Avoid these three questions in your initial contact with a potential buyer.
If you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, then you’re familiar with the common list of items you need to check off before working with a buyer. It includes things such as making sure they have a pre-approval, confirming that they’re willing to meet you at your office for a buyer consultation, and asking if they already have an agent so that you know you’re not wasting your time. From day one in the business, these three rules are drilled into us at every turn by team leaders, coaches, veteran agents, and everyone else in the real estate industry, it seems. I am here to tell you that times have changed. Buyers don’t respond the same way they did 2 years ago and therefore, in my own team’s 400+ annual buyer transactions, here are the questions we’re avoiding on our first call:
1. Stop asking if they're pre-approved
We don’t ask for pre-approval on the first call because there’s no need to be tough with someone you’re trying to convert. You can always get this info on your second call with your potential client. Instead, ask them who their lender is and/or what bank they’re working with. That’ll tell you all you need to know without turning them off.
"THERE'S NO NEED TO BE TOUGH ON SOMEONE YOU'RE TRYING TO CONVERT."
Once you meet them, let them know they’ll need a photo or pdf of their pre-approval if they fall in love with something today because you can’t submit an offer without it!
2. Don't ask if they're working with an agent
This question has no value in your INITIAL conversation with a buyer. Instead, leave this question for your follow up call to remind them of the appointment or after the showing is confirmed or during your buyer consultation. Under NO circumstances do you ask that at the same time you are trying to make a great first impression because you’re essentially handing them an objection. They know if they say yes, they’re working with an agent, you’ll back off and won’t close for an appointment or won’t follow up with them.
Answer their questions, make a great first impression, ask them questions in return and close for an appointment. Worry about who (if anyone) they’re working with later.
3. Give up pushing for a buyer consultation
Don’t skip the buyer consultation, just don’t focus on it during your initial call. Today’s buyers have already seen homes, written offers, gotten rejected, and have buyer fatigue. The last thing they want to be forced to do is to meet you at your office to “talk about what’s going on in the market.”
Instead, focus on closing for the first showing during your initial call, and then on your confirmation/reminder (or follow up) call you can bring up things like the buyer consultation.
I know this advice goes against what you and I have been taught but if you give it a try, you’ll notice your conversion ratios start to creep up and you’ll see just how effective it is to go in a different direction than the rest of the crowd. Conventional wisdom is for conventional markets, and as you know, this market is anything but conventional.