Selling a single-family home is a lot different than selling a car. A house is unique and sells itself, but you can find the same car at a dozen dealerships -- it's price and service that sell the car.
Steve and Cathy Jackshaw know this. They ran Jackshaw Chevrolet in Cleveland for more than 10 years, following Steve's father, who ran it for 40 years. After selling the business in 1998, they earned their realtor's licenses and joined Realty One's Chesterland office to use their car business savvy to sell homes.
The couple believes the key to car sales -- to any big-ticket sales -- is maintaining relationships with the customer after the pitch. Here are their keys to success.
Some days, it's impossible to return all the messages you receive. But always attempt to get back to a customer with a question in a reasonable amount of time. Although it doesn't guarantee a sale, an ignored customer is unlikely to buy.
"I've been told by people, 'You're the only one who called me back,'" says Cathy Jackshaw. "It amazes me, because it's such a simple thing."
Do unto others
Although you may have sold one customer, if that person is treated well, he or she will likely tell family, friends and neighbors about the experience. That can pay off in future sales.
"If somebody feels you've done a good job for them, they feel very comfortable about recommending you to someone they know," Jackshaw says. "Trust is a big thing. If a car salesman doesn't treat a customer right, he's going to tell twice as many people how bad he was treated."
In car sales, the axiom used to be that if the customer walked out the door and you didn't close him, you weren't going to see him again.
"I don't think that was always true," says Jackshaw. "But in real estate, it's not that way at all. A realtor is not going to sell somebody on a house. It's going to be their decision. It's not like when you walk out of the house and they didn't sign the papers that the deal won't eventually come together."
Keep in touch
It's important to keep the lines of communication open and not forget about the customer once the sale is made. If you're investing your time and energy in a customer, there will be a return on that investment.
"It's funny. Our motto at Jackshaw Chevrolet was, 'After we sell, we serve,'" she says. "It's kind of the same thing. If we sell you a home or sell your home, it's not like you're never going to hear from us again. We keep a relationship." How to reach: Steve and Cathy Jackshaw, Realty One, (440)729-3300
Morgan Lewis Jr. (email@example.com) is a reporter at SBN.