While working alongside some of the best brokers in NYC, I absorbed the tools and techniques which allowed me to succeed in real estate. Arguably, the most valuable lesson I learned was the qualifying process. Because I learned from the best, I developed a system that was so effective, I converted every qualified client easily and in a short period of time.
Qualifying conversations can be tricky and many realtors struggle with the flow of the conversation. For that reason, this technique makes it easy to do and also allows you to maintain control of the conversation.
So, what makes this different than your typical scripted conversation? When you put the focus less on script questions and more on having a effective conversation, you win the client over. Not to say the questions you ask aren't important but having an organized flow to the Q&A is absolutely essential. Coupling structure with active listening skills is the perfect recipe for qualifying a potential client and converting them to commit to you alone.
You can use whatever questions you like in this three-stage process. What's important is that it adheres to the format; Past/Present/Future...
Stage One: Questions about the PAST
(Collecting data on the history of their search)
Stage Two: Questions Regarding the PRESENT
(Learning about their current emotional state. Pleasure & Pain)
Stage Three: Questions about the FUTURE
(Solidifying the Commitment)
Stage One: Ask questions regarding the PAST
Sample questions are...
-How long have you been looking?
-What has your experience been like so far?
-What have you seen so far? Did an agent represent you while you were looking at those homes?
Note: At this stage, you are discerning the level of urgency. For instance, if they have been looking for a couple years and haven't made an offer on anything, ask them why. Odds are, they are struggling to move forward and potentially have commitment issues about buying. This puts them in the warm category of your business tracker (What's a business tracker? Inquire about The Ready Rookie or Broker Flow to learn more).
A hot buyer is someone who is fairly new to the market, has spoken with a lender and can close within in the next couple months.
Stage Two: Ask questions regarding the PRESENT
Sample questions are...
-Describe the home you're currently in. What isn't working for you about this home? What are your thoughts on its size? Location?
-What do you love about your current home?
-Are you renting your current home or do you own it? Are you planning to sell it? Is an agent representing the sale?
-Are you prequalified for a loan? Can I connect you with a Lender?
Note: At this stage, you are connecting with their current emotional state and looking for the pleasure and the pain so that you can provide them with solutions. When they describe anything that sounds like they are in pain or suffering, write this down. You will use it in the next stage.
Stage Three: Ask questions regarding the FUTURE
Sample questions are...
-What is your dream home like? Location? Size?
-What is a deal-breaker for you so I know what to avoid when I send you options?
-How soon can we look at homes and if we found the one you want as early as tomorrow, would you be ready to make a move on it? When will we be closing on this dream home?
-Moving forward, what's the best way for us to stay in contact? Some of my clients prefer texts. Some prefer emails or phone calls. Whatever works for you.
Once they have answered the Stage Three questions, return to the notes you developed while collecting the client's pleasure & pain. Point out what has made them unhappy with where they are and what makes them happy about the future...
-Well, living in a home with five people and two bathrooms sounds pretty tough. We need to get you that third bathroom.
-The neighborhood you're in clearly doesn't suit your needs. Let's get you into Closing Town. LOL, see what I did there?
You will continue to point out their pleasure and pain through the remainder of the relationship. Because home-buying can be stressful, it's not uncommon for customers to lose sight as to why they're buying in the first place. Remind them why they deserve a better home. When you are standing in a kitchen during an open house, you might say "This is a bigger kitchen than yours and it has the stainless steel appliances you want." This helps to keep the buyer focused on their wants and needs and also reminds them that you are focused on these things as well.
Note: You'll notice some of the stage three questions involve the word we. When you use words like we or us at this stage, you are cementing the relationship. You are injecting yourself into their future experience which will automatically create a vision of you being apart of this process...like the vision of you sitting next to them at the closing table.
This post is a condensed version of Ditch The Script which is in my online courses Broker Flow and The Ready Rookie. In order to experience the full effectiveness of this process, click this link and enroll now for the Fall/Winter release...
Both courses go into more detail on how to Ditch the Script as well as many more similar tips and techniques like Competing With Discount Brokers, How to Pitch For A Listing and Don't Fear Your Sphere: How to Market to Your People.