What a small business can learn from selling a house

Lucy with a For Sale sign (SOLD).
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I’m moving house. Can you tell by my frazzled face? I am also moving in with my parents temporarily, but that is a fresh hell I’ll save for wine therapy sessions. Yes, I’m the grown-up child moving back to the nest – my old childhood bedroom to be specific. Please send help and strong coffee.

I’ve sold my house via Dawsons, an estate agency in Swansea, and they have been fabulous. They were enthusiastic about my house from the start. They updated me after every viewing, kept me informed, and now the sale is nearly at the finish line, they regularly contact me with updates. They didn’t dump me when the SOLD sign was stuck up.

I bought my house via Dawsons in 2011 and their memorable service struck a chord with me and I returned (there’s a lesson in the importance of customer loyalty and advocacy here).

But I can’t believe how different buying a house is now. In the olden days, we would be sent information sheets with house details on. You would physically view a house at least twice, and researching the road and area was a real effort. It was old school research and made us very vulnerable to making a horrendous mistake.

The digital shift in house buying

These days, it’s different. And very reflective of how we behave as consumers.

Houses are online – usually on the estate agency’s website but most importantly on websites such as OnTheMarket and Zoopla.

By the time someone views your house, the buyers have probably 70% (yes, that magical number again cited by Marcus Sheridan) made their minds up.

They’ve viewed every hi-res photo of every room. They’ve immersed themselves in the walk-through video. They’ve seen 3D maps of your house and probably zoomed in with Google Earth to check out the street. They’ve looked at parking, schools, local shops, and know the demographic of your neighbours more intimately than you. And that’s before the drive-by (multiple drive-bys).

So, by the time they physically view your house, they probably ‘know’ that they either want to buy it, or they want to rule it out. There’s not much you can do to influence the viewers at that stage.

The importance of presentation in marketing

Now, imagine your online photos were rubbish, or you decided to sell privately and not take advantage of the OnTheMarkets and Zooplas of the world. You will miss out. Or you might miss out on the best price. And we all know missing out on the best price will give you epic ‘what if’ fear for years.

That’s so relevant in today’s world of marketing. A rubbish website, bad photos, inconsistent social media, lack of engagement with your customers, and talking to the wrong customers can cost you a sale.

As the housing market has changed, so has how we sell. We have to ensure that everything our customers need to know is readily available. That we answer as many questions and show as many facets of our product and service as we can. Slowly date your customers until they can’t imagine a life without you.

Knowing your audience

Think about what your house buyers want – who are they? Does a school catchment area mean a lot to them, or do they prioritise a snazzy kitchen? Thinking about your audience and their needs and questions will put you ahead. Understanding your audience is like knowing what to say on a first date – the slow reveal. If you take it seriously, you ‘think’ about what to tell them, and when.

Every single workshop I run, whether it be on Social Media or Marketing Strategy, has a mandatory section on knowing your audience. Because if we don’t know them, how can we satisfy them? And an unsatisfied customer is a dangerous beast.

Sell yourself!

Let’s take a leaf out of the housing market and sell our products and services in a presentable and engaging way. Show off your best features and make your customers fall in love at first sight – or at least after a few interactions.

In the meantime, wish me luck. My Mum has already asked me not to shower in the morning in case I wake my Dad up… sigh.

P.S. if you are self employed or a limited business owner (like me) and find that the mortgage lenders are being mean, get in contact with Ceri and Sarah at Neath based mortgage advisers REMOO Mortgages. They know their onions (and mortgages)!

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