According to the National Association of REALTORS, over 60% of real estate transactions go to the first agent who gets there first. Are agents just that good or the clients that lazy? No, and there is a scientific reason that if you want to win in real estate, you need to be first.
A German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that when given a list of items, people are most likely to remember the first item the best. It should be noted that they remember the last item the second best, but in real estate if you are “last” you are probably left behind. After reading about this study, there are a number of things that I can identify with here as being accurate.
Showing homes: If you recap the homes you have seen at the end of the day, it is always the first home and the last home that they remember the most. The ones in the middle (unless something REALLY stood out as unique) were often forgotten. If you are seeing a lot of homes in one day, perhaps you should take a mental break and go sit down for a cup of coffee and allow your brain and your client’s brain to reboot.
Listing appointments: I’ve always heard that if you are competing against multiple agents for a listing, you ask to either be first or last. I always thought it was because you wanted to get to them first and get them to sign NOW (which is always a good thing), but even if they don’t you will be the most memorable and they are likely to come back to you.
Expired and FSBO’s: If you are the first to call, you have a good shot at setting an appointment to see the home. If you are anywhere other than first, they start asking you where you got their information and they are angry. First is definitely best in this category.
Lead Capture: Home Value Leads was actually designed for this very concept. When listings are scarce, you want to be the first in front of potential sellers. By offering a free home value report, you are giving them something of value and getting in front of them, possibly before they have even considered selling their home.
Follow Up: You can’t just be first when the time is right for you. You have to be first when the time is right for them. You can be first in front of me today, but if I’m not looking to sell my home until next year, you need to be first in front of me again in a year. That’s where great follow up comes into play. Being able to regularly stay in front of potential clients puts you first in their mind when they are ready to transact.
In real estate, being first isn’t just a strategy, it is a proven psychological benefit. Keep that advantage and always strive to be first in real estate. Not only will you be the first in client’s minds and hearts, but you’ll also be first in line at the bank to cash those commission checks.
What are other areas of real estate where being first matters? Do you disagree about the importance of being first? Please share in the comments below.