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Stick to the Facts

Gulfshore Business Associate Publisher Rob Wardlaw shares an important lesson in client interaction.

My wife and I frequently watch HGTV and we particularly enjoy watching the program House Hunters. If you’ve never seen it, the show is a reality program that shadows homebuyers through the process of purchasing a home. The viewer is introduced to the buyer and their real estate agent with the latter interviewing the buyers about the specific qualities they are seeking in a home.

Because the viewer witnesses a portion of this question-and-answer segment about the qualities the buyers are seeking, it is then interesting to discover the three possible house selections. These are then toured by the buyers and subsequently filmed for the episode. During the walk-through of the individual homes, the buyers and their real estate agents make comments about what they like and don’t like—the type of typical feedback that is expected in that type of situation.

In a recent episode, a particularly vocal agent continuously inserted her opinions, rather than listening to the opinions of her clients. In house number one, the door opened, and before they even step inside, the agent says “You’re going to love this! Isn’t this great?” The potential buyer did not appear to have any reaction.

Later on, in houses two and three, there were numerous other instances of the agent leading the buyer with her own commentary—statements like, “This living room has wonderful, high ceilings—look at the beautiful hardwood floors!” “The master bedroom has fantastic light!” “This home is great for kids!” Stating such strong subjective opinions like the instances above is counterproductive in most cases. It is the buyer’s opinion that truly matters and the process you follow should always strive to expose that opinion for vital intelligence. By inserting the seller’s or the seller’s agent’s opinion for the buyer’s opinion, there is a risk that the buyer may never state their true feelings.

While it is somewhat common for a salesperson to interject his or her personal opinion into the sales process, depending upon the circumstances, this can detract from the facts that really matter and eventually derail a deal. The proper role of a salesperson is to put his or her knowledge into context to assist the buyer in making what may be a complex decision. In the case of the House Hunters episode above, the opinions given were well beyond what would be considered useful to a buyer. Stick to the facts, comparative analysis and context to achieve more success. 

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