Overview: This is another love them or hate them assignment. There are two positives in my book—being video shops, in general less reporting will be required and, being video, the pay will tend to be higher. Multiple locations are usually available which allows for routes to be built.
Project Variations: These assignments will almost always specify what size house you are to shop, either in square feet or number of bedrooms. One caution that appears to be universal is to avoid the use of “real estate lingo” as that will almost always ID you as a shopper. Objections almost always need to be raised, generally one or two will suffice. Be sure to phrase the objection in the form requested by the MSC.
Visit and Reporting Requirements: Generally these are going to be targeted shops. Before you groan, the target’s schedule is usually known, and the day of the visit is scheduled by the MSC so a call is not always necessary. On occasion, you may need to schedule an appointment, but the scheduling is usually done through the builder’s or developer’s office, so you’re not talking with the agent directly. The first time I had to do this, I was concerned because I had to ID myself as a shopper for XYZ MSC. That’s how I found out the scheduling is through a central office, and the reason for IDing is so the scheduler doesn’t receive a fee for scheduling the shopper’s appointment.
Strategies: Most new home shops are going to cover a “core” scenario. You still need to be aware of the specifics of each assignment.
Record Keeping: This can be broken down into two parts—pre shop and post shop. Since the agents at new home shops do not ask for ID, the MSC will generally require you to use an alias, and often a different alias, at each shop, complete with different phone numbers and emails for each shop. On a recent 20 shop route through coastal Georgia and central Florida; I was required to have 20 different names, phone numbers, and email addresses, I made an index card with the required information for each shop. I paper clipped them in the order I would be doing the shops, so I would be able to review the identity for each shop just before I conducted it, basically a last minute “cheat sheet”. I also added any unique requirements for the specific shop, i.e. one shop of the 20 requested that I ask if there were families with young children. The cheat sheet made sure I wouldn’t forget that one question. The “post shop” record keeping can be simplified by using Excel or a similar spreadsheet. You can only shop an agent one time. So you need a record of the MSC, Client, and Agent. I also add a “Location” column, just in case there are two agents named “Sally Jones”. I keep the data on one spreadsheet with a tab for each MSC.
Estimated Pay: Most of the shops are in the $50 to 60 range, before any bonuses for travel.
MSCs: Companies that currently have video home shops include Impact Marketing, Instant Replays, and Shadow Agency.
One final thing: I mention this because it happened to me and I was called out on it by the MSC. Ironically, it had momentarily crossed my mind. When following an agent upstairs, use your hand, or brochure if you’ve been given one, to cover the camera lens so you’re not accidentally recording an inappropriate view of the agent from behind. As I said, it very briefly flashed through my mind but it didn’t fully register until I was reviewing the video before submitting it.