7 seconds is all it takes to lose a deal. In that time you will decide if you want to open that listing, if my site is worthwhile or if you want to work with me. If your home is listed and a buyer is reviewing it, you’ll have about that same amount of time to hook them. If that listing isn’t compelling with rich narrative and illustrative photos, buyers and agents simply move on to the next listing. How many potential sales are lost because of poor presentation? Many….just cruise though an MLS and note the poor quality of photos, narratives and presentation in general. And don’t forget how annoying it is when an agent fails to pick up or respond in a timely manner.
According to the National Association of Realtors, as many as 97% of home buyers begin their search online by scanning listings. They spend an average of seven seconds previewing a real estate listing online before deciding if they’ll look deeper or move on. If your listing fails to capture their attention, opportunity is lost. Yet and still, how many thousands of listings have generic narratives, or worse, no narratives? How many have too few photos or poorly taken photos? Cell phone photos? How many lack agent contact information? How many agents actually respond to inquiries in a timely manner? If your home is listed, is it properly presented to generate an offer?
Buyer’s on line spend about 7 seconds deciding if a listing is worth looking at. Yet sellers allow their agents to take horrible photos, not use the max amount, skip compelling narratives and essentially showcase their home like it’s at a flea market. And then wonder why it hasn’t sold.
You meet a business acquaintance for the first time – a potential new client that you want to sign up. The moment that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes a thousand computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you friend or foe? Do you have status and authority? Are you trustworthy, competent, likable, and confident? And these computations are made at lightning speed. Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of meeting. The same is true for agent web sites.
Does an agent on a site dressed in a costume exude confidence to a client? Does an analytically, data driven site appear cold? Do clients care about what an agent does in their spare time or are they there to search listings? Do clients read blog posts? While those answers are left to firms specializing in marketing, we do know that the seven second rule applies – clients better recognize value on a site, understand if the agent is knowledgeable and they better be able to find what they want – in seven seconds.
We love the seven second idea, shame on us if we don’t have a user friendly site. Our clients are much more prepared and knowledgeable than average; we appreciate the higher level of real estate knowledge they come in with. In fact, we find that many contact us after weeks and months of following our blog or twitter account, after researching data on areas they are interested in or after searching properties on our site. And we’ve found something else – the seven second rule is morphing.
We are a “want it now” society. Agents that don’t answer calls, emails, texts or those that only do it during “set times” are missing opportunities. Real estate is almost a 24/7 business as opportunity comes and goes quickly – you snooze you lose.
It is common for us to receive a call or email beginning with “….I’ve been reading your posts for several months and….” In a sense, we’ve had much more than seven seconds to make an impression. In fact, there have been numerous instances times where we have met a buyer in the morning and written an offer in the afternoon. The seven second rule initially applied and kept them interested, the diligent follow up and professionalism ensured that they successfully completed their transaction.
The internet has forever changed how agents and clients interact, the veil of secrecy regarding real estate data and listings has been pierced and it’s for the better. If it raises the bar on agent performance, everyone wins. Of course, it’s up to the public to ensure that bar is raised and we think the seven second and seven question rules apply. Force change in this industry – the industry itself won’t.