Where I work, most deals involve two agents.
I suspect this is true in most places with an MLS or something approximating it. The salesmanship skills it takes to be a great lister — the incredible extroversion and charm — don’t always square with the detail-oriented focus needed to actually move an apartment. Make sure the ad copy is right? Ride herd on the photographer? Surely someone with less charisma can do that; the great lister has another appointment to make.
But we still spend most of our time selling to the public. Prudential Douglas Elliman agent Jacky Teplitzky highlighted this at a panel once: “Seventy-five percent of the deals we do involve another agent,” she said. “But how many of you spend significant time marketing to each other?”
It’s a theme worth thinking about as Real Estate Connect approaches. Many of you who are reading this will be headed to Connect to learn how to better service your clients. You’ll pick up many tips and tricks, but let’s start with the basic one: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all your clients are anonymous people out there on the Internet. Consider how you can apply some of the principles you are learning about clients to working with other brokers.
Let’s take as an example one of the themes of last year’s conference: rapid response. The general consensus seemed to be that a lead begins to expire the minute it is generated, like some kind of quick-tarnishing silver. Different brokers and lead-generation experts offered differing timeframes, but most agreed that once a lead contacts you, you should get back to him or her ASAP — generally within two to four hours.
Fine, you’re thinking, I already do that.
But how many of you call back the other brokers on your deals that quickly?
I am working on an absolute bear of a deal. The structure is complicated, and it has taken both of my sponsoring brokers — with two decades of experience each — to get it right. What’s worse, my client Dana has two advisors I need to check with, and they are each capable of disappearing for days.
I can’t tell you the extent to which I dread calls from the other broker. “I’m late with thus-and-so because the accountant is hiding” is not what anyone wants to hear.
But I am really, really proud of myself that I have so far managed not to hide. The minute I have answers, I say so; every now and then, if I don’t have answers, I ping and say, hey, still working on it.
If I get called out on my voicemail, I return the call — generally within two to four hours.
This isn’t necessarily because I believe that I’ll work with the other broker again (in fact, I imagine my current knee pain is her having fun with a wax effigy of me and a pin), but because it’s the way I’d want to be treated if I were the client.
Other broker-facing rules to remember are:
- Try to share a little information about what your customer is looking for or what makes your listing special. Just because the buyer and seller are not present is no reason to let all the enthusiasm drain from the room;
- Think about who is reading your ad when you write the ad (surely there are subtleties to broker-to-broker marketing other than the words “free food”);
- Try not to be on three phone calls at once when someone else has to listen to you;
- Be as punctual as you can, because even when you are not working with your client’s schedule, you are working with someone’s schedule; and
- Offering to buy the coffee goes a long, long way.
In other words, don’t just charm the customer; spend a fraction of your time charming the other agent. Try this professional courtesy for a week — just a week — and see what happens to your business.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”