6 Reasons You Lost the Home Sale and What to Do About It

Originally written for and posted on Inman.com.

Source: https://flic.kr/p/5z71rH
Some home buyers and sellers are predispositioned to use a real estate agent, whether because they heard of the great experience a neighbor, co-worker or family member had or they have limited time to devote the resources to try a do-it-yourself project with such a costly venture. That's great for us as real estate agents and brokers! So how did the "bird in hand" that contacted you for home buying or selling help end up hiring another agent instead of you?

Let's examine 6 reasons that may have lost your next real estate client and what to do about it going forward...

High commission rates, low value

This is a sensitive topic for us real estate agents and brokers because we, unlike most other service professionals, have our pay constantly scrutinized and subjected to the worst kind of haggling. But the problem comes in after we have been what I like to call "negotiating ninjas" to get the highest rate imaginable but we do not offer the commensurate level of value and service for our fees. Hopefully, you have never been guilty of simply being a paper pusher or chauffeur instead of the trusted real estate advisor (who offers timely insight into market values and trends) we are hired to be, whether you are working with a newbie or an experienced home seller or buyer. But if you have been guilty of this, there is help! I encourage you to interact on sites like RESAAS and subscribe to real estate news services like Inman, RisMedia, as well as your local Board of REALTORS® market updates so that you can stay in the know. Then, purpose to share this information with your clients to help them have a well-rounded view of today's market and its fluctuations.

Too many clients

Your marketing is paying off! You have so many clients that you cannot keep up. This is a good problem to have, right? Wrong! This can turn into an inadvertent downward spiral for your business because by having more clients than you can actually handle, your existing client will feel that their needs are not being given the attention that is warranted, especially if you are missing deadlines and sluggishly returning calls, emails or texts. This leads to frustration, which makes for unhappy clients, with some turning into “Madvocates” (as opposed to "raving fans"), who may unfortunately throw mud on your good name (since bad news and poor reviews travel faster than good ones). You just shot yourself in your “marketing” foot - ouch! Instead of tackling too many clients, work on growing your business team. Typically, by 25-30 transactions a year, you should move from being a solo agent to adding others to help you manage your clientele and to continue to grow. For more tips on if you need to explore starting a team, check out these considerations.

Double the agents, double the frustration

But wait a minute, Lee. I have a team and we did not get the sale. What happened? Well, stop and really think about this: do you have a team or are you just co-marketing with another agent? What I mean by this is are your activities cohesive and enriching for your clients or is the “right hand not talking to the left hand”? This can mean that when your client talks to you, a different story is told about the process than when speaking to the other agent(s) or assistant(s). Or, perhaps your clients are not given a warm and fuzzy introduction to the entire team - they meet and warm up to you but suddenly you are out of the picture and they are dealing with what seems to be a “stranger”. These are just some of the unfortunate "want to be but not quite" team scenarios that can frustrate clients, creating "Madvocates", which can damage new client relationships before they even get started. If you have decided to build a team, here are 5 preliminary tips to do it right.

Liar, liar

Have you ever omitted a fact or embellished too freely when meeting with a potential client? If so, there may lie (pun intended) why you lost the sale. In today’s information age, most real estate sellers and buyers can access further details about what you tell them in a matter of seconds. You may have seen this work in the positive where one of your happy clients tells you that he did Google something you mentioned and he found you to be right. Well, that also works in the reverse and the prospect simply may have elected to not tell you that what you may have said in jest or exaggeration was a turn off and deal killer. You may have been going for a mood lightener but instead you appeared to be the slimy, used car salesman cliche, who hides relevant details. So what can you do? If you are like me, you may like to break the tension of meeting someone new with comedy but the rule of thumb is to always clarify and specify when you are joking or using hyperbole and then follow up with the astute business answer that the client can take to the bank.

You give off the Hungry Eyes vibe

Okay, so you do not fit the profile in the last point but can prospective buyers and sellers see and smell your need to close a deal? If your unofficial theme song has become Hungry Eyes (remember the hit song from the 80s by Eric Carmen? Just say no to this in your business lol), then its time to develop or re-align yourself with a servant’s heart. When we become passionate about solving someone else’s problems, the money will follow. Likewise, when we are passionate about helping home sellers sell in an up-and-down market or buyers locate great finds for their next season of life, the commissions (and "raving fans", by the way) will come. Reflect on how can you best serve prospective clients based on your local market and desired niche, which amazingly will help you create the coveted unique selling proposition (USP) that will help keep your pipeline full.

A website that looks like it is from 1999

When you put on your consumer hat, I am sure you have found it easier in some instances to jump on someone’s website to check out services or products offered before making the first contact. If the website had outdated information and was hard to navigate, you may have abruptly said, Next!, and then moved on to another business that had a more relevant and user-friendly website. My friend, if your website is hard to navigate, has old, outdated listings, or does not offer the basics that real estate buyers and sellers want to see (i.e. prequalification information, CMA section, community video tours, listing search widget, etc.), then fix it fast! Whether or not you are a "do-it-yourselfer", Wordpress is a great platform to start on and you can hire contractors (like on Guru.com, Fiverr.com, Odesk, etc.) to build it out for you. If you prefer to have someone else build and maintain your site, check with our friends at Placester.

Hopefully this short list will make a big impact the next time you meet with a prospective buyer or seller. Let me know how it goes by posting a comment below, including what other tips you use to convert prospects to clients.

By the way, follow me on Google+ and Facebook for more tips and techniques. Also, if you are a real estate agent or manage agents, learn how to GROW or RE|VAMP your business with us today. Here's to your success!

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