Is buying a house as simple as buying a kettle?

30 October 2011

When I think back to the houses I have bought and the viewings I have been on, almost invariably, the Estate Agents I have dealt with have been relatively poorly equipped with genuine sales skills.

I might have been briefly qualified as to my suitability to buy and on my own property requirements, but a viewing has rarely been anything other than feature led. "This is the kitchen" and so on.

The belief is that properties sell themselves of course.. Each viewing results in either a "yes", or a "no".

It's a subject I was prompted to think about while interviewing for a business development role here at PropertyADD recently.

In a small sale, where there's no ongoing relationship between the buyer and seller, it's easy for the buyer to separate what they are buying and the person they are buying it from. When you go into Comet or Currys looking for a new kettle, it's not hugely important if any sort of rapport is built by the salesperson. Rather, it's the quality, features and price of what you are buying that counts.

In a larger sale – which will normally take longer to complete – being liked, trusted and respected becomes more important. Particularly so when there will be an ongoing relationship afterwards.

This is common sense: a larger sale comes with a higher price and a higher level of risk, and so the buyer must be more certain of their decision in order to go ahead.

A genuinely consultative sales process is clearly a good thing then. Questions allow the salesperson to get a much better feel of the buyer's needs and priorities – and trust is earned as a result of the process.

As a high value deal without any ongoing relationship, perhaps a property sale sits somewhere in between those two extremes. Maybe the need for home buyers to feel that feeling makes our industry a bit different. Perhaps the lack of direct competition many properties face has an impact too.

Phil Spencer's Secret Agent TV Show

But you only have to watch Phil Spencer's (quite dull sadly) Secret Agent TV show to see that some people need help with their vision. They need your questions to clarify their thoughts. They need to see something wrong to help them understand what something right looks like.

Even allowing for TV's poetic licence, a lick of paint and better definition of the function of a property can change someone's opinion of whether a property is right for them. One property I viewed a couple of years ago had locks on the outside of all of the internal doors – and that just felt creepy. Maybe there was a logical reason for it, but feelings and logic are very different things when it comes to buying a property.

Which gets on to Phil's other point – something I've mentioned before too – Estate Agents aren't offering their vendors enough advice on how to improve their property for sale.

Going back to the interviews, one candidate mentioned that they had adopted the SPIN selling method advocated by Neil Rackham. It wasn't a technique I had heard of, so I bought the book and read it before our meeting. It's a very interesting study on the types of questions you can ask and their effect on the sales process – and I recommend you read it too.

Leave your comment:



What you said:

09 February 2016 09:31:57
There's no denying that property involves a completely different kind of sales and you're right, it's to do with the fact that it's a much larger sale. It's not really comparable to buying a kettle at all... if so there'd be such a thing as kettle agents. 'Spin Selling' sounds interesting, I'll have to give it a read!
09 October 2016 12:33:13
Many estate agents now see the need to provide a competitive service as online begins to take hold of the market. By going online to the property portals you can quickly see what is required to make a moving experience slick.
Valuation tools,
conveyancing comparison service
Quotes for a survey
Floorplans
etc