By Ian Grace

Everyone knows that your existing customers should be regularly followed up with after the successful sale, to build an ongoing relationship and hopefully, customers for life.

How often does that happen, for example, with a car salesperson?  Not very often. But sadly, it’s the same with a lot of real estate salespeople. Once the sale is over they have forgotten their seller and lose contact.

You can take advantage of those other Realtors that don’t follow through with their sellers.

Most agents, once they have lost a listing, never see that seller again. But those who think outside the box have struck a goldmine. Watch the video for more.



Australian Ian Grace is renowned as the world’s leading authority on real estate advertising and customer service. His customer service ideas book is No. 1 worldwide and his Top 10 Tips for Advertising have been published around the world. Since 2012, with his video colleague Graeme Kelley, he has produced the global promo video for the NAR Realtors Conference and he has appeared at the conference as a speaker nine times. Visit his website.

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  • Alan M.

    Jeff Stern and PED have accurately responded to the subject article — in fact PED was more eloquent, so what does that tell readers about Ian’s content.

    The idea that anyone could be a “world authority” or even more to the point be renowned as the leading authority, as it pertains to real estate advertising, is just silly! Even in Canada, real estate falls under the various different Provinces and Territories — it isn’t a Federal matter unless the Competition Bureau decides it is.

    It is beyond haughty for someone to try and counsel the real estate industry, in a broad sense, on a world wide basis!

  • Carolyne L

    I always enjoy reading Ian’s REM contributions… Some cause memories to come front and centre.

    I don’t honestly know if I am experiencing a septuagenarian-moment, period. I don’t live my life looking in the rearview mirror but some situations just trigger specific learning curve memories.

    I learned so much to do and not to do by observation of others with much more time already in the business. I came to the industry with a certain amount of business background. But mostly I knew nothing about how agents did things.

    That was never part of training. So, not knowing otherwise I just did things the way I had always done things; very much a creature of habit. Try to always dot the i’s, and cross the t’s, and a firm believer that time is of the essence.

    But that never means to rush. I was often heard noting that to be in a hurry (to meet a deadline) is one thing. To rush is inviting a problem. Often men are yes, no, people. They don’t have difficulty being succinct, have no patience for finite detail, many abhor those unnecessary questions asking people, where as women often use metaphors. And speak in storybook form. Follow the client’s pattern, follow their lead, and fill their needs. Allow them to be the governor. Adjust. We often need to be chameleons, changing colours on a whim to meet the needs of others.

    Of course we’re talking about subagency days. I like to refer to that time as operating on the KISS principle. Keep it simple, Simon. Real estate needn’t be complicated. But attention to detail is paramount.

    Back thirty-five years ago most branches functioned using the bullpen environment. By nature some people are loud and gregarious. Not in a bad way. Just sometimes so loud that if one was on the phone for example it could be difficult to hear the party on the other end.

    Near my work station there was a quite wonderful fellow who fit that description and he was perhaps 5-8 years in the business at that time. A jolly fellow, he would stand when talking on his phone and his voice reverberated throughout the room. Because his talking head was physically above the soft wall-divider, four desks to a common service pole.

    He phone canvassed for a few hours in the morning. And he was pretty rough with his words: “Are you stupid or something? The market will crash and you will get nothing for your house. You need to list it now!”

    Hour by hour he would rack up appointments for the afternoon and evening. It was amazing to watch and listen to him. He was more than a little bit competitive with his compatriots from his homeland in particular. He was a wonderful musician and his background included his small band playing on the large ocean liners in a previous career. I recommended him to be hired, to my corporate clients’ business functions.

    But he would leave the office and come back with a dozen listings very often, at a time. Within just hours. All that was on each listing was an address and a price. No details. That could done later. Maybe. He largely worked the low end of the market condo townhouses. He would post the listings on the white boards, several at a time, and most would sell in a few days at his give away list prices. Details? Who needs or cares about details? Hmmm. Learn, not.

    But a curious thing happened one day when I was several months in the business. The manager mentioned that he was staying late to teach the fellow a few “tricks” of the trade.

    How odd, I recall thinking. Seemed he already had plenty of “tricks.” There’s a lot of words in the industry I had found curious: tricks, tactics, tips, deals, the need to learn how to coerce, for example.

    How about, instead: creative methods, strategies, thought-provoking ideas,, transactions. Persuasive and even provocative procedures that protect your fiduciary duty with your client “contract.”

    So, being curious I asked what the manager meant, saying: “but the agent lists by the dozen. He’s obviously successful already.” That’s when I learned about all the listings having just basically an address and price, and that many of the transactions fell apart. Details. Details. Details. A necessary nuisance. So that night this is what was planned for his instruction lesson.

    The agent was known as a loose-lister; and he never turned his seller into a buyer. Never. I of course didn’t know that part. But oddly enough he would knock on every hot sheet new listing address of other agents from other companies and ask the owners if they had bought yet. If not he would volunteer to take them out to show them houses, not necessarily his own listings, but never asked his own sellers if he could show them houses. I had difficulty imagining that.

    But, oddly enough, how many agents still do that, today? They get a listing signed but never at the same time (now especially in the last twenty years since buyer agency became the mode), get a buyer agency organized and in their control, simultaneously. And you can imagine you cannot do all that in a fifteen minute listing appointment.

    I had such an unduly blessed career. In any given ten-year period I never had ten expiries. It was an extremely rare occasion that my listing didn’t sell. And I very rarely had to do a price reduction. and my listings sold rapidly, in tune with market conditions. And always within 2-5k of the listing price (that’s what happens when listings are priced properly), and often sold over the listing price, long before multiple offers were the norm. That’s what happens when listings are presented properly to the marketplace.

    But I first heard about turning sellers into buyers that day back in 1981. I never forgot it and never had trouble turning my sellers into buyers. I learned so much by listening. I applied that process ever after. Lots of learning curves were lost with the advent of private offices. There was something positive to be said for the bullpen.

    Privacy protection was not among the items. There was one fellow who came into the office late at night after everyone went home and went through waste baskets to retrieve coloured paper reception msgs, and call people’s phone numbers to canvas. There’s a lid for every pot. Hey! It was a real live phone number!

    When I learned that, I put my unneeded msgs for the day into my briefcase and disposed of the unneeded ones in my home trash. I had trouble believing it, but tested and sure enough, it happened. Yes, really. Another otherwise bit of learning curve. LOL.

    But the topic in this article could get Ontario agents into a ‘peck’ of trouble or a hot pot of stew. Too many cooks stirring the broth. Is there anyplace in Canada where this information in Ian’s article is permissible? Just curious.

    Carolyne L 🍁

  • PED

    Yikes!

  • Jeff Stern

    Ian, this is a recipe for trouble in Canada as we have privacy laws that prohibit us from (without the appropriate consent) maintaining contact with consumers and also The Canadian Real Estate Association has rules of conduct of which this would most likely be in violation of. The best is we keep in strong contact with our existing sellers and nurture them after the listing is signed which at times we fail at simply the uncomfortable call just to touch base when no activity has been had on their home or the very uncomfortable visit to seek a price adjustment. Nurture the clients we have and we will reap the repeat and referral business, what you suggest which in theory seems good and can result in repeat and referral business is not only offside under our laws and likely our code of conduct but will cause negative backlash by fellow registrants with whom the seller engaged to ultimately see and subsequently buy through.