Real Estate Agent Secret Shop Final Results

While I will continue, with my teams of clients around the country, to keep tabs on things, I am done with my year long exercise ‘secret shopping’ agents open houses because the results are in, and clearly, there is a winner….

And the winner is….


Yup, here are the final results. Over 14 months, and after visiting 102 Open Houses, we have the results of how the agents out their treat the properties entrusted to them by property owners.

We were looking for certain criteria. Now not all of the criteria we were looking for is necessarily the right and wrong way, they were just indicators that I was curious about, and of course some of them are absolutely critical to both the agents’ success in terms of their ability to get their sellers the highest price (their legal obligation to do), and in turn, their success in their own career. One cannot exist without the other.

So the critical ones, I believe, are these

– Follow up process – did the agent make one or several attempts to follow up with guests at the open? Did they use multiple media ie phone calls, sms, cards, emails to do so without being too annoying?

– Qualifying – Did they simply give a guided tour? Did they not even do that, did they meet at the door, tell you to have a look around and call me if you like it? Or did they ask you some, not too many too quick, but some probing questions to find out if you may be interested in buying the property, taking a second look, goodness, even flat out did they ask ‘You Want To Buy It???’

– Be Nice – We wanted to know how many of the agents were simply nice people in their character, rapport building etc. Some great customer service advice I got recently that I think many businesses have forgotten. BE NICE !!!

We measured other things into 3 CATEGORIES….

– Presentation of marketing and take home materials below average, average/ok and ‘Very Good or better’

– Presentation of the Open itself  including the agent’s presentation, signage, street appeal, extras, etc.

– Did the agent promote other properties other than the seller’s property before ascertaining that 100% this WASN’T the property for the buyer.

– Were there two people there from the agency? Were the buyers escorted or left to their own devices?

– What contact details were collected? Asked for?


So, after visting 102 open homes primarily in S.E. Qld but a few in Perth and Sydney, the results were these.

The secret shoppers were instructed to say ‘We own a house in the neighbourhood, and we’re just checking out prices.’

They were also instructed to give the agents whatever contact details they requested.

Some interesting (I am politely removing the word appalling here) statistics

• 72 made no follow up in any way shape or form
Goodness people. What are you doing to get new business? Even if you go by the this idea, ‘If the buyers want it they’ll call me.’ Ok, wrong idea, not in your sellers best interest so change the idea, but even if you do, what the hell are you doing to get a new client? Are you ignoring the people in ‘Real Estate mode’ and going back to your office on Monday and saying ‘boy it’s  a bit quiet today?’
Or even worse, are you ignoring these people and then going and being an ‘annoying pest’ making cold calls to people who AREN’T interested, while simultaneious ignoring those people who, in some way shape or form, ARE interested.
• 2 followed up on the day of the Open
So you have a chance to be in the top 2 agents to be considered out of 100 choices in your area, if you simply follow up on Saturday. (and you say the market is slow? NO, THE AGENTS ARE SLOW !! – not speaking to you if you are ticking all these boxes I’m describing, see my closing paragraph asd it may be ‘life changing’, or at least, ‘career changing’)
• 4 agents were complete no shows

Unacceptable. Goodness guys, it’s in the paper, it’s on I don’t care what has to happen, ‘SHOW UP!!!’ If you can’t, get somebody else to show up, but don’t leave me, and several groups of buyers standing on the footpath.

(It’s funny, I did have one Sales Manager call me up after this exercise about a year ago and thanked me for doing him a favour by drawing attention to the study so they could improve. Great attitude !! Initially I was also met with a lawsuit threat. It turns out this was a Principal defending his salesperson, and you know. I get that. What’s really interesting is the defended salesperson has since contacted me, initially a bit p____ off, understandably, but we had a good chat not long ago, and I tell you, while this stuy was not meant to reflect individuals one way or the other, nor to point the finger at any single agents, it did have the benefit of having one of the agents improve out of sight and continue to do so. Hats off to this individual.)

• 31 of the agents made our ladies either ‘feel unwelcome,’ neglected or they described the agent as completely arrogant
There are 10,969 bboks on Amazon on the subject of ‘Customer Service.’ Did we really need over one    million  pages (all of these books are well over 100 pages), at an average of 300 words per page. I mean do we need 300,000,000 wprds to say two……





• 83 of the agents made no attempts to move towards a close in any way
Kevin Turner, from Radio 4BC’s Real Estate Talk and RE Uncut, the show for Real Estate Agents, was most appalled by this statistic. In a market where many agents are struggling, to not investigate this is, in Kevin’s opinion, the worst stat of this exercise. I may think the follow up, or lack thereof is worse, but this one’s up there.
• 2 Followed up with an SMS the day of the Open
A good, cheap and impressive strategy, takes 10 seconds using a template or 20 seconds to compose one from scratch, and 2 out of 102 employed it.Don’t get all sexy with you ipads and your facebook pages or any new media until you effectively use the one you already have.
• 2 Followed up on more than one occasion
They say most sales happen, with a prospective client, on a contact between 5 and 19 contacts into a relationship (in this case I’m talking about a listing ‘sale’ because in my opinion, an agent doesn’t ‘sell’ a house, they market it, present it, follow up and negotiate on behalf of the owners, and of course, if a buyer ‘buys’ it, they may do so on the first contact. In this case I’m talking about listings.)
So if that’s the case, all of 2 out of 100 have half a hope in hell of being any better than ‘being tortured to death’ in this industry. There is NO WAY to be successful in any marketplace with this level of follow up systems and procedures.
• 1 Got more details than just a mobile
In this age, people have so many other ways to be contacted, so not to even ask for any other contact details at all, well, it’s a wasted opportunity. I have agents that ask for (AND GET) mobile, email, mailing address (by asking for a license for security condition of entry), and whether or not they are on Facebook.
• 1 had promo material better than a colour photocopied flyer, or booklet.
‘So you’re selling a home and you have promotional material no better than what you’d have to sell your fridge on Ebay for $500. Do you think I am going to entrust my $500,000 ASSET I have worked my whole life for to you, Mr ‘Black and White Photocopied flyer Real Estate Agent?’
That’s what your sellers are thinking. And I know what you’re thinking too…’Oh Glenn I can’t afford to get that fancy printing done, those booklets, CD’s, Video tours, DVD’s…..’
How close was I? Well you can and must, and get the seller to invest in these materials as well. Yes there are some that the office might do for you, or your business might supply, but if you haven’t got the skill to show a seller why they need some of these tools to get the highest price possible, then either get the skill or get out of the industry!! Harsh, but your job is that of a MARKETER and if you can’t MARKET, then when the market is tougher, you’ll be gone, and you’ll blame the market….NO, the reason you left is looking at you in the mirror when you wake up and shave for that Government job you had to go get.
Yeah, this article is getting harsh, well I quote Jim Rohn, ‘Don’t Wish It Was Easier, Wish You Were Better.’
So, if you’re a Real Estate agent, you’ve probably thrown something at the PC screen, sent me a nasty email saying ‘How dare you Twiddle?’, swore at me under your breath, swore at your brand for not better equipping you (no, it’s not even the brand’s fault), maybe had a cry or at the very least, got upset and frustrated,  and thought of all the reasons why I’m wrong and this article was a waste of your time.
The bit about getting upset though….GOOD…if you got upset, then you deserve it, because believe me, the guys of my training who are kicking butt, would have read this article with the biggest grin on their faces in history. They know that by doing these things, and telling their appraisals to ‘secret shop’ before deciding on an agent, they KNOW they are in the top 1% of the industry if they consistently do this year in year out.
So if you are upset….GOOD….You should feel remorseful !! No one gets into this industry saying ‘I don’t want to be successful.’ EVERYONE WANTS to be successful. But very few people’s ACTIONS reflect this.
So go ahead, feel bad, go and look in the mirror, and believe me this will be hard, arguably the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life, and say, this market, and my results, THIS IS ALL MY FAULT.’
In fact, until you feel bad, there’s a very high chance that NOTHING will change. So enough of the positive thinking, go and buy Larry Winget’s book, ‘Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life
,’ or ‘People Are Idiots and I Can Prove It!
‘ take responsibility for your career and get better.
You might also, at the bottom of your email to me after you’ve finished swearing at me, with a tear in your eye, ask me for a copy of my open home training, although after reading this article, you probably don’t need more training, but get in touch if you need to.
Glenn Twiddle
(yup still brave enough to sign my name to this)
About the author
‘I teach agents a step by step, 1-2-3, fill in the blanks system for becoming the number one agent in your area, how to become a six, or even seven figure earner, in 3 years or less no matter where you are right now.

It’s worked for me, for my teams over the years, and now is working for many of my clients. And if you learn the system, and apply it in the manner it’s described, there’s a good chance it will work for you too.

For a free copy of my best real estate training tip (other than this article), which is my number one listing tip I’ve ever trained, go to….

Comments 18

  1. Alan Moore

    A great study and an excellent set of feedback, thanks very much Glenn.

    I didn’t need to read your post to be already looking in the mirror, but it’s very helpful to have some simple and clear suggestions on where we can improve.

    I have been uncertain about whether to trust you and your material for a little while now. My concern is that I want to become truly better at what I do, rather than just another salesman full of huff and puff.

    This post has confirmed that you are interested in being the former rather than the latter.

    I will take a look at your DVD offer and see where it takes me.

    A. M.

  2. Glenn Twiddle

    Thanks Alan,

    HAd to laugh as I definitely have my fair share of huff and puff, especially lately, as it seems that’s what’s necessary to get the message across, and now all of a sudden, with the market no longer tolerant of mediocrity, that people are taking notice of my message, and for some it’s too late.

    I applaud you being cautious, as there are way too many speakers, trainers, authors and seminars that will happily take your money in return for little or no value. Seems there’s a lot of ex agents out there slapping on a coaching badge and running seminars. I tell people to do exactly what you’ve done, to be cautious in your mentor/coach/trainer selection and choose someone you resonate with, and who is qualified to be giving advice. (and there’s plenty of them too, I learned from some of the best).

    It’s funny that on a % basis, I rub people from your neck of the woods up more than any other state, not sure why that is, but glad you’ve seen past the rough exterior and seen some value there for you. And I trust that gift I get out to you, will confirm that.

    All the best and touch base if you need anything else. (and the few CD’s of the month coming to you, again for free are some of the best I’ve ever done. I’ve just finished recording another today, and it’s funny, just when we need it most, some of the best monthly programs are coming out.)

    All the best mate, and here’s to huff and puff, with some substance !!,


  3. David

    Hi Glen, thanks once again for the approach you take towards how real estate real is – not that hard if you just do what you say you are going to.
    I find your material awesome and a great wake up call to just get out there and do it !
    Cheers again and look forward to more great stuff from you we all need to get real.

  4. Mat

    You know what Twiddle, as annoying as my office and I find the spam, I keep on reading your stuff because there is value.

    you’re one of the best copywriters I have seen.

    loved the article would love to see the full stats

  5. Mat

    Also am trying to subscribe to your offer but am having difficulty? I have left the comments but nothing happens

  6. Graham Green

    Good Morning Glenn,
    Thank you for this research. How would I rate? Follow up.
    Yes all my visitors get an SMS within the hour, a email that eveing and a phone call, regardless of thier response at the open.
    I do follow up with a selected few offerring either my Buyers Guide Opportunity or offerring advice on how to market thier home to obtain the best result.
    I will systemize this and catch all.
    I politely ask all visitors what they believe the property is worth and then ask would they like to own it.
    I currently get mobile and email I will start asking for postal.
    I offer a colour brochure, a floor plan and my Magnet Business Card. I will start work on a short DVD promo of myself and include the video shoot of the property inspected.
    Be nice. I will continue to look at ways to improve.
    I turn on every light, every ceiling fan, the tv in the main entertainment room with music videos’ showing but muted, I carry a good small CD player and play great soothing instumental music eg Kenny G’s Greatest Hits, I ask if they have been good and offer them wrapped sweets if they say yes (Fantails are the favourites.), it normally gets them to open up more.

    It is said that we should go the extra mile. Many super succesfull professionals in many arena’s tell me that it is not crowded on the extra mile. Your investigation clearly shows that the Real Estate Extra Mile is to easy to get to.

    I will be advising all my future appraisals to secret shop me and my competition prior to signing any 22a. Thank you for your efforts.

    Have a great day. Graham Green

  7. Dee

    I find these words amusing.

    Harsh, but your job is that of a MARKETER and if you can’t MARKET, then when the market is tougher, you’ll be gone, and you’ll blame the market….NO, the reason you left is looking at you in the mirror when you wake up and shave for that Government job you had to go get.

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a Govt. job? (even on a shovel)
    From what I have seen with sales agents in SE QLD it’s easier to get a real estate sales certificate and job than one with the Government.
    But I enjoyed the rest of the read and agree.

  8. Glenn Twiddle

    Mat, haha, thanks man, dunno about the best, but one secret of good copy is ‘conversational’ copy, ie to write as you speak, and I definitely do that. The other copywriting ‘do’s’ well….there’s a bunch I should do that I just too darn impatient for, and I should improve and slow down, but either way, thanks for the (I think) compliment. (about the spam, we pay a small fortune for these supposed’double opt in’ emails and JV opportunities and endorsed mailings. But tell your crew opting out is one click.

  9. Glenn Twiddle

    Graham, from the sound of it, if I secret shopped you, it would have been the best of anyone in the entire study. As I was reading your comment I was thinking exactly what you said….

    As part of your marketing mix, somehow mention this study, maybe send your clients a link to the results or to and you’ll be setting landmines your competition just can’t (more accurately…’won’t’) match.

    Good job mate !!

  10. Glenn Twiddle

    Dee, apologies, and you know you are probably right 100%. I was using that as an example of another career that someone might be forced to enter, without even thinking how tough it might be.

    Thank you for the heads up, and seriously, in looking back on my very quickly written article (one take Twiddle strikes again) that comment reads pretty insensitively to Govt workers, so please accept apologies. Let me re-write….

    ‘…NO, the reason you left is looking at you in the mirror when you wake up and shave for that Lawyer job you had to go get.’ (couldn’t think of a profession that we all universally dislike….but then a brainwave….haha)

  11. Glenn Twiddle

    Thanks David, and it’s interesting mate, if someone in your price bracket, is performing with the skill of the higher priced agents, heaven help them. Well done mate. Must admit don’t get many Gecko guys on my list, but glad to have you around mate.

    Cheers mate

  12. Mark Mangham

    Where have you been Glenn. Finally it is good to hear from someone that tell’s it how it is…without the B*** ***T. At present I am conducting on average about 5 OFI on Saturday’s, with the view of ramping it up to about 8-9. They are a good source of buyers and sellers and my last sale came off an OFI, so they do work. It still surprises me when I am driving between my OFI’s and some of the OFI’s that you see open makes you think are they actually open or you have to look at the time to see if the Agent is there or not. What I am leading to, is IMPACT. When I do my OFI’s, I try to have everything I can find flying and flapping in the breeze, pointers and OFI boards etc, looks like a mini carnival and you cannot miss it. Some fellow Agents merely place a small speed camera type sign on the front lawn and hide in the house, leaving people driving past wondering if they are open or not. Come on guys n girls, let’s be professional and be proud of the trust and responsibility that are vendors have entrusted upon us, the sale of one of their most important assets…their Home !!!

  13. Property Agent

    true – A good, cheap and impressive strategy, takes 10 seconds using a template or 20 seconds to compose one from scratch, and 2 out of 102 employed it.Don’t get all sexy with you ipads and your facebook pages or any new media until you effectively use the one you already have.

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  15. Real Estate Connected

    Great article Glenn and my partner and I are conducting the same test here in WA. I am so glad you posted on my blog to tell me of your similar experiences. It is a real shame that professional real estate agents aren’t taking notice and making a change. The iPhone and technology it here, use it guys!


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