In this crazy day and age when we are so blessed (and cursed) to have multiple modes of communication, most of which are instant, I am still puzzled by the lack of feedback following a showing.
Most agents know that listings are what feed your business — to earn a listing, big or small, is a big deal in our fiercely competitive industry. I take much pride in my listings and communicating with my sellers, and timely feedback is a vital part of effective communication. That’s my promise out of the gate, and one I am seriously devoted to.
Providing feedback might be hard — but you’ve got to do it anyway
When we take a few seconds to schedule a showing for our buyers and are given the green light with an enthusiastic, “Please do! Thank you! Your feedback is greatly appreciated,” we are energized by the prospect of making a sale.
The enthusiasm fades when you’ve shown your clients 20-plus houses, or five or six properties in a day, but it is still essential to provide meaningful feedback to the listing agents following every showing.
Good feedback is very helpful, and in my book, a measure of how effectively a house shows given the location, condition and price.
Why feedback is important
Honest feedback from professionals and buyers alike is the only way to relay information to the seller that the listing agent might have overlooked or might have been too meek to suggest at the onset of the listing.
Listing agents request feedback to communicate effectively with their clients to improve the home or the price, both of which are important to potential buyers and their agents.
How to provide good feedback
Here are some helpful guidelines to providing meaningful/constructive feedback that agents will certainly appreciate:
- Give your feedback in a timely fashion — ideally within 24 hours.
- I like to start by thanking the listing agent for accommodating the showing.
- Sometimes there is a fine line between being honest and harsh. Rude and unkind comments are difficult to pass along to sensitive sellers.
- It is productive to pay a compliment out of the gate: “My buyers really loved the location and appreciated the attention to detail on the landscaping.”
- Followed by something critical: “Unfortunately, the flooring and the overall condition didn’t suit them,” “The layout was a concern for them, since they have small children,” or “The home had an unpleasant odor.”
- Make professional recommendations: “I would suggest perhaps a flooring credit or having the carpeting removed and the hardwood floors refinished for a fresher look.” The best feedback is quick, honest and suitable for the listing agent to copy and forward directly to the seller.
- It shows all parties that the buyer’s agent respects the opportunity to access the home and has the professionalism to provide frank (but kind) and productive feedback so improvements to pricing and/or condition can be made to get the home sold.
Far too often, I request feedback from one agent four or five times by resending the same text message for a solid three days. Phone calls go unreturned and emails are ignored. I can’t put my finger on why.
Truth be told, at the end of a long day of showing houses, I don’t always feel like ripping off 10 text messages with feedback from my showings, but I do — because it’s my job and it is professional courtesy.
Try to be empathetic
If you are not a listing agent, you might not appreciate the importance of feedback and how anxious, excited and nervous sellers are to hear about your showings or what the seller goes through to get the home “show ready” for a potential buyer.
The process is overwhelming, especially for people with children and/or pets as they must take extra special care to prepare for showings.
Imagine that seller waiting by the phone for a text message with feedback from the showing that took them hours to prepare for.
Trust me, they do wait, and they ask, over and over again: “What did they think? Do they like it? Are they interested? Do they have any questions?” When we have nothing to report, it is embarrassing for all of us.
How to squeeze feedback out of buyers
Buyers can be tricky and secretive. I like to get them warmed up by saying, “On a scale of 1-10, tell me what you think of this property in relation to what you’re looking for?” From there I squeeze out a dialogue that may represent effective communication.
Making mental notes on comments regarding price, specific conditions, style, smells, size, location and other details allows me to gauge the properties we see in comparison to what they can afford and their list of “must haves.” I am able to base feedback to the listing agent mostly from perception and sly comments.
Please provide timely, meaningful feedback. It only takes a few minutes to let the listing agent and the seller know what you and your buyers thought and if they have any questions about or interest in the property. Feedback goes a long way, and without it, we have little to work with when we ask for a price reduction or a good cleaning.
Lauren Klein is a multi-million dollar producer with Coldwell Banker, owner of Pittsburgh Property Diva and real estate branding expert.