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Friday, February 26, 2010

New Feedback Forms: Now Twice as Annoying!

The Real Purpose of Showing Feedback

For the uninitiated, every time a Buyer's Agent takes a client through a property, they subsequently receive an online feedback form debriefing them on how it went.

Once upon a time -- like two years ago -- they all basically asked the same thing(s): 'tell us whether your client liked the home or not -- and, if not, why not."

Now, I'm seeing "custom" feedback forms with more -- and more demanding -- questions (my knee-jerk response follows in italics).


"What listings do you consider the closest competitors?" You did the Comparative Market Analysis ("CMA"), you tell me.

Or this one:

"What could we change/improve to get this house on your list?" Don't ask me to do your job . . . . mine is to find a home for my client that already has what they want.

Of course, the perennial favorite remains some variation of the following:

"Please indicate whether the home is priced above, below, or at market."

a) unless my client has serious interest, I'm not going to carefully price it; and b) if my client does have serious interest . . . that's the last thing I'm going to share.

Making these questions even more annoying is the fact that you can't get rid of the form until you fill in all the fields (a single punctuation mark suffices, I quickly discovered).

If you simply try to ignore the form -- it'll magically keep re-appearing in your in-box until you do.

Full disclosure: Edina Realty's feedback forms do this, too.

Feedback's True Purpose

As a Listing Agent, I like to tell my selling clients that "the only feedback I really care about is a full-price offer from a well-qualified Buyer -- or even better, two such offers."

Which is the truth.

It's also the case that providing thoughtful feedback is a courtesy shown to colleagues, and that if you want to have a reasonable expectation of receiving constructive feedback on your listings, it's incumbent upon you to fill in their feedback forms.

Call it "feedback karma."

Which gets to what feedback forms are really all about.

Not Shooting the Messenger

If you really need feedback forms to tell you how the market views your client's home (price, condition, floor plan, etc.) . . . you probably haven't been selling real estate that long.

Rather, the real purpose of feedback forms is to help wrest needed price reductions from resistant Sellers, without the Listing Agent being "the bad guy."

Put it this way: it's one thing for the Seller's agent to say their home is overpriced. After all, don't Listing Agents just want the price to be as low as possible, to consummate a sale??

However, when a parade of strangers all zero in on the same 3-4 shortcomings, then promptly disappear . . . the message tends to be a little more credible -- and potent.

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