than anyone else; it is hard to keep them focused on what is important when you give them too many alternatives to choose from. This is where both buyers and REALTORS® can take a lesson from Dr. Restak.
The next step.
6. You now have the buyers in your car after seeing the first two homes you have selected when you say, “Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, bear with me; I would like to play a little game. Imagine that the two homes you just viewed were the last two homes on the planet. With that said, if you had to buy one, which one would you buy?” Then say nothing. Let them discuss what they like and dislike about the two homes you showed them. You will learn a great deal about their needs, wants, desires and preferences in the event you do not show them something that they would ultimately buy. They will however select one whether it meets their needs or not and then you take the papers from the home they rejected, crumple them up, and literally throw them on the floor of your car. You have just reduced the number of homes being considered to just one and in keeping with Dr. Restak’s quote above.
7. Then show them the third home on your scheduled tour of homes. After they view the third home you repeat step 6. You have seen three homes and they have rejected two and are back to considering only one home. Keep in mind what Dr. Restak said; “Reduce your decisions to no more than two alternatives.” At this moment they are considering only one. You may at this time ask them if they would like to buy the one home they have accepted; why not? Remember you prepared them for this question earlier.
After you follow the above procedure for all the homes you have selected for them to see, you should be down to just the two to select from and you again ask them which one would they buy? You may have just sold them a home, if not, do the same thing the next time you show them homes. But the next time you should be armed with far more information than when you started because they are discussing what they like and dislike after each two homes shown that they toured and that is a very good thing to know.
When I heard Dr. Restak say what he did during the course I was taking on line, the light bulbs in my head immediately lit very brightly as I remembered the above tips on showing homes to buyers. If you are a buyer reading this and you do not have a REALTOR® it still applies, keep your decisions to just two homes; which one would you buy? If you ARE a buyer who is reading this my advice would be to sign on with a reputable REALTOR® otherwise you are like someone walking a high wire without a net. A REALTOR® can find you the right home and help get the best possible price and avoid the myriad of pitfalls you could find yourself in without the help of a professional. This is especially true if you are considering new construction.
One more hint for REALTORS® and this is a tip from Jeffrey Gitomer The Sales Bible (you should read all of his books, they are great). I used the phrase “probable buyers” throughout this Nugget. Most agents say “possible buyers” or “potential buyers.” Can you see and understand the difference? You treat people differently if you first assume they ARE going to BUY and buy from YOU! So why not think and talk like you believe it?