Everything Speaks

This past weekend I stopped in an Open House for a home that has caught my eye for many years. How disappointing it was though once I walked in the front door. The “realtor” introduced himself as Joe and immediately told me he was not the actual realtor, but he was sitting on the Open House for his friend, the    listing realtor, who had something else come up.

Upon entering the foyer and living room, I started to smell a musty and dusty scent that permeated each room. It was obvious the house had been vacant for a long time and no one had given it a chance to air out before putting it on the market.

The carpeting in several of the rooms appeared to be in good condition, but there were dust balls everywhere and dead bugs in corners. The rooms with flooring had not been swept and certainly not mopped. The windows looking over a nice deck were dirty. Kitchen counters looked as though they had not seen a sponge in years. I was so surprised that someone would want to show a home with so little preparation in cleaning it up.

When I asked Joe a few very basic questions regarding the home and property, he said he didn’t know anything and didn’t offer to find out. He really was just a warm body with no knowledge to share nor seemingly really interested in making a sale.

A Call to Realtors: if you want to improve the Buyer experience to increase sales, the following recommendations are for you:

1. The sense of smell is very powerful and remembered. Identify a scent that matches the home and enhance the home with that scent. For example, if you want to portray a cozy home, then vanilla scent works well. For a clean home, then a lemon scent may work best. Don’t make it overpowering, but a subtle scent can create an emotional connection.

2. Have the floors mopped and shining, the carpet vacuumed and cleaned. Scrub down the kitchen sink, counters, and appliances. Clean the windows to sparkle and enhance any outside views. Dust windowsills and shelves.

3. Make sure the person working the Open House has access to answers of basic questions. You may not get a second chance to answer the potential buyers inquiries as they may just leave and never come back.

Interestingly, as I was leaving the home, Joe shook my hand, told me how glad he was to meet me, and then said he knew the seller was very, very motivated to sell. I should have told Joe, but being the nice customer who doesn’t say anything, but just goes away – I wanted to say “Well everything in this Open House is sending the exact opposite message. If the seller really wanted to sell, then they would have treated anyone showing up to the Open House as a guest. And before most people invite guests to their home, they clean it up, make it look as good as possible, and smell good.”

This Open House had the total opposite effect.  It’s important to “look through the lens of the customer” and create a WOW experience.  First impressions are powerful and “everything speaks”.  Everything your customer sees, hears, smells, and touches makes an impact upon the experience.

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