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How a lemon won a listing

16 September 2016 Hannah Blackiston
Real estate prospecting

Can the key to a sale be as simple as a trip to the grocery store? One agent reveals how citrus fruit won him his dream listing.

When he was first starting out in his real estate career, McGrath agent Mat Steinwede fell in love with a house in his area. He approached the owners, an elderly couple, and asked them whether they were looking to sell.

“She said 'No', so I said 'OK cool, bye', then I walked down the stairs and as I got halfway down I looked at the view […] and I said to myself, 'I’m going to list this one day',” Mr Steinwede said.

He went on to become friendly with the couple, who passed away 15 years later. They left the home to their children, and Mr Steinwede continued to send marketing material to them, hoping for the sale.


“Then I sold the house on the street behind and I got a call,” he said.

It was the call he had been waiting for, from the family of the dream house, who wanted an idea of prices in the area.

In an attempt to win the listing, Mr Steinwede got their email address and sent them information, but several weeks went by without a response, until a neighbour told Mr Steinwede they had seen his rival visiting the home.

“So I went straight there, I was only two doors down, walked around the house with the son, you know, having a bit of chat and finally he says to me, ‘Mat, I’ve got to tell you, my brother […] decided to give the house to another agent'.”

Mr Steinwede convinced the man to let him provide a proposal and prepared a large presentation – but as he was delivering it the family called and said they weren’t in the best of spirits. The local fish and chip shop had run out of lemons for their dinner and Mr Steinwede was told he may as well not bother.

“I get off the phone, I ring Jimmy who works with me and I say, 'Jimmy, whatever you’re doing, go to the supermarket, get a lemon, have it delivered to this house within five minutes and I’ll be there just after',” he said.

The client was so impressed with the level of customer service Mr Steinwede and his agency provided that he won the listing, which he subsequently sold for $300,000 over the reserve.

“Why I tell you that story is […] the proposal meant not much to them, the company meant not much to them, the agent meant something to them, but the care meant everything to them,” Mr Steinwede said.

“I look for those moments that will make people say 'wow' and it’s earned me a lot of business.”

How a lemon won a listing
lemon with leaf
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