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I recently experienced my own “a-ha moment” regarding customers and convenience. Starting as a solo agent 12 years ago, I was good at noticing the trends around me and using them to my advantage. When I saw everybody using smartphones, I started making custom videos for customers in each of my major markets.
When everyone went on social media, I started a Facebook page. I turned it into one of my most effective platforms. I prided myself on “listening” to customers by noticing their behaviors. Since starting my own real estate brokerage, I’ve spent more time at the 30,000-foot level.
I haven’t been able to have as many one-on-ones with our growing number of agents, and the pandemic hasn’t helped. But lately, I’ve jumped back into the trenches and learned an important lesson: Our customers are trying to tell us something, and we need to listen.
I was talking to one of our best agents when she said, “You know, Kris, I have eight sellers, but they don’t want to list on the MLS because they don’t want to go ‘traditional.’” These sellers had come to us through our Guaranteed Offer program, so they were Convenience Customers.
They either hadn’t qualified for a Guaranteed Offer or had decided not to take one, but they also didn’t want to spend a month leaving their house at the drop of a hat for showings. What struck me is how they defined “traditional.” To them, listing on the MLS was “going the traditional route” and therefore unappealing.
They were really saying, “We want to have dinner with our kids every night. We don’t want to sell through multiple showings and open houses, but we still want to get maximum value for our home.”
The MLS had nothing to do with it. They just wanted to hold onto the convenient benefits of the Guaranteed Offer. This was an important lesson in customer perceptions.
It was also the perfect opportunity to try something new. So we created a program that offered the best of both worlds:
- List your home on a Friday afternoon.
- Get it ready for one massive event during a 3-hour window on a Saturday where we bring the entire market to your door.
- Create a list of conditions for accepting an offer (e.g., rent back periods and generous closing dates).
Half of them listed with her that weekend when the agent offered this option to her sellers.
Today, the demand is there. People simply want the same convenience in selling their homes as they now expect in every other part of their lives. Plus, the conditions buyers agree to dramatically lower the sellers’ risk of having to pay two mortgages.
A person doesn’t have to whisper in your ear to tell you what they want. Actions speak louder than words. Today’s consumers tell us that they expect greater convenience in every interaction they have, including real estate. If we want to survive, we need to listen and act in their best interests.
Kris Lindahl is the founder of Kris Lindahl Real Estate, the No. 1 team-owned independent real estate brokerage in Minnesota and Wisconsin and No. 12 nationwide.