The most important skill in sales is qualifying. It is the ability to separate the non-motivated buyers and sellers from the motivated ones who want to do something now. Top-producing agents know how to do this quickly and efficiently. They have a specific step-by-step series of questions that remove the unmotivated people from their lives. We are going to delve into the skill of qualifying buyers.We must develop a series of questions that will ferret out motivation. The focus is to find out their time frame and level of passion to move. One question that tests motivation is, “How long have you been looking for a home?” The longer the time the buyer has been looking, the lower the motivation. We have to wonder why a buyer has not been able to find a home in six months. Are they looking for something that doesn’t exist? Are their expectations too high for the marketplace? Do they just enjoy the process of kicking foundations? (When someone said to me that they had been looking for more than 90 days, I wanted to know what they were looking for and the reasons why they hadn’t found it yet.)
Another question is, “Do you need to sell your current home before you can buy?” The follow-up question is, “Are you currently on the market?” Most people need to sell their home before they can buy. A great percentage of them want to find a house before they put theirs on the market. This approach seems to be backwards. Most sellers truly can’t buy anything since they have to sell first. They often want us to invest a large percentage of our time finding them the perfect home prior to listing theirs.
One of our rules when I was an agent was that buyers had to list their property now for us to work with them. We did not want to work without the opportunity of getting paid. Since the buyers had to list their home sometime, why not now? Why delay the inevitable if they truly want to sell? If their plans changed we would withdraw the listing.
Another critical question is to ask, “Are you working with another agent?” Too often we rush out to show one of our listings only to find out that they are working with another agent. We just spent 30 minutes of our time and never got compensated.
In my career I had gotten some unbelievable responses from prospects on the phone regarding why hadn’t they contacted their agent about showing them the property. Responses ranged from “my agent is out of town” to, “I did not want to bother him.” They wanted to bother me and then get their agent to write the sales agreement if they decided to purchase it. Our policy was if buyers are working with another agent, he can show them the home. That is what their agent is getting paid to do.
Another question is, “Have you met with a lender yet?” This question will start the process of determining their ability to purchase. Truly motivated purchasers meet with lenders. If they have not and they have been looking for six months, are they motivated buyers?
Next determine if they have been pre-qualified or pre-approved. There is a world of difference in these terms and the buyers don’t know the difference. The focus needs to be to get them to meet with your lender. If they meet with your loan office, you will have solidified your position with them.
Once you have determined that they are motivated to buy and they aren’t working with another agent; you need to find out their real estate needs. These questions identify the property and area that they are looking for.
1. What type of home are you looking for?
2. What size of home are you looking for?
3. What price range?
4. What areas are you considering?
Then the big question is, “If we could find the home in the area that you desire are you prepared to purchase it now?” If you get a favorable response, set an appointment with them to help them find their new home.
Top-producers have a specific set of questions which they ask. Their success is not based on chance; it is based on a well-designed system. Develop your system today.
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