Have you ever been "stood up?"

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Have you ever been "stood up?"

 

No, I don't mean stood up for a date. I mean for a showing appointment.

 

If you've been in real estate for any length of time, you probably have.

 

I recall a time when I went to the office on a Sunday morning to meet buyer prospects. After about an hour of waiting I called them and a little girl answered. When I asked for her mother she said "She's eating her breakfast and doesn't want to come to the phone."

 

So, instead of showing homes, I was on the phone trying to apologize to sellers who had also interrupted their Sunday morning for these rude, inconsiderate people. The sellers were upset, I was angry, and my husband and kids were peeved at me for having agreed to a showing when they wanted us to go to the lake. A wonderful Sunday.

 

But what can you do? How can you prevent that kind of rudeness? One restaurant I read about came up with a cure. (At least a semi-cure.)

 

This well-known restaurant was having difficulties because of customers who made reservations and then simply didn't show up. The no-show rate was a whopping 30%. Of course that cut into their profits as they turned away diners who were there, ready and willing to occupy a table and order a meal. 

 

So they decided to try adding just two powerful little words to their script.

 

At the end of a call, instead of saying "Please call if you won't be able to make it," the reservation clerk switched to "Will you please call if you won't be able to make it?" Then she waited for their commitment to do so.

 

The result? The no-show rate dropped from 30% to 10%!

 

It seems that once people agree and make a verbal commitment to carry out an action, they are far more apt to do so than if they merely know they "should."

 

Why not try this simple restaurant tactic? When you make an appointment with anyone, ask for their commitment to call if they aren't going to be able to make it.

 

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Rainmaker
1,537,880
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jay - You really are fortunate. Twice in 5 years isn't bad at all.

Tom - I thought it was interesting. Just asking people to be accountable causes some of them to BE accountable.

Wallace - You're too nice. After a while I did set some rules about how long I'd wait.Can't remember if I ever went back. My feeling was that if someone is going to be late, it's not that difficult to call.

I set the same rules for how long I'd wait for other appointments too - and you should have heard the dentist's receptionist squeal when I said "We've been here 20 minutes past our appointment time and you have not had time for us. We're leaving now."

Jul 07, 2012 05:26 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,364,196
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
That is a good suggestion. I always get the Pre approval done so this also eliminates that.
Jul 07, 2012 05:28 PM #5
Rainmaker
2,672,475
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Oh I hate when this happens.  We try to confirm our appts the day before and this really helps.  But, we missed one a week ago, and of course had a no show (which we were able to reschedule).  But, it's a huge waste of time and very frustrating.  Great tip.  We will need to look into that. 

Jul 07, 2012 05:45 PM #7
Rainer
447,725
April Swenson
Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers - Ocean Shores, WA
CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate

That is a great tip.  But maybe suggest the buyers not to bother anyone on a Sunday and do it another day.  But a great tip for us all to use.

Jul 07, 2012 06:05 PM #8
Rainmaker
4,432,217
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
I have not been stood up but people call at the last minute and cancel the appointment just when I am about to go to show the home or they say they are going to be an hour late and I have to call all the offices to let them know.
Jul 07, 2012 08:33 PM #9
Rainer
442,566
Barbara Tattersall
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH) - Keene, NH
GRI

Great idea. It's amazing the impact a couple of chosen words makes. I usually give people 20 minutes for an appointment before I leave and I call their cell.  Sometimes they are meeting me at the property and got lost or the previous showing went longer than expected. I try not to think that people would be so irresponsible as to just not show up.

Jul 07, 2012 08:46 PM #10
Ambassador
3,983,049
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent
Marte, I really like that approach. I also follow up with my own phone call before the appointment to verify they will be coming. That helps makebthem committed also.
Jul 07, 2012 10:06 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,305,044
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning, Marte - Great suggestion to avoid a persistent problem. I wonder if buyers think we're like a store - they can show up whenever they feel like it and we'll be open?

Jul 07, 2012 10:37 PM #12
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779,617
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

I've though of collecting a 100 bucks from buyers at our first meeting. Then deduct 25 each time they are more than 15 minutes late. In reality I would never do this, but a man can have a dream right?

Jul 07, 2012 11:54 PM #13
Rainmaker
4,083,910
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Marte, it is amazing how many rude people are running the streets today!    I have two occupied properties and cannot tell you how many showings have been set, no one shows up, nor do they cancel the appointment!    Sundays are the worst!

Jul 08, 2012 12:00 AM #14
Rainmaker
650,335
Bobbie Smith
Stroudsburg, PA
570-242-1891

Marte, Just two little words can make such a difference. Great idea!  I am sure we have all been there. Appointments that don't show or show up two hours late.

Jul 08, 2012 12:34 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,537,880
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Cheryl - Pre-approval? You mean for their loan?

Pete - Can't smack 'em with your can if they aren't there!

Debbie - That huge waste of time is what's maddening. You can't start doing something else when you're waiting for an appointment to show. Or worse - when you've gone to a property to meet someone.

April - It would be nice if buyers didn't need/want to look at homes on Sunday. But when I was an agent I used to try to remember that in some cases that was the only day that both husband and wife were off work.

Gita - calling, even at the last minute, is better than leaving you sitting there waiting for an hour. But yes, still annoying and a lot of work to call everyone else involved and let them know.

Keller Williams - Anybody can be a few minutes late. A flat tire, a traffic tangle, or something else unexpected. And where I live cell phones don't always work. So I always had that same attitude - they're just delayed. That is, until an hour went by.

Debbie - That's wise practice.

Wayne and Jean - I think some of them do. And they think they're your only customers, so the world revolves around their time frame. Thank goodness the "completely rude" are in a minority.

Doug - that is a nice dream.

Joan - People just don't think. I wonder why Sundays are worst? Maybe because they get company or someone calls with an idea to do something fun?

Bobbie - I think anyone in a service profession has probably been there.

Now that I've switched from selling real estate to writing for people who do, it still happens to me occasionally. The difference is now it's a telephone appointment. Someone will ask me to call at a given time, then all I get is voice mail. I know agents can't control incoming calls, so will leave a message and then call back in a little while, but if it goes on for an hour I decide the person wasn't serious.

I emailed one gentleman to ask if he'd forgotten and he wrote back in an angry tone. NO he didn't forget - he was busy. He made it sound like I was the rude one for expecting him to keep his commitments. Not the kind of agent I wanted to do business with, so... "Bye!"

 

Jul 08, 2012 01:35 AM #16
Ambassador
3,090,321
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I'm surprised that those two simple words could have such an impact.  It's been a while since I've been stood up, but I'm going to start using this.

Jul 08, 2012 02:41 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,537,880
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Chris Ann - I found that surprising too, but I guess it's getting the customer to answer and commit that makes the difference.

Jul 08, 2012 02:55 AM #18
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378,614
Karen Hurst
RICOASTALLIVING.COM - Warwick, RI
Rhode Island Waterfront!

Marte,

 

Very interesting and I am going to try that.   Last year I had been stood up twice in a row.  As you very nicely mentioned, it wreaks havoc with your own life.    The next appt, I was so wary that when they didnt call me back that morning, "I" did not show.      Well, this time they showed!!!!    And were very upset that I did not!!   No winners here.

Jul 09, 2012 12:02 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,537,880
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Karen - Well, at least they found out how it felt! I got stood up twice in a row by a young couple - and the second time I should have known better than to show up. I saw their pickup parked near a fishing hole on my way to town to meet them, but thought I must be mistaken. Surely someone who claimed to be a friend of mine wouldn't just go fishing without bothering to cancel the appointment. Yes he did!

Jul 09, 2012 12:43 AM #20
Ambassador
1,207,209
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

I haven't had this happen in quite some time.  Mainly because we require our buyers to all get pre approved before any showings, and we try to do buyer consultations when possible. 

Jul 14, 2012 11:07 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,537,880
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Good for you Christiansen Team - it sounds like you're establishing a good relationship with those buyers from the start.

Jul 15, 2012 02:04 AM #22
Rainmaker
612,969
Mike Young
203kOnLine.com, covering the USA - Las Vegas, NV
FHA 203k Consultant 916-758-1809

I was an appraiser years ago and had a real estate company that was never on time. I would get there 10-15 minutes and start on the outside in many cases then 15-20 minutes after the appointment I would call them, They finally admitted they would always wait for my call before they wasted one minute of time waiting for me. I told them to find another appraiser for future orders. 

Aug 15, 2012 11:51 AM #23
Rainmaker
1,537,880
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Mike - That reminds me of doctors and dentists who over-book, just to make sure their precious time is never wasted. It's the same thing as saying "I'm important and my time is important. You and your time are not."

Good for you for dumping them!

Aug 15, 2012 02:01 PM #24
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