DON'T DROP THE "LOOKIE LOUS"!!!....Keep Them Around Until They Do Buy!

By
Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896

DON'T DROP THE "LOOKIE LOUS"!! Keep them around until they do buy!

It is so important that you do not just drop a potential buyer---how do you know if you have a serious one or not? By NO THANKS! I AM JUST LOOKING!asking the following questions:

  • Do you need to sell your current home before you buy another one?
  • Have you investigated how you want to finance this house?
  • What is the biggest reason you want to move?
  • Are you prepared to move into your new house in the next 3 months?
  • Will you be needing to buy furniture for your new house?

Very DIRECT questions like these can reveal a "Lookie Lou" very quickly....If they do not answer with certainty, you will know that they have no idea of what it feels like to seriously think of buying a new home, i.e. "TIME-WASTER"..(blinking, red flashing warning light!)....There are many of those out there---the person who has time to waste and wants to "just look".

Then there is the other kind; the kind who does want to buy but feels no pressure to do it. They will buy when they see something they absolutely love!...and not until! Those people will tell you that, however. They are the ones I am talking about.

How do I know? Because at one point I was that "Lookie Lou"! I went through the process of what looking for a new house felt like before I bought my first home.

LOOKIE LOUS ALL LOOK THE SAME....

In my case, I knew exactly what I was doing and I did let the agents who were helping me know that I didn't intend to buy for quite a while.

Believe it or not, I did find an agent who was willing to put up with me while I went through that "Lookie Lou" stage and on the other side of it, she got to sell me something where several other agents lost out!

 

 

That's why I try to to give every "Lookie Lou" a chance---but, if they go into it and are deceptive and try to keep me from finding out that they are wasting my time---those are the ones that I dump immediately! It's not easy to tell; I "TIME WASTERS' NEED TO BE DUMPEDam not very good at "dumping" someone, so I have begun to use the following techniques:

  • Tell the possible "Lookie Lou" that you have a big customer who may take your time away from them. If the response is an angry "Do you have time for me or NOT?" then you will have your answer. Demanding people are the most difficult to cut loose so you need to let them cut themselves loose. This sort of person is apt to just walk away, looking for the next "victim"
  • If you have a  sense that the person you just showed 25 houses to is not sure yet about the location, or the style that they want, chances are you have a "Lookie Lou" of the first order and it is time to begin cutting the cord. I find that a real buyer has already chosen the neighborhood and does not wander very far from it. Start to cut back on the inventory--don't take her/him to as many houses...leave them wanting to see more and tell them you are busy with another buyer. They will find their way to another agent who will start all over again....
  • As I said above: Demanding people are difficult to cut loose from; why? Because they are the real thing (Lookie Lou) and they think that the more demanding they are the more you will give into their demands. It's all part of a the control that this person needs to feel they are good enough. Simple as that! Let them go--don't take any calls from them anymore and DON"T even think there is something wrong with NOT taking them out to show houses to again!  
  • If the above techniques are difficult to do--then just keep showing them houses---keep taking them out and giving them printed  information on every single property you can conjure up, real or not. Do not stop until they have either disappeared on their own, worn out from your zealousness OR YOU HAVE ULTIMATELY SOLD THEM A HOUSE!!! 

There you have it---a perfect guide to "WHAT TO DO WITH A LOOKIE LOU"...

You will either thank me in the event you sell one a house or you will hate me and tell me to burn in Hades for what I got you into!!

 

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lookie lous look like regular people
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Rainmaker
508,282
Terry McCarley
REMAX Trend - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL
REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL

It is sometimes very hard at first to figure out if they are a lookie lou or not.  I give them a chance but I have found some that have no intention of ever buying.  I had one this year that apparently just likes looking at homes.  When I decided to quit working with her she asked to be referred out.  She did the same with the next agent and they chose to dump her as well.

Dec 28, 2011 02:36 AM #45
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Terry: I have those too--and they do not ever buy--I just keep them at a distance and in spite of having dumped them, they still call now and then. it is a tough call to just not return calls or emails, is it not?

Dec 28, 2011 03:24 AM #46
Rainer
353,386
Bill Somerset
Re/Max Realty Group - Dover, NH
ABR, e-PRO - Realtor - NH Real Estate Agent

This is one of the areas I have always sturggled with.  I have a very hard time keeping in touch with those that are not "right now" buyers.

Dec 28, 2011 03:32 AM #47
Rainmaker
304,209
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

WOW, Paula. You have gleaned wonderful insights from your time with lookie-lous AND your time as a lookie-lou. You are so right, when you point out that there are degrees of lookie-lou. Awesome post.

Once while I had a new agent shadowing me, one of my lookies called for a showing. I had probably shown this couple 25 houses, and I truly intended to cut them loose--BUT I wanted to demonstrate "lookie lou" traits to my shadow, Courtney. So, off we went. I had cautioned Courtney that the house we were about to show met NONE of the criteria that the client had clearly articulated, so this was going to be a dry run.

"So, are you interested in writing an offer?" I said to the clients, after they had picked it apart, detail by detail. I had warned Courtney that the clients picked everything apart. Imagine my surprise (not to mention Courtney's) when they said, "Yes, this is it."

Courtney (and I) learned a lesson that day, but it was not the one I THOUGHT I was teaching!

Dec 28, 2011 03:33 AM #48
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Bill: Perhaps if you just send them a "drip" as a couple of people here admit that they use...I also send my newsletter ou tto EVERYBODY on my contact list..I get good results from some older buyers that way.

Dec 28, 2011 03:36 AM #49
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Liz: what a great story and a great learning experience for both of you ! I do find that I have never stopped learing inspite of my long career in this business--reason being: as long as we work with human beings, we will have a multitude of experiences, and they are never the same!

Dec 28, 2011 03:38 AM #50
Rainmaker
1,175,404
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota Real Estate Expert

Most people dont have time to waste now a days when buying. Typically you can get them to hault looking inside house until they are ready.  

Dec 28, 2011 04:35 AM #51
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Chuck: I guess that is a sign of the times--things have changed and the buyer who wants to buy at a different time than they are looking is a common thing now...usually they will look a t a few houses then step back and wait til they are ready..I have 2 buyers like that right now.

Dec 28, 2011 06:20 AM #52
Ambassador
1,155,543
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I try to keep the casual buyers on the back burner while they figure out what they really want.  However, if they insist on seeing a lot of property or do other things that consume a lot of my time - knowing it's being wasted - I'll have a chat with them to set 'em straight.  If they insist on wasting my time, I will drop them.

Dec 28, 2011 07:30 AM #53
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Bryan: Good for you!  I agree that if they are wasting your time you should dump them--I also think there are those buyers who need more time to decide--I think to be able to identify them is to your benefit and mine!

Erica: I agree and it is not always that easy to spot them so I do keep them around longer than I should--but I would rather err on the side of caution and give them the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, if I have a buyer who is totally unwilling to be frank with me, I will just let them go...and wish them luck in finding an agent who is good and who is willing to waste their time.

Dec 28, 2011 08:23 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,976,142
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Lookie loo's can tramp through lots of places with their shoes on with real video. Turn them loose and let the footage, sound, tour work their magic.

Dec 28, 2011 09:04 AM #56
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Andrew: Wow--I guess if they had didn't have shoes on, we would know who they were! If the video revealed Lookie Lous we all need to use them more!!!

Dec 28, 2011 09:58 AM #57
Rainer
482,047
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Hi Paula. I agree that keeping (and keeping up with) all potential buyers is a good thing. The only thing I ask for is honesty about their intentions (and that is often hard to get at all levels) so we can establish "the rules" and an understanding of both our situations.

Lookie-Lous are good as well because you get to become familiar with a lot of listings you might not otherwise view. Working with them even casually helps keep me familiar with what is going on.

Lastly, many lookie-lous I've run into have lots of friends & family that they communicate with a lot. Treating them right has led to other clients (who did buy or list) based on their recommendations.

Best Wishes for a Great 2012!
Bruce

 

Dec 28, 2011 12:16 PM #58
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Bruce: you have made several good points here--I like the idea of "using" the Lookie Lous for practice and to keep your mind refreshed on inventory! I will use that idea myself, thank you very much!

Dec 28, 2011 12:33 PM #59
Rainer
241,977
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

I'll keep them around and send them lisitings.  Maybe show some houses once in a while but not too much more until they get a little more serious.

Dec 28, 2011 02:16 PM #60
Rainmaker
290,082
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet - Joliet, IL

I'm not as patient as you! I drop the "tire kickers" and "window-shoppers" because my instinct is hardly wrong. I know when a buyer is wasting my time and I always put them on the way-back burner! I focus my energy on the ones that I know want to buy.

Dec 28, 2011 02:55 PM #61
Rainmaker
531,401
Karen Baker
Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty - Sunset Beach, NC
Professional Help with Rapid Responses...

Paula ~ we have been pretty fortunate figuring out who we need to spend time with and who is wasting our time. We don't necessarily dump them, we keep them around with a portal for listings and emails/newsletters to stay in touch. We don't let them drag us around looking when they are not ready to buy.. It takes a lot to dump a client..  

Dec 28, 2011 03:58 PM #62
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Justin: Nothing wrong with that! I feel that the buyers today NEED more time and less pressure---there  really is no reason to pressure anymore. They will buy at their own pace in my opinion--and they do buy in most cases, I have found.

LaNita: that's great of you have a steady stream of buyers---i would do the same thing. But in this era of fewer buyers I think it is more efficacious to treat ALL buyers as if they are going to buy and then decide from the attitude of the buyer if you want to continue. In my experience, there are a huge number of buyers who are tire kickers---for the moment. I am finding that by keeping those people in the loop, means I WILL eventually sell them something.

Dec 28, 2011 10:55 PM #63
Rainmaker
500,719
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Frank and Karen: Sounds like you have discovered what I have found and that is: It is worth my time and efforts to keep the questionable buyers in the loop so that when they DO want to buy, they have my name in front of their face!

Dec 28, 2011 10:57 PM #64
Rainmaker
524,540
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

We've worked with quite a few of these folks over the years.  Most of them eventually bought something and we probably made a dollar an hour in some cases.  But, occasionally they will refer someone else so it all weighs out.

Jan 02, 2012 02:49 AM #65
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