On a Facebook group for real estate agents someone asked the question: “Real Estate agents who put asking prices on their signboards….Is this a sign of agents panicking that their “message” isnt getting out there or have we been spoilt in the past with short DOM’s?”
The consensus of the ensuing conversation was that publishing the property price on the sign is a “ridiculous thing to do”, “just plain dumb” and that’s it’s “just crazy”.
These are all understandable sentiments. For years agents have strategically left crucial pieces of information from their property ads in order to get the phones to ring. If, as happened in a bygone era, a property was advertised without a home open the address was always left off. The goal was to get the punters to call for the address. Only after the caller parted with their phone number did the agent release the property address.
That’s how not having the price on a sign works. Leave off the key piece of information a buyer wants and make them call. Once they call the price is given, but only after the caller provides their name and phone number.
This type of marketing is generations old. Tom Hopkins created a whole series of videos back in the seventies (Loved his crushed velvet suit and big tie. He was real estate’s version of Austin Powers) based on his book Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate. His mantra was to never, ever, ever give out the price or the address until the person had parted with their name and phone number.
For years this type of selling worked. It still does. But it’s no longer the most effective way to sell.
Well it’s this new-fangled invention called the internet where buyers have information at their fingertips. Leave the price off the sign? That’s ok I’ll look it up on the net. Leave the address off a newspaper ad? That’s cool, I’ll find it online.
It’s now clear the internet has removed a fundamental information imbalance. Agents are no longer privileged holders of information. There’s (almost) nothing about a property a buyer can’t find online. People want information and they’ll go to where they can get it. And if that means routing around an agent who’s holding their cards close to their chest that’s what will happen. Whether it’s via Google or Twitter or Facebook people will find their answers, with or without the agent’s help.
If that’s the case it makes sense to enable and empower buyers by providing them with more information, not less. Rather than withholding the price include it, along with a QR code that links to the property profile, and the URL to a single property web site. And on your web site include as much information as you possibly can. Make these pages the ONLY place a buyer needs to go to get the information they want and need.
All of this makes sense because it puts buyers at ease. Information and transparency gives people confidence, it puts them at ease and helps them make the right decision. And agents who enable that kind of easy decision making make more sales. More sales inevitably lead to happy sellers and more referral business.
And in a funny kind of way, that’s old-fashioned selling. Tom (Austin Powers) Hopkins would be proud.