A while back we were renting a home that was put up for sale before we moved out. The realtors who came to show it to potential buyers wanted us gone when they were showing it, and they wanted to show up with only a few hours notice. I understand this is “standard” practice. But since when has standard been the best strategy to go with?
Let’s Think About It…
1. We knew the house. We could help share the best things about it.
We’d lived there for a while and I could tell you that while my electric bill was astronomical for a couple of months during the winter, there were reasons and I figured out how to reduce it dramatically. No real estate agent can tell that from the electric company records. But if they asked me, I could have soothed a potential buyers fears when they saw nearly $500/month for several months.
There were other quirks I could have helped them feel more comfortable with and approach realistically (the good and the bad). I could tell you about the neighbors, the neighborhood, and how wonderful it is to live so close to specific things around that home.
While the real estate agent was looking at a floor plan and trying to figure out where things were in the house, I could easily have pointed out the coolest features and been direct about anything that was annoying (adding how we worked around it — I found an awesome way to make the strange closet layouts work better). If you were the potential buyer, wouldn’t you appreciate that type of information to help you see beyond a floor plan?
2. We lived there. We could have added to the presentation.
My house doesn’t look like a page out of Better Homes & Gardens most of the time. That would be nice. But we LIVE here. I often have art projects or science experiments happening that are messy. What’s life without fun and messiness for kids?
With 24 hours notice I could easily whip the house into a beautiful, inviting place to visit and make it smell pretty, too (we have cats, what can I say…). I’m thinking that’s worth a heck of a lot in helping a home’s appeal to potential buyers.
What am I getting at?
I’m not a realtor. For all I know there are laws against letting me speak to potential buyers. But that’s not the point here, so just follow the reasoning behind it with me. The realtor could have called me up before he/she stopped over, or come in a few minutes early and I would have been happy to give a quick tour and answer questions. Find a way to work with those who could be your allies.
I could have been one of their best assets for helping them sell the home and earn their commission. Think outside the box already.
Apply it to your business.
Are you missing out on the best allies you could have? Think about who you haven’t asked to work with you and how you might help support each other.
- I did website design for a long time. Some of my best referrals came from other designers (gasp! competitors!) and some of my happiest clients I sent to work with other designers (because darn it, I just can’t do “cute” or “country” or several other motifs, but I know others who do it fabulously).
- My customers and affiliates have given me better ideas on what to highlight (and fix) with my products than I’d ever have come up with on my own. We might not always think to ask our customers but they’ve got excellent feedback (good and bad) just waiting if we’re brave enough to ask.
There are many ways to work with your “competitors” to build better businesses for all involved. Or to work with complementary businesses to refer clients back and forth (like a website host and website designer, or a business coach and a virtual assistant).
Who have you worked with that might not have been the obvious choice? Does this post spark any ideas for you about who you might be missing?
Photo Credit: meerlap at sxc.hu