My Hobby - Open Homes

Anyone who has been to a residential open home will know that there are people who tour open homes as a hobby. As entertainment it is cheaper than going to the movies, and for some people the voyeurism of looking through strangers’ homes is more fun than playing golf, or even going the mall.

But when someone fronts up at a commercial or industrial property, it is almost always for a reason. And that reason is generally not to fill in a quiet afternoon. It is most likely because they have a problem. The problem may be that they need more space, or less space, or their lease is coming to an end, or they have money they want to invest. Or a dozen other possible problems.

But how often do we focus on the client’s problem?  Rather than addressing the client’s problem, and how it may be solved, do we instead focus on the product we have to lease or sell. In other words, it doesn’t matter what the problem is, the solution is the product I am selling. Very often a salesman’s methodology is to focus on the product they have available, and trying to sell the features and benefits of that property; rather than focus on the buyer, and attempting to understand their problems and motivations.

By focusing on the buyer, and asking questions, we can gain a better understanding of the buyer’s intrinsic motivation. Then we can look at how we may be able to assist to solve the problem. There are multiple differences between the product centric salesperson, and the problem centric salesperson.

Amongst these are:

  • The problem centric salesperson asks questions/ enquires. The product centric salesperson tells/explains.
  • The problem centric salesperson focusses on the buyer. The product centric salesperson focusses on the product they are selling.
  • The problem centric salesperson challenges the buyer, and controls the sale process, whereas the product centric salesperson is challenged by the buyer, and is unable to control the sale.

The start to 2019 has been notable for the number of agents who are adopting a problem centric approach. A cynic may well say that the reason for this is the acute lack of stock, which makes it the only approach possible if you have no stock to sell. But we are more charitable, and see it as a maturing of parts of the industry, which has been helped along by  market conditions. It is certainly encouraging to see agents focusing on building a greater understanding of the client, their motivations and problems – rather than just selling features and benefits.