There’s always something to howl about

Black Pearl from StarPower: Buy gas

No kidding. Buy gas.

Here’s the Black Pearl: When you put a buyer in your car, make your first stop the gas station to top off the tank.

The marketing objective? To communicate to your buyer that showing cost real money.


24 Comments so far

  1. Doug Quance July 24th, 2008 11:54 am

    While I understand the concept – I treat my clients in the way that I would want to be treated… and sitting around in the back of some Realtor’s car while s/he is filling the tank they should have filled BEFORE meeting with me wouldn’t cut it. Show up on time and be prepared. And topping off the gas tank? Not me. You don’t think the clients can read a gas gauge?

  2. Teri Lussier July 24th, 2008 12:53 pm

    >No kidding.

    I don’t buy it.

  3. Doug Quance July 24th, 2008 1:03 pm

    >I don’t buy it.

    You don’t buy the concept… or you don’t buy gas?


  4. Sue July 24th, 2008 2:43 pm

    I am uncomfortable stopping for gas with clients. I make it a point to get the gas before meeting up with the client. Just me.

  5. Tom Bryant July 24th, 2008 2:50 pm

    The few times that I’ve had to stop to get gas, I’ve apologized profusely for my lack of planning. And that’s when it was a lot cheaper than it is now : )

  6. Chuchundra July 24th, 2008 3:06 pm

    As a buyer, if some agent tried this business on me, I’d most likely cross them right off my list.

    When we pulled up to the gas station, I’d be thinking one of two things. Either they can’t plan their day out well enough to make sure they have gas before they see a client or they’re running some kind of game on me. In the former case, I might overlook it if I otherwise liked them. If I suspected it was the latter, then I certainly wouldn’t be calling them again.

    And really, I don’t understand what the point is. So the showing costs the agent money…so what? Everything costs money. Do you think this is going to influence by buying decision? I’m going to live in the house, pay the mortgage on it and do the upkeep for years to come. I’m not going to buy one unless it’s the one that’s right for me.

  7. Sue July 24th, 2008 4:09 pm

    >>So the showing costs the agent money…so what? Everything costs money.

    Again, I stated and maintain that I wouldn’t stop for gas with a client. However, there are people out there that look at real estate for recreation. I certainly am happy to show homes if the potential buyers are indeed potential buyers and not window shoppers using realtors as taxi drivers. Many people do not realize that realtors do not get paid until we close the deal.

  8. Judy Orr July 24th, 2008 4:31 pm

    Putting gas in my car is simply a cost of doing business and if I have the feeling buyers are “using” me then it’s my decision to stop working with them. But I’m not going to try to rub it in their face or make myself look unprepared and unprofessional (and if it did ever happen I would also apologize and blame a family member for using the car before me and not filling up)!

  9. Cheryl Johnson July 24th, 2008 6:43 pm

    I’m trying to imagine myself as a buyer riding around with an agent, and the agent stopping for gas.

    Call me dull, but I don’t think it would it even occur to me that a). the agent was being unprofessional, or b). the agent was hinting to me that I’m costing her money.

    Needing to buy gas seems to me a simple fact-of-life, like needing to use the rest room.

    Shoot, now you guys have gone and made it complicated for me.

  10. Dave Barnes July 24th, 2008 7:52 pm

    As a consumer, I say: Don’t waste my time. It is more valuable than yours.

  11. Sue July 24th, 2008 7:54 pm

    >>if I have the feeling buyers are “using” me then it’s my decision to stop working with them

    Judy, I think this is an area in which I need to improve my judgement skills

    >>Needing to buy gas seems to me a simple fact-of-life, like needing to use the rest room.

    It is a fact of life and can happen, but to me its part of being prepared. We may be making too big a deal of it, perhaps a buyer wouldn’t even give it a second thought. Hey, with the prices, do you think it would be ok to ask for contributions? :) Just kidding!! Actually some agents do get a retainer when getting the CIS and buyers agency form signed.

  12. Tom Vanderwell July 24th, 2008 8:11 pm

    Looking back (way back) to 17 years ago when I wrapped up my 3 years selling real estate and went into lending, I think that’s the biggest mistake I made. I didn’t have and my broker didn’t train me enough on how to determine the valid and real clients compared to the tire kickers……

    I think I’ve learned a few things since then in my multiple times around the block over the last two decades….


  13. Teri Lussier July 24th, 2008 8:33 pm

    It’s the planning of it that’s so, well… I’d say manipulative, but okay, I’ll bite…

    >The marketing objective? To communicate to your buyer that showing cost real money.

    It’s Star Power- there must be a script that goes along with this action?

  14. Louis Cammarosano July 24th, 2008 8:47 pm

    If you really want to make the point, as you are filling up, call back into the car “Hey Mr. Liar Buyer how much does the sign say?” Then repeat the cost per gallon a few times very loudly.

    Then: run the car through the automatic car wash and while you are whoshing through the brushes make a point of asking if Mr. Buyer Liar noticed how much the sign said for the car wash. If he missed it, remind him of the insanely high price.

    Upon leaving the car wash let Mr. Buyer Liar know that you need to stop off at your insurance agent to pay the monthly premium. You may at this point be running short on cash so you may wish to ask Mr. Buyer Liar to loan you $20 or thirty dollars. (You can tell him you’ll pay him back if he actually buys a house-now you are really demonstrating business acument, you are not only educating him but you’ve got him in a joint venture with you).

    Then tell him that you appreciate that his time is important and that you will forego bringing the car in to Jiffy Lube (another couple of hundred dollars that the ingrate in the backseat is costing you) so that you can get to the home you want to show him before midnight.

    If you have a hands free bluetooth phone service that runs through your car speakers, or a mobile phone with a speaker phone feature, you can consider paying your monthly car payment and mobile phone bill by touch tone phone. Turn the volume up. Make sure you utilize the repeat function on the menu that asks “for balance owed”. Turn the sound down and ask Mr. BL is he happened to hear the amount. Irrespective of his answer play the amount again, repeat it aloud then curse as you punch in your payment details. Repeat the amount.

    When you finally arrive at the home, curse out the lock box as another added cost that realtors must bear when engaged in the practice.

    Usher the client through the house in as short a time as possible uttering ; “time is money” “are you done yet?” “Want to make an offer?”

    If the customer balks at making an offer, treat him to a visit to Jiffy Lube on the way home.

    Not only will Mr. Buyer Liar remember that showing homes costs real money, but he will be sure to tell all of his friends.

    Mission Accomplished!

  15. Tom Hall July 24th, 2008 9:11 pm

    Well – like they say – as* grass or gas – this car don’t run for free

  16. Kevin Boer July 24th, 2008 10:00 pm

    Methinks the Bloodhound is employing his sense of irony here…surely this must be an entry in your “vendors milking Realtors with cheesy ideas” contest?

    This reminds me of training in an Amway sales manual somebody lent me 2 decades ago: When you’re trying to sign up a new client, drive over to their home, leave the car _running_, run in to drop off the sales materials, and tell them, “My car is running. Gotta get going.” You emphasize to the client how busy (and therefore important) you are.

    Cheesy sales tactic. Don’t buy it.

  17. Sue July 25th, 2008 6:17 am

    Louis, you are too funny. Your comment is the first thing I am reading this morning and I am laughing so hard I am crying. Thanks, should be a good day!

    Kevin, I think you are right.

  18. louis cammarosano July 25th, 2008 8:22 am

    if the above tactics fail to get the point across provide a gauranteed time to the listing from
    Your office. Leave time to get gas and other necessary maintenance stops but NO
    Time to get to the home.
    Travel well in excess of the speed limit and take the most direct route thus ensuring that you race through construction and school zones.
    When you get pulled over tell the officer that you have a very important buyer
    When you get the ticket make sure you let mr buyer liar know that fines for speeding are 3x

    The normal fine and that you will hire a lawyer to fight the ticket and that you expect him to appear in court on your behalf
    When you arrive at the home an three hour later,
    Fully inform the buyer that you will hold him responsible for all legal fees and fines associated with your journey

  19. The Harriman Team July 26th, 2008 8:30 am

    And exactly which Einstein was it that posited that nugget of iron pyrite? Give them this black pearl for me, will you?


    No, I’m not giving them a razzberry and my keyboard isn’t stuck. It’s a little gem I learned while in the Army. The Seven P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Ranks right up there with “Canvas Builds Character” and US ARMY (Uncle Sam Ain’t Releasing Me Yet). Oh yeah, and FUBAR. Damn clever, them Army grunts.

  20. The Harriman Team July 26th, 2008 8:38 am

    Here’s another Black Pearl right up StarPower’s alley: if you really want them to see how much it costs to see houses? Make THEM drive. That should get their attention.

  21. Sue July 26th, 2008 9:26 am

    If you’re showing homes after your open house on a Sunday, why not ask the clients to pick you up there and then drive. That way they could grab the OH signs on the way over to make things a little easier for you, cause its already been such a long day. 😉

  22. Jay Thompson July 27th, 2008 11:17 pm

    This gas buying ploy is about as stupid as pretending you’re so busy you can only return phone messages between 2:00 and 3:00.

  23. Pamela Pridemore July 31st, 2008 6:39 am

    I would ask the agent to kindly take me back to my vehicle, where I would employ another agent with some class.
    We all know the devastation of the gasoline prices on the could we not? Each and everyone of us suffers from the exact same issues.
    Now, if you think you have a buyer that is not too serious…prequal them! That will get their attention, a ding on their credit, for what? Hee! Hee!
    A good agent can tell rather quickly, and salvage their pocketbook, if they in fact, stay “in control.”
    Prices are going down agents! Now is the time to make hay while the sun is shining!
    God bless all! :-)

  24. Sue September 5th, 2008 6:06 am

    >>>Now, if you think you have a buyer that is not too serious…prequal them! That will get their attention, a ding on their credit, for what? Hee! Hee!

    Off topic, but it is my understanding from the loan officer in my office that pre-approving a client does not ding their credit since its for purposes of purchasing a home.