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The case for accompanied viewings

The RAT is back!

Good morning. I hope you are having a wonderful summer, with pleasingly high activity levels.

You may have noticed a distinct lack absence of RAT over the past few weeks. Despite the summer, estate agency training levels have been high, which has really kept me on my toes. Indeed, I think I have just taken the record for the longest ever overland journey for an estate agency trainer – I took 36 hours out of my “working” holiday in the Isle of Skye to do some training and a Vendors’ advice Evening for a client in Kent – a round trip of 1374 miles – the overnight sleeper from Inverness can be highly recommended!

I’ll endeavour to keep the RATs flowing again for you over the coming weeks. In the meantime, today’s tip is about accompanied viewings.

Many sales and letting agents do not make a point of accompanying viewings, yet my research and experience suggests that you have a far higher chance of selling to a buyer when you accompany them on their viewings. There are three reasons for this – heart, brain and understanding/empathy:

Firstly - the heart. The psychology of buying suggests that the reason why people view a property the first time is simply to get a feel for the property. They already know the location and what the accommodation comprises from the details. But in order to buy it, they need to fall in love with it, using the “I’ll know it when I see it” method. At time of first viewing, the last thing the heart needs is the distraction of the vendor/landlord showing them the detail of the new lighting circuit or the make of the boiler. Nor does it want a cup of tea with the seller when it would prefer to be exploring the rest of the property. The heart is also keen to discuss plans for the property which is embarrassing and difficult within earshot of the seller. And the last thing the heart wants is a pushy seller to try to force it to buy because the seller is so keen to sell.

Secondly – the brain. The brain really kicks in on the second viewing. The heart has already booked Pickfords following the first viewing, but the brain says “hey, not so fast – we need to see the property again – just to be sure!” So on the second viewing, the buyer is looking for reasons NOT to buy the property. Those small details that were irrelevant on the first viewing now become useful – unless they were unnecessarily “spent” on the first viewing. The agent who accompanies the first viewing will have listened out for buying signals and objections during the first viewing, that the seller would have missed, and can harness these during the second viewing.

Thirdly, and most importantly of all - understanding/empathy. A good negotiator will have begun to build a relationship with the buyer on registration. This relationship is the key to understanding the buyer’s needs, preferences, hopes, aspirations and potential areas of compromise, with in turn empowers empathy. Empathy generates trust. So once the agent understand the buyer, he/she can not just “show” the property to the buyer, but “explore” it enthusiastically, whilst demonstrating how it could fit with the buyer’s lifestyle in the context of others the agent is showing them. The seller on the other hand, has no knowledge of the buyer whatsoever and only says “this is the bathroom”! As I've always said - the client knows nothing! That's why they need a well trained agent to help them.

I’m now taking bookings for training in September and October. So if you’d like a shot in the arm for your agency, which comes with a good hard look at your business by way of a free consultation, please feel free to call me on 0845 838 1354 or email me on rrawlings@estateagencyinsight.co.uk for an overview of how I might be able to help.