November 2013 Article
The Pester Misperception
Real estate agents are often overly careful about contacting prospective buyers and sellers too quickly or frequently. They don’t want to “pester” anyone. But those agents are mistakenly applying the standards of social communication to a business situation.
For example, if you meet someone at a social function who repeatedly gives you the cold shoulder, they are probably discouraging you for personal reasons.
But if you meet a buyer at your open house, and that person acts standoffish and guarded, it’s because you are a salesperson. It’s not social rejection, even though it looks and feels like it. The buyer ascribes a business role to you, that’s all. It’s a stereotypical role—a bias, if you will—but the buyer assumes that your chief interest is to sell them something in order to earn money. As a result, their defenses are up. But don’t interpret a buyer’s lack of encouragement as discouragement, and disregard the buyer. If you do, the buyer is left to believe that you were not interested in his or her business.
Your role is to be the leader
Successful real estate agents have gotten used to initiating discussions and arranging contacts with prospective clients even though the customers gave the agent absolutely no encouragement to do so. Those agents see taking the initiative as their role. If this is a new attitude for you, it will seem uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get used to it after seeing positive results.
How frequently should you stay in touch?
I have heard new agents say, “I’ll call the buyers I just met two or three days from now because I don’t want to pester them.” My advice is: If in doubt, err on the side of quick and frequent contact. When polled about real estate industry practices, most buyers and sellers complain about the lack of interest shown by agents. Those agents, however, were probably just trying to be polite.
Be polite, by all means, but show a healthy interest in helping buyers and sellers, even when they have their guard up.
By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor
Continuing Ed Express