Don't Blame Realtors Who Don't Work Hard

Did you know that a person’s actions can be influenced by art on a wall? It’s true. Some paintings and photos cause us to act differently.

An experiment in a company’s lunchroom placed an “honesty box” on a table next to the 50-cent self-serve coffee. A picture was hung on the wall above the honesty box.

During the first week the picture was a brightly colored flower. During the second week it was a pair of human eyes. The pictures were alternated weekly for 10 weeks.

The coffee users put three times the amount in the honesty box on watchful eye weeks as flower weeks. The symbolic reminder of being watched prodded people into paying for coffee more often.

This experiment got me thinking. Could watchful eyes make Realtors work harder to sell homes? This would make home sellers happier and our real estate firm better.

So I conducted an experiment. I asked volunteer agents to give me an activity report on what they did each day to sell their listed homes. The result? They couldn’t.

The problem wasn’t their willingness to work; it was they didn’t know what to do. Aside from weekend open houses and the initial tasks after listing a home (photography, yard sign, MLS, Zillow), most agents aren’t taught what to do each day to increase the probability their listed homes will sell.

It’s like a Nordstrom’s salesperson. They are superbly trained to help customers who walk in the store, but they aren’t responsible to bring in customers. By contrast, real estate agents must do both (attract customers and then sell customers) because the firms they work for usually do nothing to market their listed homes; it’s up to each agent.

So this inspired me to develop 90 minutes of daily tasks my agents should do to sell each of their listings. The result? Our listed homes started selling faster and at higher prices per square foot.

The first 29 days of my plan was even featured in Forbes because daily home selling plans are virtually non-existent in real estate.

The point isn’t that “my” home selling plan is an ultimate plan. No doubt it can be improved.

The point is that agents should have a plan because doing something each day is better than doing nothing for days.